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Petition opposing dispensing of generic drugs for epilepsy

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I wouldn't normally bother you all with this but this affects me personally.

Essentially from January 2010 pharmacists will be expected to change the brand of drug named on a prescription and replace it with a different generic brand. It's going to save us all a lot of money. Which is a good thing you might think.

The problem is that this is against the epilepsy guidelines from NICE. There is significant evidence from doctors and patients that some people with epilepsy have difficulties when changed between different versions of the "same" drug.

Generic brands have to follow "bioequivalence" rules. These allow the amount of active ingredient to vary 80 - 125% so being given a different brand can mean receiving a different dose.

Many anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) have a narrow therapeutic window and dose levels have to be finely balanced.

In my particular case I take sodium valproate from one particular manufacturer and in a delivery system which provides controlled ("retarded") release. So for me generics would not only mean a potentially variable dose per tab but also a variable delivery rate and so increase my risk of another seizure with all the consequences that follow from that.

Lots more on this at www.epilepsy.org.uk/consistencyofsupply

The Joint Epilepsy Council is campaigning for an exemption for AEDs and has launched an online petition here

petitions.number10.gov.uk/epilepsygenerics/

I'd be grateful if you could join me in signing it.

Tags: health, national politics Written 02/09/09

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