Epilepsy New Zealand is pleased the Chief Coroner has announced an inquiry into four deaths linked to the anti-epileptic medication Logem, which contains the anticonvulsant drug lamotrigine.

Chief Executive, Ross Smith says “This will hopefully give people with epilepsy clarity sooner over whether the forced drug change to Logem was a factor in these tragic deaths.”

The new Medsafe warning released today that ‘Some medicines need to be prescribed by brand’ is also welcomed by Epilepsy New Zealand.

“Many in the epilepsy community have been calling for a tighter set of rules around brand switching and its very pleasing to see Medsafe refer to the MHRA guidelines”, said Mr Smith.

Under the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare produces Regulatory Agency) guidelines lamotrigine is considered a category 2 anti-seizure drug.

This states brand switching should be based on clinical judgement and consultation with patient and/or carer, taking into account factors such as seizure frequency and treatment history.

“This is not what happened in New Zealand with most people finding out about the brand change when they were at the pharmacy counter”.