SickKids warning to parents: Secure prescription for children's pain and fever drugs as shortage spreads

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Toronto’s SickKids hospital is advising parents and caregivers of patients there that they should secure prescriptions for certain over-the-counter liquid fever and pain medication in light of a country-wide shortage.

In a letter published earlier this week, the children’s hospital advised those caring for children who are being treated there to get a prescription for liquid acetaminophen and ibuprofen as pharmacies across the country deal with supply shortages.

The letter, which was intended for parents and guardians of patients at the hospital only, advised that with a proper prescription, a pharmacist will be able to provide the most appropriate product available to treat a sick child. It will also ensure the appropriate dosage depending on a child’s age and size. Children being cared for at the hospital will not have a problem accessing the medicines for fever and pain during the stay, the hospital assured.

The letter also provided suggestions on other forms of acetaminophen or ibuprofen, though it advised parents and caregivers to speak with a pharmacist or healthcare provider first to ensure the correct dosage.

Those alternatives include:

• Chewable tablets

• Acetaminophen suppositories (suppositories are not available for ibuprofen).

• Cutting or crushing a regular tablet

In an email to Yahoo News Canada, Anthony Fuchs, vice president of communications for Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada said the pandemic along with an unprecedented cold and flu season has created a significant surge in demand for such products.

“In addition, manufacturers in Canada and around the world have been impacted by significant supply chain issues, with particular emphasis on shortages of packaging, raw materials, and labour,” he said.

FHCP’s member companies, which includes Johnson and Johnson, the company that produces Tylenol, are working with suppliers, manufacturing partners, and the government to address these issues and return to inventory levels to meet the current demand.

He added that not all pharmacies are experiencing supply shortages for pediatric and children’s Advil and Tylenol but recommends speaking directly with a healthcare provider.