Monday, March 30, 2015

PRAC recommends restrictions on the use of codeine for cough and cold in children

European Medicines Agency’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) has recommended restrictions on the use of codeine-containing medicines for cough and cold in children because of the risk of serious side effects with these medicines, including the risk of breathing problems. 

The PRAC recommended specifically that:
  • Codeine should be contraindicated in children below 12 years. This means it must not be used in this patient group. 
  • Use of codeine for cough and cold is not recommended in children and adolescents between 12 and 18 years who have problems with breathing. 
  • All liquid codeine medicines should be available in child-resistant containers to avoid accidental ingestion. 
The effects of codeine are due to its conversion into morphine in the body. Some people convert codeine to morphine at a faster rate than normal, resulting in high levels of morphine in their blood. High levels of morphine can lead to serious effects, such as breathing difficulties.

Friday, March 20, 2015

European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) respond to European Commission Working Time Directive consultation

The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has responded to a European Commission consultation on the potential scope for improvements to the European Working Time Directive and the arrangements for its implementation.

In its response EAHP emphasized:

  • Its support for the principle of working time regulation, an important aspect in protecting patient safety and welfare and enabling workers to reconcile work and private life 
  • The need for a balanced, careful and flexible approach in application in respect of understanding the both the challenges in, and important need for, providing 24/7 hospital services 
  • The impacts the working time directive can have in respect of health professional training, which should be a matter considered within the Commission's ongoing review activity 

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Pharmacist’s team wins £50,000 innovation prize for antibiotic prescribing app

A hospital pharmacist and his team have scooped a £50,000 innovation prize for creating a smartphone app that offers instant advice on antibiotic prescribing.

Kieran Hand, a consultant pharmacist in anti-infectives at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, was part of the team which developed the MicroGuide app that won this year’s NHS Innovation Challenge Prize for infection control.

The free app, an interactive library of microbiology information and advice, was created in 2011 by Hand, critical care expert Sanjay Gupta and microbiologist Adriana Basarab.

MicroGuide helps medical staff at the patient’s bedside choose the most appropriate antibiotic to control an infection, tailored to the patient’s needs, while reducing high-risk prescribing that can spread antimicrobial resistance. It also helps staff decide on alternative treatments for patients who have already developed resistance to common antibiotics.