The Drug Safety Update is an NHS Evidence accredited provider
20 December 2010
The MHRA and CHM have published the December edition of Drug Safety Update. This edition includes advice that fibrates should not be prescribed to newly diagnosed patients as first-line treatment, except for those with severe hypertriglyceridaemia or those who cannot take statins. There is also advice on the initial dose of saquinavir in view of the risk of arrhythmias in treatment-naïve patients, and an end-of-year quiz on topics discussed in Drug Safety Update in 2010. Drug Safety Update is now available as a fully searchable online resource as well as the usual PDF version.
The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA’s) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has concluded that the benefits of the four fibrates — bezafibrate, ciprofibrate, fenofibrate, and gemfibrozil — continue to outweigh the risks in the treatment of patients with blood-lipid disorders. However, healthcare professionals should not prescribe them to newly diagnosed patients as first-line treatment, except for those with severe hypertriglyceridaemia or those who cannot take statins.
Prescribing advice for fibrates can be found in the November 2007 issue of Drug Safety Update. More information on fibrates, statins and management of blood lipids can be found on the lipids section of NPC
Saquinavir (Invirase ®) is used in combination with ritonavir and other antiretroviral drugs for treatment of HIV infection. It is contraindicated in patients at high risk of arrhythmia, and in patients using other medicines that may cause QT or PR prolongation. Further to recent concerns over its effects on QT and PR prolongation, it is also now recommended that patients who are naïve to antiretroviral treatment should start saquinavir at a reduced dose for the first week of treatment.
Drug Safety Update is an essential read for everyone whose professional practice involves medicines. It is published every month in electronic format only. In addition to the PDF format, Drug Safety Update is now available as a fully searchable online resource. The introductory page lists the articles from the current issue, with a brief summary and link to the main article, which in turn has links to other useful resources. A search function enables readers to locate past articles by keyword, therapeutic area, or audience group.
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