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Is There a Shortage of Children's Tylenol and Motrin?

Is There a Shortage of Children's Tylenol and Motrin?

If it seems like a lot of people in your network are sick, you’re not alone. There is a lot of flu-like and COVID-like illnesses right now as well as an uptick in RSV cases, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. If the funk has hit your household, you may have had trouble finding your kids’ over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers like Tylenol and Motrin. Is there an official shortage?

The FDA hasn’t yet added a shortage for Tylenol or Motrin, or their generic names acetaminophen and ibuprofen. But, a national pharmacists group has listed prescription oral ibuprofen and acetaminophen suppositories on their shortage list, which is often an indicator of an FDA announcement coming down the line. Headlines about the “tripledemic” of flu, COVID and RSV cases on the rise may be playing in part in shortages, as some parents are stocking up to be prepared for various bugs.

There is too much room for error in trying to adjust the dosage from adult acetaminophen and Ibuprofen to pediatric dosage, so doctors advise against it. If you’re having trouble finding your go-to children’s pain relievers, try these tips instead:

  • Buy generic – if you aren’t already doing this, it’s a good time to start. The active ingredients are the same, and you save money.
  • Try chewable tablets instead of liquid – These are typically recommended for ages 2 and up, but many parents are so used to the liquid version, that they stick with it for much longer. You can even crush them up and mix into applesauce or pudding, just confirm with your pediatrician before.
  • Shop around – Try smaller local pharmacies instead of big-box retailers. Of course this isn’t convenient for busy families, but right now you may have to try a few places until you hit the meds jackpot.
  • Fever doesn’t always require meds – being fever-free for 24 hours is the rule for most daycares and schools, so it’s naturally treating it with meds is the immediate reaction for parents. But, it’s not all bad news - a fever is part of a response from the body’s immune system as it fights off an infection. If your child is otherwise ok – acting normal, eating and drinking – he or she may not need meds. If they are uncomfortable with a headache or achiness along with the fever, then it’s your best bet. While fevers by themselves may not be a cause for alarm there are some circumstances when you should seek medical advice, especially in infants.

Every child and situation are different, so always consult with your child’s healthcare provider for advice.