NHS England restricts primary care prescribing of seven more items

NHS England and NHS Clinical Commissioners have updated their guidance for CCGs on items that should not routinely be prescribed in primary care, adding another seven items to the restricted list.
The original guidance was published in November 2017, listing 18 items that should not routinely …

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Routine HPV vaccination programme extended to boys

NHS England and Public Health England have announced the expansion of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme to a universal programme from 1 September 2019. This means that the vaccine will be offered to boys as well as girls as part of the routine school-based …

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Melatonin licensed for the treatment of jet-lag

The MHRA has approved the licensing of melatonin for the short-term treatment of jet-lag in adults.
Two melatonin products have gained marketing authorisations for jet-lag: melatonin 1mg/ml oral solution and melatonin 3mg film-coated tablets. These are the first licensed products specifically for the treatment of jet-lag …

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New safety advice on use of DOACs in patients with antiphospholipid syndrome

In a recent Drug Safety Update, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued new advice on the use of direct-acting oral anticoagulants (DOACs) in patients with antiphospholipid syndrome.
The advice follows a European review that concluded that the use of DOACs in patients …

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New educational materials simplify oral retinoid pregnancy prevention advice

Following the recommendations of an assessment report from the EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC), new Pregnancy Prevention Programme (PPP) educational materials have now been issued for oral retinoid medications.
Oral retinoids are strictly contraindicated during pregnancy due to the high risk of serious congenital malformations, …

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New adjuvanted flu vaccine effective in the elderly this winter

The newly introduced adjuvanted trivalent flu vaccine showed good protection against circulating flu strains in the elderly population this winter, according to the latest annual flu report, published by Public Health England (PHE).
The PHE report states that low to moderate levels of influenza activity were …

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Dupilumab approved as add-on therapy for severe asthma

Following a recommendation from the EMA in March, the European Commission has now granted a licence extension for the biological therapy dupilumab (Dupixent) as add-on treatment for severe asthma.
 Dupilumab is already licensed in the EU for the treatment of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis (eczema) …

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NICE recommends ocrelizumab for primary progressive MS

In final technology appraisal guidance, NICE has recommended ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) for the treatment of primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) in adults.
Ocrelizumab is a monoclonal antibody that targets the antigen CD20 on the surface of B cells, leading to B cell depletion and immunosuppression. It is …

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PHE reports increase in sexually-transmitted infections in England

The number of new sexually-transmitted infection (STI) diagnoses is on the rise in England, according to a new report from Public Health England (PHE).
The health protection report reveals that, compared with 2017 figures, the total number of new STI diagnoses in 2018 increased by over …

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NICE publishes guideline on recognising neurological conditions

NICE has published a new guideline (NG127) on the recognition and referral of patients with suspected neurological conditions. The guidance aims to help non-specialist healthcare professionals to identify people who should be offered further specialist investigation.
NICE says that suspected neurological conditions account for about one …

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