Disruption to the supply of remifentanil

Published 08/06/2022

The Association of Anaesthetists, Royal College of Anaesthetists, Intensive Care Society and Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine have been informed by NHS England of an impending disruption to the supply of all ampoule sizes of remifentanil.

Trusts will only be able to order an allocated amount (to be communicated to Trusts individually) to ensure equity of supply of the remaining stock. The four organisations are agreed that urgent action should therefore be taken by clinicians, pharmacists and managers to preserve supplies of remifentanil for use for priority indications.

Decisions on limitations of remifentanil usage and the priorities for its administration should be taken locally after discussion between anaesthetists, intensivists and others involved in sedation, critical care and anaesthesia in operating theatres, adult critical care facilities and elsewhere, e.g. paediatric intensive care units, neonatal intensive care units, and emergency, radiology, endoscopy and cardiology departments.

Any decisions about the use of ampoules of remifentanil for multiple patients should only be taken after discussion with Trust pharmacy and aseptic unit managers following a local risk assessment.

Healthcare professionals with an nhs.net email address can access a Medicines Supply Notification on this issue via the Medicines Supply Tool on the Specialist Pharmacy Service website.