When medicines are not available due to a drug shortage


Your prescription medicine may not be available at the pharmacy due to a drug shortage. This problem can happen for many reasons. Sometimes the company that makes the medicine does not have enough of one of the ingredients. Other times, the company has stopped making your medicine altogether.

If your medicine is not available due to a shortage, you may be given the same medicine in a different form. For example, you may be given a syrup instead of a tablet. In some cases, you will have to take the new form of the medicine in a different way from the old medicine. Unfortunately, this type of change can increase the chance of mistakes with the new medicine.

A woman found it difficult to swallow the big tablet she needed to take to treat high blood pressure. So, a healthcare provider instructed her to crush the tablet. When that form of the medicine was no longer available due to a drug shortage, she was given the same medicine in a long-acting tablet form. This new tablet had to be swallowed whole

because crushing the tablet could lead to very low blood pressure. Fortunately, the woman asked the right questions at the pharmacy, and the pharmacist was able to explain why the new tablets had to be swallowed whole.

Here’s what you can do: If one of your medicines needs to be changed because it is not available, talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Make sure you know how much to take and how often. Find out whether there are any other things you need to know about the new medicine, such as any change in how it should be taken.

Created on July 27, 2020

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