NPC Archive Item: Urgent need to review Combivent® (ipratropium/salbutamol) prescriptions

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Prescribers who have not already done so need to review their patients who are taking Combivent® metered dose inhaler (MDI), whether prescribed by brand name or generically. This product has been discontinued and supplies may well start to run out in the next few weeks.  Combivent® contain 20 micrograms ipratropium bromide and 100 micrograms salbutamol (as sulphate),  No generic/non-branded equivalent combination inhaler is available, although the two products are available as separate MDIs.

The manufacturers warned of this discontinuation in a statement in September 2007.  They have informed us that stocks were expected to last until the end of June 2008 [Personal communication, Boehringer Ingelheim medical information, 7th July 2008].

In April 2008 (the last month for which data are available) there were 73,023 prescriptions for 106,920 inhalers dispensed in England. Of these prescriptions, 44% were prescribed generically, even though no non-branded product is available [Personal Communication. NHS Business Service Authority Prescription Pricing Division (NHSBSA PPD) 8th July 2008].

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