Since last fall, a nationwide shortage of the asthma medicine albuterol has been ongoing, and experts fear it will only continue to worsen.
Albuterol is available in multiple dosage forms, but the aerosolized solution used in hospital nebulizers was placed on the US Food and Drug Administration’s medication shortage list in late October.
Asthma Medicine Shortage
This shortage presents the greatest difficulty in hospital settings, where it is used most frequently, but it can also be problematic for those who use this medicine formulation at home.
This shortage solely affects a very specific dose form of a commonly used hospital drug. The FDA states that it has worked closely with manufacturers and others in the supply chain for months to understand, mitigate, prevent, or limit any associated consequences.
The FDA amended its website on medicinal shortages on March 1 to indicate that Akorn’s albuterol inhalation solution is not available owing to no new product being manufactured.
This leaves South Carolina-based Nephron Pharmaceuticals as one of the sole remaining principal makers of liquid albuterol.
In a statement published online on Wednesday evening, the FDA stated, in part, that it’s implementing new regulations Efforts are being made to resolve a shortage of a specific formulation of albuterol, a medicine used to treat respiratory disorders. Importantly, this shortfall does not affect albuterol inhalers intended for personal use.
Asthma is an inflammatory condition that causes constriction of the airways in the lungs and impedes regular breathing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it affects more than 25 million People.
Albuterol is a medicine that assists in the expansion of these restricted airways. It works by stimulating the beta receptors in the lungs, which allows the airways to open and relax, making breathing easier for asthmatics.
Albuterol can be administered by an inhaler or a nebulizer machine as an aerosolized solution. The aerosolized solution is the type for which there is a nationwide shortage at present.
This solution is occasionally used at home for infants and young children who have difficulties using an inhaler, but it is most typically used in hospitals to treat a variety of breathing issues related to wheezing, including asthma and certain respiratory infections.
How Are Asthma Attacks Prevented?
Respiratory infections and pneumonia can cause more severe problems in those with lung disorders like asthma or COPD. To prevent these diseases, physicians recommend staying up-to-date on all vaccinations, including COVID-19 boosters and annual flu injections, and practicing proper hand hygiene.
Moreover, it is essential to identify and avoid asthma triggers. Seasonal allergies, carpets, pets, mold, and cigarette smoke are among the most frequent allergens that can provoke allergic reactions.
Using an inhaler with the correct technique is crucial. The American Lung Association advises individuals to always use a spacer with their inhalers.
In addition to albuterol, discuss with your doctor daily drugs that help reduce asthma symptoms if you use them frequently.
Mora asked individuals not to panic or stockpile liquid albuterol out of fear of scarcity and stated that physicians had requested the FDA take immediate action to resolve this issue.