News - Practice News
This section will incorporate items of current interest that either affects the Practice directly or indirectly. It will also be linked with the Latest News from the Home page. So watch this space!
Flu Vaccine 2018
2018/19 FLU VACCINATION Programme is now under way. Please note the "over 65" age group are being advised to have the trivalent vaccine FLUAD which is available from mid November. The quadrivalent is available now.
To reserve or book your vaccine please contact Laura@drjackedmonds.co.uk or email@example.com. Alternatively telephone 020 7935 5050 to book your 2018 flu vaccination available from October 2018 to February 2019.
Regulation of Medical Devices
Doctors are often castigated for shoddy or compromised research leading to poor quality data which is sometimes biased because funding comes from sources with vested interests in the outcomes of trials. But, did you know that the regulatory authority for medical devices, MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and similar bodies throughout Europe, are under no obligation to demonstrate due diligence and care before authorising the use of medical devices in humans? Indeed when pressed for information by researchers (BMJ December 1, 2018) they cite issues of “commercial confidentiality “ and refuse to release details of testing and outcomes before permission is granted for use in patients.
Shockingly, this means that for example, a new heart defibrillator device was sanctioned for use after a trial on only 33 patients. Another device used to correct curvature of the spine had no trials in humans at all but received licence for use, and NICE recommendation, based solely on data collected from experiments in pigs and cadavers.
This lack of properly collected, unbiased, scientific information has been responsible for the medical scandals surrounding the use of mesh in pelvic surgery, poor silicone breast implants and metal on metal hip replacements.
Despite pressure from world respected sources such as the BMJ, academics, patient groups and consumer organisations, moves to bring device regulation under control equal to that of the European Medicines Authority have failed. New medications are subjected to very stringent scrutiny before obtaining a license for use yet medical devices are by and large given a green light on very dubious grounds and moreover without any scrutiny . How can we trust MHRA when they obfuscate? How can we trust similar regulatory authorities throughout Europe when it is clear they are influenced by lobbying from manufacturers, trade associations, notified bodies, other government bodies with political axes to grind and “experts” from industry? Multiple requests for answers to questions posed under freedom of access to information have been turned down in 16 different countries. Meanwhile, injuries and malfunction reports have trebled in the last 10 years.
Along with many colleagues I call for an end to secrecy, publication of injury and malfunction reports, transparency about the methods used by MHRA to judge that a medical device is safe and clear indications if there are conflicts of interest. If it`s good enough for the pharmaceutical industry then it should be good enough for MHRA.
BLOOD PRESSURE READINGS
Understanding blood pressure readings can be baffling so here is a simple summary to understanding what low, normal and high blood pressure readings are:
The readings are measured as systolic (heart beating and pumping blood) over diastolic (when your heart is filling with blood).
Low blood pressure – Lower than 90/60 mmHg.
Only one of these numbers needs to be lower than this to count as low BP.
Normal blood pressure – Between 90/60 and 140/90 mmHg.
This is the current normal range but there is a suggestion it should be lowered to 120/80.
Hypertension in the UK requiring medication starts at 140/90mmHg.
High blood pressure is 140/90mmHg or consistently higher over several weeks. Likely to require medication.
If just one of these figures is raised for a few weeks you may also have high BP.
Obvious ways to reduce blood pressure is to limit your salt intake to 6g/day which may also benefit feeling bloated. Eat less processed foods. Potassium rich foods are recommended with a daily intake of 3,500 mg.
If you have high blood pressure take the following steps: Lose excess weight, take more exercise, reduce alcohol intake, quit smoking, watch stress levels and take prescribed medication.
Benzodiazepines - Zopiclone and Zolpidem
Drug Alert - A recent article in the medical press highlights the potential problems with the benzodiazepine “Z” drugs (Zopiclone and Zolpidem) prescribed for insomnia. I would like to take this opportunity to remind our patients about these dangers.
Benzodiazepines are approved only for short-term use, in part because of the demonstrated loss of therapeutic effect as early as 4 weeks, and because of the risks for cognitive impairment, falls, fractures, and car accidents, as well as the abuse and dependence liability associated with the drugs, especially in the elderly. Benzodiazepines have also been implicated in the development of dementia, infections, pancreatitis, cancer, and exacerbation of respiratory disease. Nonetheless, long-term use of benzodiazepines is common and markedly increases with age.
If anyone reading this has concerns I would be delighted to hear from you. Gradually tapering the dose of medication with the aim to discontinue completely is invariably successful.
Travel Vaccinations for your trips abroad
If you are planning to travel abroad don't forget to check out what vaccinations are required remembering to allow a lead time of approximately 2 weeks for vaccines to become effective. Some vaccines are in short supply so be organised in advance as they need to be ordered.