Shortage of Anesthetics Reported05/10/11
TUESDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- Shortages of anesthetics are
rampant across the United States, according to the results of a new
The findings revealed that more than 90 percent of 1,373
anesthesiologists polled (including more than 1,350 from the United
States) are experiencing a shortage of at least one drug. And,
within the last year, 98 percent of the respondents encountered a
similar problem, the poll by the American Society of
Among the anesthetics in short supply were:
- Neostigmine (57 percent)
- Thiopental (55 percent)
- Succinylcholine (48 percent)
- Propofol (40 percent)
- Glycopyrrolate (17 percent)
In most cases, the drug shortages forced anesthesiologists to
change the way they cared for their patients. In fact, more than 91
percent of respondents used alternative medications. Meanwhile,
roughly 10 percent of anesthesiologists went so far as to postpone
or cancel procedures as a result of the shortages.
Despite the ability of anesthesiologists to work around the lack
of certain drugs, patients may often suffer as a result. About half
of the patients who underwent procedures during a drug shortage
experienced adverse effects, including:
- Increased post-op nausea because of the effects of alternative
- More time spent in the operating room and in recovery
- Higher health care costs
"The drug shortages are having a profound impact on anesthesiologists and patients each day," Dr. Mark A. Warner, president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, said in an ASA news release. "It is important for patients who are about to undergo anesthesia to have a physician who practices anesthesiology involved in their care; anesthesiologists are specifically trained to provide safe care despite the need to use alternative drugs when others are in short supply or not available."
The American Society of Anesthesiologists advises patients to
ask about how drug shortages may affect their particular hospital
or surgery center before undergoing a procedure.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health offers detailed
information on the different forms of
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