MHRA and pharma industry to make Alzheimer’s medicines packaging more user-friendly

UK regulator expects days of the week to be clearly displayed on blister packs by June 2016

The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is working with the pharmaceutical industry to optimise the way medicines for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease are presented.

The medicines affected are galantamine, rivastigmine, donepezil and memantine.

All of these medicines will include the days of the week clearly on the blister packs, a small but important change that may help patients to retain independence in taking their medicines. It could also aid compliance with dosage regimens and ultimately maximise the efficacy of treatment for patients, the MHRA said.

'The MHRA has listened to the concerns of patients and will tailor the way in which the medicines we authorise are presented to the market to better meet their needs,' said Dr Sarah Branch, Deputy Director of MHRA’s Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines (VRMM) Division.

The MHRA expects the improved packaging to be introduced from June 2016.

George McNamara, Head of Policy at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: 'It’s great that the voices of people with dementia have been heard and much-needed action is being taken. Medication packaging can be confusing for people with dementia. Simple modifications, such as indicating the days of the week, or making the font clearer to read, can have huge implications for both the independence and the safety of people living with dementia.

'While it’s encouraging to see this change being implemented for dementia medication, nearly three-quarters of people with dementia are also living with other long-term illnesses. We would like to see other companies within the pharmaceutical industry following suit to create dementia-friendly medication packaging across the board.'

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