Following the recent recommendation by the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC), the Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures – Human (CMDh) has endorsed by majority the PRAC recommendation to suspend the marketing authorisations of tetrazepam-containing medicines across the European Union (EU). The CMDh, a body representing EU Member States, is responsible for ensuring harmonised safety standards for medicines authorised via national marketing authorisation procedures across the EU. Tetrazepam, a medicine of the benzodiazepine class, is used in several EU Member States to treat painful contractures (such as in low back pain and neck pain) and spasticity (excessive stiffness of muscles).
The CMDh position will now be sent to the European Commission, which will take a legally binding decision throughout the EU.
The review of tetrazepam was triggered by the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicine and Health Products (ANSM), following reports of serious skin reactions with this medicine in France. Having assessed all available data on the risk of skin reactions, including post-marketing data in the EU and the published literature, the PRAC concluded that tetrazepam is associated with a low but increased risk of serious skin reactions (including Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis and DRESS syndrome) compared with other benzodiazepines. The Committee also noted that, in the light of the risks identified, the available data on the effectiveness of tetrazepam were not sufficiently robust to support its use in the authorised indications.
The CMDh agreed with the PRAC conclusion that the benefits of these medicines do not outweigh their risks, and adopted a final position that the marketing authorisations should be suspended throughout the EU.
The suspension of the marketing authorisations can be lifted if the companies that market these medicines provide data identifying a specific group of patients for whom the benefits of tetrazepam-containing medicines outweigh the risks.