AUSTIN (KXAN) — In the thick of cedar fever and Texas allergy season, an Austin-based pharmacy is giving better insight into how they prepare for allergy medication demand levels they see each winter.
Tarrytown Pharmacy’s computer system keeps records of medicinal usage from previous years to predict trends and the volume of medicine pharmacists need to order. When it comes to cedar fever, pharmacists look at usage from the previous January — typically when cedar allergies take off — to see how many units of various medicines the pharmacy needed to order.
“It looks at the usage of the previous year and can kind of use that to adjust our level,” said Rannon Ching, pharmacist-in-charge at Tarrytown Pharmacy. “So if it realized, hey, last January when cedar hit, we were filling a lot of these allergy medications, it will actually go ahead and increase the amount that we order.”
Along with its computer tracking system, Ching said the pharmacy’s stockroom manager will continually walk shelves and look around at product supply levels to gauge popularity. If a particular product is selling out at a faster rate than expected, they’ll preemptively restock it.
“So it’s a combination of our personnel, but also utilizing the technology that we have available to us,” he added.
This season, Ching said Tarrytown isn’t immune to children’s medicine shortages impacting pharmacies nationally. He said Tarrytown’s supplier has implemented allocations for child-friendly ibuprofen and acetaminophen, which means pharmacies are only given a specific number of units due to low supply.
Along with those children’s medicines, Ching said common over-the-counter cold medications like Mucinex and Delsym cough syrup are also more difficult to find. He did add there are still cold medicine options available, but there might not be as many brands or dose varieties in stock.
For customers struggling to find a specific product, Ching said to utilize local pharmacists as a resource to figure out alternative options or talk about doses to make sure the product is safe and effective. That includes Tarrytown’s compounding of children’s ibuprofen and acetaminophen, which are available with a doctor’s prescription.
“I know my pharmacists at Tarrytown are always willing to help find a way to kind of help you relieve symptoms and find other products that might be available — whether it be a compound or another over-the-counter item,” he said.