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Maintaining prescribing competence

02 June 2024
Volume 6 · Issue 6

Welcome to this June issue of the Journal of Prescribing Practice. As prescribers, you know you need to stay up to date, look at guidance and keep an eye out for new medicines. Information about a new drug can come from many sources, and I came across one while browsing the BBC news website recently over my lunch break (BBC, 2024). Tafamidis (Vyndaqel, Pfizer) is the first drug for amyloidosis cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM) that aims to treat the cause of the condition. Tafamidis slows the build-up of risky proteins in the heart muscle of people with ATTR-CM and could save lives; trials suggest it can cut death risk by about 41%. This rare condition typically starts to show in adulthood and gets worse over time as the heart tissue thickens and stiffens. The drug will be available from end of May 2024.

ATTR-CM symptoms include shortness of breath, palpitations and abnormal heart rhythms, ankle swelling, fatigue, fainting and chest pain. Ultimately, it can cause heart failure, so the advent of approval for this could be seen as very positive for sufferers. What it does mean is that healthcare practitioners who are dealing with this condition have a new drug to learn about and new guidelines to update themselves with before considering its prescription. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is developing just such guidance, and it is expected to be published on 19 June 2024 (NICE, 2024). It anticipates this topic will be of importance to patients, carers and professionals as well as commissioners of services.

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