Flu and streptococcal meds short amid respiratory surges

There is still a shortage of antibiotics, making it more difficult to treat common conditions such as strep throat – and now there are also problems getting medicines for the flu.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Right in the middle of the cold and flu season, some Arkansans have struggled to get the medicines they need to feel better as shortages continue in some antibiotics and flu treatments.

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve had shortages of many different medications,” said Anne Pace, owner and pharmacist at Kavanaugh Pharmacy.

In addition to general shortages, Pace said she is especially struggling to meet demand from flu patients.

“There has definitely been a shortage of Tamiflu, whether it’s the capsules, the liquid for kids is super hard to get… it’s a battle every day to make sure we can get it in stock,” added Pace up to it.

There are no guarantees as to when the situation will improve, but for now, Pace said the pharmacy is prioritizing children and adults at risk, as well as those with symptoms.

“Not so much preventative, more just treating because there’s a shortage… I had a kid yesterday who had the flu plus RSV, so I called another pharmacy and was able to borrow some from them,” Pace explained.

Another pill of Xofluza is in stock, but it’s not as accessible as other flu drugs, Pace adds: “It’s a lot more expensive, not all insurance will cover it… So it’s not as easy for patients to get those. “

Even as pharmacies work to keep medications available, Kavanaugh Pharmacy emphasized that prevention is the first step to good health.

“It’s not too late. It’s never too late to get your flu shot,” Pace said.

Dr. Rawle Seupaul in Emergency Medicine at UAMS has the same advice when it comes to COVID vaccines, sharing that, “…getting those boosters helps minimize illness, prevent illness, and keep those around you safer.”

But the doctor still orders family time during the holiday season, just for safety’s sake.

“We’re in a different place today than we were a year ago, two years ago, or three years ago when it comes to the pandemic. We’re much more informed.” [now]… We have vaccines and I think people know how to stay safe,” Seupaul said.

And Pace stressed that the bottom line is that pharmacies will continue to work to help you, even if some medications are harder to find.

“There may be a shortage and maybe a little delay in treatment, but whichever pharmacy you go to, we’ll do our very best to get you your medication as quickly as possible,” Pace said.

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