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  1. Andrew Wilcock1 and
  2. Sarah Charlesworth2
  1. 1 Department of Palliative Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2 Hayward House Study Centre,, Nottingham University Hospitals, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Sarah Charlesworth, Hayward House Study Centre,, Nottingham University Hospitals, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK; s.charlesworth{at}

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The website has provided essential independent information about drugs used in palliative and hospice care since 2000, and has over 37 000 members from 153 countries. It contains the online Palliative Care Formulary (PCF) and provides free access to a Bulletin board to stimulate questions and share experiences, a Document library containing 475 items of useful information and a Syringe Driver Survey Database containing details of over 2350 different drug combinations. The UK Palliative Care Formulary 6th edition (book and online version) and Introducing Palliative Care 5th edition can also be purchased via the website. This feature provides a selection of items that have featured in the News and Latest additions sections in recent months; for additional information, please register for free on the website.

Safety updates

Gabapentin: risk of severe respiratory depression

The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has highlighted a rare risk of severe respiratory depression in patients taking gabapentin even without concomitant opioids. Dose adjustments may be necessary in patients at higher risk of respiratory depression, including the elderly, those with compromised respiratory function, respiratory or neurological disease, renal impairment or taking other central nervous system depressants. This advice follows a European review and the UK product information for gabapentin is being updated.

Recombinant human erythropoietins: risk of severe cutaneous adverse reactions

MHRA has highlighted a very rare risk of severe cutaneous reactions in patients treated with any recombinant human erythropoietin. The UK product information is being updated.

Solu-medrone 40 mg: do not use in cows’ milk allergy

Solu-Medrone 40 mg (methylprednisolone injection) uses lactose produced from cows’ milk as an excipient and may contain trace amounts of milk proteins. It should not be used in patients with a known or suspected allergy to cows’ milk, as serious allergic reactions have been reported.

Other strengths of Solu-Medrone do not contain lactose. Lactose-containing methylprednisolone medicines in the UK will be reformulated to remove any trace of milk proteins. Companies have been asked …

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