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Lloydminster pharmacy experiencing medication shortage

A local pharmacy says a shortage in a common prescription drug known as Buscopan may affect residents. Buscopan is generally used to relieve cramps in the stomach and intestines.

Sprucewood Pharmacist Scott Malek says the pharmacy is noticing an impact on patients seeing as the drug is heavily prescribed with those suffering from intestinal spasms.

“There is another medication that we can substitute but we don’t have the data and in some cases the efficacy that we might otherwise see with Buscopan, so it’s very disappointing.”

Malek says although the alternative medication doesn’t produce the same long term results it is sometimes prescribed if its right for the patient.

“It’s not just a substitute one for one type kind of thing. We would go through, work with the patient, work with the healthcare team including their physician to make the decision if it is appropriate to switch.”

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Malek says the shortage list of drugs changes every day. He says Wellbutrin is an antidepressant that was off the market late last year, returned, was short on Wednesday and returned stocked for patients the next day.

“It depends on many factors. Having a manufacturing facility, having supplies and being able to obtain the raw ingredients that are health grade, and then creating the actual physical tablets or medication, and then getting them to the wholesaler and then the pharmacy. So, it’s a pretty convoluted task.”

Malek adds any given day the pharmacy will see two pages of medications on backorder. The pharmacy looks at different factors such as the medical records of a patient before seeking an alternative if a shortage occurs.

Malek says Buscopan has been on the shortage list since last year with the return date for the medication still unknown.

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