NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — With the uptick in respiratory illnesses, there's an increase in demand for antibiotics, which is fueling an amoxicillin shortage.
At Pruitt's Pharmacy at Cayce Clinic, Dr. Shawn Pruitt just opened his doors to help residents in the public housing community. Currently, he's dealing with an amoxicillin shortage in its liquid form. This is what's used to treat babies and young children for illnesses like pneumonia.
"So we thought we’d be able to go to some of our backup suppliers, and even they are running short on the drug," Pruitt said.
As pharmacists turn to other drugs amid the shortage, it creates a domino effect.
"For an ear infection we would probably ask for a change to Augmentin which seems to be okay for right now, but I do expect it to be depleted," Pruitt said.
Dr. Pruitt is also giving out more of amoxicillin pills and chewable ones.
"I guess the requirement would be your children would have to have teeth for the chewable,” Pruitt said, “But in some cases, you could probably grind that powder up, put it in some apple sauce, some sort of juice, and still get the dosing, but I know for a parent that would probably become cumbersome.”
Fortunately, at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, they have the drug available for emergencies.
"So the reason the FDA has listed for the shortage is increased demand,” Dr. James Antoon said. “So there are more respiratory illnesses than there typically are."
Dr. Antoon said circulating viruses aren't helping. Sometimes children with RSV can get bronchitis, and they might need amoxicillin.
"We’re seeing an uptick in influenza hospitalizations with a leveling off of RSV hospitalizations,” Antoon said.
In addition, with families gathering on Thanksgiving it’s possible it could increase the spread.
"We know that when families get together, and people congregate indoors, we have more transmissions of all of our viruses," Antoon said.
It's unclear when the amoxicillin shortage could be over.