A temporary regulation to manage an impending shortage due to extraordinary prescribing patterns of chloroquines observed during early phase of COVID-19 epidemic.

Kälkner K, Sundström A, Haverinen MJ, Nordback K, Arthurson V, Zethelius B, Ljung R

Ups J Med Sci 128 (-) - [2023-12-31; online 2023-12-31]

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (C/HC) received considerable international media attention due to anticipated treatment effect in COVID-19. This led to increased prescriptions threatening to generate product shortages for patients prescribed within approved indications.We evaluated effects of a temporary regulation mandating pharmacies to only dispense C/HC prescribed by physicians with defined specialties. Data from Region Stockholm, which include 2.4 out of 10 million Sweden's population, were used. Weekly time trends of prescriptions and requisitions of C/HC by prescriber's workplace during January to April 2020 were followed. Numbers of unique individuals with filled prescriptions of chloroquine increased tenfold and of hydroxychloroquine more than threefold from January to March. In the first week of April, filled prescriptions of C/HC dropped. In the later weeks of April, the number of filled prescriptions was back at similar levels as before the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.During January and February, specialists in rheumatology accounted for 686 out of all 979 prescriptions dispensed (70.1%) of C/HC. In March, a large proportion of prescriptions dispensed were from specialists not usually prescribing C/HC, and rheumatology accounted for 628 out of all 1,639 prescriptions (38.3%). In April, specialists in rheumatology accounted for 386 out of all 641 prescriptions dispensed (60.0%). After an observed increase in prescriptions of C/HC, a temporary regulation was introduced on 2nd April 2020 to reduce prescriptions from specialists not usually prescribing C/HC to avoid shortages for patients within approved indications. Subsequently, dispensed prescriptions decreased from April and remained at pre-COVID-19 levels thereafter.

Category: Other

Type: Journal article

PubMed 38188250

DOI 10.48101/ujms.v128.10033

Crossref 10.48101/ujms.v128.10033

pmc: PMC10770639
pii: 10033

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