5 min Read
The Children’s Advil And Tylenol Shortage—What To Expect And How To Cope
November 24, 2022
5 min Read
November 24, 2022
The current nationwide children’s Advil and Tylenol shortage is causing panic for parents worried about treating sick kids. We spoke to pharmacist Amin Remtulla of Canada Chemists to learn more, and to get suggestions on how to cope.
Across the country, pharmacy shelves are empty of popular over-the-counter children’s medications. Parents rely on these meds for everything from fevers to treating all kinds of pain (think teething, growing pains, headaches and more). The shortage is alarming on many levels, and as a result, people are going to great lengths to get their hands on or even stockpile these products.
With the shortage in mind, we spoke to Amin Remtulla, a pharmacist and compounding specialist at Canada Chemists, a licensed and accredited compounding pharmacy under the Ontario College of Pharmacists, to learn more.
Amin Remtulla: No explanation for the shortage is available via Health Canada. It’s most likely a combination of increased demand due to cold season and supply chain challenges. (Author’s note: News reports earlier this fall say that this shortage was on the horizon for some time; the signs of diminishing supply were apparent in the spring, and an unprecented spike in demand in late summer further exacerbated the issue.)
Health Canada is sourcing supply from other countries (the United States and Australia) but supply will be limited.
Health Canada has issued the following guidance to parents:
Parents can also source other forms of ibuprofen (which is found in Advil) and acetaminophen (which is found in Tylenol) that are safe for children ages two and above. There is a consumer misconception that parents need to provide the specific brand names for their children, but we want parents to remember there are other options that are equally as effective.
In response to the recent shortages, Canada Chemists, the pharmacy I work out of, which is based in North Toronto, has begun the compounding of the below two products and shipping across the country:
Strawberry-flavoured compounded pediatric ibuprofen liquid suspension (an OTC compounded ibuprofen to reduce fever, pain and inflammation and alternative to Advil)
Strawberry-flavoured compounded pediatric acetaminophen suspension (an OTC compounded acetaminophen to reduce fever and mild to moderate pain, and an alternative to Tylenol)
We really wanted to provide caregivers with an alternative to the brand names for pain and fever management. While there are supply chain issues of the brand names, there are effective alternatives which can be locally compounded by some pharmacies. (Author’s note: Compounding pharmacies have been an integral part of the Canadian pharmacy network since the early 1980s, but modern compounding as a practice has been around for centuries.)
While we cannot predict when the children’s Advil and Tylenol shortage will be resolved, companies like Canada Chemists are working hard to help meet the supply with OTC products that are compounded in Canada.
While it can feel stressful in the moment when dealing with a sick child, it’s important to ensure the proper steps are being taken for treatment. We don’t want parents to make misguided decisions, such as giving their child medication for adults or using medication obtained from unknown sources.
Parents should not use adult fever or pain medications on children under 12 years of age without consulting a healthcare professional. I strongly recommend parents visit pharmacies or their family doctor to get professional advice on how to approach care for their child, and to purchase their medication from reputable sources.