There is currently a “severe shortage” of a long-acting drug for people with schizophrenia. Psychiatrists are therefore advised not to temporarily start new treatments with the drug Zypadhera. Medicines authority CBG announced this on Thursday.
For the time being, the advice is to be frugal with the stock that is still available until the beginning of February. The drug is also currently only available to a limited extent in other countries, according to CBG. The agency cites “problems with production and distribution at the manufacturer” as the cause of the problem.
In 2021, 50,400 people in the Netherlands were registered with their GP with schizophrenia: 33,000 men and 17,400 women. Schizophrenia is a brain disorder in which a person suffers from psychosis. During psychosis, people hear, feel, taste or smell things that are not there. They are being fooled by their brains. For example, someone may think they are being spied on, while they are not.
Olanzapine, the active substance in Zypadhera, inhibits delusions and hallucinations. People who suffer from psychosis use the drug for six months to several years.
The drug is given by injection. It is still available in smaller doses for existing users. They will then receive a dose of 300 milligrams once every three weeks, instead of a dose of 405 milligrams every four weeks. This is stated in the temporary treatment advice from the National Medicines Coordination Center (LCG). That center speaks of a “structural availability problem” of the drug.
Due to the shortages, new patients will have to be prescribed different medications in the near future.