Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Drug Safety Update - October 2014

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has published Drug Safety Update for October 2014 (PDF).

The drug safety section in this issue advises clinicians that there have been reports of thrombotic microangiopathy and nephrotic syndrome linked to interferon beta treatment. Clinicians should be vigilant for early signs or symptoms of these conditions and treat these conditions promptly if they occur.

This section also advises that with effect from October 2014 dexamethasone 4mg/ml injection is being replaced by a 3.8mg/ml product. It has a different manufacturer and as such the storage conditions, presentation, and packaging will change.

Other information also clarifies that new laws that set blood concentration limits to be set for certain controlled drugs are only applicable in England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland a similar offence is under consideration. This new law applies to the following medicines:

  • Cannabis (tetrahydrocannabinol, THC)
  • Cocaine
  • Morphine
  • Diamorphine
  • Methadone
  • Ketamine
  • Amphetamine
  • Flunitrazepam
  • Clonazepam
  • Diazepam
  • Lorazepam
  • Oxazepam
  • Temazepam

Patients should be advised that it is against the law to drive if your driving ability is impaired by a medicine and not to drive while taking a medicine until you know how it affects you (especially just after starting or changing the dose of the medicine) or if feeling sleepy, dizzy, unable to concentrate or make decisions, or if there is blurred or double vision.

Action: Clinicians will find this publication to be a useful review of current issues in drug safety.

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