E-cigarettes may be more effective than NRT for smoking cessation

Refillable e-cigarettes are more effective than nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) for smoking cessation when combined with behavioural support, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (2019;380:629–37).
 The study authors randomised 886 adults attending NHS stop-smoking services to their choice of NRT product …

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Prescription charge responsible for asthma medication rationing

People with asthma are rationing their medication due to the high cost of prescriptions in England, leading to an increased risk of asthma attacks and hospital admissions, according to a recent report from Asthma UK.
Paying to Breathe: Why Unfair Asthma Prescription Charges Must Be Stopped …

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Children’s flu vaccine shows good protection this season

According to mid-season data from PHE published in the journal Eurosurveillance, the children’s flu vaccine has been 87% effective against this season’s main circulating flu strain (influenza A(H1N1)pmd09) in children aged 2–17 years. Children are offered a live attenuated quadrivalent influenza vaccine (LAIV), which is …

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MHRA issues warning about use of carbimazole in pregnancy

In a Drug Safety Update, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued a warning about the increased risk of congenital malformations with the use of carbimazole during pregnancy.
Carbimazole is a pro-drug that is rapidly metabolised to thiamazole, an anti-thyroid agent that suppresses …

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NICE and PHE publish antimicrobial prescribing guidance for acute cough

As part of their series on antimicrobial prescribing for common infections, NICE and Public Health England (PHE) have published guidance on the management of acute cough (NG120) The principal aim of the guideline series is to limit antibiotic use and reduce antimicrobial resistance.
In the new …

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New GP contract sets out five-year framework

NHS England and the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee have published a new five-year framework for the GP contract in order to implement the commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan.
The new framework lays out some of the biggest general practice contract changes in over …

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Government unveils new five-year plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance

The Department of Health and Social Care has published two new policy papers outlining the government’s vision for tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the shorter and longer term. The previous UK five-year AMR strategy (2013–2018) has already helped to reduce antibiotic use in both humans …

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Dapagliflozin’s licence extended to type 1 diabetes

The EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended a new indication for the antidiabetic medication dapagliflozin (Forxiga), extending its marketing authorisation to use in adults with type 1 diabetes. It is recommended as an adjunct to insulin in type 1 patients …

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New GLP-1 agonist semaglutide launched in UK

A new blood glucose-lowering therapy for patients with type 2 diabetes, semaglutide (Ozempic), has been launched in the UK.
Semaglutide is a long-acting glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist licensed for the treatment of adults with insufficiently controlled type 2 diabetes as an adjunct to diet and exercise, …

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Erenumab not recommended in draft NICE guidance

In draft guidance for consultation, NICE has not recommended the novel anti-migraine therapy erenumab (Aimovig) for preventing chronic or episodic migraine.
Erenumab is a monoclonal antibody against calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptors. CGRP is thought to have an important role in the aetiology of migraine, and …

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