ASHP: SVP, Injectable Opioid Shortages Threaten Patient Care

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98.4% of respondents report moderate, severe shortages of morphine, hydromorphone, fentanyl.
98.4% of respondents report moderate, severe shortages of morphine, hydromorphone, fentanyl.

(HealthDay News) -- The widespread shortages of injectable opioids and small-volume parenteral (SVP) solutions are jeopardizing patient care and placing a strain on hospital operations, according to a report published by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

ASHP members were surveyed in April 2018 to examine recovery of the SVP solution shortage and the impact of the acute shortage of injectable opioids. The survey contained 16 questions and was informal and nonscientific. A total of 343 responses were obtained.

According to ASHP, 98.4% of respondents reported experiencing severe or moderate shortages of morphine, hydromorphone, and fentanyl. Hospitals are managing the shortages by switching to oral opioids, restricting injection opioid use, prioritizing patients according to clinical need, and converting to non-opioid medications. In this survey, 86.4% of respondents reported being affected by the SVP shortage, compared with 99.1% in November 2017.

"The ongoing shortages of these vital lifesaving medications are overwhelming the resources of our nation's hospitals, placing our health care system on the brink of a public health emergency," ASHP Chief Executive Officer Paul W. Abramowitz, PharmD, ScD, said in a statement. "Congress must act now to implement remedies that will address the underlying causes of drug shortages and ensure that patients have access to the medications they need."

Reference

Injectable Opioid Survey Report. ASHP; April 2018 [news release]

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