PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If your child had the flu, would she be able to get early treatment with the medicine Tamiflu?
“As of today, we tried to get it, and couldn’t find it,” says pharmacist/owner of Asti Pharmacy, Dan Asti.
Shortages are being reported in some parts of the country, such as Atlanta, Ga., Little Rock, Ark., and Charlotte, N.C., even some places in the Pittsburgh area are having trouble.
“We noticed other pharmacies were calling us, patients from out of the area,” explains Asti about what alerted him there may be a problem.
The pharmacy still has several dozen boxes, but they may not last long.
Its wholesale suppliers are out.
“There are four major ones in this area, and none of them have it in stock,” says Asti. “We heard it should be coming back relatively quickly. But as of yet, to find Tamiflu is a pretty hard deal right now.”
The liquid Tamiflu for kids has been particularly in short supply due to increased demand and manufacturing delays, which are expected through mid-January.
With flu cases on the rise, this can be a concern for parents.
“A parent will call and say, I’ve been given this medicine for my child, it’s to help deal with the flu, what am I supposed to do?” says Dr. Jennifer Priess, a med/peds specialist with the Allegheny Health Network. “I may actually try to convince a pharmacist to consider compounding the medicine.”
This pharmacy has compounded, or mixed the medicine from pills, in times of shortage.
Tamiflu is a prescription medicine approved for anyone at least 2-weeks-old who have had flu symptoms less than two days.
Ten pills can cost $75 to $120. The treatment shortens the course of the illness.
“Within a day or two you feel almost back to normal,” explains Dr. Priess. “Where flu can last five to seven days, and you can feel like you’ve been hit by a truck.”
It can also be used as a preventive medicine for people over 1-year-old who are exposed to the flu.
If it turns out you can’t get Tamiflu, then rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medicine for fever and pain can help, too. Maybe just not as fast.