SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — When Erica Porell’s daughter came down with a 102-degree fever last week, she immediately brought her to their family pediatrician.
“The fever wasn’t going away because she had a double ear infection,” Porell explained.
The South Kingstown mother was expecting her daughter to be prescribed amoxicillin, and antibiotic commonly used to treat bacterial infections.
But she knew something was wrong when she didn’t hear back from the pediatrician, and received a phone call from her husband.
“Usually they call it in right away, but it wasn’t there,” Porell explained. “My husband was trying to pick it up.”
“The doctor called me at 7 o’clock at night, which is late for them, and she said that she couldn’t find amoxicillin,” she continued. “She had to look for an alternative.”
Porell isn’t alone.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently reported a shortage of liquid amoxicillin, which is typically prescribed to children.
The FDA listed an increased demand for the antibiotic as the primary reason for the shortage. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists amoxicillin as a “first-line” therapy for most pediatric bacterial infections, there are alternatives that can be used instead.
Thankfully, Porell’s pediatrician was able to prescribe an alternative antibiotic, but it was the first time she’d heard of the shortage.
“It’s really necessary to have that [antibiotic], so it’s kind of scary for parents,” Porell said. “[My children] go to elementary school … you can’t keep them in the house and shelter them from the world.”
While amoxicillin isn’t used to treat viral infections, the amoxicillin shortage comes as children’s hospitals nationwide are reaching capacity due to a resurgence in respiratory illnesses.
That surge, according to the Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Rishi Lulla, is likely because children weren’t exposed to these viruses throughout the pandemic.
“What we’re seeing now is the impact of having decreased immunity over the last couple of years,” Lulla explained.
CVS Health tells 12 News the company is working with drug manufacturers to replenish the amoxicillin supply as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, CVS Health said parents should rest assured that there are alternatives available.
Parents who are struggling to find a pharmacy that is stocked with liquid amoxicillin should contact their pediatrician to discuss alternative treatments.