Nationwide Shortage on Azathioprine!

Life is full of twists and turns and misadventures when you have a chronic illness. Have I mentioned unexpected twists and turns? I’m learning slowly that sometimes even the things you think you can count on, sometimes come with glitches. This is part of life, even for us Lupies.

One of the best pieces of advice I was given early on was to always refill my medications a few days before I truly run out. My pharmacy refills them 6 days before I run out because I have them set to auto-refill. It has turned out to be a feature that has saved me from running out of a couple of my medications because of supply shortages a couple of times. See, I’m on a couple of medications that are considered special order and a lot of people aren’t on them so there are times they do not get ordered until one of us ‘special cases’ refills their medications for the month.  Always refill your medications with about a week to spare. It gives you enough time to figure out anything should problems arise. Like happened to me this week.

This weekend my Pharmacist called and informed me that Azathioprine, my immunosuppressant was on backorder and that she was trying to rush order it from another supplier. She said Saturday that I could come by Monday to pick up my other prescriptions that were ready to pick up and check on the status of that one. So that is what I did. Unfortunately she learned that Azathioprine is backordered at all of the manufacturers with no stated date of release for the next batch. I told her I would be out of this medication Thursday and asked her what I should do, and she told me my two best options was to either ask around at the other pharmacies in the area to see if they had enough in stock to cover me for this month, or to have my doctor change my medication to another medicine.

I thanked her for her advice and then we quickly made a game plan for how to proceed. I knew my best option was to check with the other pharmacies and since we were near two other pharmacies we decided to stop in and check with them on the way home. We stopped at the first and to our delightful surprise they were fully stocked and made it a breeze to move my prescription over to them and within 30 minutes I was covered with for the month with Azathioprine. I wish my stress level had dropped that quickly, but it took a little longer for it to return to normal. I can honestly say that may be the happiest and most thankful I have ever been for Wal-Mart in my entire life! So glad they were able to take care of this and I’ll keep that in mind should I run into any more issues like this in the future, but as soon as I can I’ll move my prescription back to my ‘home’ pharmacy at Target, because I have been so pleased with how attentive they have been, they really do go above and beyond to take care of me there.

 

on ASHP.org the following statement about Azathioprine appears:

Azathioprine Tablets

[09 January 2015]

Products Affected – Description

Azathioprine tablets, Roxane
50 mg tablets, 100 count bottle (NDC 00054-4084-25)
50 mg tablets, 100 count unit-dose (NDC 00054-8084-25)

Azathioprine tablets, Zydus
50 mg tablets, 100 count bottle (NDC 68382-0003-01)
50 mg tablets, 500 count bottle (NDC 68382-0003-05)

Azasan tablets, Salix
75 mg tablets, 100 count bottle (NDC 65649-0231-41)
100 mg tablets, 100 count bottle (NDC 65649-0241-41)

Reason for the Shortage

  • Roxane, Salix, and Zydus cannot provide a reason for the shortage.
  • Prometheus Laboratories states the reason for the shortage was increased demand.

Available Products

Azathioprine tablets, Mylan
50 mg tablets, 100 count bottle (NDC 00378-1005-01)
50 mg tablets, 50 count unit-dose (NDC 51079-0620-06)
Imuran tablets, Prometheus Laboratories
50 mg tablets, 100 count bottle (NDC 65483-0590-10)

Estimated Resupply Dates

  • Roxane has azathioprine tablets on back order and the company cannot estimate a release date. The product will be allocated when it becomes available.
  • Zydus has azathioprine tablets on allocation.
  • Salix has Azasan tablets on back order and the company cannot estimate a release date.

Related Shortages

Updated

January 9, 2015; December 5, 2014; October 3, 2014; August 29, 2014, University of Utah, Drug Information Service. Copyright 2015, Drug Information Service, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.

– See more at: http://www.ashp.org/menu/DrugShortages/CurrentShortages/Bulletin.aspx?id=1123#sthash.i8YVyGIJ.dpuf

 

Incase you ever need to check or find out info on drug shortages here are a couple helpful links:

ASHP Drug Shortages

FDA Drug Shortages

 

I really hope this resolves soon. When I inquired about why this was happening, I was told that the demand on the active ingredient has increased, and they are having a supply end problem. Well obviously! Hopefully they will get this sorted out quickly. Plaquenil/Hydroxychloroquine has also been on backorder for months and I have had several different manufacturers over the last few months since the shortage of that medicine began. At least it has been easier to locate for my Pharmacy! Guess that is the tricky part when you get put on specialized medications, sometimes things get tricky and you have to juggle things a bit to stay medicated properly.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Nationwide Shortage on Azathioprine!

  1. I’m glad that this was resolved with little drama. I recemtly found out that one of my meds is out of stock and although I took an alternate, I was caught off guard. I just wasnt especting this. Kind of naive on my part- assuming that medication is just always in stock, right?

    Like

    1. Kat,
      I’m glad it was an issue that was resolved quickly too. I almost had a panic attack before it resolved though. It was definitely another learning experience for me though. Most medications are kept well stocked. Even the more obscure specialized meds such as the ones I am on are usually well stocked, it just so happens that the two I am on are both on backorder at the manufacturers right now and they are having a supply issue and can’t meet the demands on the medications. Hopefully this will be a short lived problem and I won’t have to shuffle around to, too many pharmacies before I can return to my pharmacy. I like keeping all of my prescriptions at one pharmacy because there are less mix ups that way. I see my Rheumatologist on the 26th so I’m going to mention the shortages to him and get a game plan in place should this continue to be an issue just so I know what we are looking at doing incase we hit that one month that I can’t find it anywhere locally. I don’t want to be left high and dry with no plan in place with him, and going into withdrawals from an immunosuppressant. That will be a sure way to throw me into a bad flare I’m almost positive.

      I’m glad you quickly found a resolution in your situation as well! Ah the lessons life teaches us on the fly right?

      Liked by 1 person

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