Does amoxicillin treat RSV or flu?
Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and the flu are caused by viruses. Antibiotics only treat bacteria. But kids with RSV or flu-like illness can have symptoms that look like a bacterial infection, Tina Tan, a pediatrics professor at Northwestern University’s medical school and a doctor at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, told the Washington Post.
“Because the viral illness can cause other conditions that look like they might be bacterial, people are putting kids on amoxicillin,” she told the Post.
It is also possible for kids with a viral illness to develop a secondary infection.
Why is there a shortage?
The FDA cites demand increase for the drug as the cause for the shortage in four of five amoxicillin manufacturers. The reason for the last company, Swiss manufacturer Sandoz, is listed as “other.”
A spokesperson for the company told the Washington Post that Sandoz is struggling to ramp up production due to supply chain issues in response to a spike in demand in the U.S., Europe, and Canada.
Amoxicillin is not the only commonly used prescription that patients are visiting multiple pharmacies to fill. Last month, the FDA confirmed a nationwide shortage in some forms of Adderall, the ADHD medication.
What should parents do?
It might be worth calling or visiting a few pharmacies, both large chains and small independent ones, to see if they have bottles on the shelf.
Health providers can also prescribe alternatives if you can’t find the strength originally prescribed, Erin Fox, from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, told CNN.
“My first advice would be, don’t panic,” she said.