A growing shortage of common cancer treatments is forcing doctors to switch medications and delay some treatments, leading US cancer centers say. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network said Wednesday that nearly every center it surveyed late last month was dealing with deficiencies in carboplatin and cisplatin, a pair of drugs used to treat a range of cancers. Some are no longer able to treat patients receiving carboplatin at the intended dose or schedule. Kari Wisinski has had to turn to other treatments for some patients or change the order in which people receive their drug combinations. She said she did so “hoping that within three months there will be a better supply of carboplatin.” Wisinski is a breast cancer specialist at UW Health Carbone Cancer Center in Madison, Wisconsin and a member of the network. She said the doctors, nurses and pharmacists at her center did a good job managing the supply of drugs, but doing so took them away from other elements of care. Of the 27 cancer centers that responded to the network’s survey, 25 reported a carboplatin deficiency. Among cancer centers with carboplatin deficiencies, more than a third said they were unable to treat all patients according to the intended dose and schedule. Nineteen hospitals also reported cisplatin deficiencies, but all said they were able to maintain treatments for existing patients. Video below: Learn more about the cancer drug shortageThe problem began to unfold earlier this year, said Mike Ganio, who studies drug shortages at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. soon,” he said. “There’s not much room for it to get worse.” Manufacturing problems, unexpected spikes in demand, and tight inventories of ingredients have all contributed to a growing number of prescription drug shortages in the United States. Many patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder had trouble filling prescriptions for Adderall this year, and pharmacies ran out of children’s meds during last winter’s cold and flu season. according to the University of Utah Drug Information Service. The United States Food and Drug Administration has taken some steps to try to alleviate the chemotherapy shortage. The agency is allowing some overseas-approved versions of cisplatin to be temporarily imported from FDA-registered factories. until full production, Ganio said. He also noted that drug shortages are a decades-old problem. “We really have to get to the root causes of these shortages or they will continue to happen,” he said.

A growing shortage of common cancer treatments is forcing doctors to switch medications and delay some treatments, leading US cancer centers say.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network said Wednesday that nearly every center it surveyed late last month was dealing with shortages of carboplatin and cisplatin, a drug pair used to treat a range of cancers. Some are no longer able to treat patients receiving carboplatin at the intended dose or schedule.

In the video player above: A patient talks about how his cancer treatment was delayed due to drug shortages

Dr. Kari Wisinski has had to turn to other treatments for some patients or change the order in which people receive their drug combinations. She said she did so “hoping that within three months there will be a better supply of carboplatin.”

“It’s really hard as a doctor to have these conversations with a family or a patient about not having a drug that you would like to prescribe for them,” she said.

Wisinski is a breast cancer specialist at UW Health Carbone Cancer Center in Madison, Wisconsin and a member of the network. He said the doctors, nurses and pharmacists at his center did a good job managing the supply of drugs, but doing so took them away from other elements of care.

Of the 27 cancer centers that responded to the network’s survey, 25 reported a carboplatin deficiency. Among cancer centers with carboplatin deficiency, more than a third said they were unable to treat all patients on their intended dose and schedule.

Nineteen hospitals also reported cisplatin shortages, but all said they were able to maintain treatments for existing patients.

Video below: Learn more about the cancer drug shortage

The problem started developing earlier this year, said Mike Ganio, who studies drug shortages at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

“I think it went from being a shortage to a really serious shortage very quickly,” he said. “There’s not much room to get worse.”

Ganio’s company reported shortages of cisplatin in January and then carboplatin in late March, months after a factory in India that made both drugs suspended production following an inspection that raised quality concerns.

Manufacturing problems, unexpected spikes in demand, and tight inventories of ingredients have all contributed to a growing number of prescription drug shortages in the United States. Many patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder had a hard time filling prescriptions for Adderall this year, and pharmacies ran out of children’s meds during last winter’s cold and flu season.

There were 301 active national drug shortages during the first quarter of this year, according to the University of Utah Drug Information Service.

The United States Food and Drug Administration has taken some steps to try to alleviate the chemotherapy shortage. The agency is allowing some overseas-approved versions of cisplatin to be temporarily imported from FDA-registered factories.

Videos below: The FDA says over a dozen cancer treatment drugs are in shortage

That should help, but the important factor is getting the factory in India back to full production, Ganio said.

He also noted that shortages of drug supplies are a decades-old problem.

“We really need to get to the root causes of these shortages or they will continue to happen,” he said.

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