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Critical Shortage of Dextrose Is Forcing EMS to Adapt Protocols

Many other important rescue medications are also in short supply, resulting in an ongoing challenge for EMS.

The Food and Drug Administration is currently reporting shortages of dextrose in 5%, 10%, 25% and 50% solutions. Manufacturing capacity to support these dextrose products is not expected to improve for some time. There is potential for shortages of these products to worsen if anything else disrupts the supply.

Dextrose solutions are a staple in the EMS drug box and are commonly used to treat hypoglycemia. Dextrose administration can restore blood sugar levels quickly.

Glucagon as an alternative

Glucagon administered as an intramuscular injection was historically used in EMS for hypoglycemic patients, although it is expensive and more difficult to administer than dextrose. Most EMS agencies no longer have this medication in their protocols. Nevertheless, during this critical dextrose shortage, glucagon could be a viable alternative to treat hypoglycemia. However, glucagon is also currently in short supply.

Other medication shortages

Many other important rescue medications are also in short supply, resulting in an ongoing challenge for EMS. An ideal emergency medical system has a secure supply of emergency medicines to ensure their availability and affordability. However, until such a system is achieved, EMS agencies are forced to adapt and use what is available to them.

Addressing shortages

Some things that EMS agencies can do to address shortages are:

  • Adapt protocols to allow use of alternative drugs or formulations.
  • Proactively manage stock.
  • Evaluate and make improvements to logistics and EMS management.

More recommendations to help EMS agencies adapt to the dextrose shortage and other drug shortages are available on the EMS1 website.

Read more at U.S. Fire Administration

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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