On 1st September 2020 Blackrock Pharmaceuticals limited (Blackrock) announced the UK launch of the first and only 300mg strength film-coated hydroxychloroquine tablets. You can read the press release in full HERE.
Until now, hydroxychloroquine has only been available in 200mg strength tablets in the UK. However, it has become clear through speaking with expert clinicians and patients that additional dosing options should be made available to allow accurate weight-based dosing for all patients.
Guidelines for hydroxychloroquine treatment recommend long-term doses do not exceed 6.5mg/kg/day ideal body weight, or 5mg/kg/day actual body weight to reduce the risk of hydroxychloroquine-induced retinopathy.
Commenting on this development, Professor Ian Bruce, Consultant Rheumatologist, Manchester
Royal Infirmary said: ‘’Availability of the new 300 mg dose hydroxychloroquine tablet will provide greater flexibility to accurately tailor doses for individual patients. It may also improve adherence which can be a challenge with more complex hydroxychloroquine dosing regimens’’
Paul Howard, Chief Executive of LUPUS UK said: “We welcome the introduction of the new 300mg strength hydroxychloroquine tablet which will increase options for people with lupus. We are aware that some people currently prescribed this dose are taking different amounts on alternate days or having to cut tablets to take the correct dose. We hope this tablet can improve their experience.”
Hydroxychloroquine is the mainstay of lupus treatment. It has been shown to reduce mortality and morbidity in systemic lupus erythematosus (Alarcon et al., 2007). It also has clear steroid-sparing properties even in patients with more severe disease and many experts advocate the use for all patients with SLE unless contraindicated (Amissah-Arthur and Gordon, 2010; van Vollenhoven et al., 2014).
Hydroxychloroquine has had a lot of media attention in 2020 due to interest in the drug as a potential treatment for COVID-19. You can read more about this HERE.
UPDATE 27TH OCTOBER 2020
We can confirm that the product is ‘live’ on the NHS central drug database (DM+D/EMC), and should therefore, also be visible on GP & pharmacy prescribing databases. Sometimes it takes a while for the local GP practices or CCGs to pull the most recent data through from the central database to their prescribing portal.
Pharmacists can order the product through either Alliance Healthcare or DE Pharma (wholesalers). All regional Alliance depots have stock, and this should be visible on your pharmacist’s Alliance portal ordering system. The pip code for this product is 123-9789.
If your GP or pharmacy is experiencing difficulty or requires more information, they can contact Blackrock Pharmaceuticals:
Phone: 0115 9890841