Medicines for children’s fever and pain are still in short supply

Empty shelves of children’s pain medications are seen at a Toronto pharmacy in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joe O’Connal

Shortages of fever and pain medications for children are a concern across the province.

Stephanie Yeboah, a pharmacist at Nanogram Pharmacy in Saskatoon, is well aware of this as she regularly sees worried parents in the store.

Yeboah said she had had tired parents with sick children in the store and phone calls asking if the store had medicine in stock.

“(There is) definitely a bit of stress for parents who can’t ease the pain or you look in your medicine cabinet (and it) suddenly empties. Yes, we see that,” Yeboah said.

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen in liquid or chewable tablet form, especially for children, are in high demand and difficult to obtain right now.

“It’s starting to happen, but very slowly and sporadically,” Yeboah said.

Yeboah said his colleagues were experiencing the same shortage issues. High demand and supply chain issues are driving the shortages. Medicines for other respiratory diseases are also rare.

“With cough and cold medicines, the supply is shorter than what we typically see at this time of year. Liquids are difficult to obtain; even cough and cold tablets (are),” Yeboah said.

Yeboah’s suggestions are to check local pharmacies or ask for compound medicine. Compound drugs can only be produced in a few selected pharmacies. This is a specialist prescription from a pharmacist, which takes from a larger bulk supply.

“Every vial (of compound medicine) that we sell, we don’t put on the shelves; it’s individualized for that particular patient,” Yeboah said. “It comes with a set of instructions (and) proper labeling and it’s listed on their provincial prescription record as well.”

Pharmacists are allowed to temporarily prescribe compound medicines to children due to shortages.

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