Amoxicillin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic prescribed for a wide variety of bacteria that cause a wide variety of infections like:
- Urinary tract infections
- Chest infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis
- Ear, nose and throat infections such as tonsillitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis, otitis media, laryngitis
- Bacterial infections of the lining of the heart or heart valve (endocarditis)
- Lyme disease, a type of bacterial infections spread to human by infected ticks
- Dental abscesses
- Skin and skin structure infections due to susceptible isolates of bacteria such as acne vulgaris
- Bacterial infections in the genital area
- Eradicating pyloribacteria from the gut in people with peptic ulcers
Amoxicillin is a first-choice medicine in treating many bacterial infections. It is a good and cheap antibiotic with side effects that are not too bad compared with other antibiotics. Amoxicillin is available as a tablet, capsule, and liquid form of different and comes in different strengths. It’s one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics in children. Amoxicillin was discovered in the early 1950s and came into medical use in 1972. It’s on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.
Amoxicillin belongs to the group of antibiotics known as penicillin. It’s effective against many different types of bacteria including E. coli, streptococci, H. influenza, N.gonorrhea, Pneumococci, and certain strains of Staphylococci. It does not directly kill the bacteria but it stops the bacteria from reproducing and multiplying by preventing them from forming cell walls. The cell walls of bacteria are vital for their survival. The cell wall stops the content of the cells from leaking out and keeps unwanted substances from entering the cells. Amoxicillin impairs the bond that holds the cell wall of the bacteria together. As a result, holes will appear in the cell wall and kills the bacteria.
How to Use It
- For most infections in adults, the recommended dose is 250 mg every 8 hours or 500 mg every 12 hours depending on the type and the severity of the infection.
- For most infections in children older than 3 months but less than 40kg, the dose is 25 or 45 mg per body kg in divided doses every 12 hours. The dose depends on the type and severity of the infections.
- The dose in treating gonorrhea in adults and children weighing more than 40 kg is 3 grams given as one dose.
- For the eradication of H. Pylori bacteria, your doctor may advise you to take amoxicillin 500mg twice a day together with other antibiotics.
- The effect of Amoxicillin is observed within 1 to 2 hours after intake. The duration of the effect lasts for an average of 6 hours.
- Take amoxicillin by mouth with plenty of water. You can take it with or without food. For a missed dose, take it as soon as you remember. Always take the correct number of doses each day. Do not take two doses to make up for the missed one.
Possible Side Effects of Amoxicillin
Amoxicillin can cause some unwanted side effects just like any other antibiotic. The most common side effects are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Vaginal yeast infections with signs like itching and discharge
Call your doctor if the side effects mentioned do not go away after a few days of treatment. Some side effects can be serious and life-threatening. These include:
- Hypersensitivity reactions with signs like blisters, flu-like symptoms, rashes, and hives
- Liver damage with signs like pain in the abdomen, yellowing of the skin and eyes, increased liver enzymes on the blood test
What should I know before taking Amoxicillin?
- This drug can alter the normal bacteria in the colon and encourage the growth of bacteria that causes inflammation of the colon. Symptoms of colon inflammation may include abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, and possible shock.
- Not all types of bacteria can respond to Amoxicillin. Your doctor may need to give you types of antibiotics.
- Extra monitoring and a lower dose are needed for people with:
- Severe kidney problems
- Suspected acute or chronic lymphoid leukemia, glandular fever, as this medicine can cause rashes in people with the conditions.
- difficle infection particularly the elderly
- Amoxicillin does not make you sleepy so it is safe to drive. It does not either interact with alcoholic beverages so it’s fine to drink while taking it.
- This medication is not known to be harmful when used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, before you use this antibiotic, see to it that you tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Getting the Best Result from Amoxicillin
- Antibiotic such as this medicine is indicated for bacterial infections only. It will not work for colds, flu, and other viral infections. Taking this medication when they are not needed can only increase your risk of getting an infection later that is resistant to antibiotics.
- It is important to finish the entire course of the treatment even if you feel better or the infection has seemed to clear up. Stopping the medication can only make the bacteria more resistant to medicine and your infection to come back.
- Before taking this medicine, tell your doctor if you have or ever have had kidney disease, hay fever, asthma, or hives.
- Do not use this if you are allergic to penicillin or cephalosporin antibiotic.
- Amoxicillin can cause a serious allergic reaction that can be life-threatening known as anaphylaxis.
- Taking Amoxicillin with certain medications can sometimes cause an adverse reaction. Interactions can sometimes raise the risk of side effects, increase or decrease the amount of other drugs in your body. Before using this drug, inform your doctor if you are taking other medicines including prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins, and supplements.
- In some young patients, tooth discoloration may happen while under medication. To prevent this from happening, floss, and brush your teeth regularly.
- Birth control pills may not be effective while you use this medicine. Use another form of birth control along with the pills to keep you from getting pregnant..