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mandamoo
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Mums pay up for nausea wonder drug

Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:09 pm

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ipad/mums-p ... 5997052895

PREGNANT women desperate to control their morning sickness symptoms are paying up to $7000 for a drug not yet approved for their use.

Obstetricians are prescribing the anti-nausea drug Zofran - only subsidised for use in controlling nausea in chemotherapy patients - to women with a severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum.

Up to 3 per cent of pregnant women - or 9000 in Australia each year- suffer the condition, and they are usually admitted to hospital several times during their pregnancies.

But because the drug's manufacturer has not sought approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration to have it subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for pregnancy sickness, it costs $8 a pill.

Obstetrician Jim Ferry said Zofran was often the only drug that provided relief for those with hyperemesis gravidarum and should be subsidised.

"These women are seriously ill, they are vomiting almost constantly, they are bedridden and unable to function," he said.

"I have had women terminate wanted pregnancies because they just cannot cope with the effects of hyperemesis."

A federal health department spokeswoman said the drug had not been publicly funded for pregnant women because the TGA had not listed treatment of the condition as one of the drug's intended uses.

A spokeswoman for drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline said there was not enough clinical evidence to prove Zofran was safe for use by pregnant women, although there appeared to be no adverse outcomes, she said.

But Box Hill woman Kendall Cordes, 38, who is seven months pregnant with her third child, said it was unfair Zofran was not subsidised: it was the only thing that stopped her from having to stay in hospital.

She said she had to take the more expensive Zofran wafers at a cost of $22 each, or more than $200 a week.

"It would cost the health system a lot less to fund the drug than it would to make a hospital bed available to them ... throughout their pregnancy," Ms Cordes said.

 
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Re: Mums pay up for nausea wonder drug

Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:18 pm

Wow
 
mandamoo
Princess Moo
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Re: Mums pay up for nausea wonder drug

Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:24 pm

My thoughts exactly...it should be on the PBS!
 
jaynage
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Re: Mums pay up for nausea wonder drug

Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:27 pm

Zofran is a miracle drug, it is literally the only thing that has had any effect whatsoever on my morning sickness. Maxolon did nothing, and all those morning sickness remedies out there are an absolute joke (eat foods with ginger in them; eat a dry cracker before getting out of bed, etc etc), when you have morning sickness this severe. Nothing else works. It should definitely be subsidised, because to have morning sickness as bad (and much worse!) as I have endured, all day, every day, it is simply impossible to function as a normal human being.

That said, it doesn't always work. I took one of my wafers today, and I have been sick 4 times already today. I took it after my first spew, and it had a good 45 minutes to work it's way into my system before I was sick again (it's only meant to need under 30 minutes). Most of the time it has worked for me though, and throughout my pregnancy, it has saved me literally weeks of being curled up in the fetal position on the floor, unable to even move except to be sick.

A tip - you can usually get it cheaper if you are admitted to a public hospital for m/s, and you can get a script from the treating doctor. The script must be filled at the hospital pharmacy though. But there's only so many times they will do it. I managed to get 2 x 12 blister packs of the 4mg wafers for around $34 each pack, which is a substancial saving considering the cheapest price I could find when I contacted a range of normal chemists was around $10 a wafer, which lasts up to 8 hours.
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