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The importance of brand-specificity

01.11.2016

The importance of brand-specificity

For patients who are on narrow therapeutic index medications, guidance advises that they are maintained on the same brand of medication to manage their condition and support positive clinical outcomes. When a drug has a narrow therapeutic window, the change between brands can affect the bioavailability, which may result in a patient receiving a sub-therapeutic or toxic dose. This is particularly important for anti-epileptic medicines.

Acting in response to the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) advice published in the current BNF (72, p.279) about the importance of maintaining consistency in branded medication, we have implemented a series of safeguarding prompts, which trigger at the point of order for specific medications.

The safeguarding process starts with automatic prompting questions asking if the customer is ordering a repeat supply for the same patient. Where this is the case, our Customer Services team will check the order history to ensure continuity of supply in a specific brand.

Medications for which the prompts appear include:

Category 1 anti-epileptics: patient maintained on manufacturer (brand) specific product is advisable

Phenytoin, carbamazepine, phenobarbital, primidone

Category 2 anti-epileptics: brand specific based on prescriber‘s and patient / carer‘s judgement taking seizure frequency and treatment history into account

Valproate, lamotrigine, perampanel, retigabine, rufinamide, clobazam, clonazepam, oxcarbazepine, eslicarbazepine, zonisamide topiramate

Other ‘brand-specific‘ drugs

Tacrolimus, theophylline, aminophylline, lithium

Operational Quality Pharmacist, Steven Hewison said "At Quantum Pharmaceutical, we understand the burdens of pharmacies‘ increasing workloads and work extremely closely with our customers to identify opportunities where we can assist them further and make life easier.

Adding automatic prompting questions into our ordering process helps to lessen the reliance on memory alone. It also provides our customers with the reassurance that their patients will receive the right brand-specific medication to suit individuals‘ needs every time."

For more information about the importance of brand specificity for epilepsy medicines please click here. Alternatively, if you have a question about an unlicensed medicine, we‘re on hand to help. Simply call 0800 043 9372 from 8am to 10pm, Mondays to Thursdays or 8am until 6pm on Fridays.*

*Times may vary during Bank Holidays.