(HealthDay News) — Supplies of amoxicillin oral solution are low, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned last week. The shortage may be linked to an ongoing surge in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections across the United States.
One issue could be that the pharmacy has the drug in stock but not in the strength needed for the prescription, so it may require some back and forth between the pharmacy and the prescriber, CNN reported.
“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,” Erin Fox, a senior pharmacy director at University of Utah Health, told CNN.
In the meantime, the FDA is working with manufacturers to prevent or reduce further shortages, CNN reported. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists said it started hearing about shortages of both tablets and oral solutions about 3 weeks ago.
“My first advice would be, don’t panic,” Fox said. “There is still some amoxicillin. It just might need a quick change of prescription.” A patient may want to first call the pharmacy to see if they have the drug in stock at the prescribed strength, Fox suggested. The health care provider may also be able to provide prescriptions for amoxicillin in varying strengths. Alternatives for treating pediatric bacterial infections include amoxicillin-clavulanate (Augmentin) and cefuroxime (Zinacef).
Why the jump in demand? A surge in pediatric RSV cases may be contributing to the problem, because although antibiotics cannot treat the virus, they are being used to treat secondary bacterial infections.