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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

MeReC Extra 32

The National Prescribing Centre (NPC) has published MeReC Extra 32 (PDF). It summarises the NICE guidance for ezetimibe in hypercholesterolaemia, the recent safety concerns with rimonabant and an update on the safety and efficacy of paediatric cough medicines.

The discussion of the guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) regarding the use of ezetimibe (Ezetrol®) in hypercholesterolaemia summarises the guidance and defines intolerance to statins. It is also noted that it is currently less expensive to prescribe simvastatin and ezetimibe as separate components than in the combined product, Inegy®.

The section detailing the safety concerns with rimonabant provides details of a recent meta-analysis of four studies that found a 40% increased risk of adverse events and also serious adverse events with rimonabant compared to placebo. Recent advice has indicated that this drug must not be used in patients who are taking antidepressants and who have a personal history of depression.

Finally, this MeReC provides details of a recent American study of paediatric cough and cold medicines that prompted the evaluation of the risk-benefit profile of these medicines leading to some products being withdrawn from sale.

Action: Clinicians will find this MeReC Extra to be useful and informative. It is of the usual high standard expected from the NPC.

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