Volume 10 Number 7/8 July/August 2009

Welcome to the July/August 2009 issue of HTB that includes our first coverage from the IAS conference held in Cape Town in July.

Probably the most important results come from the UK MRC-sponsored DART trial. We summarise the main results and encourage readers to see full details from the many posters and presentations that are posted to the study website.

We also include reports from the Clinical Pharmacology Workshop held earlier in the year that received very little media coverage and include the best coverage on basic science news from Richard Jefferys blog.

Swine flu in the UK

We lead this issue by including a resource developed by Birmingham Heartlands Hosptial to help triage patients with suspected symptoms of swine flu.

The is not an ‘evidence-based’ resource but reproduced as an example of best practice that may help other clinics develop their own responses. The resource includes a flow diagram for managing patient calls, and we include a similar diagram used by the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, as a second example.

Thanks to both hospitals for producing early resources. Both clinics emphasise that these have been produced only for use in their own patients.

For patients, i-Base posted a summary of Q&As on the i-Base website in July, and we reprint an updated version in case it is useful to photocopy.

This new draft (august 2009) has two important updates:

i) That antiviral flu medications such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) are now distributed via the national flu pandemic phoneline service (0800 1513 100/200); and

ii) That maintaining the supply of antiretroviral medications in London (and likely other clinics) is to be now likely to be managed by ensuring that patients have sufficient ARVs to last through to January.

This will minimise the need for most patients to visit their HIV clinic visits during the likely peak flu period (October/November). It will also ensure that if services are distrupted, including if clinics are forced to close for short periods, that patients have sufficient meds to last until they are resumed again.

Some clinics are prescribing an additional month’s supply of meds that should not be used until the flu concern is over. Other clinics may use different protocols.

All patients are to be advised to always keep ONE MONTHS SUPPLY of meds in case of this potential disruption and to arrange for their Autumn /Winter prescriptions in advance during August or September.

This is to ensure that no patient needs to interrupt treatment due to drug supply problems.

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.