Materia Medica Malaysiana

November 26, 2006

New drug treatment to stop abuse

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:04 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: The drug substitution therapy (DST) administered by private doctors will soon adopt a new medication to curb abuse by drug addicts.
Some drug addicts have been found to abuse the treatment by mixing the prescription of buprenorphine with tranquillisers to get “high”.
A new drug combination of buprenorphine/ naloxone in a single tablet will give the drug addicts an undesired effect instead – similar to the “cold turkey” effect – when mixed with tranquillisers or benzodiazepines such as valium.
Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Association of Malaysia (FPMPAM) president Dr Steven Chow said that the introduction of the drug in Malaysia was one of the efforts taken to prevent abuse of the treatment.
It has been discovered that patients are injecting a cocktail of prescribed medications to get high.
“Doctor hopping” is a ruse used by some addicts who pose as patients while visiting several clinics to obtain the prescribed medication and channel them into the black market.
Dr Chow said such abuse had led Singapore to reclassify buprenorphine as a Class A controlled drug, placing it in the same category as other illicit agents regulated under its penal code and making it virtually unavailable for community-based treatment by family practitioners.
“We do not want to come to this situation and end up preventing drug addicts from obtaining therapy,” he said at the federation’s National Drug Substitution Treatment workshop yesterday.
The new drug combination will replace buprenorphine.
There are at present 350 general practitioners and family doctors treating 10,000 addicts on buprenorphine since the federation launched its “Doctors Who Care” programme in 2001.
A total of 1,500 addicts is on methadone treatment under the Government’s DST programme.
Those addicted to opiates such as heroin, morphine and opium are treated with buprenorphine and methadone to manage a severe withdrawal effect from drug use.
Yesterday, Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican launched the National DST Guidelines and DST Registry in collaboration with FPMPAM, which aimed at improving the quality of the DST programmes and tightening regulatory control of the medications prescribed.
The DST Registry, which is a real-time web-based data system, is to keep a record of prescribing doctors and their patients to detect and curb the abuse of the treatment.
Dr Ismail said that doctors who wanted to participate in the DST (using the new drug) would now have to register themselves at the registry to be vetted by the ministry.
“Although abuse among doctors is not a serious problem, we will be selective because we don’t want any errant doctors.
“When they register we can detect those who have been abusing the medication and we will remove them from the programme.
“We hope that by February the online list of doctors who can participate in the programme will be ready,” he added.

November 25, 2006

Ministry to tackle suicide among children, teens

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 2:54 pm

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Bullying and exam pressure are known factors which have driven children and teens to suicide. So prevention programmes will be targeted at these age groups.
Children and teenagers do not make up the bulk of suicides at present, but the Health Ministry does not want to wait for the numbers to rise before introducing prevention programmes for both children and parents.
Family Health Development director Datuk Dr Narimah Awin said the Health Ministry is bringing in a foreign consultant early next year to help identify the types of programmes needed.
“I feel upset when I read in newspapers about a girl committing suicide because she did not get 10 As or she failed an exam. Here we see one factor, unreasonable expectations of academic performance,” she said.
Dr Narimah said she wants a specific programme that will help parents of children who are at risk deal more effectively with their children’s problems.
Speaking at the launch of a seminar to mark the Federal Territory’s observance of World Mental Health Day at Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) yesterday, she said a module on the prevention of mental illness in children and adolescents has been developed, and another for women will be drawn up soon.
She said the World Health Organisation is paying special attention to the rising number of child and teen suicides around the world, which is why the ministry is taking a serious view.
Bullying in school is a second factor that can lead children to think of suicide, said Dr Narimah.
“We see these trends … the tragedy is if we as adults do nothing. To me that is irresponsible,” she said.
HKL child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Toh Chin Lee said suicide prevention programmes should take into account the education system as a whole.
“We have to relook at how we emphasise achievements. If we emphasise achievements that are going to make our children confident beings, then that is the best education system we can have,” he said.
Attempted suicide, he added, must be taken seriously.
“Suicide attempts are very important. It is an early warning for us, rather than waiting for the newspapers to report that they have taken their own lives. Then it’s too late.”
The Burden of Disease and Injury Study reported that in 2000, there were 1,539 suicides, of which 1,098 were men. Dr Narimah said that a pilot study conducted at three hospitals showed that between December and May, 47 people had committed suicide — 22 cases in Hospital Kuala Lumpur, 24 in Hospital Sultanah Aminah in Johor Baru and one in Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan in Kuantan.
The study was the first phase of the National Suicide Registry aimed at gauging the suicide rate in the country.
It will be expanded to major hospitals next year, before going down to district hospitals.
“Many suicides go unreported, but we estimate that there are 14 or 15 for every 100,000 people,” said Dr Narimah.
One of the reasons information on the number of suicides in Malaysia is sketchy is because deaths are reported both to the police and the hospital. Other countries require a doctor to certify all deaths.

