Common penicillin type in shortage

The FDA added penicillin G benzathine to its drug shortages list April 26. The drug is the standard treatment for syphilis and is also used to treat strep throat. 

Pfizer has limited supply of the antibiotic amid increased demand, with shortages expected to last into September, the FDA told Bloomberg.

"The FDA believes the demand increase of this drug is related to the increased cases of strep throat and syphilis in the U.S.," the agency told the news outlet. Emergency department visits for strep throat infections reached a five-year high in February and March. A monthslong shortage of amoxicillin, another antibiotic used to treat strep, has caused frustration for patients, physicians and pharmacists amid the strep uptick. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. saw a significant increase in syphilis infections during the pandemic, with more than 176,000 new cases reported in 2021. Penicillin G benzathine is the standard treatment for the sexually transmitted infection.

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