Shortages are nothing new, and this time, it’s amoxicillin — an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections, commonly prescribed to children in liquid form due to its sweet taste.
“There are also some other antibiotics that can be used such as penicillin, but it doesn’t taste as good," said Dr. Adam Forrest, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center & Twin Cities Community Hospital Staff Emergency Physician.
That can make it much more difficult to convince a toddler to take their medicine.
“The amoxicillin prescription does tend to go up in the winter with all these other viruses that are infecting kids as well," Dr. Forrest added.
RSV cases are on the rise nationwide, and while amoxicillin is not prescribed to treat RSV, RSV and other viruses cause upper respiratory infections which can lead to bacterial ear infections in children for which amoxicillin is commonly prescribed.
“I still have some in stock, but I definitely am seeing all the wholesalers are out of stock," said Jason Tewell, Los Osos Rexall Pharmacist.
"[It's] not affecting us currently but it’s something that we’re aware of,” Dr. Forrest said.
He adds that there are some alternatives.
“Specifically, the liquid amoxicillin is the shortage, but there are some chewable capsules that can be used,” Dr. Forrest said.
Amoxicillin capsules can also be opened and sprinkled into food if necessary.
“Once the capsules are available, we can always tell them to pour out the little sprinkles into applesauce or ice cream or something else that people can drink. That kind of thing,” Tewell said.
According to the FDA, there are many factors that can cause drug shortages including manufacturing and quality problems as well as increased demand.
If you are concerned about your child’s health, Dr. Forrest encourages you to call their pediatrician or take them to the emergency room for evaluation.