Welcome to the first homepage edition of i2P for 2012.
In many ways it has been a slow start to the New Year because of having to deal with the “leftovers” from 2011.
One of those items for i2P was that a third-party provider to the site did not advise of a code change to the security section in our subscribe panel, creating a range of frustrated subscribers not able to get on board.
We apologise to all those potential subscribers who were unable to register with us in the second half of 2011, but if you try once more you should have no problem.
Volume 1 Number 1
Volume 1 Number 2
Volume 1 Number 3
Volume 1 Number 4
Volume 1 Number 5
Volume 1 Number 6
Volume 1 Number 7
Volume 2 Number 1
Volume 2 Number 2
Volume 2 Number 3
Volume 2 Number 4
Volume 2 Number 5
Volume 2 Number 6
Volume 2 Number 7
Volume 2 Number 8
Volume 2 Number 9
Volume 2 Number 10
Volume 2 Number 11
Volume 3 Number 1
Volume 3 Number 2
Volume 3 Number 3
Volume 3 Number 4
Volume 3 Number 5
Volume 3 Number 6
Volume 3 Number 7
Volume 3 Number 8
Volume 3 Number 9
Volume 3 Number 10
Volume 3 Number 11
Volume 4 Number 1
Volume 4 Number 2
Volume 4 Number 3
Volume 4 Number 4
Volume 4 Number 5
Volume 4 Number 6
Volume 4 Number 7
Volume 4 Number 8
Volume 4 Number 9
Volume 4 Number 10
Volume 4 Number 11
Volume 5 Number 1
Volume 5 Number 2
Volume 5 Number 3
Volume 5 Number 4
Volume 5 Number 5
Information and news from the Australian Self Medication Industry provided by Bob Bowden, Foresight Communications. Contact him on (02) 9241 2811 or 0412 753 298.He is supported by Filomena Maiese (ASMI Marketing & Business Development Director) and Michelle Sollitt-Davis (ASMI PR Manager).
Information and news from the Australian Self Medication Industry provided by Bob Bowden, Foresight Communications.
Contact him on or 0412 753 298 .
Information and news from the Australian Self Medication Industry provided by Bob Bowden, Foresight Communications.
19 January 2012
The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) said today that concerns being expressed by Friends of the Earth about nanoparticles in some sunscreens were not supported by the weight of scientific evidence.
The Executive Director of ASMI, Dr Deon Schoombie, said that nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide have been in use in sunscreens for more than a decade. Research to date has not demonstrated evidence of a link between nano-sized ingredients found in some sunscreens and serious health problems.
Some comments on the subject appeared to misrepresent findings of research undertaken by Professor Brian Gulson, from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of the Environment by implying that the zinc found in blood and urine was proof that the zinc oxide, when formulated as nanoparticles, penetrated the skin and could cause harm.
Professor Gulson led the research using two sunscreens, one made with nanoparticle zinc oxide and one with larger particles, known as micronized zinc oxide. Both were labelled with a ‘traceable’ isotope of zinc oxide. Although Professor Gulson found that a small quantity of the traceable zinc was absorbed through the skin and detected in the blood, this was true for subjects treated with nano zinc oxide and with micronized zinc oxide. He concluded that the quantity was not significant and would not cause harm.
In discussing his research in 2010, Professor Gulson stated clearly that his methodology did not allow him to determine whether the traceable zinc found in the blood was due to nano zinc oxide or from zinc penetrating the skin as ‘dissolved’ zinc molecules, which are very much smaller than nano particles. He even commented that he would continue to use sunscreen containing zinc oxide on his grandchildren.
The TGA reviewed the use of nanoparticles in sunscreen in 2009 and found that the evidence to date indicates that these nano-sized particles stay on the outer surface of the skin. There was also no evidence of toxicity to users of sunscreens, despite the known use of zinc oxide in nanoparticle form in sunscreens since 1999. It has not identified a requirement for specific safety warnings regarding nanoparticles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in sunscreen medicines. It concludes that there is no evidence, to date, to suggest that the safety profile of sunscreen containing nanoparticles is any different to sunscreen with larger particles.
