Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 22nd October 2018.

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Photo of Darren Jones Darren Jones Labour, Bristol North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there are plans to review guidance on the licensing and availability of co-proxamol.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

There are currently no plans to review the licensing or availability of co-proxamol.

Co-proxamol is a combination of paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene which was licensed for the treatment of pain.

In 2004, the safety of co-proxamol was reviewed and it was concluded that the benefits of co-proxamol did not outweigh the risks of accidental overdose and death and that co-proxamol should be withdrawn from the market. All licences in the United Kingdom were cancelled by the end of 2007.

This was communicated to healthcare professionals in January 2005 with reminders in 2007 and 2011. Where possible existing patients were to be switched to alternative pain medication and no new patients should have been prescribed co-proxamol. It remains the case that co-proxamol is an item that should not be routinely dispensed in primary care following NHS England guidance.

As an unlicensed medicine, co-proxamol can be prescribed on a named patient basis if it is judged to be the most appropriate treatment by the prescribing doctor.

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