The Sunday Times recently highlighted concerns about the genetic effects of sodium valproate on men now being considered by MHRA.
NHS Digital's registry for valproate only records the numbers of women. They have told me that the BSA holds this data.
Can the BSA please let me know how many patients in total are being prescribed valproate for the latest period, and going back three years?
Can this also then be split into male and female patients?
Can you say how many patients are prescribed valproate by condition, ie epilepsy, bipolar etc, split by male and female.
Can this data be provided by NHS region or CCG.
I have established that the information you requested on patient condition is not held by the NHS Business Services Authority. No data is captured relating to the clinical indication a prescription is intended for. Some of these products can be used for a variety of clinical indications and therefore the drugs prescribed may have been prescribed for a different condition.
A copy of the information is attached.
NHSBSA Information Services Data Warehouse
May 2019 to April 2022
NHSBSA Prescription Services process prescriptions and the information is then used to make payments to pharmacists and appliance contractors (in England) for prescriptions dispensed in primary care settings. This involves processing approximately 1 billion prescription items and payments totalling over £9 billion each year. The information gathered from this process is then used to provide information on costs and trends in prescribing in England and Wales to over 25,000 registered NHS and Department of Health users.
The data provided is based on prescribing in Integrated Care Board (ICB) sub-locations in England, based on the current NHS organisation structure. Where data is shown for a CCG, this is where a practice has closed under the old CCG structure and we are unable to place the practice into the new ICB structure.
Items not dispensed, disallowed and those returned to the contractor for further clarification.
Prescriptions prescribed and dispensed in Prisons, Hospitals and Private prescriptions.
Items prescribed but not presented for dispensing or not submitted to NHS Prescription Services by the dispenser.
However it does include dental, prison and hospital prescriptions which are dispensed in the community.
The data is based on prescribing of sodium valproate (BNF chemical substance code 0408010W0) and valproic acid (BNF chemical substance codes 0402030Q0 and 040801020).
The data provided is based on prescribing in ICB sub-locations in England, based on the current NHS organisation structure. Where data is shown for a CCG, this is where a practice has closed under the old CCG structure and we are unable to place the practice into the new ICB structure.
Patients that could not be identified by means of a valid NHS number on the prescription form are excluded. For the purposes of this analysis, 99.4% of prescription items can be attributed to identifiable patients.
Patients may appear under more than one month and/or ICB sub-location so patient totals must not be added to avoid double counting.
Please note that this request and our response is published on our Freedom of Information disclosure log at:
If you have any queries regarding the data provided, or if you plan on publishing the data, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org ensuring you quote the above reference. This is important to ensure that the figures are not misunderstood or misrepresented.
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