Magazine article Drug Topics

Counsel Patients on Terfenadine, ASHP Urges

Magazine article Drug Topics

Counsel Patients on Terfenadine, ASHP Urges

Article excerpt

Pharmacists are "professionally obligated" to tell patients and prescribers about alternatives to terfenadine and to discuss the Food & Drug Administration's safety concerns about the popular antihistamine. That is ASHP's stand and advice to pharmacists when presented with a new or renewed prescription or medication order for Seldane, Seldane D (terfenadine and pseudoephedrine), or generic terfenadine.

Last month, the FDA said it intended to take terfenadine products out of pharmacies because of the availability of a safer alternative, Allegra (Drug Topics, Jan. 20). The active ingredient in Allegra is fexofenadine, which is "the primary active derivative of terfenadine produced in the body when terfenadine is taken," the FDA said. Both branded products are made by Hoechst Marion Roussel of Kansas City, Mo. A generic version of Seldane is made by Ivax Inc. and marketed by Zenith Goldline Pharmaceuticals of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Until the FDA's action is final, the prescriptions may be prescribed and dispensed.

Pharmacists seeking more information about the proposed withdrawal have a number of places to turn. For R.Ph.s who have access to the Internet, ASHP and other national pharmacy associations have postings on their Web sites, as does the FDA. They have fax-on-demand services and will also field phone calls. None of the associations reported queries from members.

Interested patients also could surf the Net or call the FDA's hotline, 1-(800) 532-4440, and, after a series of menu choices, eventually speak to a consumer affairs representative. The FDA's Web site is http://www. fda.gov. The American Pharmaceutical Association's site is http://www. aphanet.org; ASHP's is http://www. ashp.com/pub/ashp/index.html, and the National Community Pharmacists Association 's is `www.ncpanet.org.

Seldane was approved by the FDA in 1985 as the first prescription antihistamine to relieve the symptoms of allergic rhinitis without causing drowsiness. …

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