News in brief: Sleep studies key to PA screening; Expanded listing for semaglutide; Diabetes research receives a boost

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Call to step up screening for primary aldosteronism

People with both hypertension and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) should be routinely screened for primary aldosteronism (PA).

A prospective study of 85 patients referred for sleep studies found the proportion of the total cohort with likely PA was 2.4% and possible PA was 11.8%.

However among the hypertensive cohort, the prevalence of likely PA was 4.6% and possible PA was 23.2%. In participants with both OSA and hypertension, the prevalence of likely PA and possible PA was a similar 5% and 25%, respectively.

“There was a significant relationship between increasing aldosterone:renin ratio (ARR), even within the normal range, and the awake diastolic BP load. However, no relationship between aldosterone, rennin, or the ARR and OSA severity was identified,” the study said.

The researchers from Monash University said PA screening tests are substantially under-utilised in clinical practice however they should be considered at every opportunity, such as following a diagnostic sleep study.


Semaglutide listing expands

The PBAC has made public its March 2021 recommendation to extend the existing listing of semaglutide to include the treatment of type 2 diabetes in combination with insulin and metformin unless contraindicated or not tolerated.

The decision extends last year’s approval of semaglutide (Ozempic) as a treatment option for type 2 diabetes – equi-effective to dulaglutide – either as dual therapy in combination with metformin or a sulfonylurea where either of these is contraindicated or not tolerated; or triple therapy in combination with metformin and a sulfonylurea.

Semaglutide was PBS-listed in July 2020.

The PBAC’s latest recommendation for semaglutide listing – Authority Required (STREAMLINED) – was based on, among other matters, its assessment, that the cost-effectiveness of semaglutide (both 0.5 mg and 1.0 mg) once weekly under the requested restriction would be acceptable if it were cost-minimised against dulaglutide 1.5 mg once weekly.

Diabetes research in Vic receive a $1.1m boost

Grant funding totalling $1.1 million from the Diabetes Australia Research Program in Victoria has been allocated to a range of projects including the prevention and management of diabetes-related heart and kidney disease.

The 19 successful diabetes research projects span the gamut from benchtop to behavioural research regarding diabetes and its major complications.

Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said the new diabetes research funding will contribute to improved treatment and management options for the 1.8 million Australians with diabetes.

“This year we mark the 100-year anniversary since the discovery of insulin and look forward to the next discovery that transforms the lives of people with diabetes,” Professor Johnson said.

Read more for a full list of grant recipients.


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