There's a Shortage of This Pivotal Prescription Drug, Thanks to COVID-19

Getting your hands on this popular pill might be harder than ever—and likely right when you need it most.

Let's face it: With economic uncertainty, increased responsibilities such as homeschooling, and a stream of distressing news, life during the coronavirus pandemic has been a strain on everyone's mental health. Unfortunately, this stress has created another strain on the supply of one of the most popular prescriptions used to ease this type of struggle: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently added Zoloft tablets to its list of drug shortages.

The popular antidepressant—which is used to treat conditions such as depression, post-traumatic distress order, and obsessive-compulsive disorder—has fallen victim to the high demand created by the high-stress living of the past few months, with Bloomberg noting prescriptions are up 12 percent, when compared to this time last year.

High demand has also crushed supplies of Zoloft's popular generic version, sertraline, with producers lacking required amounts of active pharmaceutical ingredients to produce it. Experts predict backorders of the drugs to last at least two months. But since many producers do not disclose where or how they acquire their ingredients, there's no way for officials to gauge how long the shortage may actually last.

Zoloft isn't the only widespread drug spiking in popularity amid coronavirus, thus making it harder to find. Other drugs, such as antimalarial medication hydroxychloroquine, have grown short in supply after they were touted as a potential COVID-19 treatment by President Donald Trump. While the drug has been shown to be ineffective against the novel coronavirus in studies, the shortage makes it harder for lupus patients who require it for treatment to fill their prescriptions as regularly as needed. And for more ways to help cope with the hardships of life during the coronavirus pandemic, check out 5 Ways to Manage Stress From "Pandemic Panic," According to a Doctor.



Zachary Mack
Zachary covers beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He's the owner of Alphabet City Beer Co. in New York City and is a Certified Cicerone. Read more
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