On 16 May 2019, EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) recommended that the marketing authorisations for fenspiride medicines be revoked, so the medicines can no longer be marketed in the EU. This follows a review that confirmed that these cough medicines could cause heart rhythm problems.
The PRAC considered all the available evidence in its review. This included cases of QT prolongation and torsades de pointes (abnormalities of the heart’s electrical activity that may lead to heart rhythm disturbances) in patients using these medicines, results of laboratory studies, data from published literature and stakeholder input.
Heart rhythm problems can be serious and occur suddenly, and it is not feasible to identify in advance the patients who may be at risk of these problems with fenspiride. In contrast, fenspiride medicines are used to treat non-serious cough. Therefore, the PRAC considered that these medicines should no longer be marketed.