A type of amoxicillin used by children is in short supply in the U.S., according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Amoxicillin comes as a capsule, a tablet, a chewable tablet and as a liquid to be taken by mouth, depending on the age of the patient. The FDA listed the liquid form of the drug, which is used by young children, in its drug shortage database.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Sandoz, the generics division of Novartis, have all reported shortages of various doses of amoxicillin, which is most commonly used to treat bacterial infections in children.
The FDA’s website lists increased demand as the reason for shortages at Hikma and Teva, as well as Aurobindo and Rising.
A shortage at Sandoz was listed as “other.”
There are two primary databases that track drug shortages: the FDA and the University of Utah’s drug information service, which is published by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).
The majority of the FDA’s information comes from manufacturers. The data from the ASHP is based on reports received from patients, pharmacies and the public.
The ASHP began reporting amoxicillin shortages about two weeks ago, but the FDA first reported a shortage on Oct. 28.
The FDA only lists drugs on its website once it has confirmed that “overall market demand is not being met by the manufacturers of the product.”
An agency spokesperson told The Hill on Oct. 26 it did not consider amoxicillin to be in shortage because at least one manufacturer was able to fully supply market demand.
The most common reason antibiotics are prescribed for children is to treat ear infections, though they can also be used to treat bacterial sinus and throat infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, amoxicillin is considered a “first-line” therapy, though there are other antibiotics that can be used.
Amoxicillin is not used to treat viral infections like COVID-19, RSV or the flu, but the drug’s limited supply comes at a time when many pediatric hospitals across the country say they are reaching capacity due to an early surge in respiratory illnesses.
The supply issues don’t appear to be impacting many pharmacies, though there have been some regionalized reports of shortages in specific CVS stores.
A Walgreens spokesman said the chain was not experiencing any shortages.