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Omahan wants answers on mental health drug shortage

Since October, Haloperidol has been on the FDA drug shortage list.
haloperidol drug shortage mental health pill
Posted at 5:17 PM, Dec 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 18:17:25-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) -- — Drug shortages can have lasting affects on people across the united states.

An Omaha woman wants to know why her mental health prescription is drying up and what's being done to help the many others who rely on it.

The 67-year-old, who didn't want her face and name to be revealed, was diagnosed with Schizoprhenia more than 20 years ago and takes the drug Haloperidol. The drug helps people with mental or mood disorders stay balanced.

She says she recently went to Walgreens and was told there was a back-order for her dosage.

The Food and Drug Administration says, since October, Haloperidol in half milligram and one milligram doses are not available or out of stock.

The woman says she can't just switch brands or doses.

"This is serious, it's a serious problem. You have a lot of people that are mentally ill who need this medication are willing to take it everyday, and you do have to take it everyday or you'd be in deep trouble," she explained.

The FDA's website says one of the main manufacturers, Mylan, can't re-supply the drug until March 2019. Other companies also don't have any pills under 2 milligrams and have short supply in larger doses. Mylan's reason for the shortage isn't given, and on Wednesday they did not give 3 News Now an explanation.

John Franzen MD, the Director of the Intensive Outpatient Program at Nebraska Medicine, says therapy and medication often are the biggest factors for mental health treatment.

"The hard part is there's instances where somebody's been on a medication for a long period of time, they've been stable, things are going well, you have to change them to a different medication so there's some risk involved in that," Franzen described.

Recently the FDA formed an inter-agency task force to look at why these types of shortages are happening, and make recommendations for solutions to stop shortages in the future.