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Clonidine 300microgram tablets to be discontinued

21st June 2011

Clonidine 300microgram tablets (Catapres, Boehringer Ingelheim 01344 742579) are to be discontinued in October 2011 in the UK. The 100microgram tablets (Catapres, Boehringer Ingelheim) and the 25microgram tablets (Dixarit, Boehringer Ingelheim) will remain available.

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Bisphosphonates and atypical femoral fractures

14th June 2011

The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human use (CHMP) has concluded that rare atypical femoral fractures are a class effect of bisphosphonates.

Atypical femoral fractures have been reported rarely and mainly in patients receiving long-term treatment for osteoporosis. The overall benefits of bisphosphonates in their licensed indications continues to outweigh their risks. Patients on bisphosphonates should be advised to report any hip, thigh or groin pain.

For further information on the key findings of the EMEA review and guidance to healthcare professionals, see the links below.

MHRA Drug Safety Update June 2011
EMEA press release

Risk assessment tool to support NPSA RRR on loading doses

14th June 2011

Following the NPSA Rapid Response Report (RRR) on loading doses (see our news item 11-01-2011), the UK Medicines Information network (UKMi) has produced a tool to support organisations implement the risk assessment and prevent duplication of effort. The tool identifies the majority of medicines in routine clinical practice for which a loading dose is given, rates the severity of the consequence if that medicine was omitted or continued inadvertently, and provides a framework for assessment and response. The deadline for implementation of the RRR is 25-11-2011.

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PCF Update: antipsychotics monograph

14th June 2011

The antipsychotics monograph has been fully updated and has been published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (JPSM) as a therapeutic review. This version supersedes the PCF3 (first print, 2007) and the website version (dated June, 2008).


Howard P et al (2011) Therapeutic Reviews: Antipsychotics. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 41: 956-965.


This is the 5th therapeutic review in a series in the JPSM. Previous updated monographs include octreotide (July 2010), propofol (September 2010), psychostimulants (November 2010) and thalidomide (February 2011). The updated octreotide monograph was the top article downloaded from the JPSM website in 2010.

Look out for more updated monographs in the therapeutic reviews section in the coming months e.g. ketamine.

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BMJ Group launches new international supportive and palliative care journal

9th June 2011

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) group has sent us the following press release:


Launched by BMJ Group in April 2011, BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care aims to promote a global exchange of research-based evidence and innovative practice across many disciplines and specialties.

The journal will publish articles that are relevant to clinical practice and clinical service development; including transitional research, clinical trials, epidemiology, behavioural sciences, health service research, ethics, reviews, and comment. Content is published continuously online (quarterly in print) and there is a regularly updated blog including content from as well as news, research highlights from other journals and events.

We welcome submissions from all areas of supportive and palliative care and can offer rapid peer review and immediate online publication of accepted articles. Your work will receive wide international exposure as the website will be free in 2011 to subscribers to any BMJ Journal including the BMJ itself. You can find author guidance online. You should also sign up for our content alerts so you don’t miss anything.


The Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Australia & New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine have officially adopted the title.

If you have any questions feel free to contact us


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Risks of opioid prescribing, analysis of US practice and harm

9th June 2011

A recent issue of the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA, issue 305) has featured several articles on opioid prescribing in the US and makes recommendations aimed at reducing fatal overdoses and diversion for illicit use:


  • Bohnert A et al. Association between opioid prescribing patterns and opioid overdose related deaths
  • Volkow N et al. Characteristics of opioid prescriptions in 2009
  • Volkow N et al. Curtailing diversion and abuse of opioid analgesics without jeopardising pain treatment

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