News in brief: Single dose of ivermectin effective in scabies; New paediatric indication for secukinumab; Healthy skin project to close the knowledge gap

15 Feb 2022

Single dose of ivermectin effective ….in scabies

One dose of ivermectin is noninferior to two doses of ivermectin as a mass drug administration program for the control of scabies in low- and middle-income countries.

A cluster randomised trial of 3,812 people across 35 villages in Fiji found a third approach – a screen and treat with topical permethrin (5%) – was also effective in reducing scabies prevalence.

“While the effectiveness of all 3 groups was similar, we believe that a screen and treat approach would be impractical to implement as a large-scale public health strategy,” the researchers said.

They said a second dose of ivermectin also increases the cost and complexity of a control program and makes it harder to integrate scabies control into 1-dose programs for other neglected tropical diseases.

The study is the first to demonstrate that community-wide treatment with a single dose of ivermectin is able to substantially reduce both scabies burden and transmission, despite ivermectin having minimal ovicidal activity.

Read more in PLOS Medicine

New paediatric indication for secukinumab

Secukinumab (Cosentyx) is now an option for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in children.

The TGA has approved an indication for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in patients six years and older who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy.

Secukinumab is administered by subcutaneous injection every four weeks after an initial loading regimen, and the dose is dependent on the child’s weight. According to manufacturer Novartis, after initial counseling and proper training in injection technique, secukinumab can be administered by an adult caregiver outside of a healthcare provider’s office.

The biological was recently recommended by the PBAC for a PBS listing for the treatment of paediatric patients with severe chronic plaque psoriasis.

Healthy skin project to close the knowledge gap

WA dermatologist and skin health researcher Dr Bernadette Ricciardo has been awarded a NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship to help close the knowledge gap on the burden of skin disease in urban-living Aboriginal children and adolescents.

The Koolungar Moorditj Healthy Skin project will provide Australia’s first comprehensive description of the skin disease burden and skin health needs in these children.

The project has been co-designed with Nyoongar Elders embedded within the Telethon Kids Institute, in collaboration with the Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service and the South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS).

“We also hope to learn more about skin care practices, the use of traditional bush medicines for skin, and attitudes towards sun protection in order to obtain a holistic view of healthy skin and what that means,” Dr Ricciardo said.

The project will help to inform the second edition of the National Healthy Skin Guideline; aid the development of culturally appropriate health promotion and health literacy resources; and inform the co-design of clinical trials to identify prevention and treatment strategies.


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