The pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca have confirmed that it will be
able to extend the supply of Mysoline, indicated for use in epilepsy
and essential tremor, until at least August 2004.
In a statement, the company
recognised "the importance that Mysoline
plays in the lives of patients with epilepsy and essential tremor."
AstraZeneca said it has been in communication with neurologists, pharmacists,
patient groups and the UK Department
of Health and is aggressively pursuing
other opportunities that will allow them to divest Mysoline to an alternative
manufacturer to ensure the continued supply of Mysoline for patients.
Epilepsy Action welcomed AstraZeneca's announcement, however, a spokesman
warned that people taking Mysoline will anxiously await further news
before being fully reassured that the drug they rely on will continue
to be available beyond August next year:
"Epilepsy Action recommends
that UK residents taking Mysoline (primidone) still ask their GP for
a prompt referral to an epilepsy specialist for
a medication review. This should allow enough time to implement a new
treatment plan if required. We will make every effort to keep people
informed as to the timing of any new supply and whether this will be
a generic version of primidone or a branded version of Mysoline.
"The Mysoline issue has
highlighted the need for an urgent review of Department of Health guidelines
on the discontinuation of drugs. We
believe that the guidelines should be based upon a minimum of the time
required to withdraw or change drugs safely. Epilepsy Action will be
lobbying government for an urgent and thorough review of these guidelines
so this situation does not arise again."