Some along the Grand Strand worry current drug shortages will affect their ability to have ‘a normal life’

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – In a News13 follow-up, there’s now a second drug in shortage due to it being mentioned it could possibly treat COVID-19.

The hydroxychloroquine and Pepcid shortages are affecting those our community who need the medicines.

It’s a drug many use daily, like Donald Kirkpatrick, to get through the pain and swelling that arthritis and other conditions bring.

“Hydroxychloroquine allows me to more or less go about a normal life,” he said. “I was in pain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Now, hydroxychloroquine is in shortage, touted as a possible treatment for COVID-19, and another popular drug is joining it. People are also hoarding famotidine or Pepcid.

“We’re having the shortages from all our wholesalers. Nobody has the active ingredient in stock.” said Joe Shockley, pharmacist in charge at Ocean Lakes Pharmacy in Surfside Beach.

He says he’s had a lot of calls asking about the hydroxychloroquine shortage, but not as many about famotidine just yet.

He says people saw studies where an intravenous use of the drug being given to COVID-19 patients in larger amounts sparked the people to pull Pepcid from Shockley’s shelves.

Dr. Thad Golden, Director of Critical Care at Grand Strand Medical Center, says much like people wanting to have toilet paper and face masks, they hoard medicines like Pepcid or ask for more refills for prescription hydroxychloroquine to feel safer during the pandemic.

“People are scared, and I think that that’s very understandable, and like with any other situation that they’re trying to control, they’re looking for a way to stay a little safer,” said Dr. Golden.

Dr. Golden confirms there’s not much scientific promise in a Pepcid treatment.

“Even really before it’s been really scientifically proven, people are prone to try and get their hands on it, in the eventuality that it may help them,” he said.

For Kirkpatrick, he’s more worried about the hydroxychloroquine shortage because there are Pepcid substitutes.

“Hydroxychloroquine is hydroxychloroquine, there’s nothing equivalent to it that’s available. There’s other things available by prescription, but there’s nothing that you can just go get over-the-counter,” Kirkpatrick said.

For now, it isn’t recommended either drug be taken at home for COVID-19.

“It certainly doesn’t help prevent you from getting it, and it is not a treatment that anybody would want to take at home,” said Dr. Golden.

Dr. Golden says he’s seen people pull drugs off of shelves in hopes it will treat COVID-19. Instead, he says to trust the scientific community when looking for a treatment.


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