Sentara says Amoxicillin shortage not affecting it much yet

Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 6:41 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Pharmacies across the U.S. continue to deal with a shortage of Amoxicillin, an antibiotic that is typically used to treat children for strep throat and bacterial infections.

Sentara RMH said its pharmacy hasn’t been as affected as some across the country, but that could change.

“We still have Amoxicillin on our shelves currently. As we move into flu season, there are some increased risks for bacterial infections and things like that that Amoxicillin treats, so you might see an increase in usage this fall. So far we have a good supply on our shelves but that could change,” said Kimberly Elliott, an outpatient pharmacist at Sentara RMH.

With kids back in school and flu season on the way the demand for Amoxicillin typically increases significantly in the fall. Luckily, Sentara said that pharmacies are prepared in the event they run low on the antibiotic.

”A lot of times if that is the case if we find we don’t have enough on the shelf or if we’re running low we can reach out to the providers to see if there are any alternatives. A lot of times there is something else that is available and is just as good as Amoxicillin,” said Elliott. “Whenever there is any kind of shortage we’ll look at our usage and see what we need for the foreseeable future. So we do often take steps to make sure we have enough on hand for what we typically use during this time.”

Elliott said there are a number of antibiotics that can be used in place of Amoxicillin in certain situations.

“It depends on the bug that is being treated but a lot of times cephalosporin, Cefdinir is a go-to for a lot of the providers,” she said.

Elliott said that pharmacies can be more or less affected by the shortage depending on who their customers are.

“Being a closed-door pharmacy we do a little bit less pediatric prescriptions, which is mostly what the shortage is affecting. So there might be some outside retail pharmacies in the area that are a little bit more affected depending on their population,” she said.

With kids back in school and the Amoxicillin shortage around the U.S. Elliot said it is especially important to make sure your children are practicing good hygiene.

“Making sure we’re washing our hands and if somebody is sick trying to keep our distance. Things like that that we always do to try to keep our kids and our families healthy throughout the flu season,” she said.