Covenant pharmacist: Alternatives available during amoxicillin shortage

Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 10:29 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The most prescribed antibiotic in the country is in short supply - again. The U. S. is facing another respiratory season without enough liquid forms of amoxicillin.

While it is a go-to treatment for children with bacterial infections, Larry Pineda, a clinical pharmacist for Covenant Health, says there are other ways to keep kids healthy.

“Luckily, we’ve gone through this before, so we kind of have some experience with it,” he said.

Amoxicillin powder went onto the FDA’s shortage list last October. It is mixed to make the liquid form and given to young kids who cannot swallow pills.

“Unfortunately, production didn’t catch up and we’re still dealing with it today,” Pineda said.

Pineda says drug manufactures will not say what is driving the shortage, but low profit margins on the generic drug could be to blame.

While they are not ideal for kids, amoxicillin pills and chewable tablets are still available.

“Some of the things that we could do is capsules. You know, we can open them up, put them in fruit, like applesauce,” Pineda said.

Other antibiotics are also available, but Pineda warns they can have stronger side effects.

“If it’s a ear infection, throat infection like strep, it’ll take care of that but it also is really rough on the stomach for kiddos. The friendly bacteria gets wiped out and you have more GI side effects, so like diarrhea, those kinds of things,” he said.

Pineda says the vast majority of infections during respiratory season are viral, so antibiotics will not help. If kids truly need an antibiotic, he says parents can rest assured the alternatives will fight the infection.

“You always want the most, the best care for your child, obviously. And so, that would be the most comforting thing for me, is that it is going to work,” he said.

Pineda says prevention is key. Parents can help reduce the odds of their kids needing an antibiotic by getting them the recommended vaccines and helping them practice good hand hygiene.