SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — This is very frustrating to parents – myself included - because the liquid form of amoxicillin is what doctors prescribe for our young children who can't swallow pills.
This medicine treats common, unpleasant illnesses like strep throat, earaches, and chest and sinus infections.
There are several manufacturers that make the medication, and not all have provided a reason for the shortages.
Teva Pharmaceuticals blamed an increase in demand, and the biopharmaceutical company Sandoz pointed towards low prices.
Amoxicillin is cheap and not very profitable, and this may have driven other companies out of the market.
Most of the companies still producing liquid amoxicillin have it on allocation. Meaning they only make so much of it, and customers can only buy a limited quantity. So that’s why pharmacies can run out of supply, especially when many children are getting sick and demand is high.
The FDA does keep an eye on shortages but can't force companies to make more of a drug. However, they are working with companies and groups to figure out why some medicines run out and how to lessen or prevent the impact of increased demand for them.
As for what parents should be aware of, the shortage only affects the liquid form of amoxicillin. There are still other forms available, like tablets, capsules, and chewable versions. You can break tablets into smaller pieces and mix them with liquids or semi-solid foods like applesauce. Capsules can also be opened and mixed similarly. Chewable tablets can be divided into smaller parts.
Also, doctors have other antibiotics they can prescribe if needed. One option is amoxicillin-clavulanate, although it may cause more frequent diarrhea than amoxicillin alone. There are also stronger antibiotics like augmentin and cefdinir, but they can have harsher side effects.
It's important to remember that the right antibiotic for your child depends on the type of infection they have. And that antibiotics only work against certain infections caused by bacteria. They do not work against viral infections like colds and the flu.