Pharmacies warning about Amoxicillin shortage, attributing misuses of drug and suppliers for decline

Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 8:41 AM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - October through December is typically where temperatures start to drop and respiratory and other infections tend to rise. This year with the threat of illness like a COVID-19, flu, RSV, strep throat, etc. pharmacies are already starting to experience a shortage in medicine to help treat infections that target the ear, nose and throat.

“This is when we start sharing out bugs more than ever and I think the last few years has taught us how easy it is to share those things,” Rose City Pharmacy owner, Sonny Krezdorn said.

Amoxicillin is an antibiotic prescribed to patients with bacterial infections like earaches, strep throat or chest infections among children. The drug can also be prescribed to adults for dental procedures.

In the past year, pharmacies have noticed a pattern when it comes to the supply of Amoxicillin, all spiraling into a domino effect. One of the pharmacies preparing for this shortage is Rose City Pharmacy in Tyler, who have seen this shortage firsthand.

“We’ve gone through a couple of ups and downs with Amoxicillin and other antibiotics,” said Krezdorn.

Rose City Pharmacy began experiencing a shortage for the past 9 to 10 months, dating back to last respiratory illness season. Part of the shortage comes from the people making the drug, either not having enough raw materials to make it or due to production shutdowns.

“It’s almost based on a bit a supply chain back up I think that started with COVID,” Krezdorn said. “It all ends up dominoing into the manufactures aren’t making as much or not able to they may not be getting the raw materials to make it, then the wholesalers can’t get it from the manufacturers, and we can’t get it from the wholesalers.”

Because of this shortage, pharmacists recommend only using the medicine for the use it was prescribed for. The purpose of the antibiotic is to target bacteria that is causing infections, it is not used as a pain reliever or symptom suppressant as most patients are used to thinking.

“I saw that many people believed that the antibiotic works for every type of infection...that’s not true,” UT Tyler Clinical Professor, Young Lee said. “Since the name is antibiotic…it should only work for the infection from bacteria.”

Although Amoxicillin is a commonly used drug, in the event that a patient does need an alternative to the medication, pharmacies are able to recommend alternatives that are in stock to doctor’s offices.

“So many people may be familiar with Augmentine,” Lee said. “Since it has combination with the clavulanate, it has a stronger or broader antibiotic covering.”

If an antibiotic is prescribed to a patient, even if they feel better, they must take it in its entirety to allow the body to fully heal. For drug storage, Lee advises patients to store the liquid amoxicillin in the refrigerator, but never the freezer as the anti-viral property loses its effect when frozen.