Amikacin Injection

[26 January 2015]

Products Affected - Description

Amikacin injection, West-Ward
250 mg/mL, 2 mL vials, package of 10 (NDC 55390-0226-02)

Reason for the Shortage

  • West-Ward Pharmaceuticals’ parent company, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, acquired amikacin injection from Bedford in July 2014. West-Ward is not actively marketing amikacin 250 mg/mL 4 mL vials at this time.1
  • Hospira discontinued amikacin in May, 2010 due to a raw material shortage.2
  • Teva’s product was unavailable due to manufacturing delays.3
  • Sandoz discontinued Amikin injection in 2006.4
  • Heritage launched amikacin injection in March 2014.5

Available Products

Amikacin injection, Heritage
250 mg/mL, 2 mL vials, package of 10 (NDC 23155-0290-41)
250 mg/mL, 4 mL vials, package of 10 (NDC 23155-0290-42)

Amikacin injection, Teva
250 mg/mL, 2 mL vials, package of 10 (NDC 00703-9032-03)
250 mg/mL, 4 mL vials, package of 10 (NDC 00703-9040-03) 

Estimated Resupply Dates

West-Ward is allocating amikacin 2 mL vials and the product has short expiration dating (July 2015).1

Implications for Patient Care

  • Amikacin is an aminoglycoside antibiotic. It is effective against many Gram-negative bacteria, including some strains resistant to gentamicin or tobramycin.6-7 It is also effective against Staphylococcus aureus and some other Gram-positive bacteria.7 Amikacin is labeled for a variety of indications including bacterial septicemia, burn-related and post-operative infections, serious complicated and recurrent urinary tract infections, and serious bone and joint, intra-abdominal, central nervous system, respiratory tract, and skin and soft tissue infections.6
  • Amikacin is the most active aminoglycoside against Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC). It is also effective against other drug-resistant, non-pulmonary Mycobacterium species, including M. abscessus, M. chelonae, and M. fortuitum. Gentamicin and tobramycin have poor activity against these Mycobacterium species. Streptomycin can be considered as part of a multi-drug treatment of drug-resistant Mycobacterium species.7-10
  • Amikacin may be the aminoglycoside of choice for serious nosocomial gram-negative infections in areas where resistance to gentamicin or tobramycin is present.9 Amikacin is not degraded by many pathogen-produced enzymes that inactivate other aminoglycosides resulting in drug resistance.6,8
  • Amikacin is a second-line treatment for drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Gentamicin and tobramycin are not considered effective treatments of M. tuberculosis. Streptomycin is also a second-line treatment of M. tuberculosis or a potential first-line alternative if other agents are contraindicated.9,10


  • Amikacin is produced in 50 mg/mL and 250 mg/mL concentrations. Use caution when switching between amikacin products of different concentrations.9,10
  • Target peak and trough concentrations, and timing of concentration measurement vary between aminoglycosides. Perform pharmacokinetic dosing calculations based on the specific agent being used.9,10
  • Compounding pharmacies may be offering compounded amikacin products during this shortage. Extreme caution is warranted if a compounded product is used.11 Compounded products are not FDA-approved and FDA has no control over the quality or consistency of the manufacturing process.11,12 Compounding pharmacies may not test every batch of product for drug concentration, sterility, or lack of pyrogens. In July 2001, several patients died from bacterial meningitis after receiving betamethasone injection prepared by a compounding pharmacy.11,13

Alternative Agents & Management

  • The choice of an alternative agent must be patient-specific and based on culture, sensitivity, desired tissue penetration, renal function, and site of infection. No single agent can be substituted for amikacin.7,9 Consult an Infectious Disease specialist for patient and infection-specific recommendations. Begin amikacin therapy only if sufficient supplies are available to complete the course of therapy.
  • Consider reserving amikacin for use in patients with drug-resistant MAC and other drug-resistant non-pulmonary Mycobacterium species.9-10
  • For other uses, consider using other parenteral aminoglycosides, such as gentamicin or tobramycin for susceptible infections. Streptomycin is primarily used as a second-line treatment of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.9,14 Table 1 briefly compares dosing and pharmacokinetics for the available aminoglycosides.

Related Shortages


  1. West-Ward (personal communications). July 18, 21, and 30, August 27, October 14, November 26, 2014; and January 21, 2015.
  2. Hospira (personal communications). January 5 and 22, February 4 , 10, and 23, March 2, 9, 23, and 31, April 20, May 18, June 15, July 6 and 29, August 31, September 2, October 15, November 19, December 14 2009; January 20, February 25, March 12, April 2 and 13, May 19, and June 1, 2010.
  3. Teva (personal communications). January 5 and 22, February 4 , 10, and 23, March 2, 9, 23, and 31, April 20, May 18, June 16, July 6 and 29, August 31, September 2, October 15, November 19, December 14 2009; January 20, February 24, March 12, April 2, May 17, June 29, July 12 and 28, August 3, 11, and 30, September 21, October 13 and 25, December 9 and 13, 2010; January 10 and 19, February 4, March 8, April 11, May 31, July 7, August 17, September 20, November 3, December 6, 2011; January 10, February 17, March 27, June 1, August 17, November 20, and December 17, 2012; February 13, March 11, April 2 and 10, May 6, June 11, July 3 and 29, August 12, September 13, October 15, November 11, 2013; January 27, March 12, April 23, June 19, October 13, December 1, 2014; and January 23, 2015.
  4. Sandoz (personal communication). January 1, 2009.
  5. Amikacin Sulfate [product information]. Bedford, OH: Bedford Laboratories, 2009.
  6. Heritage (personal communication). February 4 and 11, March 12 and 24, April 23, June 19, July 22, September 11, October 13, and December 1, 2014.
  7. Gilbert DN, Moellering RC, Eliopoulos GM, Chambers HF, Saag MS. The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy 2010. 40th edition. Sperryville, VA: Antimicrobial Therapy, Inc, 2010.
  8. Gilbert DN, Leggett JE. Aminoglycosides. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2010: 359-384.
  9. Aminoglycosides. In: McEvoy GK, ed. AHFS 2010 Drug Information. Bethesda, MD: American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists; 2010: 63-91.
  10. Drug Facts and Comparisons Online. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health Inc. June 2011.
  11. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. ASHP guidelines on managing drug product shortages in hospitals and health systems. Am J Health-Syst Pharm. 2009;66:1399-1406.
  12. Rusho WJ. Clinical issues and concerns in the use of extemporaneously compounded medications. J Pharm Care Pain Sympt Contr. 1996;4:5-20.
  13. Meningitis deaths linked to drug shortages. Accessed on June 9, 2011. Bethesda, MD:
  14. Aberg JA, Goldman MP, Gray LD, Long JK, eds. Infectious Diseases Handbook. 6th ed. Hudson, OH: Lexi-Comp, 2006.
  15. Tobramycin Solution for Injection Shortage. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Drug Shortage Resource Management Center. Accessed June 9, 2011.


Updated January 26, 2015 by Michelle Wheeler, PharmD, Drug Information Specialist, Drug Information Service. Created July 6, 2010, by David M. Peterson, PharmD, and M. Christina Beckwith, PharmD, Drug Information Specialists. Copyright 2015, Drug Information Service, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.


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