Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Venlafaxine Shortage

The manufacturer of venlafaxine (Efexor)® has written to clinicians to inform them of stock shortages.

The letter from the Medical Director states that only the 75mg tablets are affected and that they are working urgently to resolve the manufacturing difficulties and they provide a website address for weekly updates. This website suggests that the problems will begin to resolve in two months.

As previously detailed, the MHRA have suggested that this drug is only initiated by specialists or GPs with a special interest in mental health. Additionally, venlafaxine should not be used in any patient with heart disease, electrolyte imbalance or hypertension.

Action: The MHRA advice suggests that this drug has a limited place in therapy. The current stock shortage provides the ideal opportunity to review current patients with a view to stopping or changing to a different antidepressant.

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