Medicine Supply Notification: Antibiotics for the treatment of Group A Strep

Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has issued a medicine supply notification for Antibiotics for the treatment of Group A Strep.

MSN/2022/105

Tier 2 – medium impact

Date of issue 12th December 2022

  • Supplies of antibiotics for the treatment of Group A Strep have seen a surge in demand and may be temporarily in limited supply at certain wholesalers and pharmacies.
  • Supplies are available with manufacturers, and deliveries into wholesalers and pharmacies are being expedited and are expected in the coming days.
  • Guidance has been issued on what antibiotics can be used if first line treatment is not available and can be found at: NHS England » Group A streptococcus communications to clinicians.

Where antibiotic therapy is required for the treatment of suspected Strep A infection, clinicians and local pharmacy teams should:

  • Work together to understand the local availability of antibiotics, considering use of non-nominated electronic prescription tokens and considering the clinical information published at NHS England Group A streptococcus communications to clinicians (see Supporting Information); and
  • Order antibiotic stocks in line with patient demand during this time and avoid ordering excessive quantities
  • Note that tablet/capsules (rather than liquids) should be prescribed where possible

If the formulation of antibiotic prescribed is unavailable clinicians and local pharmacy teams should:

  • Consider prescribing an alternative form or strength of the antibiotic where appropriate, ensuring the patient is not intolerant to any of the excipients in the alternative and is counselled on the appropriate dose (and volume) required.

If the antibiotic prescribed is unavailable and other formulations are unsuitable, clinicians and local pharmacy teams should:

  • Consider prescribing an alternative antibiotic, if the first line option is unavailable, taking into account any allergies or intolerances and referring to national guidance (see supporting information below); and
  • If the above options are not considered appropriate, seek advice from specialists on management options.

Clinical Information
UKHSA and NHSE have developed updated clinical guidance on the management of patients with Group A Strep, this can be found here Group A streptococcus communications to clinicians.

Guidance on using solid oral dosage form antibiotics in children:
Children 5 years and above may be able to swallow tablets/capsules. Where children are unable to swallow oral solid dose forms, SPS have provided advice on how to give doses by dispersing or crushing tablets, or opening capsules. Use in this way is outside the product license (‘off-label’). Guidance on using solid oral dosage form antibiotics in children can be found here.

A copy of this medicine supply notification, including further information for pharmacy teams, has been sent to all pharmacy NHS email addresses.

DHSC and NHSE/I have now launched an online Medicines Supply Tool, which provides up to date information about medicine supply issues. The contents of these MSNs can now be viewed on the Tool.

The Tool also details any changes to resupply dates and updates to the entries.

To access the Tool you will need  an NHS email address. Once set up and logged in, you will be able to access it online.

New shortages not listed on the SPS website, can be reported using our shortage reporting tool.

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