With so many kids sick, some Utah pharmacies run out of liquid Tylenol, ibuprofen

Dec 2, 2022, 7:33 PM | Updated: 7:43 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — As parents deal with sick children, some are also facing another challenge. Some common medications can be hard to find, including liquid Tylenol and ibuprofen.

One Salt Lake City pharmacy told KSL TV that they’re out of those medicines for kids, and they’re having trouble getting more because they’re on backorder. Some Utah drug stores have fewer options than usual on the shelves, and at Jolley’s Corner Pharmacy on Friday, they had four bottles of liquid ibuprofen for infants and one bottle of acetaminophen for children.

Dr. Laura Brown of Wasatch Pediatrics has been hopping with an RSV season that’s been the worst of her decade-long career. Plus, she believes Utah may just be entering the worst of flu season.

“The amount of families I’ve had who’ve said, ‘My kids have been sick back to back to back since school started,’ they’re in good company,” Brown said. “And that means everyone’s using Tylenol and Motrin and the most common antibiotics that we typically use for kids.”

Even with high demand and spotty supply, Brown says most parents have been able to find relief for their kids.

“It’s been really tricky,” Brown said. “I do think that for the most part, with a little bit of maneuvering and trying out different pharmacies at different times of day, most of my families have been able to get what they need in terms of Tylenol and ibuprofen.”

The doctor has another idea for people looking for over-the-counter options, saying there is not much difference between infant and children’s versions of Tylenol and Motrin.

“Just because you have a 6-month-old baby doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have infant Tylenol or infant Motrin,” Brown said. “Often, you can do normal pediatric liquid Tylenol or Motrin, just as long as the dose is OK and sometimes that opens up a few more opportunities for families.”

The antibiotic amoxicillin has also been in short supply. It’s often prescribed to kids for a variety of bacterial infections, including pneumonia, which can be caused by RSV. Doctors are sometimes turning to broad-spectrum antibiotics for now.

“The next few months may be a bit of a struggle where we all have to get creative and work together for the best solutions,” Brown said.

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With so many kids sick, some Utah pharmacies run out of liquid Tylenol, ibuprofen