Amoxicillin shortage impacting Mississippi patients

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 9:00 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s a cycle we’ve become all too familiar with... supply and demand not matching up. The baby formula shortage is an example of doctors going down the line of recommendations as they waited for the supply to be replenished.

Now, the problem is with an antibiotic. There’s a nationwide shortage of a drug commonly used to treat bacterial infections in children. And it’s already impacting families in our area.

‘Tis the season for little ones to get ear and sinus infections. The most typical course of action?

“Amoxicillin, by itself is a first-line therapy because we like to choose antibiotics that are targeted to the organism that we suspect it’s causing the infection,” described Dr. Catherine Phillippi at TrustCare Kids.

Dr. Catherine Phillippi at TrustCare Kids discovered the issue of the amoxicillin shortage when patients and pharmacies started calling back to say the prescriptions couldn’t be filled.

Dr. Andrew Clark at Northtown Pharmacy says he has some left in stock but once it’s gone, that’s it.

“We have noticed that it has been a little bit harder to get amoxicillin,” noted Clark. “We do have several different wholesalers. So, we’ve been in contact with those wholesalers trying to get amoxicillin in. So, as of today is not available.”

So, what happens now?

“We often have to choose a second line drug which would be more often Augmentin, or cefdinir is the two that we use most often as a second line therapy,” said Phillippi.

“The only difference is it may be a little bit more broad spectrum,” explained Clark. And it may cause more diarrhea. And so we’re concerned about that because it can kill more than good bacteria that’s in your gut. So it can cause diarrhea, but it’s very effective against the infection.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Health is sharing information that Mississippi has the highest rate of antibiotic prescriptions in the U.S.- stressing they aren’t always needed.

“The run-of-the-mill virus can cause you to feel bad, it can cause fever, it can cause runny nose, cough, all of those things, but you don’t necessarily treat that with an antibiotic,” noted Phillippi.

And that’s something Dr. Phillippi says is a matter of education for parents who think antibiotics are the only answer.

Dr. Clark says the wholesalers will sometimes indicate when they expect supply to be replenished on something that’s running low. So far, he hasn’t seen a timeline on when amoxicillin will be back available.

Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.