PHARMAC to widen access to the exceptional circumstances process for lamotrigine

Media release Medicines

Patients taking lamotrigine who have concerns about the change can talk with their doctor about remaining on their current brand as PHARMAC has widened the criteria for lamotrigine exceptional circumstances.

“We know that there is a high level of anxiety among people on lamotrigine and their families,” explains Dr Ken Clark, PHARMAC’s medical director.

“We understand the news of the three deaths of patients taking lamotrigine will concern people. We don’t know if this linked to the brand change – and we don’t want people to stop taking their medication out of fear so we’re making it easier for people to stay on their current brand if their doctor believes it is the right thing for them.”

PHARMAC will continue to fund the brand those people are currently on or were originally on before the change through the exceptional circumstances process.

“I want to reassure those people who have already changed to Logem – over 8,000 people – that Logem works in the same way as the other two lamotrigine brands.

“We made the decision to go to a single brand of lamotrigine because the advice of our expert clinical advisors said it was appropriate, and they are still supportive of the sole supply arrangement.”

Logem has been approved for use in New Zealand by Medsafe, the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority, who are responsible for ensuring the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines. It is used widely overseas, including in Australia, Canada, Germany, UK, Spain, France and the Netherlands.

“If people have concerns, we encourage them to talk to their doctor. Their doctor can apply to PHARMAC, through our exceptional circumstances process, for continued funding of the brand they took before the funding change,” concludes Dr Clark.

> Further information about the lamotrigine brand change