What is Augmentin (amoxicillin and clavulanic acid)? How does it work?
Augmentin contains amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. Amoxicillin is an antibiotic of the penicillin type. It is effective against some bacteria such as H. influenzae, N. gonorrhea, E. coli, Pneumococci, Streptococci, and certain strains of Staphylococci. Chemically, it is closely related to penicillin and ampicillin. Amoxicillin stops 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. Clavulanic acid enhances the effectiveness of amoxicillin against bacteria that are ordinarily resistant to amoxicillin alone.
What are the uses for Augmentin?
Augmentin is effective against susceptible bacteria causing infections of the middle ear (otitis media), tonsillitis, throat infections (pharyngitis), laryngitis, bronchitis, sinusitis, and pneumonia. It is also used in treating urinary tract infections, and skin infections.
What are the side effects of Augmentin?
Common side effects are:
Other important side effects include:
- bloody or prolonged diarrhea,
- easy bruising or bleeding,
- reversible hepatitis,
- rash, and
- allergic reactions.
Serious but rare reactions include seizures, severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), and low platelet or red blood cell count. Antibiotics 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 Augmentin (diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and possibly shock) should contact their physician immediately. Persons 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.
What is the dosage for Augmentin?
Augmentin should be taken on a full stomach to reduce stomach upset. No more than one tablet should be taken at a time since the extra clavulanic acid can cause stomach upset.
- Recommended adult doses are 500 mg every 8-12 hours, 250 mg every 8 hours, 875 mg every 12 hours, or 2000 mg every 12 hours.
- Dosing is based on the amoxicillin component.
- Pediatric patients weighing more than 40 kg should receive adult doses.
- Pediatric patients weighing less than 40 kg should receive 20 to 45 mg/kg every 8 or 12 hours.
Which drugs or supplements interact with Augmentin?
- Co-administration of probenecid, a drug used for treating gout, prevents the normal elimination of amoxicillin by the kidneys and can cause high, toxic blood levels of amoxicillin.
- Augmentin may decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills, increasing the risk of unexpected pregnancies.
- Combining Augmentin and allopurinol (Zyloprim, Aloprim) may increase the occurrence of skin rash.
Bowel regularity means a bowel movement every day.
Is Augmentin safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Use of Augmentin in pregnant women has not been well studied. Penicillins are generally considered safe for use by pregnant women who are not allergic to penicillin.
- Augmentin is excreted in breast milk and may cause diarrhea in the infant.
What else should I know about Augmentin?
- Tablets: 250/125 mg (amoxicillin/clavulanic), 500/125, and 875/125 mg.
- Chewable tablets: 125/31.25, 200/28.5, 250/62.5, and 400/57 mg.
- Extended-release tablets:1000/62.5.
- Powder for Suspension: 125/31.25, 200/28.5, 250/62.5, 400/57, and 600/42.9 per 5 ml.
Storage: Tablets and dry powder should be stored at room temperature below 25 C (77 F), the former in a tightly closed container. Diluted powder should be refrigerated and discarded after 10 days.
Agumentin is available in generic form. You need a prescription from your doctor or other healthcare professional to obtain this medication.
Augmentin, Amoclan, Augmentin, Augmentin XR, and Augmentin ES-600 are the brand names available for amoxicillin/clavulanic in the US.