NPC Archive Item: 4th Drug Safety Update from MHRA/CHM

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The MHRA and CHM have published the latest issue of Drug Safety Update (4th November 2007).

This contains information on several topics, including:

  • Fibrates – These should be used as first-line therapy only in patients with isolated severe hypertriglyceridaemia. In patients who also have raised cholesterol, fibrates may be considered only when a statin or other effective treatments are contraindicated or not tolerated. (see separate blog)

  • Lumiracoxib – this should not be used in patients with current or past liver disease, those taking other hepatotoxic medicines, or those who have a history of drug induced liver reactions. Monitoring of liver function is needed at baseline and at monthly intervals during treatment. Do not exceed 100 mg once daily and use only for the shortest duration necessary to control symptoms

  • St John’s wort – any antiepileptic medicine may interact with St John’s wort: patientswith epilepsy should not take products that contain St John’s wort

  • Codeine – breastfed babies whose mothers are taking codeine might very rarely develop side-effects due to the presence of morphine in breast milk

  • Ceftriaxone – this is contraindicated in newborns who need calcium treatment. It should not be mixed with, or given at the same time as, calcium-containing solutions because of a risk of calcium precipitation

There is also information and advice on other topics, including warnings about herbal remedies which contain Aristolochia, an illegal herb which can cause renal failure and/or carcinoma, sales restrictions on some nasal decongestants, initiatives to improve patient information leaflets and the development of independent prescribing by optometrists.

Drug Safety Update is an essential read for everyone whose professional practice involves medicines.

Drug Safety Update replaces Current Problems in Pharmacovigilance, the last issue of which was produced in May 2006. Drug Safety Update is published every month. A copy of Current Problems used to be sent to all doctors, dentists, pharmacists and coroners in the United Kingdom but paper copies of Drug Safety Update will not be posted to any group of clinicians.

If you would like to receive an e-mail notification when new issues of ‘Drug Safety Update’ are published, please subscribe to the MHRA’s free e-mail alerting service