GPs are being warned they can no longer prescribe a modified-release form of salbutamol, because of problems in the drug supply chain.
Chiesi Limited said it could no longer supply pharmacies with the Ventmax SR 4mg and 8mg capsules, after quality problems with successive batches of the active ingredient had led the manufacturer to call a halt on production.
In a press release, the company said it had ‘no choice but to discontinue the supply of this medicine’.
Chiesi said this would affect ‘approximately 1,500-2,000 patients’ in the UK, and that patients who are affected ‘are advised to contact their GP or specialist responsible for their care immediately, to discuss and determine the most appropriate alternative treatment’.
Dr Stephen Gaduzo, chair of the Primary Care Respiratory Society, said his practice had already been encouraging patients to switch to inhalers if possible, because the capsules are ‘not very targetted’ and have ‘side effect potential’.
Dr Gaduzo said: ‘My advice to patients and doctors/nurses affected would be to use the opportunity to conduct a structured asthma review and come to joint management decision.’