HEALTH

U of U’s Drug Information Service tracks drug shortages for patients, health care providers nationwide

Feb 28, 2023, 6:10 PM | Updated: Mar 1, 2023, 10:04 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah Health’s Drug Information Service clinical pharmacists are busy tracking drug shortages nationwide to help patients and their health care providers.

“We get voluntary reports from healthcare providers, usually pharmacists, then we investigate,” said associate chief pharmacy officer Erin Fox. “Is it really a shortage or not? And how we do that is we contact the drug companies directly to confirm, and then we continue to follow up.”

She said they post their findings online.

“What we do is post it up on a public website so everyone can see what is available as well as what’s not available because understanding what you can’t access is really important to making a plan for your patients,” Fox explained. “Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, a lot of health care providers use these data.”

People across the country rely on the data Utah’s Drug Information Service provides.

“There is another shortage website, and it’s run by the FDA,” Fox said. “The difference with our site is that we can recommend, we’re pharmacists, we can recommend evidence-based alternatives, we can provide safety warnings about mix-ups that could occur during a shortage. The FDA can’t do that. They can only speak to one specific product and the product’s labeling.”

She said they’ve been tracking the ongoing ADHD drug shortage.

“That one is really frustrating,” Fox said. “The drug companies are saying that they don’t have enough of the raw material that they need to make Adderall in some cases, in other cases, the DEA that really allocates that raw material to the drug companies, the DEA says they have enough.”

She said it’s impacting patients nationwide, and there’s no overall reason for the shortage of ADHD drugs.

“We’re in a really frustrating situation right now where patients may be going to the pharmacy counter and not being able to fill their prescriptions,” Fox said.

Utahns are having trouble finding Adderall as manufacturers report shortages

That includes patients like Kemry Riggins, who said he’s called every pharmacy in the Salt Lake City area.

“I had run out of Adderall, I think, in December…and then after that, I just started getting very irritated and anxious all the time,” he recalled.

He started having problems at the pharmacy counter back in 2021.

“They would answer the phone and be like, ‘are you looking for Adderall? We don’t have it in stock. We’re not going to have it in stock,'” Riggins said.

Without it, he’s struggled. He lost his job.

“I wasn’t really able to handle stress. I couldn’t stay focused at work,” Riggins said.

He said he tried alternative drugs. Some weren’t as effective, and others were too expensive.

“Our patients are in a bad spot of having to choose to either spend more money or maybe have a less effective product, or completely go without treatment,” Fox explained.

Riggins said he’s now using Dexedrine, but he said he still has concerns.

“I’ve cut my dose from 40 milligrams to 10 milligrams per day, so I can kind of taper my body in a way so I’m not going to have some insane depression again if I do run out and they can’t fill it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Utah’s Drug Information Service watches to see how long a shortage, like one for ADHD drugs, might last.

“We’re hopeful that as this new year starts, it will start to improve,” Fox said. “Some of the labor issues that were causing problems at some of the companies should be completely resolved by now. Sometimes media attention also helps ramp up production as well,” she said.

In addition to tracking the ongoing ADHD drug shortage, Fox and her team are following other areas in short supply.

“We’re also, unfortunately, starting to see some shortages of some chemotherapy products,” she said. “We hope that those won’t get worse because chemotherapy doesn’t have a lot of alternatives. We’re also seeing shortages of some really basic products like Albuterol that is used in pediatric hospitals.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Health

(File photo)...

Jonel Aleccia AP Health Writer

Bird flu is spreading to more farm animals. Are milk and eggs safe?

A bird flu outbreak in U.S. dairy cows has grown to affect more than two dozen herds in eight states, just weeks after the nation's largest egg producer found the virus in its chickens.

2 days ago

Students in the Cache Valley want to discuss sextortion and suicide...

Mike Anderson

Cache Valley tackles suicide and sextortion with students

The North Park Police Chief is hoping to get through to teens and their parents on two important topics: suicide and sextortion.

4 days ago

Walking is one way to exercise and manage stress....

Emma Benson

Get moving: How to manage stress with exercise 

If not managed well, stress can cause serious health problems. So, how can you exercise to manage stress?

4 days ago

Rebecca Page has worked hard to get her children on a regular sleep routine....

Ken Fall and Emma Benson

How to keep your kids on a regular sleep routine to reduce stress

Experts emphasize that sleep is therapy, both physically and emotionally, which is why it's important to keep you and your kids on a regular sleep routine.

4 days ago

Alyssa McBride is the mother of three children. After her youngest son, Jack, was born, she started...

Aley Davis

Teaching children to regulate emotions early is essential to future success, experts say 

Teaching kids how to regulate emotions early is essential to future success.

4 days ago

Lehi seventh grader took this gun to his middle school...

Lindsay Aerts

Lehi school resource officer, middle schooler prevented Utah student’s planned suicide

The Alpine School district said a seventh grader who brought a gun to his Lehi middle school last November, planned to take his own life. A school resource officer and a fellow student stepped in.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

U of U’s Drug Information Service tracks drug shortages for patients, health care providers nationwide