Paxlovid and Epilepsy Medications
According to Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company responsible for making Paxlovid, the newly approved treatment medication for COVID, individuals who are taking carbamazepine, phenobarbital, or phenytoin, used to treat seizures (epilepsy), should not take Paxlovid. Please see section 2 – Contradictions of Pfizer’s Product Monograph Including Patient Medication Information document for more details.
There are no reported drug shortages at this time but many people are concerned about the possibility of potential drug shortages in the future.
We will be closely monitoring the drug shortages database and Epilepsy Toronto, along with other community epilepsy agencies are working with the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance and Canadian League Against Epilepsy to help put a resource plan in places in the event that shortages occur in the future.
Here is some useful information about what is happening to prevent shortages and how to respond if they do occur in the future.
With the supply of many drugs and medications having stabilized in the province, the Ontario government is lifting the recommended 30-day supply limit for dispensing Ontario Drug Benefit program medications. Effective June 15, 2020.
The Drug Shortage Database
The drug shortage database is a helpful tool for monitoring the drug supply. However, drugs can appear on the database for many reasons and just because a drug is listed does not necessarily mean it is unavailable.
In fact, over the last few years, there have been approximately 30 epilepsy drugs listed on the database at any time, but those drugs are still available to patients. We are monitoring the database for signs of more significant shortages, such as when the same drug is listed by multiple producers. If that happens, local community epilepsy agencies will be alerted.
If You Can’t Get A Refill…
If you can’t get a refill from your usual pharmacy, start by asking your pharmacist some questions:
1. Are you able to get a 30-day refill, even if that is smaller than your normal refill?
2. If you can’t get a 30-day refill, is there another nearby store in their chain that can fill
3. Do they know when they will be able to fill your prescription?
If your regular pharmacist can’t fill your prescription, try a local pharmacy from a different chain. If you’ve tried 2 different pharmacies and still can’t fill your prescription, let your local Community Epilepsy Agency know.
Remember, never skip doses or adjust your dosage without consulting the doctor who prescribed the medication.
Epilepsy Medication and COVID-19 Webinar
Still have questions? We hosted a webinar discussion with clinical pharmacist, Laura Wang, and neurologist, Dr. Bercovici, about epilepsy medications during COVID-19. You can watch the full webinar below.