The Next Big Short: Amoxicillin

Why is there a shortage in Amoxicillin?

With the trifecta of the Flu season, RSV and COVID keeping kids sick at home we have already experienced a shortage in Tylenol and Advil for kids. As there have been more kids becoming sick we have had to use Tylenol or Advil to help manage their fevers.

Now we are also seeing a surge in demand in Amoxicillin for children. So much so that now Amoxicillin for children is also in shortage. The use of Amoxicillin is surging along with the rates of RSV, the flu as well as COVID. The question is why is it on shortage considering that the Flu, RSV and Covid are all viral infections and Amoxicillin is typically used to manage bacterial infection and not viral?

Part of the reason for the shortage is that there is potential for some potential secondary bacterial infections that result from the original viral infection. I have seen it in my practice occasionally where for example RSV has progressed to a sinus infection or ear infection. Although this is rare it can happen. There is also a chance that Amoxicillin is being overprescribed where symptoms of RSV, Flu or COVID are being confused with symptoms of a bacterial infection.

What treatments is Amoxicillin used for?

Amoxicillin is used for a wide variety of infections such as Sinusitis (sinus infection), Strep Throat, Otitis Media (ear infection) as well as community acquired pneumonia. So if your child is diagnosed with any of these conditions you should consider the potential alternatives listed below to help manage the infection.

What alternatives are there if my child is prescribed Amoxicillin?

If your child is coming for a sinus, ear or throat infection there could be a good chance that they could be prescribed Amoxicillin to help manage their infection. Before leaving the physician’s office see if Amoxicillin has been prescribed and if so ask the physician if there is an alternative antibiotic that the physician would be more comfortable in prescribing.

What other forms does Amoxicillin come in?

If their physician feels that amoxicillin is the best source of action for their current infection then there might still be an option to do chewable tablets. Chewable tablets come as a 250mg dose so the doctor would have to write a prescription that is divisible by 250mg or if the doctor writes for 125mg your child could chew a half tablet. They are also available in capsules that could be opened up and sprinkled over food if their dose is daily straight forward.

However, in the case that this is not an option another thing you could do is have the dose compounded by your pharmacy. This is when they take what is commercially available such as adult capsules and use it to make a liquid formulation.

Sometimes the best course of action is to wait and see

Another option to strongly consider especially if they have a new ear infection is to wait and see. This is a great approach as some infections do subside on their own within 48 hours without the use of an antibiotic intervention. This is ofcourse is the best case scenario in that the infection resolves on its own and is referred to as the “watchful waiting” technique.

Hopefully these tips help give you some options with dealing with the Amoxicillin shortage if your child does end up becoming sick. If your child does end up needing Amoxicillin do not hesitate to reach out to me at iCare Pharmacy and we can help arrange it being made for your child.



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