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Medication updates

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Updated:

Nicola Swanborough

Medication updates

Read the latest updates on epilepsy medication, including medication shortages.

05/01/2021 - Zonisamide 25/50/100mg out of stock

We have been informed by Teva UK that Zonisamide 25/50/100mg is currently out of stock.

The 100mg dosage is expected to return by mid January 2021. But the 25mg and 50mg will not be available until February 2021.

Teva UK has told us that Alliance Boots still have some 25mg stock available if anyone is having trouble accessing their prescription.

Teva is working closely with its supply chain and we will bring you updates as soon as we hear more.

If you are taking  Zonisamide

If you are taking Zonisamide it is important that you speak to your doctor before switching to a different version of the drug. Zonisamide is a Category 2 anti-epileptic medication. This means that your doctor should decide with you whether it is okay for you to switch to a different version of the drug.

If you are feeling worried

If you would like to speak to a member of our helpline, please contact: 01494 601400. The helpline opening hours are Monday - Friday, 9am - 4pm and Wednesday, 9am - 7:30pm. All calls are confidential.

30/10/2020 - FDA issues alert for lamotrigine in US

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the US has issued an alert for lamotrigine/Lamictal which it says may pose risks for anyone with a heart condition, particularly arrhythmia.

There are new warnings following laboratory tests that the epilepsy drug should not be prescribed for anyone with structural heart disease or myocardial ischemia.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which is responsible for the safety of medicines and medical devices in the UK, has said it is currently looking into what prompted the FDA update.

A spokesperson said that current advice in the Patient Information Leaflet for Lamictal highlights risks associated with the medication for anyone with Brugada syndrome that results in abnormal electrical activity in the heart. Lamotrigine may trigger abnormalities leading to abnormal heart rhythmns.

If you have any questions or concerns about this medication, please contact your doctor. Do not stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor.

22/10/2020 - Frisium (clobazam) 10mg out of stock

We have been informed by Sanofi that Frisium (clobazam) 10mg tablets will be out of stock from mid-October, with resupply expected in early November.

This is due to a number of factors including high demand and issues with logistics.

Other versions of this medication are available. If you are normally prescribed Frisium and have any concerns, you should contact your GP or epilepsy specialist about switching to a different version of clobazam.

Any pharmacy that is having difficulty obtaining Frisium (clobazam), should contact their first line Agent (AAH, Phoenix).  For further queries they should contact Sanofi Customer Services on +44 (0)800 854 430.

14/10/2020 - 25mg Zonisamide likely to go out of stock

We have been informed by Teva UK that Zonisamide 25mg is likely to go out of stock along with the 50mg and 100mg dosages. This is due to increased use.

The 100mg dosage is expected to return in mid December 2020. But the 25mg and 50mg will not be available until February 2021.

Teva UK has told us that Alliance Boots still have some 25mg stock available if anyone is having trouble accessing their prescription

If you are taking  Zonisamide

If you are taking Zonisamide it is important that you speak to your doctor before switching to a different version of the drug. Zonisamide is a Category 2 anti-epileptic medication. This means that your doctor should decide with you whether it is okay for you to switch to a different version of the drug.

If you are feeling worried

If you would like to speak to a member of our helpline, please contact: 01494 601400. The helpline opening hours are Monday - Friday, 9am - 4pm and Wednesday, 9am - 7:30pm. All calls are confidential.

14/10/2020 - Recall of three batches of Epilim 500mg gastro resistant tablets

We have been informed that the MHRA has recalled three batches of Epilim 500mg Gastro-Resistant tablets from pharmacies.

This precautionary measure is due to an issue with the gastro-resistant coating which may affect some tablets within these batches.

The affected batch numbers are:

  • RO601
  • RO602
  • RO603

You can read the full product details here.

The MHRA has said that this recall should not affect supply of Epilim 500mg Gastro-Resistant Tablets as there are other batches available. Other formulations within the Epilim range of products are not affected by this issue.

In their statement, they said: "The potential risk to patients, if they have used any of these batches, is low. No increase in reporting of suspected side effects has been received through the Yellow Card scheme and the safety of valproate remains under continuous monitoring."

If your medication is affected or you  have any questions, you should contact your GP or healthcare professional.

Healthcare professionals are advised to stop prescribing the above batches and to return them to the supplier.

