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Patients face temporary shortage of antidepressant medication

PUBLISHED: 12:14 13 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:53 13 March 2020

Patients in Norfolk that have been prescribed the antidepressant, Sertraline, have raised concerns after having trouble obtaining their medication. Picture: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Patients in Norfolk that have been prescribed the antidepressant, Sertraline, have raised concerns after having trouble obtaining their medication. Picture: Julien Behal/PA Wire

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A health organisation has reassured users of an antidepressant that measures are in place during local temporary shortages.

Patients in Norfolk that have been prescribed the antidepressant, Sertraline, have raised concerns after having trouble obtaining their medication. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA WirePatients in Norfolk that have been prescribed the antidepressant, Sertraline, have raised concerns after having trouble obtaining their medication. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Patients in Norfolk that have been prescribed the antidepressant, Sertraline, have raised concerns after having trouble getting hold of their medication.

The Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Groups have confirmed a shortage of the 100mg medication, but are advising patients it is temporary.

Figures from NHS Digital show a total of 7,182 prescriptions were handed out for the drug in December 2019, 85 of which were in Norfolk.

A spokesperson from the CCG said: 'There appears to be a temporary shortage of Sertraline 100mg to our local wholesalers. However, patients can be given two 50mg tablets which are available in the meantime.

Patients in Norfolk that have been prescribed the antidepressant, Sertraline, have raised concerns after having trouble obtaining their medication. Picture: The Queen Elizabeth HospitalPatients in Norfolk that have been prescribed the antidepressant, Sertraline, have raised concerns after having trouble obtaining their medication. Picture: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

'These temporary shortages do sometimes occur and where possible a suitable alternative will be found. If anyone has any queries or concerns they should speak to their local pharmacist.'

Sertraline is used to treat depression, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder and a severe form of premenstrual syndrome.

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A 24-year-old man from Norwich, who takes the medication and did not want to be named, said: 'I put in an order with my pharmacy and waiting three days.

'When I went to pick-up my Sertraline staff said they didn't have an order for me yet. The pharmacy was able to give me an emergency packet but if it continues with more patients than stocks will decrease.

'It worries me as I can tell a difference in my mood when I haven't been able to take my tablet. I get heavily depressed and don't see the point in carrying on with life at times.

'I become incredibly anxious and just want to hide away from the world.'

When asked about shortages, Boots Pharmacy confirmed a 'manufacturing problem' with its usual supplier and were looking for another brand.

A spokesperson for Boots said: 'It is just a local issue in Norfolk, we are looking for another brand to replenish stock.

'It is nothing to do with the wider issue of coronavirus or Brexit.'

The CCG did not state if any other medicines were affected.

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