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editorThe misadventures of celebrities regularly highlight the growing problem of misuse of prescription drugs. Malcolm Dobbin reports that deaths involving prescription drugs now exceed those caused by car crashes.

When used appropriately, taking several prescription drugs together can be beneficial. Ruth Webster and Anushka Patel discuss the prospects for polypills in preventing cardiovascular events.

Serious adverse events can result not only from prescription drugs, but also from over-the-counter medicines. Helen Crilly and Michael Rose explore the link between pholcodine cough mixtures and anaphylaxis during surgery. Jerome Sarris reminds us that even herbal medicines – such as those used for mental health – can interact with other drugs. [There is a Continuing professional development activity associated with this article]

The prevalence of problem allergies appears to be increasing. It is therefore appropriate for William Smith to assess the role of allergen immunotherapy, including sublingual immunotherapy.

The diagnosis of diabetes is also increasing and Michael d'Emden proposes changing the diagnostic process. Measuring glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) is a simpler method than the traditional oral glucose tolerance test.

Volume 37 Number 3 June 2014

Anaphylaxis and anaesthesia – can treating a cough kill? H Crilly, M Rose

Pharmaceutical drug misuse in Australia M Dobbin
The ‘polypill’ in the prevention of cardiovascular disease R Webster, A Patel
Allergen immunotherapy WB Smith
Nutrients and herbal supplements for mental health J Sarris

Diagnostic tests
Glycated haemoglobin for the diagnosis of diabetes M d'Emden

Letters to the editor

Medicines Safety Update

New drugs
Crizotinib for non-small cell lung cancer
Pasireotide diaspartate for Cushing's disease
Regorafenib for colorectal cancer
Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, emtricitabine, elvitegravir, cobicistat for HIV
Vorinostat for cutaneous T cell lymphoma

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