On-line drug interactions for patients on anti-fungal medicines: Announcing an electronic resource for health practitioners.

Medication safety has never been more important for the effective care of patients. A comprehensive new review has identified almost 2,000 potential or recorded interactions between anti-fungal agents and other medicines.

Adverse drug reactions account for as many as 1 in 6 hospital admissions, and 1 in 7 serious adverse reactions. The projected cost of drug reactions to the NHS in the UK is estimated at £466m (€563m, $722m) a year (2004). In people over 60 the incidence of DDI-related ADRs was 6.5 per cent taking at least two prescribed drugs.

The Fungal Infection Trust and the National Aspergillosis Centre partnered to cross-reference 529 prescription drugs with eight common antifungal drugs. 691 interactions were rated as minor, 919 moderate and 381 severe, a total of 1991 recorded interactions.

To combat this, the researchers have developed a freely available online resource and “app” for iPhone, iPad and Android devices (pictured here). The tool displays potential interactions with antifungal agents on The Aspergillus Website www.aspergillus.org.uk.

The anti-fungal app.

The anti-fungal app.

The designers asked pharmacists in Manchester to share the app with their customers to test its usefulness. As both a pharmacist and a patient Sunil Thacker (38) was keen to try it out and says he found it both efficient and informative. He explains: “I have been undergoing treatment for fungal bronchitis for the past ten years. There is so much out there in the way of technological support – much of it not that reliable – but this is different. It not only simple to use and understand, it updates in real time so that both the patient and the doctor are in tune with prescribed treatment regimes leaving no doubt for error. I have been sharing it with my customers and colleagues and they agree with me that it’s the best we have seen.

Professor Jonathon Cooke, a longstanding member of the Department of Health’s Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection and advisor to the World Health Organisation, is also a trustee of the Fungal Infection Trust. He adds: “This is a really useful resource for pharmacists, doctors and patients. Drug on drug interactions are really problematic for many antifungals, and prescribers and patients need to access information quickly to avoid potentially disastrous consequences.

The collaboration supported the development of two databases, one for patients and one for health practitioners. These are available online here:

Doctors’ version www.aspergillus.org.uk/nac/interactions/doctorchoosegeneric2.php

Patients’ version www.aspergillus.org.uk/nac/interactions/patientchoosegeneric.php

For more information please contact Susan Osborne, Director of Communications at The Goodwork Organisation on 07836 229208 or email susan.o@thisisgoodwork.org

Notes to Editors

The Fungal Infection Trust (www.fungalinfectiontrust.org) Is a UK Company limited by Guarantee approved as a charity by the Charity Commissioners. Since 1991, the Fungal Infection Trust (FIT) has made a unique contribution to advancing the science and medicine of fungal diseases.

The Aspergillus Website (www.aspergillus.org.uk) was set up in 1998 by the Fungal Infection Trust. It is the most comprehensive source of information about Aspergillus and the diseases it causes available on the internet. An estimated 75,000 distinct IP addresses log on monthly and over 200,000 other websites link to the Aspergillus Website. Well over 70% of users in any month are new visitors from over 125 countries. Over 1000 patients are currently registered with the support discussion group on Yahoo! and another 150 on Facebook with 280 LinkedIn members (Aspergillus and Aspergillosis Group).

LIFE is the international health professional education brainchild of the Fungal Infection Trust. LIFE’s goal is to improve the health of patients suffering from serious fungal infections primarily through health professional education and increased awareness internationally (www.LIFE-Worldwide.org). Summary information on fungi, fungal diseases, diagnostic tests and treatments are provided free in English and in Spanish.

The National Aspergillosis Centre (www.nationalaspergillosiscentre.org.uk) is the UK’s referral clinic for patients with chronic pulmonary aspergillosis and related conditions. It was established 5 years ago and is housed at the University Hospital of South Manchester and funded through the National Health Service Specialised Services.


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Systematic review (ADRs) www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319016413000509
On-line drug interactions for patients on anti-fungal medicines: Announcing an electronic resource for health practitioners.