Amoxicillin shortage leaves families desperate to find antibiotic for children

Posted at 7:29 PM, Nov 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-08 19:29:31-05

LIVONIA (WXYZ) — When Najla August's 7-year-old son's teacher called to say he was having ear pain, she knew it had to be bothering him because he typically has a high tolerance for pain.

A doctor at a local emergency room diagnosed young Castor with an ear infection and gave his parents a prescription for Amoxicillin.

But what Najla and her husband could not have predicted was the challenge it would be to find a pharmacy that had it in stock.

First came the notification from a nearby CVS that they were out of the antibiotic commonly used to treat bacterial infections.

"And, instantly, I get the panic feeling because my child needs your medication," said Najla.

Action News spoke to Dr. Whitney Minnock who works in the emergency room of Beaumont Children's Hospital about how they're working with patients and their families to get the necessary treatment.

"It's tough," said Dr. Minnock. "We get a lot of calls from pharmacies that they're out of this antibiotic. There are a lot of other antibiotics that we can use that are not amoxicillin."

"We're just adjusting one antibiotic and having a discussion with parents that if there is a shortage or if you can't find a pharmacy that carries the antibiotic you need, such as amoxicillin, that they give us a call and we adjust what antibiotic they would take."

Rudy Najm of iPharmacy in Livonia says being an independent pharmacist allows him the flexibility to source common medications such as liquid amoxicillin and liquid Zyrtec from multiple vendors.

"We, luckily, have a lot," Najm said. "We have a big stock but most of the big drug stores are out."

Najm said he invests in stocking his shelves to have a supply of several months of commonly used medications so his patients don't feel the fluctuations of the market.

The FDA has attributed the shortage to interruptions in supply.

After several frustrating hours Monday, Najla said she and her husband were able to have the doctor tweak the prescription and have it filled at a CVS. And their son is already starting to feel better.

"The bottom line is like if parents can't find the things that they need for their kids, like, basic things to protect them for their health and well being, they jump to the worst case scenario and it's really terrifying."

And with more and more children getting infected with RSV, a viral infection, bacteria infections can often follow.

Dr. Minnock explains, "Amoxicillin is used for bacterial infections, not viral infections, but sometimes kids that get RSV or some of these other viruses have a lot of congestion and, basically, they end up with fluid in their ears and then it gets infected with bacteria. So, that's why the amoxicillin is often used for that."