What do I do if there is a shortage of Methotrexate?

Dear Ms. Meniscus,

My sister called me after reading online this weekend about a possible shortage of Methotrexate, and I don’t know what I would do without it! At the same time, I know this is a vital treatment to children with cancer. Am I being selfish?

Do you have any advice?

Scared in Arkansas

Dear Scared in Arkansas,

Thanks for bringing this situation to my attention. For readers who are unaware about the potential shortage of Methotrexate, here is a link to a New York Times article on the matter:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/11/health/policy/supply-of-methotrexate-a-cancer-drug-may-run-out-soon.html?_r=2

Before I continue any further, I want to stress that I do not have a medical license, and you should call your doctor to get a medically qualified opinion about your situation. This is even more critical if you are already running low on Methotrexate injections.

If you are only taking Methotrexate injections, maybe it’s time you ask your doctor if you should start using other biologics which tend to be more effective at stopping the progression of RA in general.

The last thing you want to do is panic about a potential shortage. So don’t blow a fuse. This is a serious issue for a lot of people so if you are one of them, like Scared, keep your cool and talk with your doctor. You have the right to be concerned for yourself.  Everyone who depends on this treatment has a stake in this situation.

UPDATE:

Since writing this column, I came across the article below which describes the FDA as “cautiously optimistic” that Methotrexate shortage will be averted.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/02/14/fda-thinks-shortage-of-cancer-drug-for-kids-can-be-averted

Maylan, one of five makers of Methotrexate also came out today to state that their production has not been affected and they are actively escalating their production of the injection.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mylan-actively-addressing-shortage-of-preservative-free-methotrexate-injection-139322568.html

– M

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