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- What is amoxicillin? How does it work (mechanism of action)?
- Why are the uses for amoxicillin (what does it treat)?
- What are amoxicillin side effects?
- What is the dosage for amoxicillin?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with amoxicillin?
- Is amoxicillin safe to take if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about amoxicillin?
What is amoxicillin? How does it work (mechanism of action)?
- ampicillin (Unasyn),
- piperacillin (Pipracil),
- ticarcillin (Ticar), and
- several others.
These antibiotics all have a similar mechanism of action. They do not directly kill bacteria, but they stop bacteria from multiplying by preventing bacteria from forming the walls that surround them. The walls are necessary to protect bacteria from their environment and to keep the contents of the bacterial cell together. Bacteria cannot survive without a cell wall. Amoxicillin is effective against many different bacteria including H. influenzae, N. gonorrhoea, E. coli, Pneumococci, Streptococci, and certain strains of Staphylococci.
The FDA approved Amoxicillin in December 1974.
Quick GuideSymptoms of Mono: Infectious Mononucleosis Treatment
Why are the uses for amoxicillin (what does it treat)?
- Amoxicillin is used to treat infections due to bacteria that are susceptible to the effects of amoxicillin.
- Common bacterial infections that amoxicillin is used for include infections of the
- It also is used to treat gonorrhea.
What are amoxicillin side effects?
Side effects due to amoxicillin include:
- abdominal pain,
- easy bruising,
- rash, and
- allergic reactions.
People who are allergic to the cephalosporin class of antibiotics, which are related to the penicillins, for example, cefaclor (Ceclor), cephalexin (Keflex), and cefprozil (Cefzil), may or may not be allergic to penicillins.
Serious but rare reactions include:
- severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), and
- low platelet (thrombocytopenia) or red blood cell count.
Amoxicillin can alter the normal bacteria in the colon and encourage overgrowth of some bacteria such as Clostridium difficile which causes inflammation of the colon (pseudomembranous colitis). Patients who develop signs of pseudomembranous colitis after starting amoxicillin (diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and possibly shock) should contact their physician immediately.
What is the dosage for amoxicillin?
- For most infections in adults the dose of amoxicillin is 250 mg every 8 hours, 500 mg every 8 hours, 500 mg every 12 hours or 875 mg every 12 hours, depending on the type and severity of infection.
- For the treatment of adults with gonorrhea, the dose is 3 g given as one dose.
- For most infections, children older than 3 months but less than 40 kg are treated with 25 or 45 mg/kg/day in divided doses every 12 hours or 20 or 40 mg/kg/day with one-third of the daily dose given every 8 hours depending on the type and severity of the infection.
- Amoxicillin can be taken with or without food.
Which drugs or supplements interact with amoxicillin?
Amoxicillin is rarely associated with important drug interactions.
Is amoxicillin safe to take if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Penicillins are generally considered safe for use by pregnant women who are not allergic to penicillin.
- Small amounts of amoxicillin may be excreted in breast milk and may cause diarrhea or allergic responses in nursing infants. Amoxicillin is generally considered safe to use while breastfeeding. Amoxicillin is used to treat infections in the newborn.
What else should I know about amoxicillin?
- Capsules: 250 and 500 mg.
- Tablets: 500 and 875 mg.
- Chewable tablets: 125, 200, 250, and 400 mg.
- Powder for suspension: 50 mg/ml ; 125, 200, 250, and 400 mg/5 ml.
- Tablet (Extended release): 775 mg
- Amoxicillin capsules as well as the 125 and 250 mg dry powders should b e stored at or below 20 C (68 F).
- Chewable tablets as well as 200 and 400 mg dry powders should be stored at or below 25 C(77 F).
- Trimox capsules and unreconstituted powder should be stored at or below 20 C (68 F), and chewable tablets should be stored at room temperature 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).
- Powder that has been mixed with water should be discarded after 14 days. Refrigeration is preferred but not required for powder mixed with water.
Other information about amoxicillin
- Amoxicillin is available in generic form and is available by prescription only.
- Brand names available in the US for amoxicillin are Amoxil, Moxatag, and Larotid.
Amoxicillin (Amoxil, Moxatag, Larotid) is an antibiotic that belongs to a class of antibiotics called penicillins. Common infections that amoxicillin is used to treat include middle ear infections, tonsillitis, laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, skin, gonorrhea, and urinary tract infections.
Common side effects of amoxicillin include nausea, itching, vomiting, confusion, abdominal pain, and easy bruising.
Drug interactions, dosing, storage, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety should be reviewed prior to taking penicillins.
Dispermox, Trimox, Wymox, Utimox, and Polymox are discontinued brands and are no longer available in the US.
