December 2019 Update

We’ve had an overwhelming response to our original article where we pointed out some common medications that Pharmacies were finding difficult to get a hold of. Since then many of these medications have no further issues expected. We’ve reassured many patients that there are indeed very good measures in place to prevent any ongoing issues or shortages. However, for some of the medication on the list you might need to be ready to switch to a different brand of generic for instance.

Brexit is on the horizon.

Are drugs shortages are on the horizon with Brexit looming?
Are drug shortages are on the horizon with Brexit looming?

The UK is currently set to leave the European Union, following a “Leave” result in the 2016 referendum. We don’t know yet exactly how this will pan out, although the likelihood of a no deal Brexit is looking increasingly likely. But how will this effect your prescriptions? There are already widespread reports of delays in Pharmacies due to unavailable medication, even for relatively common drugs. Many patients report being negatively affected by this, as drug shortages potentially endanger many.

For your information, we can share with you the following medications which our suppliers have expressed concern about, either because there are worries around availability or because the prices are already rising as a result of stockpiling; leading to real concerns over post-Brexit costs and supply.

Original List of Medication With Possible Supply Problems (UPDATED):

Acamprosate (Campral) – prescribed alongside counselling to treat alcohol dependence. *No further issues expected*
Aciclovir (Acyclovir) – an antiviral medication primarily used for the treatment of herpes simplex virus infections, chickenpox, and shingles. *No further issues expected*
Allopurinol – to decrease high blood uric acid levels. It is specifically used to prevent gout, prevent specific types of kidney stones and for the high uric acid levels that can occur with chemotherapy. *No further issues expected*
Amlodipine – is a medication used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and coronary artery disease. *No further issues expected, but your brands might be switched.*
Baclofen – to treat spasticity. It is used as a central nervous system depressant and skeletal muscle relaxant. *No further issues expected*
Bendroflumethiazide – used in the management of hypertension (high blood pressure). *No further issues expected*

