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Epilim drug shortages in the UK

Update 15/2/19 - We have been informed by Sanofi that all doses and formulations of Epilim are in stock this week, apart from Epilim Chronosphere MR 500mg Modified Release Granules.

They say these are expected to be back in stock with pharmacists around 20-22 February 2019.

We have been informed that there may be problems with the supply of some forms of epilim (sodium valproate).

Sanofi, who manufacture the drugs, have told us this is due to a supply issue. The following versions of Epilim are out of stock:

• Epilim Chrono 500mg – back in stock w/c 11 February

• Epilim Chronosphere 500mg sachets – back in stock in March

• Epilim Crushable tablets in all doses – back in stock w/c 18 February

If you are taking Epilim Chronosphere 500mg sachets, Sanofi advises to go to your GP or epilepsy specialist for advice. Do not take a lower dose of this medication unless you have been told to by a professional.

Sanofi hopes that all of these drugs will be back in stock between 4 February and 13 March 2019, although these dates are not confirmed.

Sanofi have issued public statement about the supply of sodium valproate:

"Sanofi can confirm that supply of valproate (Epilim and Depakote) is available in the UK. Any patients who have concerns should contact their pharmacist who can contact the Sanofi customer service team so that we can assist and help resolve the issue.

Due to temporary disruption in the production of valproate at a Sanofi manufacturing site outside of the UK, stock levels for some treatments of valproate may be lower than usual. Sanofi is managing the situation carefully and working to ensure continued supply of valproate across all markets, including the UK. There are 17 different valproate-based treatments, ranging from tablets of different strengths and coatings through to granules and liquid preparations. We have notified the Department of Health & Social Care about the disruption of supply of valproate.

This temporary disruption in supply of some valproate-based treatments is not related to Brexit. Change from 100 tablet packs to 30 tablet packs: At the request of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) pack sizes of valproate have been changed from 100 to 30 tablets. Pharmacies may therefore see that the 100 tablet packs are “unavailable” and assume that valproate is out of stock. The codes for 30 tablet packs should be used. The Customer Services line is available for pharmacists to check on stock levels and ordering codes".

You should look to pick up your medication from your pharmacist in the first instance. Please make an appointment with your GP or epilepsy specialist to discuss taking a different version of your medication.

More information

For more information about other drug shortages, particularly around Brexit, please view the contingency plans for all epilepsy medications here: https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/contingency-plans-epilepsy-medication...

If you would like to speak to a member of our helpline, please contact: 01494 601400. The helpline opening hours are Monday – Tuesday, 9am-4pm and Wednesday, 9am-7:30pm. All calls are confidential.