The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has published Drug Safety Update for December 2011 (PDF).
This issue contains drug safety information reminding clinicians that citalopram and escitalopram are associated with dose-dependent QT interval. It is recommended that these drugs are avoided in patients with prolonged QT interval, that ECGs are considered in patients with cardiac disease and that electrolyte imbalances are corrected before starting treatment. This section also reminds clinicians that renal function testing is recommended prior to starting treatment with dabigatran following several cases of serious and fatal haemorrhage in elderly patients with renal impairment. Annual testing is also recommended in patients over 75 years old and in those with a suspected decline in renal function.
The hot topic section advises that a substantial body of evidence now exists that offers reassurance that there is no link between use of angiotensin receptor blockers and cancer.
Finally, readers are directed to the new SSRI learning module and offered an End of Year Quiz that tests drug safety knowledge based on the updates published this year.
Action: Clinicians will find this publication to be a useful review of current issues in drug safety.
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