Prescribing of Rilutek (Riluzole) – what you need to know.

Claire Reilly

MND Community & Research Advisor Dr. Claire Reilly explains best practice when being prescribed Rilutek (Riluzole).

Riluzole is the only drug funded for the treatment of MND in New Zealand.

Recently it has come to our attention that some of our clients have been prescribed the drug Riluzole (trade name “Rilutek”) by their general practitioner.

Under the Medicines Act 1981, Rilutek can only be prescribed by specialist physicians who care for patients with Motor Neurone Disease, neurologists and palliative care physicians. This includes repeat prescriptions.
Your pharmacist should only dispense Rilutek if it has been prescribed by a specialist physician who cares for people with Motor Neurone Disease.

The confusion by GP’s probably arises as a result of differences between the funding requirements for Riluzole (requiring a GP special authority script) and the prescribing requirements (Medsafe, where it is restricted to specialists only).

We believe that this situation is confusing for our clients and their health professionals, and unworkable in practice. Given that Rilutek is due to be reviewed by Medsafe in May of this year, we are working with specialists to request this situation be reviewed.

Until then you will need to work with your specialist to ensure that you have the correct prescription, and an adequate supply of Rilutek if you are currently taking it. 

We will let you know about any future changes on our website and Facebook.
Please talk to your support worker if you have any questions or require further information or email: claire.reilly@mnd.org.nz

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