July 14 2017
Notice from Lundbeck LLC:
Dear Healthcare Professional and Epilepsy Patient Advocacy Organization,
After careful consideration, Lundbeck has made the decision to discontinue the manufacturing of Frisium® (clobazam) Tablets in Canada. Based on historical demand, we expect our current inventory to be depleted by the end of 2018. This decision was not triggered by a safety issue, but rather is based on the numerous generic clobazam alternatives available in Canada.
Lundbeck is communicating this change more than a year in advance in order to give healthcare professionals, patients and families as much advance notice as possible so that Frisium patients have ample time to successfully shift to an acceptable alternative clobazam therapy. Health Canada also has been notified.
As a company with a strong record of supporting the epilepsy community, Lundbeck is aware of the ongoing struggles many physicians and their patients experience in managing seizures. We are deeply committed to the epilepsy community, which is why we are taking a number of steps to ease this transition, including:
- Access to Lundbeck’s medical Information team at 866-880-4636 to address questions or concerns. We will closely monitor responses from patients, their families and health care professionals and address concerns appropriately.
- Distribution of a discontinuation letter to a comprehensive list of physicians, pharmacists and patient advocacy organizations throughout Canada in July 2017, providing more than a year’s lead time to enable a carefully thought-through treatment transition plan.
o Follow-up reminder letters are scheduled for january 2018 and October 2018
o Patient advocacy organizations will be encouraged to share this notice for use in on – and offline communications materials, as appropriate.
- Outreach to pharmaceutical wholesalers
- Updates to generic clobazam manufacturers to ensure awareness of our plans and timeline
Again, please contact Lundbeck Medical Information at 866‑880‑4636 if you have any questions.
May 2, 2017
DEPAKENE® (valproic acid) capsules (250 mg; DIN 00443840) have been discontinued effective April 24, 2017. https://www.drugshortagescanada.ca/discontinuance/8402
This product has been in shortage since January, so stock levels have been depleted over the past few months. Some pharmacies may still have a small amount on hand but may not be able to replenish what they have. Other pharmacies may already be out-of-stock.
Anyone currently taking Depakene capsules should discuss their treatment options with their healthcare provider. People should work closely with their pharmacist and healthcare provider during the transition from Depakene capsules to an alternate treatment and notify their healthcare provider if they experience side-effects or changes in seizure control.
August 22, 2016
Vigabatrin (Sabril) shortage – update
The manufacturer of vigabatrin, Lundbeck LLC, has resolved the shortage.
Your pharmacist will be able to provide information about the status of this drug at your pharmacy. If inventory is running low your pharmacist should be able to get an expected delivery date from their supplier.
Anyone who has questions or concerns about the shortage can contact us: 709-722-0502
Updates about this shortage are also available on drugshortages.ca
August 10, 2016
Vigabatrim (Sabril) Drug Shortage
- There is a temporary shortage of vigabatrin
- The manufacturer has estimated a resupply date of September 1, 2016
- If you need to refill a prescription for vigabatrin during the next 4 weeks, please contact your pharmacist to check the status of the supply
- If inventories are low, your pharmacist may provide a partial refill initially
- If your pharmacist is not able to refill your medication, contact your healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan
- Continue to take antiseizure medication as indicated by your healthcare provider
Do not skip doses
Do not take less than the prescribed amount
Do not make any changes in your treatment without medical advice
- People affected by this shortage can get information and updates from their local epilepsy agency by calling 1-866-EPILEPSY (1-866-374-5377) and can alert their closest epilepsy agency if they need help finding supply of vigabatrin for themselves of their child
- Updates about this shortage are also available on drugshortages.ca
Media Release – Drug Shortage June 2016
June 29, 2016
Sheryl Ubelacker, health writer for the Canadian Press, has written an article about the clobazam shortage. It’s been picked up by the Star and CTV:
Canada-wide shortage of epilepsy drug reaches ‘crisis’ point
‘Terrified’: Shortage of anti-seizure drug a crisis for patients:
Read the story here
TVA Nouvelles (Piblié le 22 juin 2016)- des milliers de patients risquent de payer le prix d’une pénurie:>
( Dr. François Dudeau, Montreal Neurological Insititute, was interviewed for the TVA coverage):
Update: June 23, 2016
Canadian Epilepsy Alliance Drug Shortage Committee
Clobazam is in short supply, but this drug is still available at some pharmacies. If inventories have become low or depleted at your pharmacy, ask your pharmacist to recheck the status of both generic clobazam and Frisium (brand name) with their suppliers.
