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Day & Night Nurse and Covonia cold and flu remedies are WITHDRAWN from UK market over health fears

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Day & Night Nurse and Covonia cold and flu remedies are being WITHDRAWN from UK market over health fears

  • The MHRA have withdrawn the medicines ‘as a precaution following a review’
  • The European Medicines Agency recommended their withdrawal 3 months ago 

Cold and flu remedies are being urgently pulled from shelves over fears they could be deadly.

Products being withdrawn include ones made by Day & Night Nurse and Covonia — as well as own-brand versions sold in Boots and Superdrug.

Medical regulators have withdrawn the medicines from the UK market ‘as a precaution following a review’, it emerged today. 

The review found the benefits of pholcodine-containing cough and cold medicines ‘do not outweigh the increased risk of the very rare event of anaphylaxis’. 

Pholcodine is mostly found in household cough syrups and the recall includes syrups and lozenges which are on shelves across the country. 

Medical regulators have withdrawn the medicines from the UK market ‘as a precaution following a review’, it emerged today

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which polices the safety of drugs used in Britain, was behind the review.

The MHRA said today there is evidence of an increased risk of anaphylaxis ‘in patients who receive general anaesthesia involving neuromuscular blocking agents during surgery’. 

It followed advice from the Commission on Human Medicines, which advises the Government on the safety, efficacy and quality of medicinal products, who said there is ‘sufficient overall evidence for an association with pholcodine’.

However, ‘the absolute risk of anaphylaxis remains very small in patients who have taken pholcodine’, the Commission confirmed. 

Currently it is thought to affect around 1 in 10,000 procedures. 

It comes as bosses at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended the medicine’s withdrawal from the EU market over three months ago in December 2022, following similar concerns. 

There is no increased risk of allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, with other allergens following pholcodine use, the MHRA confirmed today. 

‘The absolute risk in patients who have used pholcodine is very small, but patients should talk to a pharmacist, their GP or their surgical team if they have any questions,’ the watchdog added. 

Pholcodine-containing products are only available in the UK for purchase in a pharmacy. 

Patients taking cough medicine tablets and syrups are advised to check the medication’s packaging, label and patient information leaflet to see if pholcodine is a listed ingredient.

Those taking medicines including the drug should speak to a pharmacist who will suggest a different suitable medication. 

Dr Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, told MailOnline: ‘Pharmacies across the UK as regulated healthcare professionals take patient safety very seriously and as such will be acting on the MHRA guidance and notice to recall pholcodine products.

‘Pholcodine can be found in some common over the counter products for dry cough and cold symptoms.’ 

She added: ‘We would advise that patients and the public alike who require relief from such episodes of coughing and cold symptoms to contact their local pharmacy for advice. 

‘Alternative products are available for coughs and colds and your pharmacy teams are on hand to offer the most effective and appropriate advice to manage your symptoms.’

All Brits are urged to report any medicines side effects they notice to the Yellow Card Scheme. 

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