Losartan, a drug used in particular against high blood pressure, is the subject of supply difficulties in France. Pharmacists will exceptionally be able to substitute other treatments based on similar molecules in the coming months. A temporary measure.
“Supply tensions are currently impacting the availability of drugs based on losartan and losartan / hydrochlorothiazide”, the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) said on Wednesday. These treatments fight high blood pressure. More broadly, they are also prescribed for heart failure and to prevent kidney failure in diabetics.
The stock problem stems from the fact thatan unwanted substance, “An azide-type impurity”, has been detected in some batches of medicinal products. The laboratories concerned, not identified by the ANSM, have blocked or recalled them, thus reducing the offer to pharmacists. “Investigations are underway at European level to find out if this impurity is mutagenic”, that is to say if it has effects or not on the action of the drug, specifies the agency.
Replaced by the sartans.
In the meantime, pharmacists will be able in the coming months to distribute, instead of losartan, drugs based on molecules of the same family, sartans. This measure, taken “On an exceptional and temporary basis”, will apply if the patient gives the pharmacist a prescription for losartan, if it is not in stock and if the patient cannot see their doctor immediately.
“These recommendations are applicable in this context of tension and until a return to a satisfactory level of supply of losartan, potentially at the beginning of 2022”, specifies the ANSM. “Switching from treatment with losartan to another medicinal product of the sartans class is possible regardless of the indication in which it is used”, she concludes. “However, dose adjustment or a change in treatment should be considered with the patient if the patient experiences symptoms related to the change in medication. “
Since 2018, supply difficulties have regularly hit other drugs in the sartan class, based on a molecule called valsartan, due to the presence of impurities.