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Parents Frustrated by Shortage of Antibiotic Used to Treat Children’s Infections

Pharmacies throughout the United States are facing a shortage of the commonly prescribed antibiotic, amoxicillin, which is used to treat various childhood infections such as ear infections, strep throat, and pneumonia.

As children return to school and infections become more widespread, drugstores are struggling to maintain adequate supplies of this medication. CVS Health, a major pharmacy chain, has confirmed that they are experiencing a nationwide shortage of certain forms of amoxicillin. They are actively working with manufacturers to replenish their supply as quickly as possible.

If a particular CVS location is out of stock, their pharmacy teams are assisting patients in finding amoxicillin at nearby pharmacies and working with prescribing doctors to identify suitable alternative medications.

Walgreens, another prominent pharmacy chain, has not yet responded to inquiries about the current drug shortage.

The shortage comes as schools across the country reopen, leading to an increased risk of infection. In Kentucky, two school districts were forced to close temporarily due to a surge in illnesses within their communities.

In addition to high demand, the shortage of amoxicillin is attributed to manufacturing issues, disruptions in the supply chain, and overprescription by doctors, according to a report by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a congressional study on drug shortages.

Liquid forms of amoxicillin, specifically designed for young children who cannot swallow pills, are in particularly short supply. These liquid formulations are produced by companies such as Teva Pharmaceuticals.

To address this shortage, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has compiled a list of alternative antibiotics for common pediatric conditions. When available, other forms of amoxicillin, such as tablets, capsules, or chewable formulations, are recommended as the best substitutes. In some cases, tablets can be split or crushed and mixed with liquids or semi-solids for oral administration.

Hospitals and health systems are also experiencing shortages of liquid amoxicillin, according to Vizient, a company that negotiates drug contracts for a majority of the nation’s health systems. They anticipate an increased demand and potential supply challenges as we enter the fall and winter seasons.

It is worth noting that other medications, including children’s Tylenol and cancer treatments, have also recently experienced shortages in the United States.

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