Abdominal pain may be caused by a wide range of problems. "Attacks" of pain in the right upper abdomen lasting for several hours may be due to gallstones...

Gastro News

  • National action plan for Hepatitis C

    The NZ government has announced a plan to eliminate Hepatitis C by 2030. Excellent treatment is available but uptake is below expectations Some of the problem is that 40% of people infected with Hepatitis C are unaware of the diagnosis

  • New drugs for ulcerative colitis

    The options for the more severe spectrum of ulcerative colitis has increased significantly. There is the real prospect of preventing surgery (colectomy) for many patients. The new drugs include vedolizumab, ustekinumab and tofacitinib. The list wi... [more]

  • Diet and IBS updated

    I have had information on dietary exclusions on my website for almost 20 years - even a time when this advice was not popular. Now the low FODMAP diet is widely known and encouraged by gastroenterologists and dietitians. The advice is similar to... [more]

  • COMMENTS SECTION needs more entries!!

    The comments section has been an interesting part of the website for many years. At times I have not been able to add my own feedback because of time constraints. This should now improve - so please add your stories. This may help your problem bu... [more]


    With more time as part of COVID-19 lockdown I have completely revised all of the pages on the website. I am confident that you will find relevant and up-to-date information on any topic covered in the index.

  • New treatments for Crohn's disease

    Vedolizumab is used for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Ustekinumab is used for Crohn's disease at present but also looks good for ulcerative colitis. Go to section on Crohn's disease / monoclonals for more details

  • Worried about bad press on PPIs

    There is a lot a discussion now about the safety of PPIs - omeprazole and other similar drugs. This class of drugs has been used for 40 years and used to be considered very safe. Have a look at the heartburn section / tab for "medication" to read ... [more]

  • Teas containing senna removed from sale

    Teas containing senna have been removed from sale after consumer NZ article revealed that Medsafe approval was required for these products. This is an excellent move. Always look at the ingredients for any natural product promoted for constipation,... [more]

  • Molaxole for constipation

    Molaxole (a product identical to Movicol and Lax-sachets) is now available on prescription without a special authority. This is an excellent long term treatment for constipation with less side-effects than lactulose

  • New treatment for Hepatitis C

    There is now a fully funded treatment for all types of Hepatitis C. This is very effective - 97% success rate. The treatment is for 8 weeks and there are few side-effects. There is now a national campaign to identify everyone infected with Hepatit... [more]

  • Extended funding for adalimumab (Humira)

    Adalimumab is now available for Crohn's disease with fistula formation. This is a severe and disabling complication of Crohn's disease. Often patients with this problem could be funded based on other criteria. However having a complicated or signif... [more]

  • Rectogesic now funded for anal fissure

    Rectogesic is effective treatment and should be used if fibre and local ointment fails. the ointment should be applied sparingly to avoid headache. The ointment works by relaxing the anal sphincter and improving blood supply. Excess absorption (usi... [more]

  • Entocort available for microscopic colitis

    Funding criteria have been extended for Entocort. This is a steroid like Prednisone that have minimal side-effects. The drug works in the gut but the absorption to the rest of the body (systemic absorption) is limited to 5-10%. This drug was devel... [more]

  • Drug for nausea now more freely available

    Ondasentron (previously known as Zofran) is now available without part charge and does not need a special authority. This is a powerful drug for nausea that has been used extensively for control of nausea as a result of chemotherapy but may have muc... [more]

  • Humira (adalimumab)

    The funding for Humira treatment for Crohn's disease is a major step forward for treatment in NZ. The criteria is restricted but most patients with moderate to severe disease not responding to azathioprine or methotrexate are now able to gain access... [more]

  • Does treatment for gastric acid cause osteoporosis

    A recent article has sparked some debate about a possible link between drugs like Losec (omeprazole) and osteoporosis. The rationale for thinking that this may be possible is because there may be reduced calcium absorption if there is reduced stomac... [more]

  • Losec 10mg and 20mg available from your Pharmacist

    Losec is a widely respected brand name for Omeprazole - an effective treatment for reflux. This was previously only available on prescription but has now become available directly from the Pharamcist. Packs of 7 or 14 tablets can be bought "over th... [more]

  • New probiotics available for IBS and IBD

    Probiotics are a new and evolving form of treatment for bowel disorders. Probiotics have been proven to work to prevent to some degree for diarrhoea associated with antibiotics. There is some good work now suggesting a role in irritable bowel syndr... [more]

  • Screening for colon cancer

    The government has announced that there will be a screening programme to detect colon cancer at an early stage - before symptoms occur and at a stage when surgery is curative. This will involve testing a sample of faeces for the presence of blood... [more]

  • New treatments for Hepatitis B

    The funding of entecavir, a new tablet treatment for Hepatitis B, has given a much better choice of treatments for this infection. In particular, this new drug has much lower rates of resistance over time and is the preferred option if starting treat... [more]

  • New formulation for omeprazole

    The widely accepted drug for reflux called Losec is no longer fully funded by PHARMAC. The only preperation available is called Dr Reddy's omeprazole. This is the same compound (omeprazole) but is significantly cheaper and hence there is a sole fun... [more]

  • Movicol now funded for treatment of constipation

    There is new treatment for constipation that is now funded by Special Authority. This is called Movicol. This is a sachet contains a small amount of powder that dissolves in a glass of water. This is a "gentle" osmotic laxative that works by retai... [more]

  • New treatments for Crohn's disease

    Treatments that target specific parts of the body's inflammatory pathway are called monoclonal antibodies. The most exciting target molecule to date is called TNF and therefore these treatments are called anti-TNF antibodies. The first treatment ... [more]

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