Wednesday, March 1, 2023
It can be concerning to hear that our Lumigan Eyelash Serum is an unlicensed (also called off-licence) medicine.
When a healthcare provider prescribes an unlicensed medicine or treatment, it doesn’t mean they’re going rogue.
Prescribers can use their professional judgement to safely prescribe unlicensed medicines if they feel it’s the best treatment for their patient.
It might sound like a medicine is being prescribed unethically or unsafely, but off-licence prescriptions are quite common. In some cases, they’re even the best treatment option.
The term unlicensed or off-license is used to describe medicines which are used outside the terms of their UK licence or that have no licence for use in the UK.
Before prescription medicines are introduced to the general public, they’re tested in clinical trials to make sure that they’re safe. These trials also test whether the medicine is effective at treating the condition it’s been designed for.
Researchers collect scientific evidence and set up guidelines for each new drug before the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) evaluates the data. It’s a complex and costly process that can take years, but once a drug is approved for a given use, it’s considered “licenced” for that specific use.
During the study phase, researchers may observe that the medicine is displaying other positive effects beyond just the intended condition. Although it’s not what the medicine was initially approved for, these are noted in the research and a healthcare professional may prescribe it for those bonus effects in the future.
When we prescribe an unlicensed medicine, it doesn’t mean it’s illegal, nor are you becoming part of some unknown experiment. There are plenty of good reasons for prescribing off-licence.
Why would we prescribe something unlicensed? This is our most common reason.
This is the main reason we offer unlicensed medicines at Oxford Online Pharmacy (we have a handful).
The NHS (the biggest purchaser of prescription medicines in the UK by miles) doesn’t offer prescription cosmetic treatments like lash treatments, botox or fillers so the manufacturers of these products have no real incentive to get them licensed for cosmetic use here in the UK.
The demand is probably seen as too small to spend the time and resource pursuing MHRA licensing.
In order for us to confidently prescribe Lumigan Eyelash Serum, our clinical team undertakes a thorough assessment. We look at the clinical evidence for the treatment, we consult with other experts in the field and we look for how the product is used or licensed elsewhere in the world.
For example, Lumigan Solution is a licensed prescription treatment for Eyelash Growth in the USA under the brand name Latisse, manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Allergan (the same company who make Lumigan).
Proper prescribing of an unlicensed medicine relies on the expertise of an experienced clinician who is familiar with the medicine and the condition being treated and is aware of any potential complications or interactions.
We are one of the UK’s leading providers of private prescription treatments with a customer base of thousands and a strong, expert clinical team at our heart. This is why we offer one of the broadest ranges of prescription treatments available online, including unlicensed medicines.
If you would like to speak to us about unlicensed medicines or to find out more about Lumigan Eyelash Serum, email us at [email protected] or call us on 01295