Pharmacists Offer Recommendations for Managing Shortages of Small-Volume Parenteral Solutions

Strategies Aimed at Conserving Vital Medications in Short Supply in Aftermath of Hurricane Maria

Article ID: 683902

Released: 26-Oct-2017 10:00 AM EDT

Source Newsroom: ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists)

Newswise — BETHESDA, Md. — ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) and the University of Utah Drug Information Service have developed a fact sheet that provides an outline of potential actions for healthcare organizations to consider in managing shortages of small-volume parenteral solutions (SVPs).

SVPs are solutions of 100 mL or less used in nearly every hospital in the United States to dilute intravenous medications. Intermittent shortages of SVPs — primarily a result of hurricane-related damage to pharmaceutical manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico — are emerging as a serious problem for hospitals, healthcare systems, and ambulatory care infusion centers.

“Shortages of SVPs can have a significant impact on the safety and quality of patient care in hospitals and health systems,” said Douglas Scheckelhoff, ASHP Senior Vice President, Practice Advancement. “Our recommendations will help pharmacists and other healthcare providers determine the best course of action to conserve this vital product and mitigate the potential harm to patients.”

The document offers a variety of options that healthcare organizations can take to conserve products, including using clinically appropriate alternative methods of administration such as oral dosage forms, intramuscular injections, or subcutaneous injections; changing electronic health records to allow flexibility to use either dextrose or saline for drugs compatible with both solutions; switching to the use of saline flush syringes, 500 mL bags, or 1 L bags to start intravenous lines; or compounding  medications that can be administered via IV push in ready-to-administer concentrations. The fact sheet cautions that SVPs should be compounded only when other conservation options have been exhausted.

The fact sheet advises healthcare organizations to evaluate their current supply of SVPs and redeploy product to the areas of greatest need, transition to the use of premixed solutions, and reflect product changes in all pharmacy automation. The document also notes that imported product — the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently allowed Baxter to import SVPs from the manufacturer’s facility in Ireland — is available for purchase as supplies become available.

ASHP continues to work closely with officials in the FDA’s Drug Shortages Program to help assess the situation and provide perspectives on the impact of these shortages on patients and providers. The association collaborates with the University of Utah Drug Information Service to track drugs in short supply and maintains an online resource center that features updates about product availability, recommendations for managing current inventory, and, when available, recommendations for alternative therapies.

About ASHP
ASHP represents pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings. The organization’s more than 44,000 members include pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians. For 75 years, ASHP has been at the forefront of efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists advance healthcare, visit ASHP’s website, www.ashp.org, or its consumer website, www.SafeMedication.com.

 

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