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Chlamydia drug made available without prescription

An oral antibiotic is to be made available for treating chlamydia without prescription for the first time.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency last week approved proposals to make the generic drug azithromycin available over-the-counter in pharmacists. The ruling applies to only one brand of the drug, made by Actavis UK and who will market it under the name Clamelle.

The oral antibiotic will be available to people 16 years and over if they have tested positive for chlamydia infection and have no symptoms, and for their sexual partners. Actavis is working with the National Pharmacy Association on training materials for pharmacists and a Clamelle-branded chlamydia testing kit.

Dr June Raine, MHRA director of vigilance and risk management of medicines, said, ‘Up to 70% of people who have chlamydia have no symptoms and could therefore remain undiagnosed. This means that they are at huge risk of serious long-term health complications, including infertility and ectopic pregnancy.

‘Today’s move means that symptom–free people diagnosed with Chlamydia and their partner will be able to get convenient effective treatment from their local pharmacy,’ she said.

Natika Halil, director of information at the Family Planning Association, said: ‘For people who are already testing themselves at home it is a really positive step forward that the treatment can now also be bought from pharmacies.

‘This service has the potential to play an important part in reducing rates of chlamydia,’ she said.

Readers' comments (1)

  • This is on the face of it a good idea, but people testing positive for Chlamydia really should be tested for every other STI, and if they come to professionals for that then the Partner Notification process means that more people who have potentially been at risk can be contacted and screened. Home testing and over the counter treatment will also skew the government figures which is important in the light of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme.

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