26/08/2020 - Zonisamide 50mg and 100mg out of stock

We have been informed by Teva that Zonisamide 50mg and 100mg are currently out of stock and stock is expected to return in December 2020. This is due to a manufacturing issue.

Zonisamide 25mg is still in stock.

If you are taking 50mg or 100mg of Zonisamide

If you are taking the 50mg or 100mg dosage it is important that you speak to your doctor before switching to a different version of the drug. Zonisamide is a Category 2 anti-epileptic medication. This means that your doctor should decide with you whether it is okay for you to switch to a different version of the drug.

If you are feeling worried

If you would like to speak to a member of our helpline, please contact: 01494 601400. The helpline opening hours are Monday - Friday, 9am - 4pm and Wednesday, 9am - 7:30pm. All calls are confidential.

05/08/2020 - Epanutin (phenytoin) update

We have received the following updates on Epanutin (phenytoin).

We have been informed that Epanutin (phenytoin) 30mg/5ml oral suspension is now back in stock. 

There has been a further delay with Epanutin (phenytoin) 50mg Infatabs. These are due back in September/October Oct and Pfizer are continuing to supply Dilantin (phenytoin) Infatabs in the meantime.

Epanutin (phenytoin) is a category 1 anti-epileptic medication. Anyone who is switched to Dilantin-30 should be carefully monitored and may require specialist advice or support.

If you are taking Epanutin, make sure you discuss your prescription with your doctor.

Call our Helpline

If you are feeling anxious about your medication, please call our Helpline on 01494 601400 (Mon and Tues 9am-4pm and Wed 9am-7.30pm).

11/06/2020 - Further delay in resupply of Accord phenytoin 100mg capsules

UPDATE 10 June 2020 : there has been a delay in the resupply of Accord phenytoin 100mg capsules. They hope to provide an update next week on a new date for resupply. In the meantime, Flynn Pharma, who also supply phenytoin, have sufficient supplies to meet demand.

We have been advised by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) that Accord are out of stock of phenytoin sodium NRIM 100mg capsules.

The supply issue has been caused by a regulatory change at their manufacturing site  and is expected to last until May 2020.

Flynn Pharma, who also supply phenytoin, have confirmed that they have sufficient supplies to meet demand during this time.

MHRA guidance

Phenytoin is an MHHRA class 1 anti-epileptic drug. This means that under guidance issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, it is important that anyone who is taking phenytoin has a consistent supply of the medication and ideally should not be switched to a different version of the same drug.

The DHSC’s Medicines Shortage Response Group has sought clinical advice from the Association of British Neurologists and the recommendation is for those prescribed phenytoin 100mg capsules to be switched, where appropriate, to the Flynn Pharma version.

Healthcare professionals have been told that patients should be monitored and may require specialist support, advice or referral.  

If you are currently taking Accord phenytoin 100mg capsules, you should make an appointment with your specialist doctor. Any changes in your treatment due to the shortage should be managed by a specialist rather than a GP.

You should discuss your treatment plan with your specialist and if you need to switch to a different version of the drug, your serum levels should be properly monitored on a regular basis to make sure you have the correct amount of the drug in your blood.

More information

We will continue to bring you updates on phenytoin via our website and through Facebook and Twitter.

Professor Ley Sander, Medical Director at Epilepsy Society advises on ways to manage the current shortages of epilepsy medication.

Call our Helpline

If you are taking phenytoin 100mg and are feeling anxious about this change, please contact our Helpline on 01494 601400 (Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm, Wednesday 9am to 7.30pm), or email helpline@epilepsysociety.org.uk

28/02/2020 - Strike action France could lead to shortages of valproate

We have been advised by the pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, that there may be shortages of its valproate-based treatments in coming months.

Sanofi has experienced a significant disruption to the production of valproate due to ongoing strike action at its manufacturing plant in France.

This has  already resulted in shortages of valproate semisodium over December 2019 and the drug company anticipates that ongoing issues may result in further shortages across the valproate range in the coming months.

Localised problems

A spokesperson for the company said that shortages were likely to be localised and that wherever possible, they would redistribute stock around the country to ensure that people are able to access their prescribed medication.

At the moment they are warning of localised shortages of 200mg Epilim Gastro-resistant tablets.

