Nurofen syrup for children will not be available until March

Nurofen syrup for children will not be available until mid-March 2023, according to the State Institute for Drug Control (SÚKL). The manufacturer, Reckitt Benckiser, told the drug authority that the outage was “production reasons.”

The company is now also not supplying suppositories, which reduce fever during flu and colds in children and relieve headaches, toothaches, earaches, sore throats, and postoperative pain. For suppositories, the manufacturer does not specify a date for the resumption of production.

According to Michaela Bažantová, a spokeswoman for the Czech Chamber of Pharmacy (ČLnK), pharmacists can advise on the outage of one type of medicine or consult with the child’s doctor.

“Manufacturers are currently not supplying medicines for children containing ibuprofen in the form of syrups or suppositories at all or in quantities that do not meet the needs of patients,” Bažantová said. However, she said, solving such shortages is not only time-consuming but, given the stress on parents of sick children, also psychologically demanding.

It is not possible, she said, to recommend a single drug across the board as a substitute for deficient suppositories or syrup. The child’s age, weight, and specific problems are all important considerations.

“For example, if a sick child weighs more than 20 kilograms, available ibuprofen tablets can be given. In many cases, ibuprofen preparations can be replaced by medicines containing paracetamol, although the latter does not have anti-inflammatory effects,” she explained.

Pharmacies can also produce paracetamol preparations individually in suppository form, but the raw material for making an ibuprofen suppository is not currently available. “We urge parents not to give their children, for example, half tablets containing adult ibuprofen,” Bažantová added.

According to an earlier statement by Health Minister Vlastimil Válek (TOP 09), the Health Ministry is planning a legislative change to limit shortages of essential drugs. Distributors should keep a stock of them for several weeks. According to the ČLnK, irreplaceable drugs are missing from one to dozens a year, while others can usually be replaced. But the shortage of fever syrup is the third since May.

According to pharmacists, the reasons for the shortages are varied, but sometimes pharmacies do not even learn of them. Pharmacists also consider it a problem that a large part of the production of drugs has moved outside of Europe. Sometimes panic can also be behind an outage, with pharmacies or patients stocking up on replacements when a drug is unavailable.