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Dementia drugs warning

14 July 2011

Health professionals in Jersey are warning people who have dementia and their families of concerns over buying anti dementia drugs online without a medical prescription.

The warning comes from those who work with people with dementia and the Jersey Alzheimer’s Association who support them.

Dr Juan Melendez, a Psychiatrist at the Jersey Memory Clinic, said "There are several concerns surrounding the purchase of drugs online, and we would urge people not to do so. The online product has unknown origins. You could be buying it from a not licensed pharmacy, or not a pharmacy at all. Secondly, the item you buy online might not contain an active ingredient or contain a different one, and also it could contain a different dose to the one advertised.

"We would also ask people to take into account all the risks associated to buying without medical prescription such as interactions with other medicines and side effects, which in the case of Galantamine could be potentially serious if there is history of pre-existing heart disease, gastrointestinal ulcer/bleeding, severe lung disease, and other conditions. These drugs may not be approved by the the MHRA  (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority.) It is worth making people, once again, aware of the risks of buying without medical prescription."

Jo Cummins, manager of the Jersey Alzheimer’s Association added "It is concerning for us that one can buy this product online, and we would not want people to do this in order to self-prescribe. This could be worrying if the Memory Clinic has deemed that the drug is not suitable for a particular person, so we would urge people always to seek medical advice before taking any drug which claims to help stop Alzheimer’s."

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