ROCKY HILL, Conn. (WTNH) — The shortage of the popular liquid antibiotic amoxicillin used to treat sick children has reached a new level, and now doctors say supplies of backup options are running low, leaving parents and pediatricians scrambling.

The shortage comes as the number of sick children is still running high. While there is about half as much respiratory syncytial virus circulating, it’s been replaced with influenza A, according to Dr. Jennifer Schwab of Rocky Hill Pediatrics, who is affiliated with Connecticut Children’s.

“The amoxicillin shortage is really a problem because so many kids have ear infections right now we’re struggling to find pharmacies that have it in stock we’re trying to use other antibiotics but then they’re running out of those as well,” Schwab said.

She has spent hours on the phone looking amoxicillin at local pharmacies and has even had to ask some parents to help in the search for it, or the back-up drug augmentin.
That drug is not the first choice typically because, Schwab said, because it can cause diarrhea.

She is also having to use a painful option to treat sick children.

“Something called ceftriaxone, which is three days in a row to come into our office to get an injection into their thigh ,and nobody wants to do that but we’re doing a lot of that because we are literally running out of options,” Schwab said.

She has no idea when the shortage will end and said that while kids are used to liquid antibiotics, pills are now having to be given due to the shortage. Schwab recommends first asking a pharmacist if the have a type that can be crushed, then hidden in food.

“I sometimes try to have parents use apple sauce to mix it in or even a little bit of yogurt and then just have them eat it with a spoon,” she said.

She recommends that parents make sure their children get flu shots to avoid serious illness.