The Quest For Indomethacin

For reasons not entirely clear to me, what should be straightforward tasks are not always very straightforward in my life [1]. When, from time to time, a simple task becomes less than simple, it is my native tendency to view such complications from the point of view of role playing games, with their ridiculous quest chains, along with music from games like Zelda and Final Fantasy [2] as I seek a particular item that for some reason is unavailable for reasons unbeknownst to me and that requires a great deal of effort. In light of previous such quests, I would like to discuss my recent difficulties obtaining a somewhat ordinary medicine by the name of Indomethacin, for the amusement of readers.

Before one can explain a quest for something like Indomethacin, it is worthwhile to examine what it is in the first place, and why a quest for it would be necessary and proper. Indomethacin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug first approved by the FDA in 1965 [3] that is prescribed for various conditions like severe osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis [4], ankylosing spondylitis, as well as shoulder pain resulting from bursitis or tendinitis, among other conditions. The drug is typically prescribed in fairly low dosages around 25 to 75mg, taken three times a day with a full glass of water and food, and it has a fairly well-established symptomology and drug interactions, which makes sense given its lengthy treatment history. My own knowledge of this particular medicine springs from its use as one of the more effective treatments of gouty arthritis, something I have been afflicted with off and on for the last decade.

On Friday morning, I noticed that my bottle of Indomethacin was nearly empty, and that I only had two tablets left, one of which I planned to consume with my breakfast of goldfish crackers and the other of which I planned to take with lunch or dinner. Knowing I only had a few hours left of work for the week, I thought that it would be a simple and straightforward task to stop by the local CVS pharmacy inside the Target near where I work to pick up another couple weeks’ worth of the medicine. It was not to be, for when after work I went to the pharmacy, I was told that the pharmacy itself did not have any prescriptions, which puzzled me greatly. Even more puzzling to me was the fact that it was revealed to me that the manufacturer of the drug announced shortages in it as well, which is puzzling because the drug is extremely commonly prescribed to people who suffer from arthritis, a fairly large and reasonably steady proportion of the American population.

As a digression, this sort of shortage is not entirely unheard of. Although I was unable to find any particular documentation on the current shortage of Indomethacin, research of a previous shortage [5] a couple of years ago for a different form of the drug, namely an injection, demonstrated the reasons that the shortage took place before: manufacturing issues. For example, a couple manufacturers had acquired either specific drugs or acquired the parent manufacturer of specific drugs and then decided not to manufacture or actively market those particular drugs at the time, leading to increased demand on other manufacturers who were unable to immediately fill the demand. It is likely that something of that nature is occurring here, although it may be some time before the specific reasons are known because the shortage apparently just happened and it may, hopefully, be brief.

During the course of my drive home, the pharmacist called back and offered to check around with various other Target/CVS pharmacies in the area. I told her that Jansen Beach was a good one, as I normally go there on Sundays to pick up my groceries, and so it would not be out of the way. Since by this time it was fairly late in the afternoon and I was exhausted (drowsiness is one of the side effects of the drug, and I live a pretty exhausting life anyway), I resolved to call the pharmacy on Sunday morning and make sure the prescription was filled and ready to go. Only, that is not what happened, since a call to the pharmacy at that specific location revealed that they were closed on Sundays, which meant that I would have to go at least a couple of days without medication, at least until Monday evening. A bit irritated, I left a message to hopefully remind the pharmacy that I wanted to pick up the prescription when it was available, and I had one less place to visit when I got around to doing my usual weekly errands along the line between Jansen Beach and Hazel Dell.

And so this morning, after a night of fitful and immensely unsuccessful sleep, I found my right foot to be a bit gimpy and swollen, confirming my belief that it was bad timing to go without medicine while my gout attack had not yet been fully eradicated. I managed to hobble about, not too badly fortunately, and after I got to work I received a call from the pharmacy letting me know that the prescription was ready to go, apologizing for the weird hours of only that particular store, and letting me know that the pharmacy closed today at 7PM. Looking at my schedule, and the fact that I normally get out of work around 6PM or so on Mondays, I raised my eyebrows and prepared for yet another adventure. Fortunately, once I got there, I was able to get the medicine quickly, and to ensure that they had a good supply of it, should I need to get it again, other than on a Sunday, that is. There are times when what should be straightforward simply isn’t. This is clearly one of those times, but all’s well that ends well.

[1] See, for example:

[2] See, for example:


[4] See, for example:


About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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