Prior to entry on the TGA’s Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), a product must meet quality, safety and efficacy criteria. The TGA’s post-market surveillance, quality audit and laboratory testing programs ensure that these products continue to meet these criteria.
Dr Schoombie said that Australia had one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, and the use of sunscreen was an important way to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer and premature skin ageing.
“All sunscreens marketed in Australia are safe when used as directed and should be incorporated as part of a range of sun protection measures to avoid excess sun exposure. These include wearing long-sleeved clothing, avoiding sun exposure during the hottest part of the day, staying in the shade and wearing a hat and sunglasses.”
 ABC, PM program, 25 February 2010, Audio link.
18 January 2012
Survey shows that GPs seek natural medicine brands with clinical evidence
A new study has found that three-quarters of GPs are reluctant to recommend natural medicines because of a lack of clinical evidence.
The research found that natural medicines are discussed in approximately 20% of GP consultations, and are recommended by GPs in 13% of consultations.
The study was commissioned by leading Australian clinically proven natural medicines company, Flordis, and undertaken by global health and medical research firm, IMS. It gathered information about the views of GPs towards the use and awareness of natural medicine products and brands.
According to the findings, GPs say they are reluctant to recommend products due to a lack of clinical evidence. They also want greater quality control, and more familiarity and knowledge about natural medicine products.
However it is clear that patients’ interest in natural medicines also plays an important role in recommendations by a GP, with 20% of GPs suggesting a natural medicine following a patient request.
Flordis Managing Director, Craig Weller, said GPs want to know more about natural medicines and how they might improve patient outcomes.
“More than a third of GP respondents said they were personally very interested in the role of natural medicines, however they want to know that the product they are recommending is safe, effective and backed-up by clinical research.
“Flordis products are specifically clinically proven, mostly by double blind placebo controlled trials.
“From late January, Flordis will have 15 medical detailers calling on specialists and GPs around the country to make them aware of the robust evidence that supports the claims for their products, so that they can recommend them to their patients with confidence,” said Mr Weller.
The initial focus will be on Iberogast (for symptoms of functional dyspepsia and IBS), Remotiv (a St John’s wort product for mild anxiety and stress) and Sinupret (for relief of upper respiratory tract infections and sinus pain)
Key results of the survey show:
* 75% of GPs say a lack of clinical data is the main reason for not recommending a natural medicine
* Natural medicines are discussed in 21% of GP consultations
* Natural medicines are recommended in 13% of GP consultations
* 38% of GPs are personally “very interested” in the role of natural medicines
* When deciding on a specific brand of natural medicine, GPs placed the most importance on products that have been clinically proven and are quality controlled
* 62% of GPs have recommended a natural medicine for depression
* 64% of GPs have recommended a natural medicine for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
* Glucosamine and fish oil were revealed as the most commonly recommended natural medicine products, followed by evening primrose oil and fibre supplements.
The research showed that natural medicines are most frequently recommended for conditions including arthritis and insomnia, followed by menopause, a common cold, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), depression and a urinary tract infection.
To learn more, go to www.flordis.com.au
13 January 2012
Aspirin benefits indisputable for patients with cardiovascular disease
For patients who have previously had a heart attack or a stroke, low-dose aspirin provides demonstrated benefits in preventing future cardiovascular events and strokes. This role in secondary prevention is not controversial, the Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) said today.
ASMI Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Director, Steven Scarff, said that aspirin is one of the most extensively studied drugs in history and boasts extensive clinical experience. It has a 110-year track record of safety and efficacy across a range of doses and indications. When used as directed, aspirin provides meaningful benefits, is safe and effective and is infrequently associated with clinically significant side effects.
The use of low-dose aspirin products to help prevent blood clotting and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with blood vessel disorders is well established. Products for this purpose (i.e. secondary prevention) are available in Australia without prescription but should only be used under medical supervision.
