When toilet paper and new cars are tough to find, it’s a major inconvenience. We all learned about that during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But a shortage of medications is worse. Without the right drugs, your health — and possibly your life — is at risk.
Right now, a handful of important medicines are becoming increasingly scarce. If you rely on any of the following drugs, grab them before they disappear.
Amoxicillin and other antibiotics
Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, says the shortage of key antibiotic drugs is a result of the fact that pharmaceutical companies underestimated demand.
For the past couple of years, demand for amoxicillin was relatively low. But as Gottlieb told “Face the Nation” on CBS:
“Demand went up this year, they anticipated some increase in demand, but not as much as we’re seeing and not this early in the season. So, it’s not any kind of disruption in supply.”
Gottlieb is hopeful that supply soon will catch up.
Cold and flu medications
Pharmacies from California to Connecticut are reporting shortages of cold and flu medications.
The winter is just getting started, but already there has been a strong wave of illness tied to influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, more commonly known as RSV.
All that coughing and sneezing has people stocking up on cold and flu drugs, which has exacerbated the shortage.
Children’s pain relievers and fever reducers
An alarming rise in viral illnesses among children has increased the demand for children’s pain relievers and fever reducers. The Wall Street Journal reports that sales of such medicines are up 80% year over year.
Recently, drugstore chains such as CVS and Walgreens began to limit the amount of such drugs that individuals can purchase.
Albuterol is used to treat respiratory conditions such as asthma and emphysema. The drug is particularly important for those who have an underlying condition — such as asthma — and then go on to contract a virus such as RSV.
However, there is a shortage of albuterol that dates back many months. Right now, it is the formulation of albuterol used for continuous nebulization that is in short supply.
The injectable medication semaglutide (Ozempic) was developed to treat Type 2 diabetes. But that is not why it is in short supply.
People have discovered that semaglutide reduces food cravings. In particular, it is said to make you less likely to crave fatty foods.
The drug is now being used to treat obesity. As word of its effectiveness has circulated in social media posts, demand has soared, leading to the shortage.
Dulaglutide and tirzepatide
Strong demand for two other diabetes drugs — dulaglutide (Trulicity) and tirzepatide (Mounjaro) — has caused a shortage, with manufacturer Eli Lilly and Co. struggling to keep up.
Eli Lilly is ramping up its efforts and hopes to double the manufacturing capacity for the medications by the end of next year.