Patients are telling C3 that they are being turned away from scheduled cancer treatment because of a new shortage of leucovorin, a drug that is commonly used in colon and rectal cancer treatment. However, good news is on the way.
TEVA Pharmaceuticals has told the Food and Drug Administration that they are shipping back orders of leucovorin now and that the drug should be in oncology clinics and doctor’s offices next week.
The FDA has put leucovorin on its drugs shortages list, citing manufacturing delays as the reason. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (AHSP) has additional details on the shortage.
Leucovorin (folinic acid) boosts the activity of fluorouracil (5-FU) and is part of many colorectal cancer treatments In the United States it is manufactured by only two companies: Bedford Laboratories and TEVA.
Another leucovorin product, levoleucovorin or Fusilev®, is also available, although not in generic form. The AHSP warns that Fusilev is stronger than leucovorin and dosing should be carefully considered. Giving a dose of Fusilev that is the same as leucovorin can lead to overdoses and serious adverse events. Fusilev is also considerably more expensive.
If you are a patient and are having difficulty getting leucovorin for your current treatment, let us know. You can comment below or to call the C3 Answer Line at 877-4CRC-111 (877-427-2111).