Flu medicine for children is in short supply in some parts of the
country. Many pharmacies can make up an alternative when needed - but
parents may need to ask for it.
The medicine, Tamiflu, is a
prescription drug that directly attacks the flu virus and can lessen the
duration and severity of the flu in adults, children and infants. It
may also help protect people exposed to someone with the flu from
getting sick. It should be taken within 48 hours of the onset of flu
Adults can take Tamiflu capsules, but because most
children can't easily swallow pills - especially when they're sick -
they are given the drug in liquid form.
It's the liquid form
that's in short supply "due to recent increased demand," said Sarah
Clark-Lynn, a spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration.
are seeing intermittent shortages at some stores in some areas," CVS
Pharmacy spokesman Mike DeAngelis said from the company's Woonsocket,
R.I., headquarters. "It's a combination of the fact that the supplier
has had an issue with getting enough liquid Tamiflu in the market and
the demand caused by the early influenza season."
The FDA is
monitoring the situation "and will post information on our website. "We
are also working with the company to increase supplies," FDA spokeswoman
Sarah Clark-Lynn said.
Tamiflu is made by Genentech in South San Francisco.
a particular CVS pharmacy does not have the liquid in stock and is not
able to get it from a nearby store, our pharmacists can compound the
capsules, which are still in ample supple, into the liquid form,"
There's no connection between the process of
making a liquid suspension of Tamiflu and the problems associated with
the New England Compounding Pharmacy and tainted steroid injections that
caused meningitis last year.
Compounding liquid Tamiflu is
simple. "Basically, the capsules are emptied out and the contents
combined with Ora-Sweet to make a liquid suspension," DeAngelis said.
Ora-Sweet is a thick, sweet syrup used as a base for many liquid
Canada has released a supply of liquid Tamiflu from its National Emergency Stockpile to address a potential shortage.
Shortages of liquid Tamiflu also occurred in 2011 and during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009.