With cold and flu season rearing its ugly head, parents are already on the defensive, stocking up on tissues, vitamin gummies, and elderberry syrup. But now an even more serious health concern is on the horizon, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently listed the liquid version of amoxicillin in its drug shortage database, describing it as "currently in shortage." This antibiotic, which is commonly used to treat ear infections in children, is not only in low supply, there is currently no timeline for when the medication will be fully back in stock.
Amoxicillin oral solution has been added to the FDA’s database that indicates medications in shortage or low supply. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) also added amoxicillin to its drug shortages database, with specific details on shortages from manufacturers such as Hikma, Teva, and Sandoz.
Steven Weiss, a spokesperson for Hikma, told NBC in a statement that the company is managing to meet its existing supply commitments. “We are continuing to deliver in full nationally and have adequate supplies to meet our agreed upon commitments with current customers,” Weiss said. “We understand the importance of this medication and are looking at ways to increase production.”
Dr. Erin Fox, ASHP member and director of drug information and program director for the PGY2 Drug Information Residency at University of Utah Health Care, provided a more bleak outlook to CNN. “I think it’s going to be challenging for doctors and prescribers to give their patients a prescription that they’ll then be able to get filled, because pharmacies are going to have a variety of different strengths in stock, and you hate to have that delay of the back and forth, especially for an antibiotic they usually want to get started pretty quick. So I think it’s going to be a frustrating shortage,” Fox told the outlet.
Parents have also taken to social media to share their frustration, fears, and firsthand experiences.
Pediatricians are sounding the alarm on this issue as well as the recent surge in the RSV virus too.
While the FDA currently has no information on its website indicating when antibiotics production will ramp up or be more readily available, luckily some doctors are offering some practical advice.
Dr. Diana Clewett MD FAAP, a Virginia-based pediatrician shared a great tip for her patients in a recent interview with ABC 7. She suggested ditching digital convenience in favor of the old-fashioned prescription pad. “It’s not unreasonable to ask your pediatrician to print out the prescription for you. What that will allow you to do is make sure you don’t have to chase down your pediatrician, go back to the clinic if the pharmacy of your choice is out of stock. It will allow you to go pharmacy to pharmacy to find what you need,” Clewett suggested.
Moms and dads have enough to worry about without fearing that their sick kids won’t be able to get the medication they need this winter season. If the shortage of antibiotics continues to become a problem, parents will likely turn to each other as well as their doctors. Just like networks formed during the shortage of baby formula, mom communities always seem to find a way to share the information and resources to help each other care for their children.