Posts Tagged ‘ Children’s Hospital ’

ADHD Medication Shortage Hassling Parents

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Medications commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are in short supply because tight regulations by the US Drug Enforcement Agency are limiting the manufacture of the drugs, The Boston Globe reports.  Parents whose children are on medications including Ritalin, Adderall, and their generic equivalents are more and more often having to jump through logistical hoops to get their kids’ prescriptions filled.

From the Globe:

Often, parents must come back to his office after an appointment to request a new prescription for a different dose pill, replacing a 30 milligram pill, for example, with three 10 milligram pills to be taken in the morning, since pharmacies aren’t allowed to make these replacements on their own to handle shortages.

The drug that seems to be in the shortest supply? Adderall XR (extended release), said [Children's Hospital Boston's psychopharmacology director Dr. Joseph] Gonzalez-Heydrich, which is made by Shire and lost its patent two years ago. (The drug appears on this FDA list of drug shortages.)

Shire has instead been promoting and steadily producing its newer and more expensive drug Vyvanse — which is in plentiful supply and works similarly to Adderall XR; the DEA allows manufacturers to decide how they will divvy up their restricted production among expensive brand names and lower-priced generics.

“I’ve switched a lot of my patients to Vyvanse since it’s more in stock and has a similar action,” said Gonzalez-Heydrich. But many are forced to pay more for the prescription as a result.

Gonzalez-Heydrich offered advice to parents who are struggling with this issue:

Those expecting to get a new prescription for their recently diagnosed child should be aware of the shortage and ask the doctor to call their local pharmacy to see what’s in stock before walking out with a script.

Those bringing their child in for a prescription refill should call their pharmacy before their child’s appointment — even in the doctor’s waiting room — to find out whether the store has their child’s prescription in stock and, if so, in what dosage.

“If they have the drug in stock, ask if the pharmacy can set aside some pills for a prescription that’s about to be filled,” if their stock is running low, advised Gonzalez-Heydrich. Doctors can’t call in prescriptions, so pharmacies can sometimes run out during the time it takes to bring the script in to be filled.

Parents may also want to call around to other pharmacies to see what they have in stock, also before the doctor’s appointment. That way, said Gonzalez-Heydrich, doctors can tailor the dose and number of pills based on what’s in stock.

Image: Prescription medication, via Shutterstock.


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Rare Childhood Aging Disorder Has New Treatment Hope

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

A drug traditionally used to prevent the rejection of organ transplants is giving new hope to parents of children with progeria, a rare genetic disorder that causes premature aging and death usually before age 12.  Scientists at Children’s Hospital and the National Institutes of Health are currently planning a large-scale clinical trial to see whether the drug rapamycin, or a similar medication, might help remove the damaging protein progerin from patients’ cells.

According to a report in The Boston Globe:

It starts with a tiny genetic change, the equivalent of a single spelling error in the vast DNA manuscript that supplies the narrative of human biology. But for babies born with that errant genetic code, childhood becomes a race against traits more commonly associated with their grandparents. The children age rapidly, resembling octogenarians before they even become teenagers.

They lose their hair, develop osteoporosis, and ultimately suffer strokes and heart attacks during adolescence….

Because of a single mistake in the six billion letters in the genome, children with progeria accumulate too much of a protein called progerin in their cells. They develop bone and skin problems before their first birthday. They are smaller than their peers and have so much trouble keeping fat on their body that veins on their foreheads become visible. They suffer from the same cardiovascular problems that kill many adults and live, on average, to be only 12.

If successful, the clinical trial could offer hope to those afflicted with the rare disease, which affects an estimated 1 in 4-8 million newborns.  It might also shed light on ways to repurpose existing drugs to fight other aging and neurological diseases like Parkinson’s.

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