Nobody likes to think that the medication they rely on to manage a condition – or even survive – may not be available one day. However, in the event of a shortage, this could happen temporarily, and if discontinued permanently. There are other times in which it may take months of medication trial and error in order to find the right drug and dosage for your unique needs. This means that it is possible that at some time a medication you depend on may be unavailable.
What Causes Drug Shortages?
According to the journal Pharmacy and Therapeutics, medications can be unavailable for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to being:
- Discontinued due to lowered demand, decreased manufacturing profits, or the introduction of a new drug
- Taken off the market due to health risks
- Back-ordered due to a manufacturing issue or demand
The Negative Impact of Drug Unavailability
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there were 23 drug shortages in 2016. Any shortage in a prescription drug supply can have serious ramifications for those who rely on it. Substitution of similar therapeutic medications can result in medication errors and adverse side effects, and prescribers may not be as familiar with the dosing or interaction with other medications. Additionally, other alternatives may not be as effective. In hospital settings, shortages can inhibit the treatment of disease outbreaks or victims of natural disasters that threaten many people.
How Can I Check If There Is a Shortage of My Medication?
Clear communication between the public, providers, drug manufacturers, and the FDA is essential for preventing and mitigating any drug shortage. Manufacturers notify the FDA when shortages occur, who then posts it to their website’s drug shortage list. You can check to see if there is a shortage of your medication by checking the FDA Current Drug Shortage Index.
How Can Compounded Drugs Provide Solutions?
A compounded drug is the term for a medication made by combining, mixing or altering two or more ingredients by a licensed pharmacist or physician, in order to better meet the needs of an individual. Compounded drugs can play an important role for individuals whose needs can’t be met with an FDA-approved medication, or when an approved drug is in an undesirable form. Common reasons for compounded drugs are patients with allergies, and children or elderly patients who can’t swallow pills and need medication in a liquid form that is not approved or available. In other instances, a patient may need a commercially available topical cream or a medication in a lower dosage, a flavored liquid that appeals to children or is more palatable for veterinary uses.
Your health needs are unique. At Atkinson’s Pharmacy, we can help by compounding the exact medication, in the dose, form or flavor that suits your specific requirements. Give us a call today at (904) 264-7578. We’re locally owned and operated and have been providing Jacksonville area residents with personalized compounding services for over 50 years.