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Hay fever drug to become prescription only

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7090.1297d (Published 03 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1297
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. BMJ

    The hay fever treatment terfenadine is to become a prescription only medicine in Britain after concerns about its safety.

    The Committee on Safety of Medicines said that when terfenadine is used as recommended it has a good safety record, but when it is taken by patients with heart or liver disease, in overdose, or with drugs which interact it can produce serious or even fatal cardiac arrhythmias. There have been 33 serious cardiac arrhythmias, including 14 deaths linked with taking the drug, most of them since the committee first issued warnings in 1992.

    Terfenadine is one of the most widley used hay fever treatments.

    MARK CLARKE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

    In the past couple of months …

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