NJ hospitals taking on shortage of asthma medicine
🏥 A shortage of albuterol since the fall may be worsening
🏥 The FDA says the sole manufacturer of the product is no longer an option
🏥 NJ hospitals can only do so much to limit the impacts
New Jersey hospitals are keeping a close eye on a shortage of the drug albuterol, which is used to treat patients with breathing problems related to conditions such as asthma and RSV.
The inhalation solution has been listed on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's list of drug shortages since the fall, but supply issues could become even more prevalent now that a major manufacturer of the drug has stopped production.
"When we don't have enough supply, maybe we won't be able to give the medication to persons when needed, which can contribute to improper management of the disease conditions," Sangita Pudasainee-Kapri, assistant professor of nursing in the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden, told New Jersey 101.5.
Albuterol can be administered in a number of ways — the current shortage is related to the aerosolized solution that would be used in a nebulizer for breathing treatments in the hospital or at home, not the albuterol inhalers that are produced for personal use.
Cathy Bennett, president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association, said facilities are carefully monitoring the albuterol supply and their inventories.
"Our members incorporate conservation measures and alternatives in their planning for situations exactly like this to protect against patient impact," Bennett said. "However, we can’t count on providers’ mitigation efforts as the answer to recurring disruptions in the supply chain.”
The FDA said it continues to explore all "available regulatory levers" to increase supply of the life-saving solution, including the possibility of allowing importation from foreign suppliers.
Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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