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How Do Antimicrobial Shortages Impact Patient Care?


Milena McLaughlin, PharmD, MSc, Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice, Midwestern University and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, explains the different ways that antimicrobial shortages can impact patient care.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“Shortages impact patient care in many different ways. [One is] delayed or canceled care, so, if we can’t get a medication when we need it, the patient won’t get care when they need to; this is very important for things such as chemotherapy and antibiotics. We need to use second-line agents, and these agents may not have been studied in the specific patient population that we need to use them in. We may not know how to properly monitor the patients, and they may have more adverse effects than we’re expecting. Medications on shortage often cost more to get in, or their alternatives may cost more; so, that’s an issue. Then, of course, the most important is patient safety. We’re using second-line agents that our clinicians are not familiar with, so, the dosing is different, the vials look different, they’re in a hurry, they’re not really sure what’s going on, and so, medication errors are more likely to happen.”
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