A prescription may be required for some children’s liquid medications in Ontario

Parents of young children may need a prescription for over-the-counter fever and pain medication due to a shortage at some pharmacies, warns the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

In a letter sent to caregivers, the hospital said some pharmacies across the country are facing supply shortages of liquid Tylenol and Advil.

“If your child needs the liquid form of acetaminophen, you will now need a prescription,” the letter reads. “It cannot currently be sold without a prescription as it has to be repackaged from large bottles into smaller bottles by the pharmacist.”

In a statement to CTV News Toronto, a spokesperson for SickKids said pharmacies such as Shoppers Drug Mart, in addition to SickKids’ inpatient pharmacy, are affected by the nationwide shortage. The hospital says children who stay overnight at SickKids will be able to get the medications, but those who go to the hospital and then go home will need to get a prescription from their healthcare provider.

“While some retail pharmacies may have an adequate supply of these over-the-counter medications, other pharmacies may only have them available in large quantities that must be dispensed by a pharmacist. For this reason, the medication may require a prescription,” said Sarah Warr, senior communications advisor for SickKids.

“The health and safety of our patients is our top priority and we continue to monitor this situation closely,” Warr said. “We have worked with our suppliers and clinical partners to develop and implement strategies to help preserve our remaining supply.”

Jen Belcher, vice president of strategic initiatives and member relations for the Ontario Pharmacists Association, says the recommendation doesn’t mean customers can’t buy Advil liquid and Tylenol over-the-counter. .

“The prescription makes it easier in the sense that it provides instructions for dispensing this product. But ultimately, liquid Tylenol didn’t go from an over-the-counter drug to a prescription-only product,” she told CP24.

Belcher explained that the shortage is impacting the small bottles that are normally sold over-the-counter, which is why they are recommending parents get prescriptions in some cases so pharmacists can use larger stock bottles to respond to these requests.

SickKids also recommends that parents consider other forms of medication, including chewable tablets.

“Speak to your pharmacist or health care provider first to make sure you are giving your child the right dose,” the letter adds.

The shortage comes a month after the Ontario Pharmacists Association warned that increased demand and supply chain constraints were fueling a shortage of cold and flu medications.

“If you go to pharmacies in Ontario and other provinces, you’ll probably see a number of different empties on our shelf,” Belcher told CTV’s Your Morning in July.

“(The medicine) could be back in the fall when we return to regular cold and flu season, but it’s really hard to predict at this point and unfortunately I can’t say that to any degree. of confidence.”

At the time, Belcher said some painkillers for children were out of stock.

CTV News Toronto has contacted the Ministry of Health as well as Shoppers Drug Mart for more information on the impact of the shortage on Ontarians.

It is not known how many pharmacies are affected.

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