DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A drug used to treat asthma and other breathing problems is in short supply. Hospitals and pharmacies in the Miami Valley are noticing the shortage and now have to cut back on giving it out.

Pharmacies and hospitals have been dealing with an albuterol shortage for months now, after the company that makes it filed for bankruptcy and shut down production.

“There’s been a shortage of albuterol since October, and it’s only going to get worse,” Dr. Abel Ngoh, pharmacist for Zik’s Family Pharmacy, said.

The shelves of albuterol at Zik’s Family Pharmacy in downtown Dayton are almost almost empty, as the pharmacy has struggled to get more of the drug in stock.

“We’ve been trying to order it since October, we don’t have any, it doesn’t come in at all,” Ngoh said.

Albuterol is most commonly used in a rescue inhaler for people with asthma, but it’s also used to treat people with respiratory illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia.

“We’ve kind of held back on using it as much for those acute conditions to save it for those folks with asthma that we really need to use it for in emergency situations,” Premier Health Regional Medical Director Dr. Joseph Allen said.

Allen said Miami Valley Hospital has seen their reserves of albuterol diminish recently. Now they really have to hold back, giving it only to patients who urgently need it.

“Previously, if they came in and they were wheezing, they looked a little bit kind of on edge, we’d go ahead and hit them with albuterol and get them taken care of,” Allen said. “But now we have to kind of question that or think of other things that we can use.”

Allen said there are other treatments available, but he said they’re not as effective when it comes down to saving lives in an emergency.

“They’re not great in a rescue type, so if you really if you’re having trouble, and you don’t have albuterol, or access to it, you really need to find that, get to that emergency department or urgent care somewhere to get treated,” Allen said.

Allen also recommends if you have albuterol, make sure to properly store it so it does not go bad before its expiration date. If you cannot find the albuterol you need, reach out to your doctor to discuss other options.