Managing medicines safety alerts – new MHRA Central Alerting System

Who issues medication safety alerts? The Medicines Healthcare Products and Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for issuing medication and medical device safety alerts. How are these communicated? This autumn, the way the MHRA communicates safety alerts is changing. All medication safety and critical alerts that need to be actioned by healthcare organisations will be issued…

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Flu Vaccines for next winter 2021/2022 are now available for pre-order

Advance planning for flu vaccination clinics has become an important part of patient care. The flu vaccination delivered in the following year provides vulnerable patients with protection against the strands of flu that are going to be the most prevalent over the next year. This is even more important this year, as hospitals deal with…

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Opioid safety in the news again

The MHRA has repeated its concerns about overuse of opioids based on a set of recommendations from its Opioid Expert Working Group of the Commission on Human Medicines. The first step taken was to put safety warnings on packs of medicines containing opioids. They now want to ensure people are supplied with consistent information on…

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Serotonin toxicity – are we missing it?

It is generally accepted that the management of symptoms in palliative care must involve appropriate polypharmacy. We are comfortable with using more than one medicine to help with one symptom provided the mechanisms of action are different and complementary – for example morphine plus gabapentin for pain with neuropathic characteristics. At the same time, we…

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Opioid patches – back to basics

The two opioids available for delivery via a transdermal patch in the UK are fentanyl and buprenorphine. Fentanyl products are licensed for severe and chronic pain that requires long-term opioids or that does not respond to non-opioids. Buprenorphine is available in two sets of products – the stronger patches have a similar license to fentanyl while the lower strengths are indicated for non-malignant pain when an opioid is necessary (they are used for cancer pain in some cases, where patients only require low opioid doses)…

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Focus on deprescribing

One of the audits collected on our Ashtons Live View system is the number of prescription items for each patient. This information enables us to provide you with comparative data and percentages for our clinical interventions. It is not unusual to count more than twenty items for one patient on a hospice drug chart, although many of these items will be on the PRN pages. We pay great attention to detail with the patient’s response to their medicines, but what are the prompts for reducing the number of items?

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