The Government has lifted a serious shortage protocol (SSP) on 10mg capsules of antidepressant fluoxetine as of 23.55 today.
The SSP has been in place since October 3 and it was feared that the drug might be unavailable until early November or December 2019.
A statement from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said supplies were ‘now available to meet normal demand.’
’Following this date (23.55 October 25) fluoxetine 10mg capsules can be prescribed and must be dispensed in the usual way, as the SSP will no longer be valid for use,” the department clarified last night.
An SSP still remains on fluoxetine 30mg and 40mg capsules.
In July, legislation came into force that allowed community pharmacists in England to provide appropriate alternatives to patients in the event of serious medicine shortages, without having to go back to the patient’s GP for an updated prescription.
Last month, the DHSC asked GPs to proactively contact patients taking fluoxetine and check they have enough supplies at home, warning that the 10mg, 30mg and 40mg capsules of the drug could be unavailable for several months.
Then at the beginning of October the Government issued its first SSP to combat fluoxetine drug shortages.
Advice from DHSC states that contractors must use their professional skill and judgement to decide, alongside medical experts, whether it’s reasonable and appropriate to substitute a patient’s prescribed order for the active SSP. The patient would also have to agree to the alternative supply for that dispensing month.