The serious shortage protocol (SSP) for the 10mg tablets of fluoxetine has been extended again, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said.

The SSP is now due to expire on 13 May 2022, after previously being expected to expire on 11 February.

The 10mg formula of fluoxetine has been in and out of the SSP list for three years.

Other formulations of the antidepressant have been placed under SSP since the mechanism, which aimed to mitigate the impact of medicine drug shortages, was introduced in 2019.

However, the 10mg tablets are the only ones that have remained under the mechanism after the SSP for the 30mg capsules was lifted in June last year.

Under the protocol, pharmacists can supply an alternative of a 10mg fluoxetine capsule instead of the tablet formulation.

In the protocol documents, the DHSC has said: 'Pharmacists are not able to deviate from the recommendations on what to supply to patients as outlined in the SSP for fluoxetine 10mg tablets. However, if pharmacists think that an alternative product not listed in the SSP would be suitable for the
patient, they should either contact the prescriber to discuss this (with the patient’s consent) or direct the patient back to the prescriber.'

A full list of SSPs can be found on the NHS Business Services Authority website.