405 Heron Drive Suite 200
Swedesboro, NJ 08085
Ph 800.331.8272

Wedgewood Pharmacy compounding cherry flavored oseltamivir phosphate suspension


Wedgewood Pharmacy compounding cherry flavored oseltamivir phosphate suspension during Tamiflu shortage; warns of possible dosage errors

(Swedesboro NJ, November 18, 2009) Wedgewood Pharmacy is now compounding oseltamivir phosphate in a cherry-flavored suspension in response to the nationwide shortage of Tamiflu® suspension. The commercially manufactured Tamiflu product, from F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, is offered in a 12mg/ml suspension (oseltamivir base) in a 25ml bottle. Wedgewood Pharmacy will fill prescriptions for oseltamivir 12mg/ml 25ml in a sugar-free cherry flavored suspension. The suspension form of the drug is made for pediatric and adult patients who have difficulty swallowing capsules.

Because of this season’s influenza epidemic, pharmacies have been unable to purchase the commercial oral suspension from the manufacturer or drug wholesalers. As a result, pharmacies have begun to compound the commercially available capsule form of the drug into a flavored suspension on an emergency basis, using FDA-approved directions. The compounding directions, however, result in a 15mg/ml oseltamivir-base concentration and not the 12mg/ml suspension that is available commercially.

Compounded oseltamivir suspension requires a prescription from a licensed prescriber.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has issued an “important error prevention advisory” warning that “unless prescribers specify the patient’s dose in mg, a dosing error is possible.” The advisory refers to incidents that “resulted in providing too large of a dose being dispensed to children” and that “it is also possible for a lower than intended amount to be administered … if prescribers base the dose on the 15 mg/ml concentration.” ISMP has advised prescribers to communicate suspension in doses (mg) rather than by volume.

Beth DeSouza, Wedgewood Pharmacy’s human-health product manager added, “This is an important safety issue. Giving children the wrong dose of this medicine can be harmful. Parents should always be aware of the medication and dose being prescribed for their children. In this case, we advise asking the pharmacist filling a prescription for this preparation to verify the intended dosage with the prescriber.”

To fill a prescription for the cherry-flavored Tamiflu suspension from Wedgewood Pharmacy, telephone 800.331.8272 or bring your prescription to the company’s pharmacy counter located at 405 Heron Drive, Suite 200, Swedesboro NJ.

Tamiflu® (oseltamivir phosphate) is an FDA-approved antiviral drug for treatment of uncomplicated influenza A and B in patients one year of age or older. It is also approved for influenza prevention in people 13 years or older who had household contact or are at high-risk during the influenza season.

About Wedgewood Pharmacy

A compounding pharmacy creates customized medications for individual patients in response to a licensed practitioner’s prescription. Wedgewood Pharmacy is one of the largest compounding pharmacies in the United States, serving more than 25,000 prescribers of compounded medications. It is located in Swedesboro NJ and licensed throughout the United States.

Background: About Compounding Pharmacy

Because every patient is different and has different needs, customized, compounded medications are a vital part of quality medical care. The basis of the profession of pharmacy has always been the "triad," the patient-prescriber-pharmacist relationship.

Through this relationship, patient needs are determined by a prescriber, who chooses a treatment regimen that may include a compounded medication. Prescribers often prescribe compounded medications for reasons that include (but are not limited to) the following situations:

  • When needed medications are discontinued by or generally unavailable from pharmaceutical companies, often because the medications are no longer profitable to manufacture;
  • When the patient is allergic to certain preservatives, dyes or binders in available off-the shelf medications;
  • When treatment requires tailored dosage strengths for patients with unique needs (for example, an infant);
  • When a pharmacist can combine several medications the patient is taking to increase compliance;
  • When the patient cannot ingest the medication in its commercially available form and a pharmacist can prepare the medication in cream, liquid or other form that the patient can easily take; and
  • When medications require flavor additives to make them more palatable for some patients.

For additional information, visit the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists’ Web site at www.iacprx.org and www.compoundingfacts.org.

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