MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It's becoming a rare sight on some pharmacy shelves — Tylenol. The drug is selling out or is being rationed in many stores because of a belief that it might be the best way to fight COVID-19.
Dr. Parham Eftekari is a nephrologist and an internal medicine physician. He said Tylenol is preferred for fever over non-steroidal, anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen.
"It is safer to give Tylenol or acetaminophen for fever," he said. "Try to stay away from the non-steroidal. Non-steroidals are good for arthritis, headaches, migraines sometimes, but prolonged use of it definitely has adverse outcomes for the heart, the kidney and now, recent evidence shows, possible immune system."
Eftekari said research is still being done, but initial research shows drugs like ibuprofen could make COVID-19 worse for some patients.
"Use of anti-fever medication can actually inhibit some of the cell function that can portably worsen outcomes in COVID-19," he said.
A spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Tylenol, acknowledged the shortage and said the company is working to overcome it.
"We are experiencing record high demand for Tylenol, and despite our producing and shipping product at historic highs, we are experiencing a temporary shortage in some regions in the US," said Kim Montagnino, Global Corporate Media Relations Senior Director. "We are committed to maintaining our increased production, including running lines up to 24/7 to maximize supply."
Johnson & Johnson said they're working to keep the drug available and are encouraging stores to put limits on how much Tylenol people can buy. That's what CBS4 News saw at a Broward Walgreens, where the Tylenol Extra Strength is kept behind the counter.
We checked online and we couldn't get most versions of Tylenol online at Walgreens, Target or CVS. A Walgreen's spokesperson said they're aware of the demand for Tylenol and they do have enough to meet customer's needs.
Pharmacist Howard Fisher said they still have some bottles of Tylenol on the shelves at Medical III Pharmacy in Plantation. But that's all they've got.
"When you go to re-order it, it's not available," he explained. "We have what we have."
Fisher said he's told it will be awhile before they can get more.
"Like the end of the month," he said.
If you're looking for Tylenol, Fisher suggested purchasing acetaminophen, the generic version of Tylenol.
Also, he said try calling some of the smaller pharmacies to see if they have Tylenol in stock.
Fisher also suggested that if you have kids and have children's Tylenol at home, you could figure out an adult dosage.
Dr. Eftekari recommends trying to shop in the morning when the shelves at many stores are re-stocked.
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