News in brief: TGA safety warning on dienogest; #38mate campaign for myeloma; Hospital doctors bullied to discharge patients early

Dienogest adds modest VTE risk to COC 

A Medicines Safety Update from the TGA has clarified the risk of VTE in women using combined oral contraceptives (COC) containing dienogest.

The Update said the risk of VTE in women taking dienogest/ethinylestradiol was estimated to be 8–11/10,000 per year compared to 5–7/10,000 for women taking levonorgestrel/ethinylestradiol.

The PI for dienogest/ethinylestradiol (Valette) has been updated to include:

“Epidemiological studies, that compared the risk of VTE associated with use of dienogest/ethinylestradiol to the risk with use of COCs containing levonorgestrel/ethinylestradiol reported differing results ranging from no difference in risk to a three-fold increase in risk.”

“Meta-analysis of four large prospective cohort studies yielded an adjusted Hazard Ratio of 1.57 (95% Confidence Interval, 1.07-2.30) for VTE risk with Valette compared to COCs containing levonorgestrel/30µg ethinylestradiol. These studies cover 38,708 women –years of exposure to Valette.”

The TGA said similar warnings have been added to PIs in Europe.

It added that the risk of VTE with the use of dienogest/estradiol valerate (Qlaira) had been shown to be similar or even lower than other COCs containing levonorgestrel or other progestogens.

38mate campaign for myeloma awareness

Myeloma Australia has launched its 38mate campaign to raise awareness of myeloma.

The initiative’s name recognises the fact that about 38 Australians are diagnosed with the blood cancer every week.

Myeloma Australia have shared videos from people living with myeloma and their family members.

They are also raising awareness and funds through the sale of 38mate caps. Supporters are encouraged to share a selfie in the cap to their social media platforms using the hashtag #38mate.

Hospital doctors bullied to discharge patients prematurely

More than 60% of hospital doctors feel coerced to discharge patients before they are medically ready, according to a survey conducted by the SA Salaried Medical Officers Association.

Almost 40% of doctors said the pressure to discharge patients came from hospital executives and half said the early discharges negatively impacted on care, according to report In Daily.

The survey supports a “Time to Care” campaign by SASMOA which says that medical care is being compromised by lack of staff numbers to meet demand and lack of time to provide appropriate medical care for patients.

“Medical decisions should be made by doctors based on a medical assessment of patient need and not based on cutting costs,” the Association said.

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