What to know about the shortage of amoxicillin, parents’ favorite pink medicine

Sometimes referred to as a parent’s favorite pink medicine, amoxicillin is in short supply, according to a Children’s National Hospital pediatrician who wants to reassure people that alternatives are available.

Amoxicillin, known for its pink brand, is a common antibiotic used to treat strep throat, community acquired pneumonia, sinus infections and ear infections that are bacterial.

“It has different flavors. So that’s probably the bubble gum flavor that it has. It’s one of the better tasting antibiotics,” said Dr. Gabrina Dixon, a pediatric hospitalist and an affiliate faculty member of the Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children’s National Hospital.

“I don’t think parents should be in a panic, we do have antibiotics that can still treat the bacterial infections,” she said. “Amoxicillin is such a common antibiotic, they think that’s the only choice that we have. So our job is to inform them that no, we do have alternatives. So if your child has a bacterial infection, they will still be treated appropriately.”

Dixon said doctors at Children’s who need to prescribe amoxicillin have been calling the pharmacy first to see if it’s available. If it’s not available, an alternative is chosen.

Expanding further on ear infections, Dixon said most are actually viral, caused by a virus versus bacteria, and will go away on their own.

While Dixon’s message today is related to antibiotics, she wants to remind people that viruses circulating now remain a concern that people can protect themselves against by getting vaccinated.

“We still are seeing a high (number) of different viruses, RSV and influenza. Make sure you go get your flu vaccine, make sure you go get your COVID vaccine to protect you from that also,” she said. “Viruses (are) still number one during this time.”

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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