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UTI treatment now available direct from trained pharmacists

Women can now get treatment for urinary tract infections directly from trained pharmacists

Auckland, 26 November 2012 – (NZX: PHB) In a New Zealand first, women will be able to receive best practice treatment for urinary tract infections (often referred to as UTI, bladder infection or cystitis) directly from trained pharmacists from today. The service is now available in a number of Amcal, Care Chemist, Life, Radius and Unichem community pharmacies nationwide.

Each week approximately 4,500 women seek help with urinary tract infections. These cause women considerable discomfort, and pharmacy is often the first point of contact for advice on possible treatment options. Although antibiotics are needed in most cases, until now women seeking help have had to be referred to general practitioners for treatment.

A change in classification means that pharmacists who have successfully completed an approved training programme are able to offer effective treatment, where appropriate. In May this year Medsafe’s Medicines Classification Committee decided to allow trimethoprim to be made available through pharmacists who have successfully completed specific training, making treatment far more convenient and accessible for those women who meet the criteria.

The pharmacist will work through a thorough checklist and consultation before supplying the medicine. The treatment is available only to women with uncomplicated urinary tract infections, who are aged between 16 and 65, are not pregnant and have not taken a course of antibiotics within the previous six months.

The pharmacist will be able to refer women to a general practitioner as necessary, or provide other advice to any woman who, because she does not meet these criteria, is not eligible to receive trimethoprim.

The treatment dose will be 300mg of trimethoprim once daily for three days. An information sheet will be provided along with the medicine and, with the woman’s consent, the pharmacist will notify her general practitioner.

The recommended charge for the consultation and treatment is $45.

“Research shows that women who have had this condition previously recognise it when it occurs again,” says medicines reclassification specialist, Natalie Gauld. “They know they’ve got it and they know that they need to treat it. Urinary tract infection can be a very distressing condition, and improving access to effective treatment will benefit many women.”

“Being able to offer women treatment for urinary tract infections fits well with the pharmacists’ role as medicines specialists in the delivery of care and allows pharmacists to operate at the top of their scope of practice,” says Alison Van Wyk, professional services manager, Pharmacybrands.

“This best practice protocol for the treatment of uncomplicated cystitis in women promotes better access, as well as promoting a first line agent for treatment,” adds Dr Rosemary Ikram, clinical microbiologist. “This reduces the amount of collateral damage such as antibiotic resistance caused by the use of some second line agents.”

Pharmacybrands filed a submission to reclassify trimethoprim in January 2012 with strong support from pharmacists and industry groups alike.
A list of Pharmacybrands pharmacies that have pharmacists qualified to supply trimethoprim can be found on the Pharmacybrands website: www.pharmacybrands.co.nz

ENDS

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