Canada grapples with shortage of SPECT agent

2017 04 03 18 01 52 418 Graph Arrow Down 400

Due to production delays, Canada is facing a shortage of dypyridamole -- an agent used in SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) to diagnose coronary artery disease.

In June, Health Canada declared a Tier 3 shortage of dipyridamole injections, meaning it has "the greatest potential impact on Canada's drug supply and health-care system." Toronto-based pharmaceutical company Fresenius Kabi Canada has stated that supplies will be limited until August 18.

Dipyridamole is injected in patients to induce a state of stress on the heart. Following this injection, SPECT MPI is performed using technetium-99m-based radiotracers, for instance, which reveal abnormalities in blood flow based on uptake of the tracers by heart muscle.

In response to the shortage, Health Canada has approved the import of dipyridamole from Hikma Pharmaceuticals, a U.S.-authorized provider, and is reviewing a proposal for the importation of additional foreign supply of an alternative drug.

The shortage poses a significant challenge to healthcare providers across the country, potentially impacting patient care and treatment outcomes. In a CBC news post, at least one doctor described having to postpone potentially critical scans in patients.

"I have no dose for anyone right now," said Dr. Anmol Kapoor, a cardiologist at Advanced Cardiology Consultants and Diagnostics in Calgary.

In a news release, the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) said it is supporting the Canadian Society of Nuclear Medicine in urging Health Canada to support the importation of an additional foreign supply of an alternative drug in order to minimize the impact of the shortage.

SNMMI said that it will post further information as it becomes available.

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