Why non-pharmaceutical treatments?

Non-pharmaceutical 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-pharmaceutical 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-pharmaceutical 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.