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Pharmacist group reports doxycycline shortage

Doxycycline, a broad-spectrum bacteriostatic antibiotic, is in short supply, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Dr. Edmond Truelove, vice chair of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, said that the shortfall affects all of dentistry, though perhaps has a more pronounced impact on certain areas, such as periodontology. An oral medicine professor at the University of Washington School of Dentistry and an active clinician, Dr. Truelove said that he certainly feels the shortage in the realm of oral medicine.

"We manage patients who have compromised oral conditions and in those patients we use doxycycline in some cases to keep the gingiva stable and less inflamed," he said.  "So the more shortage there is, the more difficulty we see with patients. There are limited alternatives.

"Doxycycline is a useful antibiotic and having a shortage of it is a bit of a problem."

Dr. Truelove said that generally if one tetracycline antibiotic isn't available then a dentist might consider others, perhaps minocycline, for example. But there are sometimes significant impediments to substitutes.

Doxycycline manufacturers attribute the drug shortage to scarce raw materials and to supply and demand, although not all manufacturers could provide reasons for the shortage, the ASHP Drug Shortages Resource Center reported. 

A bulletin on the ASHP website details information about the shortage, including a list describing the affected doxycycline products, implications for patients and potential substitutes. To review the bulletin, visit online