Medications used to treat sexually transmissible infections and related conditions.
PHARMCOLOGY IN SEXUAL HEALTH
This topic focuses on the knowledge required to safely administer prescribed and nurse initiated medications commonly used in the sexual health setting.
Develop a sound knowledge base to deliver medication
Bradford D. (2008: 126) explains: When managing and treating STIs it is useful to understand the natural history of the specific STI you are dealing with; this is especially important where there are no curative treatments available, as is the case with the viral STIs.
Bradford, D. 2008 .InBradford, D. et. al. HIV, viral hepatitis and STIs: a guide for primary care. Australasian Society for HIV Medicine, Darlinghurst, NSW.
(a) Selecting management options wisely by:
(b) Choosing suitable medicines if a medicine is considered necessary so that the best available option is selected by taking into account:
(c) Using medicines safely and effectively to get the best possible results by:
This activity demonstrates the importance of having a sound knowledge of the medications you are administering.
All health organisations have guidelines for the safe administration of medications. Policies and guidelines are usually determined at the state level.
Each state health department will have policy directives to inform and guide practice listed on the health department website.
Read the following NSW Health policy, in particular sections 6.4.2 and 6.4.3 which describe who may administer medications and the principles for safe medication administration; and 6.4.9 nurse initiated medication.
NSW Health Policy Directive 2007 Medication Handling in NSW Public Hospitals, Department of Health NSW. Available URL: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/policies/pd/2007/pdf/PD2007_077.pdf
The NSW Nurses Association guideline describes what schedule of medication may be approved to be given under Nurse-Initiated medication, Standing orders, Emergency telephone orders and by Nurse Practitioners.
If you are from a state other than NSW, go to your states health department website and locate the similar documents for medication administration.
Reading Public Hospitals, Department of Health NSW. Available URL:
Guidelines on Nursing Responsibilities in Relation to Medications 2007 NSW Nurses Association. Available URL: http://www.nswnurses.asn.au/multiattachments/15375/DocumentName/Res_Medications.pdf
How are the policy directives and guidelines put into practice in the service you work in?
For each medication you will need to access a Drug Formulary, for example MIMS. Additional references that will assist you to answer the questions for each medication are provided below.
Azithromycin You must achieve a 100% pass for this assessment.
National Management Guidelines for Sexually Transmissible Infections 2008 Sexual Health Society of Victoria. Available URL: http://www.ashm.org.au/default2.asp?active_page_id=248
Ceftriaxone and Metronidazole
Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines You must achieve a 100% pass for this assessment.
National Health and Medical Research Council 2008 The Australian Immunisation
Handbook 9thedn, Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra. Available URL: http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook-home
Podophyllotoxin and Liquid Nitrogen (LN2)
Guidelines for the Management of genital HPV in in New Zealand 6thedn, 2010 Professional Advisory Board (PAB) of the New Zealand HPV Project. Available URL: http://www.hpv.org.nz/pdfs/HPV%20Guidelines%202010_FA.pdf
Levonorgestrel You must achieve a 100% pass for this assessment. (The Emergency Pill)
The following resource is not available online. Please obtain a copy from your nearest family planning organisation
Contraception: an Australian clinical practice handbook 2ndedn 2006 Sexual Health and Family Planning, Australia. 119-128
Further Reading You must achieve a 100% pass for this assessment. Other medications given in the sexual health setting include, but are not limited to Human Papilloma Virus vaccination, Penicillin to treat syphilis, hormonal contraceptives and antiviral medication for the management of herpes and HIV infection.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. following resources:n.d. Consumer medicine information. http://www.racgp.org.au/medicineinformation/HIV, viral hepatitis and STIs: a guide for primary care 2008 Australasian Society for HIV Medicine, Darlinghurst, NSW. 105-109
5. Final thoughts following resources:
Effective, timely and appropriate treatment is essential in the control of sexually transmitted infections.
Nurses need to have an understanding of the natural history of the infection they are treating.
Safe administration of medication includes assessing the client and having knowledge of the actions, contraindications, precautions and side effects of any medication given.
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