Marshall Health officials try to work around albuterol shortage
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Officials with Marshall Health tell WSAZ the shortage is impacting our area, as their hospitals are completely out of the common type of liquid albuterol.
Liquid albuterol has been tough to find because of demand, and it’s going to get more difficult.
Liquid albuterol is a lifeline for many kids and adults with respiratory conditions like asthma. It’s used in a nebulizer to help with breathing.
“We actually just got notice the hospital is out of albuterol, liquid albuterol,” said Dr. Audra Pritt, director of pediatric hospitalists at Marshall Health.
The shortage has created a storm of problems, catapulted by the maker of the drug shutting down facilities after filing for bankruptcy.
“Combined with a very large need we had in the fall due to an unprecedented respiratory season that hit very early,” Pritt added.
Dr. Pritt, among other health specialists in the area, have had to find workarounds for the shortage, which come at a price.
“There is a much more expensive alternative that is used in specialized situations and we’ve had to expand its use to more straightforward situations, which works just as well. It’s just 10 times more expensive,” she said.
Pritt encourages those who depend on albuterol to be proactive about finding an alternative, like albuterol in the form of an inhaler.
“One, it’s just as effective. Two, it’s a little easier to get your hands on. Three, it’s more portable and is a bigger time saver for parents,” Pritt said.
If you can switch to an albuterol alternative, you could be saving supply for someone in the ICU who has no other option.
“Don’t wait until you’re out to find that alternative will probably be the biggest thing because this is a rescue medicine, so waiting until you need that rescue medicine is really not a good idea because you may find yourself in a bit of an emergent situation and need something like the ER,” Pritt said.
Medical professionals will keep having to find alternatives until the factory is back in production.
After overcoming flu and RSV season during a shortage of albuterol, the concern continues as we approach allergy season because symptoms can trigger people with asthma.
Pritt says your primary care provider can walk you through alternatives that could work for you.
Copyright 2023 WSAZ. All rights reserved.