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Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; October 31, 2011.
This report outlines the complex nature of drug shortages and suggests strategies to augment the FDA's efforts to address them.
Journal Article > Commentary
De Oliveira GS Jr, Theilken LS, McCarthy RJ. Anesth Analg. 2011;113:1429-1435.
Several commonly used anesthesia medications are among the 140 medications currently considered to be in short supply. Data from MEDMARX reveals that shortages have been implicated in many cases of prescribing errors, often when one concentration of medication was substituted for the unavailable formulation.
Koba M. Fortune. January 6, 2015.
Journal Article > Study
Impact of a drug shortage on medication errors and clinical outcomes in the pediatric intensive care unit.
Hughes KM, Goswami ES, Morris JL. J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2015;20:453-461.
Drug shortages can result in safety consequences, as studies have shown a higher rate of treatment failure and increased adverse events associated with unavailability of first-line therapies. However, this study did not find any change in adverse events in pediatric intensive care unit patients during a shortage of commonly used sedatives and injectable opioid pain medications. The authors note that advance warning of the shortage and development of standardized algorithms for drug substitution may have mitigated the potential safety hazards.
Bartolone P. Kaiser Health News. March 16, 2018.
Drug shortages may require clinicians, pharmacists, and hospitals to divert from standard processes to address gaps. This news article reports how reduced opioid production as an approach to address the opioid crisis has led to shortages and subsequent patient harm, such as insufficient pain management for surgical, cancer, and trauma patients.
Safe handling of concentrated electrolyte products from outsourcing facilities during critical drug shortages.
National Alert Network. Horsham, PA: Institute for Safe Medication Practices; Bethesda, MD: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. May 24, 2018.
Drug shortages can necessitate hospitals to find alternative sources for important medications. This alert raises awareness of risks associated with potassium chloride use due to variations in labeling, packaging, or concentration of outsourced medications. Recommendations include use of barcode scanning and communicating with staff regarding drug shortages.
Journal Article > Commentary
Bruera E. N Engl J Med. 2018;379:601-603.
Well-intentioned system-level efforts to improve care can result in unintended consequences. This commentary discusses the adverse effects of strategies to address the opioid epidemic, such as tightened regulations that led to opioid shortages. The author highlights how the shortages of certain parenteral opioids can cause patient harm and describes clinical and policy suggestions to improve the reliability of care amid efforts to manage the opioid crisis.