AUGUST 22, 2016
Status as of August 10, 2016:
- The sole manufacturer of vigabatrin is currently out-of-stock
- The major Canadian distributors we have contacted have either very low levels of inventory or have no
- Some pharmacies still have vigabatrin in inventory
- Lundbeck LLC posted a drug shortage notice on drugshortages.ca on August 9. The reason given for
the shortage is “Unexpected manufacturing delays”.
- Both the tablets and the powder formulation (sachets) are listed on the drugshortages.ca reporting
o 500 mg Sabril tablets, drug identification number 02065819, estimated resupply date: Sept. 1
o 500 mg Sabril powder, drug identification number 02068036, estimated resupply date: Sept. 1
What is this drug used for?
The main clinical use of this drug is to treat infantile spasms. Vigabatrin is typically the first-line therapy for this
severe, infant-onset epilepsy.
Infantile spasms are brief seizures, lasting 1-2 seconds, often occurring in clusters of about 20 but up to 100
spasms can occur at a time. During a day, a child can have dozens of these seizure clusters.
Children with infantile spasms tend to experience developmental regression after the seizures begin. Infantile
spasms is classified as an epileptic encephalopathy, a condition in which the seizures and EEG abnormalities
cause deterioration in brain function. Stopping the seizures and the abnormal electrographic activity
(hypsarrhythmia) as soon as possible is crucial in order to achieve the best possible long-term outcome for these
Hormonal therapy, such as synthetic ACTH (Synacthen Depot) or high dose prednisolone, are other options that
epilepsy specialists may use to treat infantile spasms.
In adult neurology, vigabatrin is used very infrequently. However, there are small numbers of adults with epilepsy
who are on this drug. Its use is likely an indication that the person has seizures that are difficult to control and that
they have tried multiple antiseizure drugs in the past.
If you are currently taking Vigabatrin:
- If you are in need of a refill of your medication during the month of August or the first week of September, please contact your local pharmacy immediately to inquire about the availability of your medication
- Contact your health care provider right away to discuss treatment plans should the pharmacy be unable to refill your prescription