Latest drug shortage: asthma medication

Liquid albuterol is in short supply, and the shortage is only expected to get worse. (SOURCE:...
Liquid albuterol is in short supply, and the shortage is only expected to get worse. (SOURCE: CNN)
Published: Mar. 12, 2023 at 1:13 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Another drug shortage has appeared; this time it’s the common asthma and lung disease medication Albuterol missing from the shelves.

Some parents have shared that they fear it may leave their young children in danger.

Nicholas D’Ambrosio, a 2-year-old, developed a bacterial lung infection last fall. His parents rushed him to a hospital.

“If it had gone on too long it could have resulted in brain damage,” said Nick D’Ambrosio, the child’s father.

The child was too young to use an inhaler, so alternative Albuterol treatments restored his breathing.

Nicholas, like many other children, was sent home with a nebulizer that turns the liquid Albuterol into an aerosol so he could breathe. The family kept it on hand in case of emergencies.

But last week, one of the only two manufacturers of Albuterol closed, causing parents to worry.

“I almost feel like I would like have to ration it and then have to make a judgment call. Like, how serious is this, should we save this until like it’s really bad?” said Laura D’Ambrosio, Nicholas’s mother.

Medical professional Juanita Mora explained that she hasn’t been able to get the liquid form of Albuterol in over a month.

“The most impacted by the shortage are going to be children,” said Dr. Mora. “Especially the young ones who can’t have good technique with an inhaler, older adults, and then those who are very, very sick.”

Dr. Mora explained that pharmacies have started diverting supplies to emergency rooms, causing patients with flare ups to have to go to hospitals instead of using doses at home.

“We have to be prepared,” said Dr. Mora. “We can’t hoard medication, we have to allow the supplies to get to the sickest patients at this time.”

The remaining manufacturer of the liquid form says it is trying to meet the current demand. But for the smallest patients, many worry there could be big problems if more medication is not available soon.