Shortage of fever soups and fever suppositories in Germany – SWR knowledge

When parents of young children try to buy fever syrups and fever suppositories, they often find themselves in front of empty pharmacy shelves. Why is that?

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Especially hot water with the active ingredient paracetamol is now difficult. Ibuprofen is also in short supply in many areas.
According to the State Apothecary Association of Baden-Württemberg, many pharmacies are now having difficulty re-ordering the drugs after stocks have been used up. The Federal Institute for Medicines and Medical Devices also states: Antipyretics may be available only in limited quantities, especially those containing paracetamol.

Therefore, now there are few hot water and soup for small children

One reason for this situation is that an important producer of fever juice containing paracetamol has gone out of business. Other suppliers could not stock up so quickly. That’s why many consumers have turned to juices that contain the active ingredient ibuprofen. The high demand here has overwhelmed manufacturers and suppliers, so parents and pediatricians are increasingly turning to suppositories as an alternative to drinking water.

According to the Federal Institute of Drugs and Medical Devices, there is no general shortage of antipyretic suppositories. However, there may be regional differences in availability.

Package of suppositories with the active ingredient paracetamol (Image: IMAGO, / Waldmüller)

These children should only be given antipyretics if urgently needed and the pediatrician recommends.



In addition to the failure of the paracetamol water supplier and the evasive behavior of consumers, there was a huge demand: according to the Federal Institute of Medicines and Medical Devices, pharmacies ordered twice as much antipyretic water this year compared to last year.

One of the reasons for this may be the strong wave of infections this summer, Corona is only part of it. More and more children just get a fever. But experts also suspect that some households stockpiled as a precaution when the first reports of supply shortages became known – toilet paper and sunscreen are well-known examples.

What can parents do if the child has a fever and there is no reserve at home?

If children with fever are treated, there are ways now.

However, the first thing parents should do is find out if they need to administer a liquid or suppository. A frequent fever is not a bad thing for young children. Therefore, one should pay attention to how the child is doing. If he is happy, eating and drinking normally, moving, then no medication is needed.

As an alternative to medication, there is also the option of applying warm compresses or washes to your forehead and drinking plenty of water. If the child is not well and the doctor says the fever should be lowered, it may be worth widening the radiograph. Some pharmacies still have stock.

A mother rubs calves to reduce the fever under the feet of her sick child.  (Photo: IMAGO, /Niehoff)

Calf compresses can help reduce fever. These are wet and cold compresses that are wrapped around the child’s feet.


/ Niehoff

Pharmacies can also make their own juice and syrups. Pediatricians can provide the appropriate prescription. This procedure may be too complicated for the general public. However, in emergency situations, this can be helpful.

When will antipyretic water and suppositories be available again?

According to the Federal Institute of Medicines and Medical Devices, the situation may return to normal by fall. They are in contact with the rest of the paracetamol fever water suppliers, and it is expected that in the coming weeks and months they will be able to supply as much as they can to compensate the loss of the manufacturer. He left the company in the fall. In general, adequate antipyretics should then be available again. The question remains whether they will then be so equally distributed that all families with febrile children can receive the medicine without much effort.

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