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Neglected non-drug treatments

Why non-drug treatments?

Non-drug treatments, which include exercise, psychotherapy, manual procedures and self-management, are just as, or more, effective and safe as their drug counterpart. However, they are poorly described and marketed, and therefore, underused in healthcare.

Along with the RACGP, in 2013 we initiated the Handbook of Non-Drug Interventions (HANDI) that mimics existing pharmacopoeias, including indications, contraindications and ‘dosing’, and aims to make ‘prescribing’ a non-drug therapy as easy and precise as writing a prescription.

To further improve the uptake of non-drug treatments in healthcare we are conducting research in three areas:

  • Synthesising evidence or generating new evidence of potential new non-drug treatments for HANDI;
  • Improving uptake of the existing evidence-based treatments in HANDI; and
  • Developing and evaluating of patient versions of these non-drug treatments to enhance treatment fidelity, and enable use of decision aids.

The treatments in HANDI have been assessed by the HANDI Project team and are informed by evidence.

New funding

  • National Heart Foundation 2022 Vanguard Grant:  A novel strategy for improving the prescription of effective non-drug interventions for the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease in primary care - the 'e-HANDI': a codesign and feasibility trial (1/01/2023-1/01/2024)
  • NHMRC Investigator and Emerging Leadership Fellow: Assistant Professor Loai Albarqouni - Optimising the uptake of effective underused non-drug evidence-based interventions in primary care (1/1/2022-31/12/2026)