Nationwide lidocaine shortage worries Kentucky’s doctors and pharmacists

One of the most crucial drugs in the medical world is running out.
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 3:51 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - One of the most crucial drugs in the medical world is running out.

Lidocaine is used by doctors to take away a person’s pain.

Nurses at Dr. Tami Cassis’s Dermatology & Aesthetics Center in Norton Commons said their suppliers started running of lidocaine about eight months ago.

The drug, if used in proper dosage, also has the ability to prevent bleeding out during surgeries.

”It’s not just dermatology, every physician pretty much uses lidocaine at some point throughout their day,” Cassis said. “Dentists use lidocaine to numb up when you are going in to have your teeth worked on. It’s a very common drug that we need everyday all day long.”

”We started to switch from two percent to one percent to make adjustments that way,” Cassis added.

The FDA tracks drug supplies online. Right now, over 110 medications are listed as in short supply. They range from tablets to injections.

In an official statement to WAVE News, the FDA said:

“The FDA is working closely with the manufacturers of lidocaine hydrochloride injection to help address the shortage of these products. We understand the impact this shortage is having on patients and are doing all we can within our authority and using all the tools we have to help keep supply available for patients.”

Pharmacist Kecia Dawson from Commons Corner Apothecary said it’s a tough market right now.

”We’ve had trouble getting not only lidocaine injections, Benadryl injections, saline injectable,” Dawson said. ”There’s 10 to 12 wholesalers at any given time that we search. It’s been bad.”

Local pharmacies and doctors said they’re doing their best to work together for their patients and they worry what will happen if they aren’t able to take their patients pain away.

“It would be terrible,” Cassis said. “It would literally be terrible if I said to a patient, if I said to you, ‘I am really worried about this spot on your arm. I think it could potentially be a life-threatening thing on your arm, but I don’t have anything to numb up.’”