Surge in RSV cases leads to a short supply of amoxicillin

Amoxicillin is not used to treat RSV, COVID-19, or the flu – but it’s being prescribed as a secondary protection against underlying bacterial infections in kids with RSV.
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 10:44 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - One of the most commonly used antibiotics for children is now on the FDA’s Drug Shortage List. With health experts predicting the worst cold and flu season since the pandemic and 32 states reporting an increase in RSV cases, amoxicillin is now in short supply here in Michigan and across the country.

Related: Michigan health experts warn of ‘tripledemic’ - COVID, flu, RSV

Health experts are seeing an increase in the demand for amoxicillin and said a rise in respiratory illnesses is the cause.

“Because of all of the increase in cases of viruses such as RSV, and that’s making it difficult for children who actually need amoxicillin. If they have a bacterial ear infection or strep throat or a bacterial pneumonia, it’s difficult for them to get it,” said Dr. Farhan Bhatti, Care Free Medical.

Amoxicillin is not used to treat RSV, COVID-19, or the flu – but it’s being prescribed as a secondary protection against underlying bacterial infections in kids with RSV.

“Even kids in those circumstances who legitimately might have a secondary bacterial infection, it’s becoming more difficult for them to get the medication they need because amoxicillin is now in shorter supply because of the widespread misuse,” said Bhatti.

In addition to ear infections, amoxicillin is prescribed to children for strep throat, whooping cough, and urinary tract infections.

“Many health care providers are not good stewards of antibiotics and they will give antibiotics just in case,” Bhatti said. “Even though well over 90% of the time, the child just has a virus that needs to run its course.”

Health experts recommend asking your provider questions about what is being prescribed to ensure you’re not taking an antibiotic that doesn’t cure your illness. “To make sure that if they’re being given an antibiotic they actually have a bacterial infection and the clinician is sure. And if you’re not sure that’s not really a good reason to take an antibiotic,” said Bhatti.

Sparrow Health System said when they learned about the shortage, their pharmacy was able to obtain a sufficient supply of amoxicillin to ensure patient needs wouldn’t be impacted. They will continue to monitor the shortage and will be proactive to make sure they have the medication for their patients.

Read next:

Subscribe to our News 10 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning.