The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has confirmed the withdrawal of co-proxamol in a press release in the face of growing resistance from patients and healthcare professionals.
The press release states that co-proxamol is implicated in 300-400 deaths from overdose each year and in almost a fifth of drug related suicides. The remaining product licenses for co-proxamol will have been withdrawn by the end of 2007. The Committee on Safety of Medicines has published Pain Management Guidance to assist clinicians in finding suitable alternatives.
The MHRA also clarify that co-proxamol will remain available as an unlicensed medicine after the licence withdrawals. This will allow clinicians to prescribe in patients for whom alternatives are not effective or suitable. In these instances, liability will rest with the prescribing clinician as with all unlicensed products.
Action: Co-proxamol should only be prescribed in exceptional circumstances. Patients currently taking co-proxamol should be reviewed and alternative treatments sought.