Amoxicillin is one of the most, if not the most widely used antibiotics worldwide. This antibiotic is classified under β-lactam antibiotics and is the ‘go-to’ drug to treat a host of bacterial infections because of its ability to be easily absorbed even in cases where it is orally taken. It does not however work against common viral infections.
Infections that can be treated with amoxicillin include pneumonia, streptococcal pharyngitis, acute otitis media, salmonella, urinary tract infections, Chlamydia infections, as well as Lyme disease. Likewise, amoxicillin is also utilized for preventing bacterial endocarditis with high risk individuals planning on having work done on their teeth.
This antibiotic may also be used for preventing infections of strep pneumococus in individuals without spleens, treating cystic acne and treating anthrax. Amoxicillin can also be used with other antibiotics such as clarithromycin in treating intestinal or stomach ulcers from the H. pylori bacteria, as well as for preventing the recurrence of stomach ulcers.
Amoxicillin may come in the form of a liquid suspension, chewable tablet, pediatric drops, tablet or capsule typically taken by mouth. Usually, it is taken twice daily every 12 hours or thrice daily every 8 hours either on a full or empty stomach.
When taking amoxicillin, you should remember to take it preferably at the same time daily. Likewise, you should always follow the dosage instruction given by your pharmacist or doctor and make sure to read the prescription label thoroughly. Additionally, don’t take less or more than the dosage prescribed to you.
For amoxicillin chewable tablets, it is very important to note that they should be chewed or crushed thoroughly before completely swallowing them. On the other hand, amoxicillin capsules and tablets are supposed to be swallowed whole along with a tall glass of water.
For amoxicillin pediatric drops and suspensions, both should be thoroughly shaken so that the medication will be evenly mixed. It is also recommended and easier to use the dropper that comes with pediatric drops to ensure the proper dosage. These can also be combined with water, milk, juices and other liquids especially for kids who don’t like taking medicines.
It is also vital to note that you should continue taking amoxicillin for the full duration prescribed by your doctor even if you already feel that you are well. This is because stopping amoxicillin under the prescribed timeline may cause your body to stop reacting to antibiotics which will also make the bacteria resistant to it.
Although amoxicillin is generally well tolerated and safe, there are some factors that should be considered before you start taking it. These include the following:
If you have allergic reactions to other medications
If you are planning on having a baby, pregnant or lactating. Likewise, inform your doctor in the event that you become pregnant while on amoxicillin.
If you had or have allergies to random things, asthma, kidney disease, hives, hay fever or phenylketonuria
You should also inform your doctor about all the other vitamins, herbal supplements, nutritional supplements and nonprescription and prescription medicines especially if these include other antibiotics, probenecid and chloramphenicol. This is because your doctor may prescribe a different dosage and eliminate potential side effects.
Amoxicillin Side Effects
As with all medication, you may or may not experience side effects. With amoxicillin, common side effects typically include:
- diarrhea and colitis
Around 3 to 10% of kids on amoxicillin can experience a rash that usually begins about 72 hours after the first dose of amoxicillin has been taken, but this rash can also be seen in adults. It may also appear about a week after you have stopped taking amoxicillin.
This amoxicillin rash as it is called, can also take the form of a measles-like rash. It typically begins from the trunk and starts spreading from there. Although common, this rash is similar to rashes induced by an allergic reaction to amoxicillin so it is better to consult a professional to determine the specific type of rash.
In addition, an amoxicillin rash not caused by allergic reactions may be a symptom of mononucleosis. This is because some studies have found that around a huge amount (around 80-90%) of Epstein Barr viral infection patients that are taking amoxicillin may develop the same rash.
For people with allergic reactions to amoxicillin, the onset may be very abrupt and severe and medical attention should be sought out immediately. The onset usually begins with an itchy skin rash starting from the groin area and fingertips until it spreads to the whole body, mental changes, vomiting, nausea and fever. Likewise, this type of allergy can be lethal so help is instantly required if you suspect an allergic reaction.
A very small amount of users also reported these rare side effects:
- mental changes
- sensitivity to sounds and lights
- cloudy thoughts and anxiety.
In the unlikely event that you experience one of these rare side effects, stop taking amoxicillin and contact your doctor immediately. Furthermore, using clavulanic acid and amoxicillin together for more than a week may cause a mild form of hepatitis in younger users. Likewise, younger users have also reported to be prone to overdosing which can lead to renal dysfunction and lethargy.
While it is true that amoxicillin is considered a potent ‘wonder drug’ because of the vast range of infections it is capable of curing, you should always follow your doctor’s recommendations concerning the proper dosage of amoxicillin to completely do away or minimize the possibility of side effects.