Cases of COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus are creating a so-called tripledemic.
Cases of COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus are creating a so-called tripledemic, and medication shortages are the result in some US pharmacies.1
Not only are pharmacies experiencing shortages of some prescription drugs, such as the antibiotic amoxicillin and the influenza antiviral medication oseltamivir phosphate (Tamiflu), even ordering OTC medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, is proving challenging in some areas. Children’s medications are reportedly particularly hard to order and stock.1,2
Recently, CVS Health Corp said it is restricting both in-person and online purchases to 2 children’s pain relief products, while Walgreens Boots Alliance has limited online purchases to 6 OTC fever reducers per transaction, but it does not have an in-store purchase limit.3
The answer, once again, to another winter of infections is getting vaccinated for both COVID-19 and influenza, which limits both the frequency and severity of these illnesses—meaning that fewer individuals will need access to medications. Pharmacists can lead the charge in encouraging patients to get the vaccines if they have not done so already.
In the MTM Consult in this issue of Pharmacy Times®, Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, discusses how pharmacists play a key role in encouraging patients to get COVID-19 booster vaccines, noting that educating patients, posting on social media, and countering misinformation are critical strategies.
Also in this issue, we look at some of winter’s other challenges and how to manage and treat these conditions. In the Cover Feature, Kathleen Kenny, PharmD, RPh, offers advice on relieving the pain and pressure of sinus congestion. Other articles look at helping patients choose antipyretics, the latest on long COVID, and a primer on point-of-care testing.
We hope you and your patients stay healthy this winter.
Thanks for reading!
1. Cohen J. As flu, RSV and COVID-19 tripledemic surges, drug shortages are impacting children most. Forbes. December 4, 2022. Accessed December 20, 2022. https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshuacohen/2022/12/04/as-flu-rsvand-covid-19-tripledemic-surges-drug-shortages-are-impacting-childrenmost/?sh=18d2ae3a48db
2. 2022-2023 influenza season: availability of antiviral medications. FDA. Updated December 5, 2022. Accessed December 20, 2022. https://www.fda.gov/media/120654/download
3. CVS, Walgreens limit purchases of children’s pain-relief medicine. CNN. December 19, 2022. Accessed December 20, 2022. https://www.cnn.com/2022/12/19/health/cvs-walgreens-children-limits/index.html