A shot in the arm for nurses

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 2:53 pm

Star: MIRI: Sweeping improvements are in the pipeline for the nursing profession following the Health Ministry’s decision to create a separate entity to manage the welfare of the country’s 63,000 nurses.
Malaysia’s first director of Nursing, Bibi Florina Abdullah, has outlined a blueprint aimed at drastically enhancing the professional prospects of nurses and at the same time cutting down dissatisfaction and grouses from patients and the public.

She said that among the plans already approved by the Health Minister and now being implemented were:
·THE enforcement of a 7S system; senyum (smile), salam (greet), segera (instant attendance to patient), sensitif (sensitive to needs of patients and their families), sopan (politeness), sentuh (personal touch) and segar (fresh appearance and always ready to serve);
·THE enforcement of a mentor-mentee system where a senior nurse will guide every new nurse on a one to one basis;
·THE upgrading of 58,000 nurses who are diploma holders to degree level in stages; and
·LIMITING very rural postings to two years and giving those posted to very remote areas greater chance of attending professional courses and training stints.

Bibi Florina, who was officially appointed to her post on Nov 1, was here for the National Nursing Matron’s Technical Meeting that ended yesterday.
About 70 matrons, senior nurses and hospital directors throughout the country attended the four-day event.
Bibi Florina, who is also Principal Matron of the Ministry of Health’s Nursing Board, said nursing used to be under the jurisdiction of the Medical Practice Division.
“The ministry’s move to create a separate division for nurses is the Government’s recognition of their contribution to the country,” she said.
“Our division reports directly to the Health Ministry director-general and we have the right to chart our plans for the future,” she said.
Bibi Florina said they would also advise the ministry on future nursing policies.

November 24, 2006

Go easy on those herbal remedies

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:37 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Pregnant women should treat traditional medicine with caution.
This is the message that two doctors want to send out in the wake of the increasing interest in herbs and traditional medical practices.
Obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Patrick Chia and his colleague Dr S. Raman said some herbs could harm the foetus and mother.
“Herbs should be regarded as drugs and drugs have side-effects,” he told reporters at the launch of a medical book Is My Pregnancy Normal?
He said few studies stated that traditional medicines were safe for pregnant women.
Some types of ginseng like pau sum could be harmful if taken in excess while a certain type of ginseng placed under the mother’s tongue could lead to excessive bleeding during delivery.
Kacip Fatimah and air selusuh could cause the uterus to contract, leading to the foetus defecating in the womb.
“Let’s look at this as a scientific issue, not fiction. Don’t simply take this herb and that herb if you do not know what the effects are,” his colleague Dr Raman said, adding that many herbs could be poisonous.
Under the chapter on “Traditions and Traditional Medicines”, they say that traditional practices such as melenggang perut, a common practice among Malays where the stomach is massaged to correct the baby’s position, could cause the placenta to separate prematurely.
The doctors’ best advice to pregnant mothers is to take folic acid and multi-vitamins three months before pregnancy.
This is to reduce the chances of the foetus developing brain and spinal cord problems for example, spina bifida, and these are the only fetal problems that can be prevented.
Their colleague, Dr Yap Moy Juan, said various complications could arise as women were increasingly becoming pregnant at a later age.
While more than 90 per cent of women sail through childbirth, the trend could change as people’s lifestyles change.
At 35, the age many women today start families, they only have a 15 per cent chance of becoming pregnant as their most fertile age is between 22 and 24.

