FOX 31 Article: Lupus patients nervous over run on Trump-dubbed ‘game-changer’ COVID-19 drugs

Posted: March 27, 2020

Check out the article below, featuring CPS Executive Director, Emily Zadvorny, which covers the prescribing of hydroxychloroquine and prescribing in Colorado. 

DENVER (KDVR) -- Patients who use the medication hydroxychloroquine to combat debilitating symptoms associated with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis say they’re worried about a potential shortage of the medication after President Donald Trump suggested it could be possibly a “game-changer” in the fight against COVID-19.

“It’s scary and it’s stressful, and I worry about myself. I worry about my patients. It makes me very nervous,” said Alaina Schilling, a pregnant medical assistant who uses the drug to prevent bad rashes, joint pain and fevers that sometimes prevent her from getting out of bed.

“I can’t stop this medication right now. It’s the only medication for lupus that is approved for pregnancy and breastfeeding, so if we run out of the drug, I can’t take anything else for my lupus right now, so it would go haywire,” she said.

Schilling, who works at the Arthritis and Rheumatology Clinic of Northern Colorado, said she fielded at least 40 calls in the last 24 hours from other concerned patients who have had trouble filling their prescriptions. The facility handles patients around Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota and Arizona.

“There is starting to be a shortage of the drug in the smaller towns,” she said. “Cheyenne, Wyoming is having a hard time getting the drug in,” she said. Schilling said mail-order pharmacies are also having difficulty keeping the medication in stock. “That is really scary because that’s some of the only drugs that are working for these people," she said.

On Thursday, the Colorado Pharmacists Society sent a letter to the governor, asking for limitations on how the prescriptions are dispensed.

“A lot of states are doing this,” said Emily Zadvorny, the group’s executive director. “What we are asking for is that if there are prescriptions for these medications that they indicate on the prescription that they have a legitimate medical purpose and what that diagnosis is."

“We’re also asking to not start new prescriptions for those medications, but if they are being continued before March 8, 2020, then they can continue those," she added.

Zadvorny said any prescriptions written for COVID-19 patients should only be dispensed to patients who have recently been hospitalized.

“There is a little bit of evidence, again, in the truly sick people, that his might be part of a treatment algorithm. So those are the things we’re asking for in our letter to the governor’s office,” she said.

 

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