Women can now get treatment for urinary tract
infections directly from trained pharmacists
Auckland, 26 November 2012
– (NZX: PHB) In a New Zealand first, women will be
able to receive best practice treatment for urinary tract infections (often referred to as
UTI, bladder infection or cystitis) directly from trained pharmacists from today. The
service is now available in a number of Amcal, Care Chemist, Life, Radius and
Unichem community pharmacies nationwide.
Each week approximately 4,500 women seek help with urinary tract infections.
These cause women considerable discomfort, and pharmacy is often the first point of
contact for advice on possible treatment options. Although antibiotics are needed in
most cases, until now women seeking help have had to be referred to general
A change in classification means that pharmacists who have successfully completed
an approved training programme are able to offer effective treatment, where
appropriate. In May this year Medsafe’s Medicines Classification Committee decided
to allow trimethoprim to be made available through pharmacists who have
successfully completed specific training, making treatment far more convenient and
accessible for those women who meet the criteria.
The pharmacist will work through a thorough checklist and consultation before
supplying the medicine. The treatment is available only to women with
uncomplicated urinary tract infections, who are aged between 16 and 65, are not
pregnant and have not taken a course of antibiotics within the previous six months.
The pharmacist will be able to refer women to a general practitioner as necessary,
or provide other advice to any woman who, because she does not meet these
criteria, is not eligible to receive trimethoprim.
The treatment dose will be 300mg of trimethoprim once daily for three days. An
information sheet will be provided along with the medicine and, with the woman’s
consent, the pharmacist will notify her general practitioner.
The recommended charge for the consultation and treatment is $45.
“Research shows that women who have had this condition previously recognise it
when it occurs again,” says medicines reclassification specialist, Natalie Gauld.
“They know they’ve got it and they know that they need to treat it. Urinary tract
infection can be a very distressing condition, and improving access to effective
“Being able to offer women treatment for urinary tract infections fits well with the
pharmacists’ role as medicines specialists in the delivery of care and allows
pharmacists to operate at the top of their scope of practice,” says Alison Van Wyk,
professional services manager, Pharmacybrands.
“This best practice protocol for the treatment of uncomplicated cystitis in women
promotes better access, as well as promoting a first line agent for treatment,” adds
Dr Rosemary Ikram, clinical microbiologist. “This reduces the amount of collateral
damage such as antibiotic resistance caused by the use of some second line
Pharmacybrands filed a submission to reclassify trimethoprim in January 2012 with
strong support from pharmacists and industry groups alike.
A list of Pharmacybrands pharmacies that have pharmacists qualified to supply
trimethoprim can be found on the Pharmacybrands
Pharmacybrands Limited is New Zealand’s only listed retail pharmacy group and
comprises the Amcal, Care Chemist, Life Pharmacy, Radius and Unichem brands as
well as the Radius Medical group. In total the company represents 302 pharmacies
operating throughout New Zealand including 140 Unichem Pharmacies, 76 Amcal
Pharmacies, 26 Life Pharmacies, 27 Care Chemist Pharmacies, 33 Radius
Pharmacies and 20 Medical Centres. The company has an ownership interest in 68
Angerie Van Wyk
National Communications Manager, Pharmacybrands Ltd
+64 9 580 6843, + 64 21 907 576
Allan Botica Botica Butler Raudon Partners +64 9 303 3862, +64 21 402 502
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