Blog | Friday, June 1, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Two-thirds of internists affected by drug shortages

Two-thirds of physicians responded that drug shortages have impacted their ability to prescribe medications, an ACP Internist survey revealed.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents said drugs shortages have impacted them somewhat (49%) or to a great extent (18%). The remaining third said they have been affected not too much (20%) or not at all (12%).

As reported in May, drug shortages, especially among injectables and cancer medications, have left physicians and patients alike wondering where their next doses will come from. Even simple antibiotics have become scarce commodities.

The shortages have left physicians jumping a few hurdles to maintain medical regimens:
--Additional monitoring might be needed when patients are switched to a different formulation or another agent in the same drug class;
--Physicians need to explain to patients why they're making the substitution and how it will work; and
--Keep a current list of all the drugs the patient is taking, through their own office and through other physicians.

ACP Internist's next poll examines another particular sticking point internists have with pharmaceuticals: managing opiates.

Managing opiates leads to a host of issues with patients, for pre-empting pain while ensuring communication of clear limits and preventing abuse. These goals confound many internists, but clear-cut and easy guidelines presented at Internal Medicine 2012 can help internists achieve the best outcomes.

Read our cover story and let us know how confident you are in your ability to manage this patient population.