IV opiod shortage for surgery could be another crisis

Some hospitals are facing a dangerous shortage of injectable drugs that are given to patients undergoing surgery.

“Morphine, hydromorphone and fentanyl-these are the injectable forms of those medications. Not, the oral forms that you might associate with the ongoing opiod crisis,” said Michael Ganio with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Facing a dangerous shortage of injectable morphine, Dilaudid and fentanyl, around the country, some doctors are left to give less potent medications; or patients stay in pain.

“There is a shortage due to one of our largest manufacturers here in the United States experiencing some quality issues at one of their plants,” said Ganio.

He said other manufacturers are trying to produce more supplies.

Texas Medical Association's Dr. Ray Callas said a lot of the drugs were made in Puerto Rico, which has been down since last summer's Hurricane Maria. Callas said the shortage was increased with the government's effort to reduce addiction by restricting drug production.

Callas said an incorrect dosage could cause severe harm or even death.

“Then you start to create errors due to the fact that you’ve got to recalculate a different type of drug dose,” said Callas. “I think that any time you start to change something, you start to increase the risk of creating a medication error.”

Ganio says you need to talk with your healthcare before surgery to learn what the plan is for your pain management.


While the country is in an opioid crisis, the Drug Enforcement Administration called for reducing opiod manufacturing of 25 percent last year, and an additional 20 percent this year.

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