Pediatricians face difficulties in treating HFM disease due to drug shortage

Pediatricians of pediatric hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City are facing difficulties in treating hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD), a fairly common childhood illness caused by a virus, because phenobarbital drug manufacturer ceased production.

Hand-foot-and mouth children are being treated in a hospital in HCMC (Photo: SGGP)
Hand-foot-and mouth children are being treated in a hospital in HCMC (Photo: SGGP)
Hand-foot-mouth disease is heading for peak season in the city and the number of patients with hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) has shot up in the last two week, said Truong Huu Khanh, head of Children’s Hospital No 1’s infection department.
The hospital admitted and treated more than 30 hand-foot-and mouth patients since early September whereas no case was reported during social distancing period. Of 30 patients, one was in serious condition while one another case suffered heart complication.
According to Dr. Khanh, phenobarbital drug is used to treat the disease. The drug is included in the Ministry’s list of essential drug issued in 2018.
Physicians of the Children Hospital No.2 must use other drug to replace phenobarbital drug; however, the replacing drug is not as good as the old one because it cause bad side-effects.
In a talk with Sai Gon Giai Phong reporter, pharmacist Do Van Dung from the city Department of Health said that the Ministry warned hospitals to use alternative drug because producers of phenobarbital drug stopped production.
According to the Center for Disease Control’s statistics, 555 hand-foot -and mouth patients including 86 inpatients and 469 outpatients were reported this week, an increase of 50.2 percent of four weeks before ( with 370 cases).
The city reported no death relating to hand-foot-and mouth disease. Districts 9, 12, Tan Phu and Binh Chanh have most cases of hand-foot-mouths.
Symptoms often go away in five to seven days and can include rash of very small blisters or red spots on hands, feet and diaper area. The tiny blisters are usually on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet. They are tender or painful if pressed.
Painful mouth and throat sores can appear. Mouth sores can often be hard to see and can cause difficulty swallowing or drooling. This may lead to dehydration.

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