Distributors have started receiving shipments this week of generic clobazam (Apo-clobazam, Apotex Inc.). The new stock will be spread across the country. There may be restrictions on the amounts available to individual pharmacies until the supply situation stabilizes. A second replenishment of generic clobazam (Apo-clobazam, Apotex Inc.) is expected to arrive at pharmacies by early July. Sheryl Ubelacker, health writer for the Canadian Press, has written an article about the clobazam shortage. It’s been picked up by the Star and CTV:
It is expected that there will also be periodic shipments of the brand name product (Frisium, Lundbeck LLC) over the coming weeks as well.
Health Canada will be working with pharmaceutical manufacturers and other stakeholders to monitor status over the summer.
I take clobazam, what should I do?
Continue to take clobazam as indicated by your health care professional.
- do not skip doses
- do not take less than the prescribed amount
- do not make any changes in your treatment without medical advice
Contact your pharmacist and ask them if they will be able to refill your perscription. If inventories are low, the pharmacist may provide a partial refill initially.
Develop a management plan with your pharmacist and your healthcare provider in case clobazam is not available. You can share the following clinical management suggestions with your healthcare team:
If your pharmacy is unable to refill your prescription- ask your pharmacist:
- have they exhausted all avenues to try and find clobazam for you?
- have they searched for generic clobazam and brand name clobazam (Frisium)?
If it is necessary to make changes to your treatment plan due to the shortage:
- ask for a copy of the new treatment instructions in writing
- go over the information with your pharmacist
- ask your pharmacist to explain the information again if the instructions are not clear
Continue working with your pharmacist and your health care provider until the situation is resolved in order to manage your epilepsy disorder in the safest, most effective way possible.
If you have any questions please contact Epilepsy NL: 709-722-0502
What is being done to prevent this from happening again?
The Canadian Epilepsy Alliance/Alliance canadienne de l’épilepsie is committed to helping people with epilepsy maintain access to a safe, consistent and reliable supply of antiseizure medication. We will continue to advocate for (i) prevention of antiseizure drug shortages and (ii) improved management when shortages cannot be averted.
If you are concerned about this situation as well, please take a few minutes to write to your Member of Parliament and provincial representative (MHA) to share your concerns. Explain how a drug shortage affects you and your family. Find your Member of Parliament (MP) and Find your provincial representative.
May 22, 2015
Epilepsy NL has learned there is a shortage of Acetazolamide (AA Pharma) tablets and are currently on back order.
Drug Identification Number or DIN is 00545015 Acetazolam (Valeant Canada LP) has been discontinued. Drug Identification Number or DIN is 00295019
If you take acetazolamide, we suggest that you contact your pharmacist to ask if they have any tablets in stock and if they can get any from their suppliers. If your pharmacy is running low on acetazolamide, the situation could be completely different at another pharmacy in your area. It is worthwhile calling around to a few different drug stores.
As of right now, we are aware of two pharmacies in the St. John’s area that have supply on hand. Please contact your pharmacy to see if it is available.
If you cannot get your prescription refilled, contact your health care provider immediately.
Do not make any changes to your treatment (i.e. skipping doses, reducing the dose, or discontinuing the drug) without consulting your health care provider. Your physician or nurse practitioner can discuss the situation with you and develop a treatment plan to most safely manage your epilepsy.
Acetazolamide tablets are being marketed by just one company in Canada, AA Pharma, due to decision made by other manufacturers to discontinue this product. Our understanding is that AA Pharma is experiencing difficulty getting the active pharmaceutical ingredient for this drug which has caused their product to be unavailable. Due to the estimated length of the shortage, it is expected the supply of acetazolamide in pharmacies will be affected.
Once the manufacturer has product available again, it usually takes several days for the drug to be transported from the manufacturer to distributors, and then from distributors out to local pharmacies. Based on the estimated resupply date provided by AA Pharma on drugshortages.ca, the next batch of acetazolamide would be expected to reach pharmacies in early to mid-July.
If you need any assistance or if you would like to be notified of any updates, please let us know. Call us at (709)722-0502 or 1-866-EPILEPSY. Email us at email@example.com You can contact Epilepsy NL to discuss any concerns you have or to get more information.