The New Zealand drug buying agency, Pharmac, has backed down on its controversial Lamotrigine brand switch. Since the 1st of October patients taking Lamotrigine have been dispensed the Logem brand as the only funded brand of 25mg, 50mg and 100mg Lamotrigine available.
In a statement, Pharmac’s medical director Dr Ken Clark said “we understand the news of the three deaths of patients taking Lamotrigine will concern people. We don’t know if this is linked to the brand change – and we don’t want people to stop taking their medication out of fear so we’re making it easier for people to stay on their current brand if their doctor believes it is the right thing for them”.
For patients taking Lamotrigine they need to consult with their prescriber (either their GP or Specialist) about what is right for them. The doctor can then apply for continued funding of their usual brand (Lamictal, Arrow-Lamotrigine) or they can stay on the Logem brand. Once the “special number” is attached to the patient’s file then the original brand will be able to be dispensed at your pharmacy.
If you are at all concerned about the change resulting in the loss of seizure control then you should contact your doctor as soon as you can to get the process started for the funding application. The doctor can also apply to have the consultation funded from Pharmac as well.
Please be aware that some pharmacies may not have the Lamictal and Arrow-Lamotrigine immediately available as stocks had dwindled since the change. However Vivian Pharmacy does have some stock available and will be able to get the stock in at very short notice should it be required.
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