Epilepsy Scotland is very concerned about the current shortages of epilepsy medication in the UK and is calling on pharmaceutical manufacturers and the Scottish and UK Governments to ensure the current situation does not happen again.
The Department of Health and Social Care has warned that 5mg tablets of generic lamotrigine, prescribed for epilepsy, will be out of stock until February 2024.
It was confirmed earlier this month that all strengths of lamotrigine tablets, manufactured by Accord Healthcare, are in limited supply until March 2024 and 200mg tablets are currently out of stock until around the same time.
In addition, it has been communicated to the NHS that there are existing supply issues with Carbamazepine, another anti-seizure medication.
Branded versions of this anti-seizure medication are still available; however, they cannot fill the gap in the supply chain totally.
It is important to remember that, for some, changing to an alternative product may exacerbate symptoms.
Over 58,000 people are living with epilepsy in Scotland and anti-seizure medication is vital for them to live healthier and continue with their day-to-day lives.
Medication can and often lets them live seizure-free, allowing them to secure and retain employment and drive. These medications are a lifeline.
For some, it can also often take years to find the right anti-seizure medication, so easy access to that medication is paramount.
The stress of being told their medication is either running out or not available can also increase the risk of seizures.
Time to end the repeated pattern of shortages
Epilepsy Scotland Chief Executive, Lesslie Young said: “It is time to end this repeated pattern of shortages in crucial anti-seizure medication for people living with epilepsy which puts added strain on those living with the condition.
“Governments and the pharmaceutical industry must guarantee a reliable supply of these medications and break the cycle of shortages we have seen in recent years.
“We are calling on manufacturers to make sure they are consistently producing enough anti-seizure medications and, until they do, we are calling on the Scottish and UK Governments to stockpile anti-seizure medications which have been repeatedly in short supply, once they become available.
“Thus, ensuring this completely unacceptable situation, where people’s health and quality of life are being put at risk does not happen again.
“Anyone who has concerns about a shortage of their anti-seizure medication should contact their epilepsy specialist nurse or local pharmacy.”