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