Over the past few months, the UK’s regulator of medicines (Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) has issued a series of alerts relating to Emerade adrenaline pens. These are devices used in the emergency treatment of severe allergic reactions or ‘anaphylaxis’. Tests indicated that approximately 13% of pens needed a higher than normal force to activate which could lead to doses not being delivered.
Initial advice to patients was to always carry two pens, to press the device firmly if used and to try again if it failed to activate. Now there are sufficient stocks of alternative brands so patients are able to replace their Emerade pens with an alternative. The alternative brands come in a maximum strength of 300mcg but don’t worry if you had an Emerade 500mcg pen – the evidence suggests that an Epipen or Jext 300mcg pen will be a suitable replacement for you and these actually deliver a similar amount of drug.
We have identified affected patients on our clinical system and have issued new prescriptions for Epipen or Jext. Patients should return their Emerade brand pens to the pharmacy when they go to collect.
If you have Emerade pens at home and have not received a text message from us, please contact the practice to arrange a replacement.
For further information, see www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/tag/emerade
Proton Pump Inhibitors (or PPIs) are a group of medicines used to reduce stomach acid and include omeprazole, lansoprazole, esomeprazole and pantoprazole. These medicines are very commonly prescribed but many patients continue taking them for longer than they may need. Usually a course of two to three months is sufficient to help heartburn or indigestion to settle.
As with any prescription medication, PPIs can cause side effects which are more likely if you take a high dose or use them for a long period of time. More and more evidence is coming out that suggests this group of medications may be linked to more problems than we knew about previously. We are therefore re-assessing which of our patients these medicines remain the best choice for.
- Increased risk of serious stomach infections including Clostridium difficile
- Increased risk of bone fractures
- Decreased absorption of nutrients including magnesium, calcium, and vitamins
- Reduce the effectiveness of other medicines you may take including medicines used to prevent heart attack and stroke
- May increase risk of kidney disease, pneumonia, dementia and certain cancers – more research is being done on all these possible links.
Always speak to your GP or pharmacist before stopping prescribed medicines. PPIs should be reduced slowly to minimise rebound symptoms. If you have a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding, or have severe symptoms it is likely that continuing your PPI is the best option – your GP can help you to make this decision.
For information on what you can do to help with heartburn and indigestion yourself, see our Self Care and Common Conditions section of the website for some useful links.
Ranitidine (brand name Zantac) is a medicine commonly used to treat ‘gastric symptoms’ including indigestion and heartburn. As a precaution, all ranitidine products have been recalled due to possible contamination with an impurity. Where possible, we will offer patients an alternative, but this may not be an option for everyone, depending on your other medicines and health conditions.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR MANAGING YOUR SYMPTOMS:
- Reduce caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks
- Lose weight if you’re over weight
- Eat your evening meal at least 3 hours before going to bed
- Ask your local pharmacy about over-the counter antacids
- Do not smoke
- Avoid overly rich, spicy and fatty foods
- Avoid using ibuprofen and aspirin as these can irritate the stomach more
You can find more information @ www.nhs.uk https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/indigestion/
There is no need to be concerned if you have been taking ranitidine as levels of the possible contaminant are likely to be very low.
Clothing, bedding, dressings and bandages with skin cream dried on them can catch fire easily causing severe and fatal burns.
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From December 1st 2020 we will no longer be accepting prescription requests made by email.
In the interest of safety and efficiency, we kindly request that all online requests are made using the NHS App, or on Patient Access (pin required). These services mean you can quickly and conveniently order your repeat prescriptions and your request will come straight through to our clinical system. There is also a box to send any comments or questions relating to your request and the option to change your nominated pharmacy.
Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen a huge increase in the number of emails the practice receives each day and managing email prescription requests has become unsustainable for our team. We have also become aware that errors are more likely when medications are requested by this method as our non-clinical team have to correctly identify the required item on the system.
If you need any help with how to order your prescriptions please ask the reception team. For patients who do not have internet access, we will continue to accept paper requests via the box at reception and orders made through local pharmacies.