The supplier of lorazepam 1 mg tablets (brand name Ativan) has notified Pharmac of a supply issue affecting this medicine. There is currently a two-week supply or lorazepam 1 mg tablets in Aotearoa New Zealand. The supplier has advised Pharmac that supply is not expected to resume until early to mid-August 2022.
What Pharmac is doing
Pharmac is going to help distribute the remaining supply of lorazepam 1 mg tablets as fairly as possible throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, they have asked pharmacists to dispense a maximum of 7 days’ supply at a time. This limit will be in place until 31 August 2022.
Pharmac is working to secure stock of lorazepam 1 mg tablets from a different supplier. Due to complexities with import and export licenses that affect controlled drugs such as lorazepam, they are not able to provide a firm timeframe for resupply at this stage.
Pharmac's clinical advisors have advised that most patients use lorazepam for short periods of time. They have also advised that alternative funded treatments might be suitable for some patients. These may include diazepam and clonazepam.
Some clinicians may consider temporarily transitioning patients to half a 2.5 mg tablet, although this represents a 25 per cent increase in dose-per-tablet. (The 2.5mg tablets are scored for simpler halving.) This will require a new prescription.
Actions for healthcare professionals
For further information see the medicine notices section of the Pharmac website which will be kept up to date with information about this supply issue when this becomes available.