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Amoxicillin and Clavulanic Acid

Amoxicillin and Clavulanic Acid

Overview

Amoxicillin is the most commonly prescribed antibiotic in the United States. Unfortunately, the widespread use of this penicillin-like drug has led many bacteria to develop resistance to it.

By adding clavulanic acid to the formulation, scientists created a medication, Augmentin, that is effective against many bacteria that are not susceptible to amoxicillin alone. This broad-spectrum antibiotic is effective in fighting infections in many parts of the body including the urinary tract, skin, sinuses, lungs, ears, throat and genital tract.

Side Effects and Interactions of Augmentin

The most common side effects of Augmentin involve digestive tract upset. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can be troublesome for some people. Other adverse reactions to be aware of include skin rash, itching, vaginal infections, stomachache, gas, headache and vomiting.

Less common but possibly more serious side effects include liver enzyme elevations, anemia, blood disorders and psychological reactions. Report any symptoms to your physician promptly.

Long-term treatment with penicillin-type antibiotics requires periodic monitoring by a health professional.

Augmentin may interfere with some urine tests for diabetes and produce false positive results. Augmentin should not be taken with tetracycline or some other antibiotics. Notify your doctor if you are on such a drug for a different condition.

Special Precautions

Because amoxicillin is related to penicillin, anyone who is allergic to this class of antibiotics must generally avoid such drugs like the plague.

Symptoms such as breathing difficulty, wheezing, sneezing, hives, itching, and skin rash require immediate emergency treatment. Life-threatening anaphylactic shock may produce an inability to breathe and cardiovascular collapse and can occur within minutes of exposure.

If you experience a serious reaction and you ever have to go into the hospital, make sure a sign is placed over the bed alerting hospital personnel to penicillin allergy.

Taking the Medicine

Augmentin can be taken with meals or on an empty stomach. It is generally best swallowed with a full eight-ounce glass of water.

To maintain adequate levels of the medicine in your body, it is usually recommended that doses be given every eight hours. Check with your pharmacist to see how you should adjust your schedule to get the third dose in on time.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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