Beta-Methasone Shortage

  1. I read an article in the newspaper recently discussing the shortage of a number of vaccines and other medications, resulting in rationing of doses.

    One of the meds listed was injectible B-Methasone. Having had pre-term labor with both of my pregnancies (at 22 and 25 weeks), I am convinced that this drug contributed to good outcomes, even though both of my girls were preemies.

    Have any of you practicing OB nurses encountered problems with pre-term labor patients who are unable to get this drug? If so, what are you doing for them? Are there any other effective substitutes? Have you cared for any patients whose babies were sicker than expected due to lack of this drug?

    This really scares me! I know that we hear of medication shortages all the time, but I guess I never really gave it much thought until it hit so close to home.
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    Joined: Oct '01; Posts: 9,619; Likes: 14,063


  3. by   shay
    It's okay, don't worry. You poor thing...I'd be scared too.

    Yeah, there was a b-meth shortage at the end of 2001 and the very beginning of this year, but no problems I'm aware of since then.

    When we couldn't get b-meth, we gave dexamethasone IM instead. What it basically breaks down to for you, the patient, is 4 shots (2 initial, then 2 24hrs. later) instead of just two, and 6ml dosing instead of 2.12ml dosing. Pharm and neonataology guys assured us it would work just as well. Also gave more ET surfactant in the NICU during shortage just in case. Haven't heard of any babies not doing as well due to shortage of b-meth, however, I'm L&D and the NICU guys might have a bit more knowledge in that arena. I bet they haven't had much trouble, though. The d-meth seemed to be a good substitute.

    I've given plenty of b-meth recently and haven't had any difficulty getting it from pharmacy. I do believe the shortage is over.

    Hope this helps put your mind at ease.
  4. by   mother/babyRN
    We have never had problems getting betamethasone. We HAVE had problems getting stadol and PCN......( We use stadol quite a bit).