Gabapentin and pregabalin reclassified as controlled drugs

From this April, gabapentin and pregabalin have been reclassified as controlled drugs under Schedule 3 of the Misuse of Drug Regulations 2001 and Class C of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. This makes the possession of these drugs without a prescription and their sale …

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MHRA issues safety update on fluoroquinolone antibiotics

The MHRA has issued a new Drug Safety Update on the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics (including ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin and ofloxacin), following reports of rare but disabling side-effects and new restricted indications for these medicines.
The MHRA advises that systemic fluoroquinolones can very rarely cause long-lasting, …

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Increased pulmonary embolism risk with high-dose tofacitinib

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has issued new advice to healthcare professionals recommending that they do not exceed the recommended dosage of tofacitinib (Xeljanz) when treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
The advice follows the results of an ongoing clinical trial that has shown an increased risk …

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Prescription Cost Analysis shows fall in prescription costs

NHS Digital has published a new Prescription Cost Analysis, detailing all NHS prescription items dispensed in the community in England during 2018 and their cost. The analysis includes prescriptions written by GPs and non-medical prescribers such as nurses and pharmacists, as well as those written …

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Alirocumab licence extended to reducing risk in atherosclerotic CVD

The European Commission has approved an extension to the marketing authorisation for the proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitor alirocumab (Praluent), to include adults with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in order to reduce cardiovascular risk.
Alirocumab is a monoclonal antibody lipid-lowering therapy that binds selectively to …

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E-cigarettes may be more effective than NRT for smoking cessation

Refillable e-cigarettes are more effective than nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) for smoking cessation when combined with behavioural support, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (2019;380:629–37).
 The study authors randomised 886 adults attending NHS stop-smoking services to their choice of NRT product …

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Prescription charge responsible for asthma medication rationing

People with asthma are rationing their medication due to the high cost of prescriptions in England, leading to an increased risk of asthma attacks and hospital admissions, according to a recent report from Asthma UK.
Paying to Breathe: Why Unfair Asthma Prescription Charges Must Be Stopped …

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Children’s flu vaccine shows good protection this season

According to mid-season data from PHE published in the journal Eurosurveillance, the children’s flu vaccine has been 87% effective against this season’s main circulating flu strain (influenza A(H1N1)pmd09) in children aged 2–17 years. Children are offered a live attenuated quadrivalent influenza vaccine (LAIV), which is …

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MHRA issues warning about use of carbimazole in pregnancy

In a Drug Safety Update, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued a warning about the increased risk of congenital malformations with the use of carbimazole during pregnancy.
Carbimazole is a pro-drug that is rapidly metabolised to thiamazole, an anti-thyroid agent that suppresses …

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NICE and PHE publish antimicrobial prescribing guidance for acute cough

As part of their series on antimicrobial prescribing for common infections, NICE and Public Health England (PHE) have published guidance on the management of acute cough (NG120) The principal aim of the guideline series is to limit antibiotic use and reduce antimicrobial resistance.
In the new …

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