Oseltamivir oral suspension back-ordered due to increased demand

February 22, 2011

Oseltamivir phosphate oral suspension (Tamiflu) is on back order because of increased demand, manufacturer Genentech announced.

Oseltamivir phosphate oral suspension (Tamiflu) is on back order because of increased demand, manufacturer Genentech announced. However, supplies are not yet depleted at wholesalers and pharmacies.

During this shortage, pharmacists are advised to contact prescribers to verify the dose of oseltamivir phosphate oral suspension in milligrams if a prescription is written for a specific volume (e.g., 5 mL). The capsule form of oseltamivir has not been affected by this back order and is still available.

“Due to an early spike in demand for the liquid formulation of [Tamiflu Oral Suspension], all available inventory for Tamiflu Oral Suspension has already been shipped to distributors and retail pharmacies,” Tara Iannuccillo, Genentech spokesperson told Drug Topics. “Genentech will not be producing additional Tamiflu Oral Suspension for this flu season.”

Iannuccillo said that it is important to note that there is sufficient supply of Tamiflu in all other formulations, including the 75-mg capsules for adults and 30-mg and 45-mg capsules for children.

If Tamiflu Oral Suspension is not available in a particular area, a healthcare provider may prescribe the Tamiflu 30-mg or 45-mg capsules, depending on the weight of the child. For those who have difficulty swallowing capsules, the contents can be mixed into sweetened liquids, such as chocolate syrup, as directed by a healthcare professional. Pharmacists may also compound the adult-size Tamiflu 75-mg capsules into a liquid. Instructions for dosing and compounding may be found in the Tamiflu package insert or at www.tamiflu.com.

Tamiflu is prescribed for treating adults and children 1 year of age and older with influenza whose symptoms started in the previous 24 to 48 hours. For patients 1 year of age and older, use of Tamiflu may reduce the chance of contracting the flu. Tamiflu is not a substitute for the annual flu vaccinations.