Namenda Not Available Anywhere - Forest Labs Unconcerned

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Since mid July 2014 - critical shortage! This past month we have run into a critical shortage of an important Alzheimer medicine called Namenda, which the manufacturer is discontinuing the 5 and 10 mg versions to change over to their 'new' version Namenda XR. Unfortunately, they are supplying NEITHER version of this drug to pharmacies for over the 6 weeks, and the pharmacies are out! (Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Costco, RiteAid, Safeway, Giant, Target) MANUFACTURER: FOREST PHARMACEUTICALS. SUPPLIER: MCKESSON. Calling Forest Pharm is useless, they really don't seem to care about the critical shortage of this medication - it is a medication that once you stop it, you can NOT restart it!! That is critical!

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Verwon Says:

I'm not seeing anything about not being able to restart it, if it's stopped. Can you tell me where to find details on that?

The information I have just says that it must be restarted at the lowest dose and titrated up again, but not that it cannot be restarted.

As to the shortage, the company has stated that it is due to some type of manufacturing delay. If the drug is critical, then you may want to speak to your doctor about prescribing the liquid, in the meantime.

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Teresa Says:

Just found this out this morning when I went to fill my mom and my dad's prescriptions. I knew they were phasing out the regular Namenda and only planning to manufacture the XR. Since 28 mg XR is what both of my parents are on I didn't foresee a problem. So if they are ending the regular, why is the XR not available anywhere. I have been on the phone all day trying to find some. Now they are both being switched to the regular release instead of the XR. Only problem is that I wonder how long it will be available since they are ending manufacturing of this type. Next month will it be that we can't get either and I will have 2 parents off of their medication at once? This is the only medication that has worked for them and now we may not be able to get it. Yes, I am pretty upset!

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linnietea Says:

I'm sure this may sound bad...just recently the AM A has given physicians the green light to the conversation with patients about dying quicker,basically,the idea knocked around about death list or euthanasia is not just a psychotic delusion anymore.PLEASE :Google ask about AMA,Medicare and doctors encouraging people to make decisions.
it seems chronic illness,disease and unproductive people are being considered in the way,too costly.
Someone has forgotten,every life has value.

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Hilda Says:
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Don't know what I will do. My husband tried Namenda XR 28 mg. It caused incontinance that was unbelievable. So we started him back on the 10 mg twice a day and things got back to normal. This is the first I've heard of this.

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Stopping and restarting is not an option if you talk to the doctors (Geriatric Psychiatrists, Neurologists, et al). There are consequences to stopping/restarting.
What is lost during the 'down time' can not be recovered. Very detrimental!

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UPDATE: Namenda XR is scarce and Forest Labs is not able to catch up. Forest Labs (I have spoken with the several times in the past few weeks) claims:

1. XR is available and they are 'catching up' - not true, just ask any major pharmacy/pharmacist - they contact their suppliers who tell them none is available, and they have no date when it may be available

2. That they 'never' stopped the manufacture of the IR (old version) of Namenda - according to my sources, this is also untrue, they DID stop the manufacture and have turned to overseas manufacturers to get supplies. Many major pharmacies can not get/do not have the IR version either.

3. That it is "OK" to stop and restart Namenda (either version) - not true - there are consequences to this, and for Alzheimer's patients what they lose during this transition will never be regained. When you are fighting Alzheimer's - you fight for every precious moment, every chance that you have to try to curb this horrible disease. With Alzheimer's once any progress is lost, it is never regained, it is gone for ever, and so is that precious time.

CBS News ((WUSA channel 9, Washington DC) did a story about how greed was the motivation behind the discontinuance of the manufacture of Namenda IR just months before the patent on it was set to expire to force Namenda patients on to the new version, Namenda XR, so that by the time the original patent expired, and generics could be made, most if not all current Namenda patients would already be converted to Namenda XR. Sad state of affairs with vulnerable patients and their families/caretakers the victims of this corporate greed. I hope the FDA investigates!

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Kyle Says:

I share your frustration. My wife experienced side effects with Namenda (bronchitis that could not be controlled with other medications) but has had very positive results with Namenda XR. From the limited information available, the shortage appears to be industry generated. Unfortunately, it has major ramifications for families across our country but has received only limited coverage by news media. Yes, for those of us directly impacted and without a viable alternative, this may well be viewed as criminal. I assume, within due course, a legal suit will be initiated.

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Robert Says:

Forrest was unethical with their actions and their new med is actually unnecessary. Check out this blog:

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