Nationwide shortage of medicine to treat bacterial infections is hitting Metro Detroit, too

As hospitals and urgent care offices work to treat viral infections like RSV, pharmacies in Metro Detroit and across the nation are dealing with another issue - a shortage of medicine to treat bacterial infections.

It has some wondering if there is a connection between the two. Amoxicillin is an antibiotic often prescribed to fight a number of ailments brought on by bacteria.

"Ear infections and upper respiratory infections, those kinds of infections are typically what it is used for," said Matthew Navarre. "Amoxicillin is something very commonly used for infections."

Right now, a nationwide shortage of the drug has people scrambling for solutions. Navarre with Trinity Health, says in these cases it's important to be your own advocate at the pharmacy.

"As the caregiver, as the parent, as the patient, ask that pharmacy to contact the prescriber and see if there is an alternative (medicine) they can prescribe, so they are not jumping through hoops trying to find a medication that they likely won't be able to find at another pharmacy, either."

Right now the antibiotic is on backorder across the country and it may correlate with the increase of RSV cases. To be clear, Amoxicillin is not prescribed to fight the viral infection RSV directly.

Rather any other bacterial infections that could come about when your immune system is in a weakened state.

"It's being used for RSV treatment for potential secondary infections," said Navarre."That's one of the reasons I've heard, but I'm not 100 percent sure that is causing the shortage or not."

The scarcity of the drug could also be the symptom of a post-pandemic supply chain issue.

"Drug shortages are a very common part of pharmacy," he said. "It's really just problem-solving and figuring out what to give patients, to give them what they need and how we are going to do that."

Whatever the reasons may be, the message Trinity Health wants to get to, patients is to never be afraid to ask for other solutions.

"Contacting the prescriber when the medication is not available because there are other antibiotics," said Navarre. "It's just a matter of the pharmacist working it out with the prescriber."