Amoxicillin deficiency affecting patients in Mississippi

JACKSON, Ms. (WLBT) – It’s a cycle we’ve become all too familiar with…supply and demand don’t match. The baby food shortage is an example of doctors ignoring recommendations while waiting for supplies to be replenished.

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

It’s the season for little ones to get ear and sinus infections. The most typical approach?

“Amoxicillin by itself is a first-line therapy because we like to select antibiotics that target the organism that we suspect is causing the infection,” said Dr. Catherine Phillippi of TrustCare Kids.

dr TrustCare Kids’ Catherine Phillippi discovered the problem of amoxicillin shortages when patients and pharmacies began calling back to say prescriptions could not be filled.

dr Northtown Pharmacy’s Andrew Clark says he still has some in stock but once it’s gone that’s it.

“We found that getting amoxicillin was a little more difficult,” Clark noted. “We have several different wholesalers. So we got in touch with these wholesalers who are trying to import amoxicillin. Therefore it is not available until today.”

So what happens now?

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

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

Meanwhile, the Department of Health shares information that Mississippi has the highest rate of antibiotic prescriptions in the US – and stresses they’re not always needed.

“The common virus can make you feel bad, it can cause a fever, it can cause a runny nose, cough and all those things, but you don’t necessarily treat that with an antibiotic,” Phillippi noted.

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

dr Clark says wholesalers sometimes indicate when they expect to restock something that’s running low. So far he has not seen a timetable for when amoxicillin will be available again.

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