In a statement released this week, the company said: “Any patients who have concerns regarding stock information should contact their pharmacist who can contact their supplier to check stock availability in their area. If pharmacists have additional enquiries, they can contact Sanofi Customer Services on 0800 854 430 so that we can assist and help resolve the issue.”

Getting prescription in good time

Professor Ley Sander, medical director at the Epilepsy Society emphasised that it is important for people to take their prescription to their pharmacy in good time, rather than leaving it till the last minute.

“One of the most useful measures you can take to help you get your medicine as prescribed, is to ensure that you take your prescription to your pharmacy in good time - up to seven days before you actually need the medication,” said Professor Sander.

“That way, if the pharmacy does not have your drugs in stock, it gives the pharmacist time to order stock from suppliers or to ring other pharmacies or suppliers, to access your medication elsewhere.”

See your doctor

If a particular valproate treatment is unavailable, people are advised to see their doctor to discuss an alternative form of treatment.

Epilepsy Society will keep you updated about any issues with valproate via its website and social media channels.

More information

Find out more about how to cope with medication shortages.

Call our Helpline

If you are  feeling anxious about issues concerning your medication, please call our Helpline on 01494 601400 (Mon and Tues 9am-4pm and Wed 9am-7.30pm).

25/02/2020 - Epanutin 30mg/5ml oral suspension out of stock until late June 2020

We have been informed by Pfizer that there will be insufficient stocks of Epanutin 30mg/5ml oral suspension, from the week commencing 2 March 2020. This supply issue is expected to last until late June 2020.

During this period, Pfizer has been able to import sufficient supplies of the Canadian product, Dilantin-30 to fill the gap.

Epanutin (phenytoin) is a category 1 anti-epileptic medication. Anyone who is switched to Dilantin-30 should be carefully monitored and may require specialist advice or support.

If you are taking Epanutin, make sure you discuss your prescription with your doctor.

Call our Helpline

If you are taking Epanutin 30mg/5ml oral suspension  and are feeling anxious about this change, please call our Helpline on 01494 601400 (Mon and Tues 9am-4pm and Wed 9am-7.30pm).

10/01/2020 - Phenytoin Sodium 100mg capsules out of stock

UPDATE 10 June 2020 : there has been a delay in the resupply of Accord phenytoin 100mg capsules. They hope to provide an update next week on a new date for resupply. In the meantime, Flynn Pharma, who also supply phenytoin, have sufficient supplies to meet demand.

We have been advised by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) that Accord are out of stock of phenytoin sodium NRIM 100mg capsules.

The supply issue has been caused by a regulatory change at their manufacturing site  and is expected to last until May 2020.

Flynn Pharma, who also supply phenytoin, have confirmed that they have sufficient supplies to meet demand during this time.

MHRA guidance

Phenytoin is an MHHRA class 1 anti-epileptic drug. This means that under guidance issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, it is important that anyone who is taking phenytoin has a consistent supply of the medication and ideally should not be switched to a different version of the same drug.

The DHSC’s Medicines Shortage Response Group has sought clinical advice from the Association of British Neurologists and the recommendation is for those prescribed phenytoin 100mg capsules to be switched, where appropriate, to the Flynn Pharma version.

Healthcare professionals have been told that patients should be monitored and may require specialist support, advice or referral.  

If you are currently taking Accord phenytoin 100mg capsules, you should make an appointment with your specialist doctor. Any changes in your treatment due to the shortage should be managed by a specialist rather than a GP.

You should discuss your treatment plan with your specialist and if you need to switch to a different version of the drug, your serum levels should be properly monitored on a regular basis to make sure you have the correct amount of the drug in your blood.

More information

We will continue to bring you updates on phenytoin via our website and through Facebook and Twitter.

Professor Ley Sander, Medical Director at Epilepsy Society advises on ways to manage the current shortages of epilepsy medication.

Call our Helpline

If you are taking phenytoin 100mg and are feeling anxious about this change, please contact our Helpline on 01494 601400 (Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm, Wednesday 9am to 7.30pm), or email helpline@epilepsysociety.org.uk

Managing a shortage

Here, our medical director Professor Ley Sander explains what you can do to manage a medication shortage and how the Government is tackling current shortages.

Brexit contingency plans

We have contacted pharmaceutical companies in the UK to find out what their individual Brexit contingency plans are.