Women’s health fair planned for Dec 8-10

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:36 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: A major health and lifestyle convention focusing on sexual health, ageing and other related topics for women and their families will be held here early next month.
The third International Women Wellness & Lifestyle 2006 (I-WWL ’06), to be held at the Putra World Trade Centre from Dec 8 to 10, will address more than 20 health topics.
“I-WWL ’06 will focus on raising awareness about key health issues as well as stressing on the importance of incorporating simple preventive and positive health behaviours into everyday life,” said organising committee chairman Datuk Dr Nor Ashikin Mokhtar.
During the symposia, leading doctors will be sharing their knowledge on health, ageing and aesthetic issues for women.
Several hospitals and groups will be offering free and discounted health-screening tests, including Hepatitis B screening and vaccination, cervical cancer vaccination, thin-prep Pap-smear tests, glucose blood tests and 3D ultrasound screening.
More than 100 exhibitors involved in the health, beauty and lifestyle industry will be showcasing products and services at the event.

November 23, 2006

Go For Technologically-Driven Medical Care, Says Jamaludin

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:25 pm

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 (Bernama) — Industry players must acquire the necessary technologies in order to provide technologically-driven medical care that is comparable or better than other countries in this region, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Datuk Dr Jamaludin Mohd Jarjis said.
“We need to identify ways to create new knowledge and expand this knowledge so as to enable us to innovate and create future cutting-edge technologies,” he said.
Jamaludin said this at the launch of Vascular Interventional Radiology (VIR) Suite and magnetic resonance imaging scanner at the Gleneagles Intan Medical Centre here Thursday.
The VIR Suite allows the advancement of patient care through the innovative integration of clinical and image-based diagnosis.
The scanner will be able to perform whole body studies, allow whole body imaging for clinical and screening applications and provide patients a safer option than other radiation-based scanning methods.
Jamaludin said the government, which aimed to turn Malaysia into a regional and international medical care hub, also hoped to step up the promotion of the country as a medical tourism destination due to the high-grade medical infrastructure.
“This pose a tremendous opportunity for Malaysia’s medical community and institutions.
“Industry players need to speed up the entire process, perhaps place the right catalysts for bringing about changes and new products which in turn will portray the country as an inventive and innovative one,” he said.
He said this image would attract other like-minded medical fraternity to seriously regard Malaysia as strong player.
“It is only when we are acknowledged in this field, investments in the medical sector will come in, and then we would seriously be able to perhaps churn new medical technologies for the betterment of the citizens of the world,” he said.

New Avenue For ED Sufferers To Seek Help

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:00 pm

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 (Bernama) — Those in doubt about their erectile function no longer need to suffer in silence.
Now there is a means for them to evaluate the quality of their erection and the available remedy, thanks to a new patient-derived scale that can be found at the Malaysian Erectile Dysfunction Advisory Council and Training (Medact) website.
Urologist Dr Peter Ng, a member of Medact, said the website launched recently, came enclosed with the Quality of Erection Questionnaire (QEQ) that can help evaluate the level of a man’s sexual health.
The QEQ provides six questions with the answers graded from 0-100 depending on the hardness, onset and the duration of erection.
It is also designed to asses changes in erection quality with successful treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) and with the help of Pfizer Malaysia, the interactive experience at the site has been enhanced.
Dr Ng said many with ED chose to remain silent about their condition due to social stigma, besides being shy to speak about problems concerning their manhood.
He said the website would be helpful as the number of ED sufferers in the country was comparatively high and a study conducted in Penang last July attested to this fact.
“Those concerned are often inclined to seek the help of traditional healers and unqualified roadside medicine peddlars who often recommend remedies made from herbs and wild animals.
“What they don’t know is that these remedies are not guaranteed safe and instead could endanger their health,” he added.
He advised those in doubt of the erectile function to consult a physician on their condition and the remedies available.

Firm recalls some lots of eye care solutions

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 4:58 pm

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Ophthalmic surgical and eye care products company Advanced Medical Optics, Inc (AMO) voluntarily recalled yesterday specific lots of its Complete brand multipurpose eye care solutions in Malaysia.
The products are being recalled because of production-line problems at its manufacturing plant in China, which could affect the sterility of the product, the company said in a press statement.
The products affected are Complete Protec Multi-purpose solution – Value Pack (2 x 350ml & 60ml) packaged lot number ZB02607 with bottled lot numbers ZB02558 and ZB01866, package ZB03215 with bottles ZB03214 and ZB01866, package ZB03542 with bottles ZB03541 and ZB01866, package ZB03543 with bottles ZB03541 and ZB03468, package ZB03578 with bottles ZB03577 and ZB03468.
Also affected are Complete Moisture Plus 60ml packaged lot number ZB03094 with bottled lot number ZB03093, package ZB03195 with bottle ZB03194, Complete Protec Multi-purpose solution 120ml package ZB03123 with bottle ZB03123 and Complete Moisture Plus Starter Kit 60ml package ZB03316 with bottle ZB03093 and package ZB03710 with bottle ZB03194, said the statement.
The lot numbers are printed on the outside of the product packaging and on individual bottles.
Large bottles (350ml) of the most popular product Complete MoisturePLUS are not part of the recall.
The company will take all necessary measures to remedy this production-line issues, said AMO Vice-President, Eye Care, Asia Pacific, Anthony Chung.
The recall follows tests on their products sold in Japan which showed that certain production lots were not sterile.
Retailers and consumers who have the recalled products should stop using them immediately and call 03-77106311 or email for instructions.

