Dextropropoxyphene continues to draw attention, as we wait for Aspen Pharmacare to advise the healthcare industry about the new controls which are to commence on the 1st January 2014.

Aspen have advised that the Prescriber Confirmation forms, described in the updated Product Information, will be distributed to medical practitioners and dentists for completion (in quadruplicate) every time a new prescription for Di-Gesic® or Doloxene® is written. Prescribers should also be able to log in to the Aspen website and download forms for emergency use after the system is fully implemented.

The patient then takes two copies of the form, along with their prescription, to their chosen pharmacist, who applies another layer of assessment before filling the prescription, and filing the forms for two years. Repeat supplies will not require confirmation by the dispensing pharmacist.

Hospital inpatients are to be exempt from these requirements as they are adequately monitored while in care, but the full procedure must be followed if they need a new supply for discharge. As the Administrative Appeals Tribunal finding did not consider patients in other institutions such as aged care facilities, or correctional services, the full procedure must always be followed for these patients.

The controls are intended to meet the TGA conditions on supply of dextropropoxyphene to medically stable and fully informed patients that can’t use other analgesics, and that are not at risk of overdose (accidental or intentional).

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