Epilepsy medicine shortages continue

Published: February 28 2024
Last updated: March 26 2024

Epilepsy Action’s helpline has seen five times more enquiries on medication stock

People with epilepsy are struggling to get hold of some medicinesEpilepsy medicine shortages across the UK are leaving people struggling to access drugs including Tegretol (carbamazepine) and lamotrigine.

Epilepsy Action’s helpline has seen five times as many enquiries on medication stock this year compared to the same time last year.

Epilepsy Action has heard from some people that they have been close to completely running out of medicine, while some have said the stress has triggered more seizures. Some have reported that doctors advised them to switch medication brands. These can be manufactured differently While not ideal, for most people, taking a different version is safer than suddenly stopping medicine

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The most commonly reported shortages have been of Tegretol and Lamotrigine.

Epilepsy Action has contacted Tegretol manufacturer Novartis and Lamotrigine manufacturer Accord to get more information on the ongoing problems.

According to Tegretol manufacturer Novartis, all strengths of prolonged release Tegretol is in stock. The company said it is still taking time for the stock to reach the wholesalers. They expect this backlog to be resolved by the end of the week (as of February 28).

The manufacturers of lamotrigine, Accord, have said there is very limited stock and it is currently only available to hospitals and hospital outpatient pharmacies. The company estimated a return date of April 2024 for 50mg, 100mg and 200mg. 25mg tablets made by Accord are currently unavailable long term. Accord cannot confirm when they will be back in stock.

If you are looking for medication that in unavailable at your pharmacy, some people have recommended Lloyds Direct, which delivers from a central pharmacy to any address in the UK. It also allows you to order medicine for others. Find out more here:Free NHS prescription delivery – LloydsDirect

If you are worried or have further questions, contact our helpline: The Epilepsy Action helpline – Epilepsy Action

For the latest updates, follow our Drug Watch page: Drugwatch Archives – Epilepsy Action