News in brief: More specialised dressings for Epidermolysis Bullosa; Anti-androgen averts hypertrichosis with minoxidil; Slip, Slop, Slap turns 40 for National Skin Cancer Action Week

17 Nov 2021

More specialised dressings for Epidermolysis Bullosa

The National Epidermolysis Bullosa Dressing Scheme (NEBDS) is being enhanced with the addition of new products and a faster approvals process, according to the Department of Health.

The scheme, which provides subsidised access to specialised dressings for about 260 Australians with the most severe form of the disease, has had 46 new products to be listed on its Product Schedule.

At 1 July 2021, there were 368 individual dressing/wound care products on the NEBDS Product Schedule, which are provided for the cost of a prescription and would otherwise cost around $5,000 a month.

Management of the Scheme is also being streamlined to enable recommended listings to occur sooner, which will improve patient access and support efficiency by enabling the Department of Health to approve minor changes and costs.

Access to the NEBDS is restricted to patients who meet the clinical eligibility criteria and are registered by a clinical expert. Patients participating in the Scheme are required to pay a contribution equivalent to the relevant PBS co-payment for each monthly order of dressings.

More information about the NEBDS is available online.

Anti-androgen averts hypertrichosis with minoxidil

Oral bicalutamide appears to be beneficial in mitigating the hypertrichosis that may occur with minoxidil treatment in up to a quarter of  patients with female pattern hair loss, Australian dermatologists say.

Dr Anthony Moussa and colleagues from Sinclair Dermatology in Melbourne observed the benefits on hypertrichosis in a retrospective study of  thirty-five patients with FPHL after commencement or up-titration of oral bicalutamide. Hypertrichosis occurred in patients taking a mean dose of 1.5mg/day of minoxidil, while the mean dose of 69 bicalutamide that reduced hypertrichosis was 14.4mg/day. The use of concurrent bicalutamide permitted an increase in the mean daily dose of minoxidil of 0.7mg without development of hypertrichosis, they reported in the Journal of the American College of Dermatology.

Adverse effects with bicalutamide led to a dose reduction in three patients and discontinuation of therapy in two patients due to transaminitis and scalp dysesthesia, they added.

Slip, Slop, Slap turns 40 for National Skin Cancer Action Week

The iconic Slip, Slop, Slap message returns for its fortieth anniversary during National Skin Cancer Action Week from 21 – 27 November 202.

The campaign this year, supported by the Australasian College of dermatologists and the Cancer Council also includes two extra messages: Seek shade and Slide on sunglasses.

According to the Cancer Council, the campaign is still needed because although melanoma rates have fallen among younger Australians, skin cancer remains Australia’s most common cancer, with two in three Australians diagnosed with by the age of 70 every year and around 2000 Australians dying annually from this disease.

Cancer Council is also calling on the Federal Government to invest in a national skin cancer prevention campaign.

“After more than a decade, it’s time for a significant investment in a campaign to increase awareness about skin cancer risk and support Australians to be SunSmart,” it said.

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