Story 49 Acebutolol – again!

Well, it has happened again. See Story 27 from 2012 and Story 48 below from June 2018.

My 3-month supply of beta blocker for blood pressure (Teva’s acebutolol)  can’t be filled. On 1 October, the pharmacist gave me a one-week supply — and now I am almost out.

Stopping suddenly is dangerous (heart attacks).

I just called. It’s still “on back order,” and no new orders can be placed. The pharmacist says he will call around to other pharmacies.

But get this! —

I just checked the government’s official website about drug shortages again.

While my problem started 1 October, the company did not report this shortage until 11 October (it had another shortage last July, as per Story 48 below). Other companies that make it also have shortages–Sanis, Apotex, Pro Doc. But two other companies have discontinued it completely: Mylan and Sanofi-Aventis.

So much for advance reporting.

What is going on?

This is a very old drug. Beta-blockers (among other drugs) won the Nobel Prize in 1988.

If I die, blame drug shortage and tell someone.


Update 23 October…problem continues!

No Acebutolol is available till December.

My poor pharmacist has spent a LOT of time phoning around, and twice I have been back to pick up sufficient medication for 1 week each time.

My doctor has decided to switch me to a different beta blocker, which I will start today.

Will we ever see acebutolol again? Stay tuned.


Update 8 December

So the pharmacist phoned to say the rest of my prescription was “in,” bought and paid for more than two months ago, although the Health Canada website suggests that the problem was resolved a month ago (5 November for Apotex and 16 November for ProDoc. Teva is still in short supply.)

In other words, “resolved” does not mean available.

Now I have TWO beta blocker prescriptions. Which one should I take? Another visit to the doctor. More time and expense for me and the system.

Does the shortage of a beta-blocker come with a warning to patients or their doctors? Certainly none was given to me.

Does providing prescription for TWO beta blockers not generate a warning – or cause the pharmacist to question the medics about what should be done?  Nothing was said about that in the phone call.

I’m lucky that I have an MD — and although I don’t know what to do, I do know that I should not take two at the same time, nor should I just quit.

Worse it would be for someone who just “went without” for two months, letting their blood pressure get out of control…risking heart attack and stroke.


Same thing is happening everywhere — see this May 2019 story from USA

Ivan Oransky, when drug shortages hit home for a doctor journalist, Medscape blog, 1 May 2019.