GMB: Ranvir Singh suffering from hay fever concerning Richard
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The chemical in question is known as chlorphenamine maleate, a major component in hay fever medications such as Piriton and other remedies.
Chlorphenamine is a form of antihistamine.
The news comes at a time when forecasters have warned pollen counts will rise dramatically across England and Wales.
Already Piriton supplies have begun to run low at major pharmacy groups.
The problem has already caused ructions in Parliament with Conservative MP Caroline Nokes calling for a debate so “we can get the supplies we need”.
Meanwhile, health providers are recommending hay fever sufferers switch to other hay fever medication.
Other forms of antihistamine present in hay fever medication include:
Loratadine, cetirizine, fexofenadine and acrivastine are often recommended as hay fever medications containing these chemicals do not cause sleepiness.
The NHS says of the different medications: “There’s not much evidence to suggest any particular antihistamine is better than any other at relieving allergy symptoms.
“Some people find certain types work well for them and others do not.
“Non-drowsy antihistamines are generally the best option, as they’re less likely to make you feel sleepy. Ask a pharmacist for advice if you’re unsure as not all antihistamines are suitable for everyone.”
The shortage of chlorphenamine comes at a time when the UK is experiencing shortages of another medicine, albeit more gender orientated.
In recent months women have reported being unable to obtain sufficient doses of HRT (hormone replacement therapy).
The medication is used to alleviate symptoms of the menopause among women going through the symbolically and symptomatically difficult time.
Shortages in recent weeks have meant HRT has had to be rationed, at the moment women can only get three months’ worth of the therapy.
Amidst the shortage the government has appointed a HRT Tsar to address the situation.
Campaigners have criticised the government for moving slowly on this issue and not doing enough to help women affected.
Demand for HRT has risen in 2022 as high-profile campaigners such as Davina McCall and Penny Lancaster have worked to raise awareness.
So far, the reason for shortages of both medications remains unknown.
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