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Heart patients on alert, life-saving drugs nowhere to be found

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Heart patients on alert, life-saving drugs nowhere to be found

Heart Patients in Italy Face Shortage of Life-Saving Drugs

In Cremona, heart patients are facing a dire situation as two life-saving antiarrhythmic drugs, Nadolol and Mexiletine, are no longer available in pharmacies. This shortage has prompted urgent calls for intervention from the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA).

According to Professor Giuseppe Inama, head of the Cardiology Operational Unit at the Daughters of San Camillo, the department is inundated with continuous and concerning phone calls from patients. AIFA has communicated that due to production problems, Nadolol 80 mg in tablets is in short supply and will be distributed on a quota basis until January 1, 2024. From January 2 to March 8, 2024, the medicine will be totally unavailable. Additionally, the Military Chemical Pharmaceutical Plant of Florence has ceased production of Mexiletine.

In response to the shortage, patients have been referred to private pharmacies in Pavia and Reggio Emilia, where the galenic drug is available at a high cost that is not reimbursable. The director of Asst pharmacies, Andrea Machiavelli, emphasized the increase in expenditure for patients who have to resort to galenic preparations or purchase the drugs abroad at their own expense.

Machiavelli also stressed that the direct distribution of Nadolol and Mexiletine in tablets ensured by Asst hospital pharmacies only applies to specific patients assisted for the prevention of arrhythmias in patients affected by Long QT Syndrome (LQTS). He expressed concerns that even with the quantities recovered, the hospital pharmacies are not able to meet the needs of all patients who normally rely on pharmacies for the drugs.

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Both Inama and Machiavelli are urging AIFA to intervene and obtain these life-saving drugs to address the shortage and prevent further strain on patients and hospital resources.

The situation has left many heart patients in Italy in a state of uncertainty and anxiety as they are unable to access vital medications needed to maintain their health. The urgency of the situation calls for swift action from AIFA to rectify the shortage and ensure the availability of these critical medications for all patients in need.

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