MHRA update on carbimazole treatment in patients with acute pancreatitis

20 Feb 2019

The MHRA has issued a Drug Safety Update on carbimazole treatment which should be immediately and permanently stopped in patients with acute pancreatitis

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued a Drug Safety Update to all healthcare professionals, including community pharmacy teams, on the use of carbimazole in patients who develop acute pancreatitis. An EU review of post-marketing reports has shown an association between carbimazole (and it’s active metabolite, thiamazole) and acute pancreatitis.

Although no Yellow Card reports have been received in the last 55 years within the UK, the small number of reports from other countries suggests recurring acute pancreatitis, with a decreased time of onset, following carbimazole re-exposure through a possible immunological mechanism. Therefore, the MHRA advise that carbimazole treatment must be “immediately and permanently” stopped for any patient that develops acute pancreatitis. Carbimazole product information is being updated with this risk.


MHRA advice for healthcare professionals:

  • If acute pancreatitis occurs, carbimazole treatment must be immediately and permanently discontinued
  • Re-exposure to carbimazole must be avoided, as this may result in potentially life-threatening acute pancreatitis with a decreased time to onset
  • Alternative treatments should be considered on an individual patient-basis


Reporting drug reactions

The MHRA are reminding healthcare professionals to report all suspected adverse drug interactions (ADRs) to the Yellow Card Scheme – this is via the Yellow Card website or Yellow Card App available on iOS devices and Android devices


For further information on this or any other query, please contact the NPA Pharmacy Services team on 01727 891 800 or email

 Produced by the NPA Pharmacy Services team February 2019.