Skip to main content

Organophosphates

Volume 712: debated on Tuesday 7 July 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what system is in place to alert medical practitioners and pharmacists to the effects of prescribing drugs that act on the acetylcholine system to individuals whose health has been affected by exposure to organophosphates. [HL4559]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many adverse reactions to drugs that act on the acetylcholine system have been reported to affect patients who have suffered ill health after exposure to organophosphates. [HL4560]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what research has been conducted into the effects of drugs that affect the acetylcholine system on patients who have reported illness following exposure to organophosphates. [HL4561]

Many drugs in different areas of medicine act on the acetylcholine system. The safety of all medicines is continually monitored by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Potential new safety issues are evaluated and new prescribing advice is issued to health professionals and patients as necessary. Information on the safe use of licensed medicines is available to health professionals and patients in the Summary of Product Characteristics and Patient Information Leaflet which are produced by the manufacturer and approved by the MHRA. Another important source of information on safe use of medicines is the British National Formulary.

Systems in place to inform health professionals of new information on the safety of medicines and new prescribing advice include the monthly bulletin from the MHRA, Drug Safety Update and, for urgent messages, the Central Alerting System, which cascades information to health professionals.

The yellow card scheme is the United Kingdom system for collecting and monitoring information on suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs). A search of the MHRA Sentinel database of ADR reports has not identified any reports of ADRs in individuals whose health has been affected by exposure to organophosphates. Reports submitted through the yellow card scheme would not necessarily contain information such as occupational exposure to organophosphates.

The MHRA is not aware of research into the effects of drugs that affect the acetylcholine system on patients who have reported illness following exposure to organophosphates. If, however, any new information emerges the MHRA will review it carefully and seek expert advice as necessary.