Children's flu drug in short supply
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1838 GMT (0238 HKT)
Shipment delays may mean the children's flu drug Tamiflu OS is hard to find.
- There are temporary delays in new shipments of Tamiflu, the drug maker says
- This is the only flu drug approved for infants
- Pharmacists can make a compound with the capsule version, which is in good supply
(CNN) -- Parents of young children who get the flu may have a hard time finding an antiviral drug to help treat them.
Genentech, which makes the antiviral known as Tamiflu Oral Suppression (Tamiflu OS), the liquid version of the drug, says there have been temporary delays in new shipments.
Read More: 5 ways to protect your child in flu season
"We experienced an increase in demand due to a higher prevalence of influenza Type B in the season," Genentech spokeswoman Tara Iannuccillo said in an e-mail. "We are working to expedite new shipments of Tamiflu OS to distributors as new supplies become available."
Tamilflu OS is typically prescribed for children younger than 13 or for people who have trouble swallowing pills. It is the only flu drug for infants approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA granted that approval for infant use in December.
Worst flu season in a decade
CDC to release new flu numbers
Dealing with and preventing the flu
Texas teen dies from flu
Some 30 million children worldwide -- 6.9 million in the United States -- have received a prescription for it since Tamiflu was first approved in the United States over 13 years ago, according to Genentech. Given within the first couple of days of infection, it can ease flu symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness.
Read More: Flu leads to teen's death
There have been some shortages of the drug at pharmacies, said Mike DeAngelis, a spokesman for CVS Caremark Corp. However, there is an alternative for children, he said.
"Patients can speak to their pharmacist about the option of having the pharmacy compound Tamiflu capsules into a liquid," DeAngelis said in an e-mail.
Walgreens spokesman Jim Cohn said it, too, has experienced some shortages.
But pharmacists can "compound as needed to continue filling prescriptions for the liquid Tamiflu to meet the needs of patients during this flu season," he said.
A pharmacist, for instance, would be able to take the capsule version of the drug and suspend it in Ora-Sweet to make a liquid version of the drug. Ora-Sweet is a sweet and thick syrup that is the base of many liquid versions of children's medicine.
There is an adequate supply of the capsule form of Tamiflu, according to the manufacturer. There have been shortages of the capsule in the past, particularly during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, and another shortage in 2011.
"The FDA is continuing to monitor this closely and will post information on our website. We are also working with the company to increase supplies," said Sarah Clark-Lynn, a spokewoman from the FDA Office of Public Affairs.
Map of state-by-state flu numbers
If you have the flu, how are you treating it? Send photos of your flu survival kits.
Part of complete coverage on
January 14, 2013 -- Updated 1619 GMT (0019 HKT)
An early and severe start to the flu season has many health experts concerned. Here are your top 10 questions, answered.
January 17, 2013 -- Updated 1425 GMT (2225 HKT)
As flu season rages across the United States, federal regulators say they have approved a new kind of vaccine for the virus.
January 17, 2013 -- Updated 1434 GMT (2234 HKT)
Fears and misconceptions often surround the flu vaccine: Does it really work? Will it make me sick? Could it hurt my baby?
Influenza activity is spreading, creating a moderately severe flu season in the U.S. Send us photos of your flu survival kits.
January 14, 2013 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
We can track flu outbreaks down to the county and determine much about an outbreak's severity and how the virus is spreading. But there's still much that's unknown about influenza.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1838 GMT (0238 HKT)
Parents of young children who get the flu may have a hard time finding an antiviral drug to help treat them.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1936 GMT (0336 HKT)
Flu vaccine myths can confuse people trying to decide whether to get a shot. Here are five common myths.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
You feel worse by the hour. Your joints ache, your head feels heavy, you can't stop coughing, you're freezing even as your temperature keeps climbing, your stomach is upset, even your eyes hurt.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 2133 GMT (0533 HKT)
With so much flu activity, it's important to protect everyone around you if you feel like you are getting sick. Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
How will you know if the flu has crossed the line to become deadly? CNN's Elizabeth Cohen has the story.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 2128 GMT (0528 HKT)
So you got a flu vaccine this season, and you've been reading about the flu epidemic. You might be wondering: Will the vaccine keep me healthy?
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1020 GMT (1820 HKT)
Carl Azuz talks to CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta about how to prevent the flu.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1044 GMT (1844 HKT)
During the past few months, I have gently suggested to my patients that they receive the flu vaccine. Many said yes, but some declined.
January 9, 2013 -- Updated 2259 GMT (0659 HKT)
What do you need to know when it comes to flu germs? CNN's Lisa Sylvester reports.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1531 GMT (2331 HKT)
If you go to a doctor's office or hospital any time soon, you may encounter an uncommonly long wait.. This year's flu season started earlier, and health officials say it is more widespread and more severe than usual.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
The common flu rarely kills the young and healthy, but the Schwolert family knows it can.
Today's five most popular stories