The role of low-dose aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular events and strokes (i.e. use by patients who have not had a heart attack or a stroke) is less clear and any use in this capacity should only take place under the guidance of a doctor.
The authors of a recent review of a large number of primary prevention studies on the use of low-dose aspirin in patients without previous cardiovascular disease suggest that the benefits of aspirin may not outweigh the risks for these patients.
This approach is consistent with the current position of the Australian National Heart Foundation which does not recommend low-dose aspirin in patients without existing coronary heart disease, stroke or other forms of vascular disease such as heart attack or angina.
“Any decision to use low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attack or stroke should be based on the individual’s absolute risk of cardiovascular disease and on their doctor’s assessment of the totality of evidence of the benefits and the risks for that individual patient”, Mr Scarff said.
 Seshai SRK et al. Effect of Aspirin on Vascular and Nonvascular Outcomes: Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Arch Int Med, published online January 9, 2012. DOI:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.628
11 January 2012
Nicotine replacement therapy is an effective and proven therapy in helping smokers to quit
The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), the industry body representing non-prescription consumer healthcare products today strongly advocated that nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is, and remains, a proven effective therapy in helping smokers to quit.
The Executive Director of ASMI, Dr Deon Schoombie, said that the vast body of evidence proves NRT is effective in helping to reduce smoking versus unaided quit attempts. The most recent Cochrane review concluded that NRT almost doubles the success rate of long-term abstinence versus cold turkey.
“The strongest available evidence suggests that NRT improves a patient’s chances of quitting the smoking habit, and is more effective than quitting without support,” Dr Schoombie said.
NRT has been the subject of hundreds of clinical trials involving thousands of patients over more than three decades and has helped millions of people to overcome their addiction to tobacco.*
ASMI was responding to comments on a survey into the effectiveness of NRT conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, and published in Tobacco Control.
“The author of the Harvard study notes that his own survey findings contrast with the results of clinical studies which have demonstrated NRT’s success,” Dr Schoombie said.
Adverse comments about the effectiveness of NRT in the media appear to be based largely on anecdotal evidence and this single study, which is contrary to the overwhelming body of evidence demonstrating NRT’s efficacy over quitting cold turkey. NRT has been proven in numerous robust formal studies in clinical settings, which have been reviewed by the TGA, in order to successfully register these products for sale on the Australian market.
“It is worth remembering that the use of NRT was one of the key recommendations contained in the 2009 report of the Federal Government’s National Preventative Health Taskforce. The use of NRT alongside support such as telephone help services is a key way of addressing one of Australia’s most costly and debilitating health problems,” Dr Schoombie said.
NRT has been proven both overseas and locally to be a cost efficient vehicle to curb the significant health care costs associated with smoking-related diseases. This perspective is supported by David Currow, CEO of NSW Cancer Institute, who said: “the Federal Government's $9m investment per year is a drop in the bucket compared to the $80b that smoking costs the Australian community.” He says the $9m (on PBS subsidisation of NRT) is money well spent and anything that helps people quit has to be good.
The safety profile and efficacy of NRT was re-examined by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) ahead of its recent decision to extend benefits to certain patients under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) as part of a smoking cessation program.
The role of NRT as a front line treatment prescribed by GPs and recommended by pharmacists for smoking cessation is also supported by the National Prescribing Service, and it is endorsed by the World Health Organization.
“We know that most smokers make several attempts to quit, so it is important that they have access to products and support services that will optimise their chances of success. NRT is a clinically proven therapy that reduces withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking and is helping millions of smokers worldwide,” Dr Schoombie said.
About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak industry body for the Australian self care industry representing consumer healthcare products including over-the-counter medicines and complementary medicines. ASMI’s mission is to promote better health through responsible self-care. This means ensuring that safe and effective self-care products are readily available to all Australians at a reasonable cost. ASMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self-medication products as part of the broad national health strategy. www.asmi.com.au
*Cochrane Review 2008Return to home
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