Lupus drug in short supply after testing in coronavirus patients

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some people who are battling lupus -- an autoimmune disease that affects the lungs, kidneys, heart and brain cells -- are having difficulties getting a drug used for treatment.

Recently, doctors have been prescribing the drug, hydroxychloroquine, to patients with COVID-19. Medical experts have found the drug has helped some patients with the coronavirus.

Now the drug is hard to find in many pharmacies, and many of the ones that have it in the Jacksonville area are on the verge of running out.

Pharmacist Zachery Langston, who works at North Beach Pharmacy in Jacksonville Beach, said the drug has been in high demand.

“Moments after any news station put out that hydroxychloroquine is a potential treatment for the COVIV-19, phones started ringing off the hook," Langston said.

Many people take the drug twice daily for lupus.

Rashone Shannon is the founder of Lupus4Life, an organization that provides awareness and education about lupus. He worries about others that are treated for the disease now that the drug is hard to come by.

“It adds an unnecessary stress that we don’t need, because for the last 50 to 60 years, that has been the only drug that has been able to enhance or maintain a quality of life for those of us that do live with lupus,” Shannon said.

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