If you are a podiatrist or an ophthalmologist, or you work with either of these specialists, dehydrated alcohol injection is most likely a staple in your practice. It’s so common, in fact, that it’s easy to take it for granted. That is, until a recent shortage made it hard to find or altogether unavailable. The reason for the shortage is simple: there was only one manufacturer supplying this med and quality issues at the manufacturing site forced them to shut down production. The shortage will continue until the FDA is satisfied the manufacturer meets requirements for good manufacturing processes.
Dehydrated alcohol for injection is indicated for neurolysis in patients as a way to treat chronic pain, especially in patients for whom surgery is not a good option. Ophthalmologists also use it for delamination of the corneal epithelium. Dehydrated alcohol Injection consists of not less than 98% by volume of ethanol (ethyl alcohol). Whether you dilute the alcohol to treat Morton’s Neuroma or use it full strength for ophthalmic procedures such as Recurrent Corneal Erosion Syndrome (RES), the supply of this critical agent is extremely limited.
So, what are your options? Your most reliable option is a proven, experienced sterile compounding pharmacy. A Google search is just the beginning. Once you have found some sterile compounding pharmacies, call them. Ask to speak with a pharmacist and find out how they comply with USP <797>. Will they send you copies of their Standard Operating Procedures? Are you welcome to audit their compounding facilities at any time? When you have medication shortages or other medication related needs, the right sterile compounding pharmacy partner can be a tremendous asset to your practice.