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- Scarlet Fever
- Middle Ear Infection (Otitis Media)
- Acute Sinusitis
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) Infection
- Gum Disease
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- Acne FAQs
- Rosacea FAQs
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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Top amoxicillin Related Articles
AcneAcne is a localized skin inflammation as a result of overactivity of oil glands at the base of hair follicles. This inflammation, depending on its location, can take the form of a superficial pustule (contains pus), a pimple, a deeper cyst, congested pores, whiteheads, or blackheads. Treatments vary depending on the severity of the acne.
Adenoids and Tonsils
Tonsillitis is a contagious infection with symptoms of bad breath, snoring, congestion, headache, hoarseness, laryngitis, and coughing up blood.
Tonsillitis can be caused acute infection of the tonsils, and several types of bacteria or viruses (for example, strep throat or mononucleosis). There are two types of tonsillitis, acute and chronic. Acute tonsillitis lasts from one to two weeks while chronic tonsillitis can last from months to years.
Treatment of tonsillitis and adenoids include antibiotics, over-the-counter medications, and home remedies to relieve pain and inflammation, for example, salt water gargle, slippery elm throat lozenges, sipping warm beverages and eating frozen foods (ice cream, popsicles), serrapeptase, papain, and andrographism Some people with chronic tonsillitis may need surgery (tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy ).
Aortic StenosisAortic valve stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart. The causes of aortic stenosis are wear and tear of the valve in the elderly, congenital, or scarring or scarring of the aortic valve from rheumatic fever. Symptoms include angina, fainting, and shortness of breath. Treatment is dependant upon the severity of the condition.
Clostridium Difficile Colitis
Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a bacterium, and is one of the most common causes of infection of the colon. C. difficile spores are found frequently in hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, and nurseries for newborn infants. They can be found:
- on bedpans,
- toilet seats,
- rooms, and
- diaper pails.
They even can be carried by pets. Antibiotic-associated (C. difficile) colitis is an infection of the colon caused by C. difficile that occurs primarily among individuals who have been using antibiotics. Treatment for C. difficile colitis includes:
- replenishment of electrolyte deficiencies,
- discontinuing the antibiotic that caused the colitis, and
- using antibiotics to eradicate the C. difficile bacterium.
Helicobacter PyloriHelicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacteria that causes chronic inflammation (gastritis) of the inner lining of the stomach, and also is the most common cause of ulcers worldwide. About 50% of people in the world carries or is infected with H. pylori. Common symptoms of H. pylori infection are occasional abdominal discomfort, bloating, belching or burping, and nausea and vomiting. H. pylori infection is difficult to erdicate, and treatment is with two or more antibiotics.
Infectious MononucleosisInfectious mononucleosis is a virus infection in which there is an increase of white blood cells that are mononuclear (with a single nucleus) "Mono" and "kissing disease" are popular terms for this very common illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
Infectious Mono PicturesA specific viral infection (with the Epstein-Barr virus) in which there is an increase of white blood cells that are mononuclear (with a single nucleus). See a picture of Infectious Mononucleosis and learn more about the health topic.
LeptospirosisLeptospirosis is an infectious disease that causes symptoms such as fever, headache, and chills. Treatment for leptospirosis requires antibiotics.
Liver BiopsyLiver biopsy is a procedure used to remove a small piece of liver tissue for examination for signs of disease or damage to the liver. Preparation for liver biopsy includes discontinuing certain medications. The techniques used to perform liver biopsy include percutaneous liver biopsy, transvenous liver biopsy, and laparoscopic liver biopsy. Recovery from liver biopsy are generally one to two days. Certain risks are associated with liver biopsy.
Lyme DiseaseLyme disease is a bacterial illness, which is spread by ticks when they bite the skin. Initially the disease affects the skin causing a reddish rash associated with flu-like symptoms. It takes weeks to months after the initial redness of the skin for its effects to spread throughout the body. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. Lyme disease can be prevented by using tick avoidance techniques.
Lyme Disease SlideshowLyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi transmitted to humans through infected deer ticks. Lyme disease symptoms include a bull's-eye shaped rash. See pictures of Lyme disease rashes and ticks that carry Lyme disease.
Mitral Valve Prolapse
Mitral valve prolapse (MVP), also called "click murmur syndrome" and "Barlow's syndrome," is the most common type of heart valve abnormality. Usually, people with mitral valve prolapse have no signs and symptoms; however, if the prolapsed valve is severe, symptoms may appear. When symptoms of severe mitral valve prolapse do appear, they may include, fatigue, palpitations, chest pain, anxiety, migraine headaches, and pulmonary edema. Echocardiography is the most useful test for mitral valve prolapse. Most people with mitral valve need no treatment. However, if the valve prolapse is severe, treatment medications or surgery may be necessary to repair the heart valve.
Skin Problems SlideshowLearn to spot and treat skin conditions commonly found in adults such as acne, eczema, shingles, psoriasis, rosacea, hives, cold sores, razor bumps, athlete's foot, and more.
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Urinary Tract Infection QuizHow would you know if you had urinary tract infection (UTI)? Take the Urinary Tract Infection in Adult Quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments for infection that can affect your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.