Supply shortage hits hay fever tablets as forecasters warn of high pollen levels

High Street chemists have run out of some hay-fever medicine. Credit: PA

Some high street chemists have run out of certain hay fever medicines, as forecasters warn of high pollen levels over the coming days.

Stocks of chlorphenamine maleate, the active ingredient in hay fever remedies, are running low due to a UK industry-wide shortage, Boots says.

"There are a very small number of lines that are currently out of stock due to a current, industry-wide shortage of the active ingredient," a Boots spokesperson said. "However, we are expecting this to be resolved soon and new deliveries are expected in the coming weeks."

Boots says stocks of chlorphenamine maleate are widely limited. Credit: PA

It is understood that only four of the 90 hay fever relief products Boots has are impacted by the chlorphenamine maleate shortage, with a range of other hay fever medicines that contain other active ingredients still widely available.

Drugs which use cetirizine hydrochloride, including Piriteze, Benadryl and Allacan, are said to remain in good supply.

The Telegraph reported on Sunday that all Piriton tablets for adults had run out on the websites of Boots, Llloyds Pharmacy and Co-op Pharmacy, though Piriton syrups for children were still available.

The shortage comes as Met office forecasters say that pollen counts will remain medium to high across much of England and Wales this week.

This will affect many of the 16 million people who are estimated to suffer from hay fever across the UK.

Areas of Britain are forecast to be warmer than Crete this week, but temperatures may drop as early as Tuesday, when “breezy and showery” weather takes hold.

Daily fluctuations in weather can affect the severity of some hay fever symptoms, which include sneezing, coughing , a runny nose and itchy, red or watery eyes.

The pill shortage also comes amid a wider drugs shortage problem experienced across swathes of the country.

It has seen a shortage of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), for example, which helps to combat menopausal symptoms, including anxiety, joint pain, disturbed sleep and hot flushes.

Recent figures suggest the number of HRT prescriptions in the UK has more doubled in the past five years but stocks are running low.

Campaigners have argued the government has not planned well enough to make sure that they had enough products ready for manufacturers to meet the rising demand.

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Experts are advising hay fever suffers to speak with their pharmacist if their usual remedy has been affected by the shortage.

“While there appears to be some shortage issues with certain brands, there are no shortages of hay fever medicines overall," Amish Patel, a board member of the National Pharmacy Association, told ITV News. “There are many other options available for hay fever that can be purchased over-the-counter. “It’s always best to speak to your pharmacist if a particular medication is not available as they will be able to advise on a suitable alternative,” Mr Patel, who owns Hodgson Pharmacy in Longfield, Kent, added.