Prescriptions - Bloomsbury Clinic, Mortimer Market Centre

The Bloomsbury Clinic at Mortimer Market Centre in central London offers free, confidential treatment and care for people with HIV.

Outpatient prescriptions are dispensed from the pharmacy at Mortimer Market Centre.

This page has information about:

Home delivery and Boots collection services

Many of our patients have signed up to a medication delivery scheme which is often more convenient and is also more cost-efficient. Medication delivered to your home or collected from a Boots store is VAT-free which means the NHS pays 20 per cent less for your medication.

If you would like to sign-up please discuss with your doctor or specialist nurse at your next appointment.

If you choose this delivery scheme, you will still need to attend appointments regularly for your prescription to be generated and processed.

It is important to have at least one month's worth of medication at the time when your next prescription is requested:

  • If you have a face-to-face appointment then you should have at least one month's worth of medication left at the time you attend the appointment
  • If your next appointment is going to be a phone or email appointment then you should have at least 6 weeks' worth of medication left when you attend for pre-appointment bloods. This is because your phone or email appointment will be 1-2 weeks after your blood tests and you need to have at least 4 weeks' worth of medication left at the time of your email or phone follow-up.
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Collecting medication from pharmacy

If you collect your medication on the same day as your appointment, our Pharmacy Team will try to process and dispense your prescription within 30 minutes. However, if our Pharmacy Team is busy, or if there are any problems with your medication (for example, your doctor has not specified how long the prescription is for), this may take longer.

Our Pharmacy Team will do their best to advise you how long the wait is likely to be.

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Emergency prescriptions

If you think you will run out of medication before your next appointment, please phone the Bloomsbury Clinic on 020 3317 5143 to request an urgent repeat prescription. Please give at least 48 hours’ notice.

This service is for HIV and hepatitis drugs only – we cannot provide emergency prescriptions for sleeping tablets, cholesterol drugs etc.

Our emergency prescription service is available during the following hours:

Monday: 9am to 4pm
Tuesday: 9am to 4pm
Wednesday: 1pm to 5pm
Thursday: 9am to 4pm
Friday: 9am to 3pm

Please see the above section on 'Collecting medication from pharmacy’ for information regarding waiting times.

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Generic medications

When drugs are developed they are patented meaning only the branded product can be prescribed. Once a drug’s patent has expired then it can be manufactured as a ‘generic’ or unbranded version. More than 70 per cent of all medications prescribed by the NHS are generic and generic medications are typically much less expensive than the branded versions. We already use some generic HIV medications and you may be asked to change from a branded to generic product. In some instances this will mean increasing the number of tablets you take.

For example: Atripla is a branded product containing three drugs in a single pill. We are currently switching people from Atripla to Truvada (two drugs) + generic efavirenz (one drug) which is the same drug combination in two pills instead of one pill. Your doctor or nurse will discuss this with you first.

The NHS may use different generic suppliers to ensure best value and reliable supply so the appearance of the packaging or tablet may change. We don’t necessarily know when this will happen as lot of our medication is supplied by homecare companies rather than our own pharmacy. Please ensure you make a note of the dose of each medication you are taking and check the dose of your tablets each time you receive a new supply. Very occasionally the dose will differ (for example: lamivudine is available as 150mg and 300mg strengths and you will usually need to take two or one a day depending on the dose).

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Adherence and drug interactions

It is important to take your medication at approximately the same time each day (ideally within two hours of your usual time – for example, if you usually take your medication at 8am then you should aim to take it between 6am and 10am. If you miss doses or stop taking your medication then the viral load (which should be undetectable on treatment) can go up or ‘rebound’.

The risks of rebound include:

  • Developing resistance to your medication; this can limit the number of drugs available to treat your HIV
  • Feeling unwell as the virus comes up and your immune system goes down
  • Increased risk of transmitting the virus to sexual partners.

It is easier to become resistant to some drugs than to others so if you do struggle to take your medication every day then speak to our staff.

It is also important to think about food and other medications. Some drugs must be taken with food – make sure you ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist what the requirements are for your HIV medication.

More advice is available on the British HIV Association website which has a useful food chart. View the BHIVA food chart.

Medications that can interact with HIV drugs include prescribed, over the counter (things you can buy in pharmacies and shops), herbal and recreational drugs. Several supplements and minerals can also interact.

If drugs interact then there are two potential problems:

1) Levels of the HIV or other drug go down so will be less effective (for HIV drugs this increases the risk of virus rebound and resistance)
2) Levels of the HIV or other drug can go up which means side effects are more likely – sometimes these side effects are very serious.

Always tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you are taking any other medication including inhalers, creams, nasal sprays and eye drops. If anyone recommends you have an injection for pain or for an allergy, please check with us first as these often include steroids that can interact with HIV medication.

We have patient leaflets on steroids (for people who take a combination including ritonavir or cobicistat) and indigestion drugs and supplements/multivitamins (for people who take a combination including raltegravir, elvitegravir, dolutegavir, rilpivirine or atazanavir). 

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Bloomsbury Patient Network

  • We work closely with the Bloomsbury Patient Network. The network is a fantastic way to meet other patients, gain access to one-to-one support and information, attend group events and workshops – all with the aim of improving life while having fun.
    Find out more