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What is the Best Way to Determine an Alternative Agent During a Drug Shortage?


Milena McLaughlin, PharmD, MSc, Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice, Midwestern University and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, explains the best way to determine an alternative agent during a drug shortage.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“The best way to determine an alternative agent during a drug shortage is really to look at the medical literature. Some medications in a drug class will be a clear, alternative agent; there may be several in the same drug class, and sometimes the medication alternative is not as clear.

In that case, you really have to go to the medical literature, see what the second-line agent might be, make sure that the adverse effects and the risk versus benefits are there, and that [you’re] really picking the best one. Making sure that the stakeholders, again, are approving this, and that they know why [you’re] going to the second-line agent, and getting all the experts involved in the institution.

Again, making sure that nursing leadership knows what’s going on, so that everyone can be educated on what to expect from that second-line agent, because there’s a reason that it’s the second-line agent, and [you] want to make sure that [you] know what [you’re] getting into with that.”
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