Drug shortage lists are beginning to grow as people stock up on medications during the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in hospitalizations strains the drug supply.
In recent days, hospitals have begun to report shortages of drugs used to place patients on ventilators and treat pneumonia. And on March 31, the FDA added chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (potential treatments for coronavirus) to its shortages list.
Here is the list of drugs used to treat COVID-19 that are experiencing shortages.
COVID-19 Related Drug Shortages:
|Sodium chloride small volume bags||Used to prepare many essential IV drugs|
|Fentanyl citrate injection*||Treats severe pain|
|Norepinephrine bitartrate injection||Treats critically low blood pressure|
|Albuterol sulfate inhalers||Treat or prevent bronchospasm|
|Heparin injection*||Prevents blood clots (for hospitalized patients who are at an increased risk)|
|Hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets*||Malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus (possible COVID-19 treatment)|
|Chloroquine phosphate tablets*||Malaria (possible COVID-19 treatment)|
|Dexmedetomidine hydrochloride vials for injection*||Maintains sleepiness & comfort while on ventilator|
|Propofol emulsion injection*||Maintains sleepiness & comfort while on ventilator|
|Vecuronium bromide injection||Maintains muscle relaxation during ventilation|
|Rocuronium injection||Maintains muscle relaxation during ventilation|
|Cisatracurium besylate injection*||Maintains muscle relaxation during ventilation|
|Midazolam injection*||Maintain sleepiness and comfort while on ventilator|
|Dopamine hydrochloride injection*||Low blood pressure|
|Fluticasone propionate inhalers||Long term management of asthma COPD|
|Dobutamine injection*||Heart failure|
|Etomidate injection||General anesthesia|
|Furosemide injection*||Fluid retention|
|Azithromycin injection and tablets*||Bacterial infection|
|Meropenem injection||Bacterial infection|
|Ampicillin sodium and sulbactam sodium injection||Bacterial infection|
|Ceftazidime injection||Bacterial infection|
|Doxycycline hyclate injection||Bacterial infection|
|Ropivacaine Hydrochloride Injection*||Anesthetic|
Why are these shortages important?
Shortages are a common occurrence. But many drugs that are newly experiencing shortages are necessary for COVID-19 treatment and are likely experiencing higher-than-usual demand due to the pandemic.
While the FDA is closely following the situation, officials are worried that typical measures to combat shortages may not be an option right now. India and China, two of the largest distributors of the active ingredients in medications, are also grappling with the virus and are experiencing slower manufacturing times due to labor shortages.
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