FDA expects temporary shortage of liquid oseltamivir

Increased demand and manufacturing delays are expected to cause a temporary shortage of the liquid form of the influenza drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) in coming days, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on its Web site. The oral suspension formulation is intended for small children and others who can't swallow capsules.

"Genentech is experiencing temporary delays in manufacturing of Oral Suspension. A brief shortage of Oral Suspension is expected in early to mid-January," the FDA said on its "Current Drug Shortages" page. The agency also listed increased demand as a reason for the shortage. The company expects to have more of the product in mid-January, officials said.

Oseltamivir remains available in capsules at all three doses (30, 45, and 75 milligrams), the FDA reported. It said children over 1 year old can be dosed correctly with 30- or 45-mg capsules. For those who can't swallow capsules, a capsule can be opened and mixed with chocolate syrup or some other liquid as directed by a health professional. Also, professionals can use 75-mg capsules to make a liquid form of the drug.

Scattered shortages of the liquid drug were reported in several recent years, including 2013, 2011, and the 2009 pandemic, prompting pharmacies to compound it from capsules.

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