Remaining supplies of Phyllocontin Continus are expected to be exhausted by 30th March 2021 and those of Phyllocontin Forte Continus by 5th April 2021. No new patients should be initiated on either product.
Patients currently prescribed Phyllocontin will need to be contacted promptly to allow time to plan for treatment reviews and switching. Prescribers should seek support from specialists for patients with unstable asthma, and children should be referred to secondary or tertiary care to decide on further management.
Affected patients should be reviewed and their inhaled therapy optimised to determine if a methylxanthine is still required, given these drugs may be of minimal benefit and can have significant side-effects. Prescribers are advised to ensure an up-to-date asthma plan is in place, counsel the patient or patient’s carer not to interrupt inhaled corticosteroid medications and ask if a repeat prescription of steroid inhaler is required.
If continued treatment with a methylxanthine is deemed necessary, patients can be switched to theophylline tablets (Uniphyllin Continus), which are licensed for the same indications as Phyllocontin. This requires dose conversion and monitoring of plasma drug levels, guidance for which is provided in the DHSC's supply disruption alert.