Brinzolamide Eye Drops– used to treat ocular hypertension and open-angle glaucoma. *Generic version now available*
Calcipotriol ointment – for the treatment of psoriasis. *No further issues expected*
Candesartan – used for the treatment of hypertension and congestive heart failure. *No major issues expected, your brand might be switched*
Cetirizine – a second-generation antihistamine. *No further issues expected*
Citalopram – an antidepressant used to treat major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and social phobia. *No further issues expected*
Co-careldopa – used to manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. *No major issues expected, but short delays possible*
Co-codamol tablets – pain relief when ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen alone do not sufficiently relieve a patient’s symptoms. *No major issues expected, your brand might be switched*
Cyclizine – a medication used to treat and prevent nausea, vomiting and dizziness due to motion sickness or vertigo. *No major issues expected, your brand or formulation might be switched*
Desogestrel (Cerelle) – a progestin medication which is used in birth control pills for women. It is also used in the treatment of menopausal symptoms in women. *No further issues expected*
Dihydrocodeine – prescribed for pain or severe dyspnea. *No further issues expected*
Dispersible Aspirin tablets – to treat pain, fever, or inflammation. *Still supply issues, you might need to change to an alternative formulation*
Dosulepin (Prothiaden) – is used in the treatment of depression.*No major issues expected, your brand might be switched*
Doxycycline – an antibiotic used in the treatment of pneumonia, acne, chlamydia infections, early Lyme disease, cholera and syphilis. *No further issues expected*
Esomeprazole (Nexium) – a proton-pump inhibitor which reduces stomach acid. *No further issues expected*
Exemestane (Aromasin) – a medication used to treat breast cancer. *No major issues expected, your brand might be switched to generic*
Finasteride (Proscar/Propecia) – to treat an enlarged prostate or scalp hair loss in men. It can also be used to treat excessive hair growth in women and as a part of hormone therapy for transgender women. *1mg strength for hair loss is in low supply*
Glimepiride (Amaryl) – an anti-diabetic medication. *No major issues expected, but your brand might be switched*
Hydrocortisone – a steroid medicine that is used in the treatment of many different conditions, including allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, or lung disorders. *No further issues expected*
Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) – used for the prevention and treatment of certain types of malaria as well as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and porphyria cutanea tarda. *No major issues expected, but your brand might be switched*
Irbesartan – used for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure). *No major issues expected, but your brand might be switched*
Lansoprazole – to control the stomach’s production of gastric acid, effectively controlling pH inside the stomach. *No further issues expected*
Liquid Carbamazepine (Tegretol) – to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain, and schizophrenia. *No further issues expected*
Lisinopril – to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), heart failure, and after heart attacks. *No further issues expected*
Lofepramine (Gamanil/Lomont/Tymelyt) – a tricyclic antidepressant which is used to treat depression. *No major issues expected, but your brand might be switched*
Losartan (Cozaar) – used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). Other uses include for diabetic kidney disease, heart failure, and left ventricular enlargement. *No further issues expected*
Meloxicam (Mobic) – anti-inflammatory drug used to treat pain and inflammation in rheumatic diseases and osteoarthritis. *Supply issues still ongoing*
Metformin (Glucophage) – type 2 diabetes medication. *Supply issues possible due to medication recalls, brands might be switched.*
Metoclopramide – commonly used to treat and prevent nausea and vomiting, to help with emptying of the stomach in people with delayed stomach emptying, gastroenteritis and to help with gastroesophageal reflux disease. It is also used to treat migraine headaches. *No major issues expected, but your brand might be switched*
Metronidazole (Flagyl) – used either alone or with other antibiotics to treat pelvic inflammatory disease, endocarditis, and bacterial vaginosis. *No major issues expected, but your brand might be switched*
Naproxen (Naprosyn) – an anti-inflammatory used to treat pain, menstrual cramps, inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and fever. *No major issues expected, but your brand might be switched*
Nebivolol – used for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure). *No further issues expected*
Nifedipine (Adalat) – used to manage angina, hypertension (high blood pressure), Raynaud’s phenomenon, and premature labour. *No major issues expected, but your brand might be switched*
Nortriptyline – used to treat clinical depression. Another licensed use for it is in the treatment of childhood bedwetting. *No further issues expected*
Olanzapine (Zyprexa) – an antipsychotic primarily used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. *No further issues expected*
Olmesartan – used for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure). *No further issues expected*
Omeprazole – is a medication used in the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcer disease, and Zollinger–Ellison syndrome. *No further issues expected*
Oxybutynin – to relieve urinary and bladder difficulties, including frequent urination and inability to control urination, by decreasing muscle spasms of the bladder. It is also given to help with symptoms associated with kidney stones. *No further issues expected*
Prednisolone – a steroid medication used to treat certain types of allergies, inflammatory conditions, autoimmune disorders, and cancers. *No further issues expected*
Pregabalin (Lyrica) – used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, and generalized anxiety disorder. *No major issues expected, but your brand might be switched*
Quetiapine (Seroquel) – an antipsychotic used for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. *No further issues expected*
Rasagiline – used as a monotherapy to treat symptoms in early Parkinson’s disease or as an adjunct therapy in more advanced cases. *No further issues expected*
Ramipril  – used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. *No further issues expected*
Risperidone (Risperdal) – an antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability associated with autism. *No major issues expected, but your brand might be switched*
Ropinirole – used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome. *No further issues expected*
Sertraline (Zoloft) – an antidepressant medication used to treat major depressive disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and social anxiety disorder. *No major issues expected, but your brand might be switched*
Sildenafil (Viagra) – used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension. *No further issues expected*
Sodium valproate (or valproate sodium) – an anticonvulsant used in the treatment of epilepsy, anorexia nervosa, panic attack, anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, migraine and bipolar disorder, as well as other psychiatric conditions requiring the administration of a mood stabiliser. *Your brand might be switched*
Sotalol – to treat abnormal heart rhythms. *No major issues expected, but your brand might be switched*
Tamsulosin (Flomax) – for symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia, chronic prostatitis, and to help with the passage of kidney stones. *No further issues expected*
Telmisartan – used in the management of hypertension (high blood pressure). *No further issues expected*
Tibolone – for menopausal hormone therapy and in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis and endometriosis. *No further issues expected*
Valsartan – mainly used for treatment of high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and to increase the chances of living longer after a heart attack. *No further issues expected*
Venlafaxine (Effexor) – an antidepressant medication used to treat major depressive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social phobia. *No major issues expected, but your brand might be switched*
Zopiclone – used in the treatment of insomnia. *No further issues expected*

Any medication to add to the list?

These medications are in low supply at the moment:

  • Estroderm Patches
  • Evorel Patches
  • Loestrin Tablets

Who are we and how do we know?

This list was compiled from our most up to date information from our UK suppliers and is not exhaustive. These are the same pharmaceutical suppliers that supply all NHS hospitals and GP surgeries. e-Surgery is an online Pharmacy service covering the whole of the UK. Our mission is to make online healthcare accessible for everyone.

My medication is on the list! Should I be worried?

No, the government has put in place a number of precautions to prevent medication shortages regardless of what happens during Brexit. However, make sure to voice your concerns to your local Pharmacist. They’re a fantastic resource and can give you more up to date information on any medication that might be an issue and in case of any delays in obtaining them will know exactly what to do.

If you have any more questions about medication availability, fill out the form below and we’ll do our best to help. Have a healthcare related question and want to ask a professional? If ever in doubt check out our completely free Ask-a-Pharmacist service! Our aim is to make sure that you have access to the medical professionals you need in order to make informed decisions about your health. Your Health, Your Way.

Who are we?

e-Surgery is the first fully sustainable online Pharmacy. We offer treatments for common health problems, delivered to your door in 100% recyclable packaging. We also offer a completely free of charge Ask-a-Pharmacist service to help answer any of your health related questions.