SAN ANTONIO — For the past half of a year many of us have had a problem getting prescriptions filled because of a national drug shortage.
Right now there are about 300 medication shortages nationwide, which is the largest number since 2014. But for most of these medications there is no need to panic.
"One of the drug shortages was amoxicillin. And this is a common medication that they used to treat ear infections, strep throat, respiratory infections," said Jennifer Rodriguez, the Executive Director of University Health Ambulatory Pharmacy Services. She told us if the drug you're prescribed is out, to talk to the pharmacist. Rodriguez said, "The pharmacist can call your provider's office and recommend an alternative medication that can provide the same treatment."
Some of the reasons for drug shortages could be a supply and demand issue, lack of raw materials to make the product or a manufacturer error, an FDA regulatory issue, and a business decision. Rodriguez added, "Most recently, Akorn Pharmaceuticals closed for business and they recalled voluntarily recalled some of their medications. And this is creating some of our shortages right now."
Respiratory medications are also running short, including the popular albuterol. Rodriguez told us, "Luckily we do have strategies to mitigate drug shortages. We have alternative vendors, alternative wholesalers or manufacturers that we can reach out to."
The top five categories with drug shortages are chemotherapy, antimicrobials, CNS medications for sleep and anxiety, cardiovascular medications, and fluids or electrolytes used in a hospital setting.
Rodriguez says if you are running low, not to skip your medication. Rodriguez said, "We want to encourage patients to talk to their pharmacist or health care provider to find an alternative medication that's available for their treatment."
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