Medical expert advises people with epilepsy not to stockpile medicines

Leading epilepsy expert, Professor Ley Sander is advising people with epilepsy not to stockpile medication themselves.

The warning follows today's reports from pharmacists that they are experiencing supply issues with many common drugs.

There is a lot of anxiety about supply of medication post Brexit and some people are finding ways to try to stockpile medicines themselves.

We understand people's concerns, however this has the potential to create a shortage of medication itself. It is important for everyone to stay calm and follow their normal routine when it comes to getting a repeat prescription.

Post Brexit contingency plans put in place by the Department of Health and Social Care are the most effective way to ensure that everyone has a consistent supply of their medication."

Ley Sander, Medical Director at the charity Epilepsy Society and Professor of Neurology at University College London

While it is possible to find alternatives to many drugs, it can be imperative for people with epilepsy to remain on the same version of their medication without being switched to a different version. Switching between some anti-epileptic medication can put people at risk of breakthrough seizures.

The Government has already exempted epilepsy medicines from serious shortages protocols which give pharmacists powers to find alternative drugs where necessary.

In the new protocols laid before parliament this week, the Department of Health and Social Care said that emergency regulations for epilepsy medication would be drawn up and signed off by clinicians. And they confirmed that where it would be considered unsafe to substitute a different form of the same drug, the DHSC would take every measure to get the medication from an alternative source.

Clare Pelham, Chief Executive Officer at Epilepsy Society said:

It is reassuring to see that Health Secretary Matt Hancock recognizes the challenges faced by people with epilepsy who depend on their medication to control their seizures so they can live their lives.

The right version of the right medication is not a preference, a life-style choice or a 'nice to have' for people with epilepsy. It can be the difference between having a seizure after many years or not; the difference between losing your driving license, and perhaps your job, or not; the difference between living an everyday life, free from anxiety, or not.

Brexit has generated a lot of anxiety around supply of medication. I hope the latest protocol will help to allay many fears for the people we support at Epilepsy Society.

It is good to see that the Government has taken practical steps to ensure that the needs of one percent of the population of the UK - or 600,000 people with epilepsy -are met.

For their part, people with epilepsy must not hoard their medication, because this will create the very problem that we are trying to avoid."

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