AN MP is demanding answers over the supply of a life-saving drug used to treat epilepsy after growing concerns for her constituents struggling to get hold of it.

MP for Bishop Auckland, Helen Goodman, has written to the Secretary of State for Public Helath and Primary Care, over the supply of Epilim Chrono, which is produced by the company Sanofi.

Ms Goodman said the company had been struggling with their supply for at least two years which was causing "constant anxiety" for her constituents.

The MP was first contacted by her Barnard Castle constituent, Suzanne Thomas, last October, after she struggled to secure the drug for her son, Luke, 14.

Luke was diagnosed with generalised epilepsy in November 2017 and has to take 500mg of the drug twice a day to prevent his nocturnal Tonic Clonic seizures, which can be life-threatening.

Mrs Thomas said the medication is "a vital part of keeping him safe during sleep and whilst it has horrid side effects it is effective in keeping him seizure free".

She said national supplies had been a problem since last September and last week she was told the drug would be unavailable until the end of April.

Mrs Thomas said not knowing when the tablets would be back was highly stressful and that she found it "abhorrent that children in the UK are relying on medication that has regular outages".

She praised her local GP and pharmacist for trying to find a way around the issue - including providing smaller doses of the tablets - but said the tablets were so complex that they could not be split in half like other medications.

Speaking last week, Mrs Thomas said: "It has been going on since last October and now we are at crisis because there is no Epilim Chrono in the country."

She added: "The condition is life-threatening. They are putting children's lives in danger."

Since being in touch with Ms Goodman, Mrs Thomas said she has now managed get hold of the tablets in 300mg form but was still struggling to obtain the 500mg tablets needed.

In her letter, Ms Goodman said: Understandably, this shortage of appropriate medication is causing an unimaginable amount of stress and anxiety for Luke's family."

Ms Goodman, whose husband also suffers from the condition, said treating the condition was complex and medications could not simply be switched to another brand.

Yesterday, she said: "“I have written to Health Ministers on the behalf of Suzanne and Luke, asking them to investigate this shortage as a matter of urgency. No parent should have to endure the stress and anxiety of being unable to secure essential medicine for their child, and the Department of Health needs to take this matter seriously. My husband has epilepsy too and I really think the thousands of people who can manage their lives well with this medication are being put in an intolerable position.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Sanofi has confirmed that supplies of Epilim are currently available in the UK and it has resolved a manufacturing problem which temporarily caused stock levels to be lower than usual.”

The Northern Echo contacted Sanofi for a comment but no response was received by the time it went to print.