Healthcare professionals should work with pharmacists to ensure no new patients are started on Zyban (bupropion hydrochloride) 150mg “until the supply disruption is resolved”, according to a supply disruption alert issued by the DH last week (May 29). The supply issue is caused by “a manufacturing site transfer”, which means the product is expected to be unavailable from June 15 until the end of November, the DH said.
Patients taking Zyban 150mg as a smoking cessation treatment can be switched to a Champix (varenicline tartrate) formulation, which is available.
The DH said “unlicensed supplies of bupropion 150mg prolonged release tablets have been sourced” and that prescribers should “consider” prescribing these “if appropriate”. However, these cannot be issued against a patient group direction (PGD), it highlighted. When prescribing these products, UK prescribers must specify on the FP10 prescription that an unlicensed product is required.
Other nicotine replacement therapies are also available, the DH added.
A GSK spokesperson told C+D today (June 2) that the cause of the unavailability of the drug is the search for a new active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) supplier for Zyban. “A request for further information has been received. Given this extended approval period, our existing stock levels have not been able to cover the complete transition,” they said. “As soon as approval is granted, however, we have packs ready for supply.”
Zyban 150mg is also prescribed for treatment-resistant depression, but only “rarely”. Patients prescribed the medication for this reason should “be referred to their secondary care specialist for individual review if unlicensed supplies are not considered appropriate”, the DH said.