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Warn patients of fire risk from emollients, MHRA advises pharmacists

MHRA: Pharmacists should advise patients of the risks that emollients present
MHRA: Pharmacists should advise patients of the risks that emollients present

Emollient creams that are used to treat dry skin conditions can “easily dry onto bedding and bandages, making them more flammable”, the MHRA said last week (July 29).

Patients who use emollient creams for conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and ichthyosis should therefore take precautions such as avoiding smoking cigarettes and washing bedding and clothes frequently to “reduce the build-up of skin cream”.

The medicines watchdog advised patients against using naked flames, or getting close to “anything that may cause a fire while wearing clothing or a bandage that has been in contact with skin creams”.

“If this is not possible, you must take steps to ensure you are safe when you smoke or use naked flames. For example, by using a flameless lighter or e-cigarette, and removing long sleeved or baggy clothing before using a gas hob,” the MHRA added.

“The role of the pharmacist would be to offer advice on how to safely use emollients,” the MHRA told C+D on July 30.

This may include “taking patients through” its toolkit and offering guidance on how to stop smoking, where appropriate.

The MHRA encouraged contractors to use its materials, such as posters and leaflets, in their pharmacies.

For more information, read C+D’s CPD article on advising patients about the safe use of emollients following frequent hand washing, and a case study on warning patients of their dangers.

Have you had to advise patients on the safe use of emollients?

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

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