November 21, 2006

Propriety red yeast rice may promote lower cholesterol levels

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:24 pm

Star: PETALING JAYA: Research has shown that eating roast duck may actually promote lower cholesterol levels.
However, initial studies by Universiti Malaya (UM) have found that it is not the duck itself that possesses the attributes, but rather the reddish powder called propriety red yeast rice (PRYR) that is used in the seasoning of the duck.
The food condiment has been reported to be effective in reducing Hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol), diabetes and other heart ailments.
PRYR, also known as Xuezhikang, is also used in tonic preparations and enhancing food textures in Asian dishes.
However, despite its medical potentials, PRYR has not received global recognition for its efficacies.
Bearing this in mind, UM and Wearnes Biotech and Medicals have collaborated in conducting a clinical study on PRYR’s potential in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol in the diabetic population.
“There are more than 100,000 hospitalisations for heart related ailments each year, while at least 18% of Malaysians are diabetic.
“Diabetic patients are at greater risk of mortality from heart diseases,” said UM Faculty of Medicine deputy dean (research) Prof Dr. Rosmawati Mohamed.
She said that preliminary studies by other researchers have shown favourable results of PRYR in lowering the blood sugar level and also cholesterol.
“We aim to evaluate its beneficial effects on a total of 120 diabetic patients who will be divided into two groups.
“The course of the study will take about a year,” she said, during a conference at a hotel here, which saw the announcement of the collaboration.
Another speaker at the conference, consultant cardiologist Dr. David Quek, said it is worrying that many heart patients are not comfortable with modern medicine, as they fear having side effects as a result.
He said PRYR was an ideal alternative as it is a natural extract, but was quick to point out that it depended on the circumstances.
“It is ideal for those with moderate hyperlipidemia, patients who don’t wish to use synthetic medicine and others who show side effects of statin (high cholesterol drugs) usage,” he said.
Quek, who is also editor-in-chief of the Malaysian Medical Association News, said Asian culture is such that it was more comfortable with traditional medicine.
“Malaysians spend RM5.6bil per annum on traditional medicine, supplements and other natural products, which is three times more than they spend on modern medicine,” he said.

Healthier food on the menu for Malaysia

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:24 pm

Star: PUTRAJAYA: Healthier food is on the menu when the Health Ministry introduces a healthy logo for locally manufactured food.
In line with the Healthy Lifestyle campaign, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the logo would be given to products that adhered to the permitted level of sugar, salt and fat set by the ministry.
Ministry’s Food Safety and Quality Division director Dr Abd Rahim Mohamad and the food manufacturing industry are now discussing what the permitted level should be.
Dr Chua said the permitted level would be implemented in six to eight months time and local food manufacturers, including operators of fast food outlets, have agreed to apply for the logo from the ministry.
“They are agreeable because they know they have nothing to lose,” he said adding that consumers have a choice by choosing food carrying the logo.
Dr Chua earlier chaired a meeting with 30 local food manufacturers and multinational companies including Nestle, F&N, Dumex, Dutch Lady, McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
He said information on nutrition currently printed on products did not give an accurate level of sugar, salt and fat content.
He said the committee would ensure the taste would not be compromised with lesser use of the three substances.
He said amendments to the food regulation would also be made to allow manufacturers to use words such as “Suitable for Diabetics” on their labels.
Diabetic cases have been increasing, from 6% of Malaysians diagnosed 10 years ago to the present 10%.
By 2020, 12% of the population would be diabetic if nothing is done to remedy the situation.
Dr Chua said Malaysians consumed 125gm of sugar per day when the ideal intake should be only 50gm.
The next phase of the “eat less sugar, salt and fat campaign” would move to hawker food and those sold at school canteens.

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