There will be ‘limited supplies’ of preserved dexamethasone (Maxidex®) 0.1% eye drops in a multi-dose container until early August, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced last week.  

Disrupted supply levels of the eye drops are the result of a ‘site transfer change,’ manufacturer — Novartis — has told the Pharmacist.  

Novartis said it expected supply levels to be disrupted for up to 'four weeks.'

‘We understand shortages such as these can cause uncertainty for patients and we are working hard together with the Department of Health and Social Care to minimise any potential impact.’ a spokesperson said. 

‘We encourage any patient affected by this shortage to speak with their doctor or pharmacist for information on alternative options.'

For this period, healthcare professionals will only be able to order directly from Novartis and will be subject to order limits to conserve the remaining stock, DHSC said. 

These order limits will be based on factors such as ‘prescriptions held, stock availability and order history’, according to the DHSC alert. 

The alert also explained that ‘alternative steroid eye drops remain available in a single dose and multidose containers and collectively can support an uplift in demand.'  

However, patients who are on long term treatment should be fully counselled if they are switched to alternative preparations.  

Alternative available steroid eye drops include:  

Betnesol (betamethasone) 0.1% eye drops 10ml – RPH Pharmaceuticals AB  

Vistamethasone (betamethasone) 0.1% eye drops 5ml and 10ml – Martindale Pharmaceuticals Ltd  

Pred Forte (prednisolone) 1% eye drops 5ml and 10ml – Allergan Ltd 

Alternative available dexamethasone 0.1% preservative-free products:  

Dexafree (dexamethasone) 1mg/1ml eye drops 0.4ml unit dose – Thea Pharmaceuticals Ltd 

Dropodex (dexamethasone) 0.1% eye drops 0.4ml unit dose – Rayner Pharmaceuticals Ltd 

Minims dexamethasone 0.1% eye drops 0.5ml unit dose – Bausch & Lomb (UK) Ltd 

Eythalm (dexamethasone) 1mg/ml eye drops 6ml – Aspire Pharma Ltd