Medications: Amoxicillin

What You Need to Know About the Antibiotic Amoxicillin

Amoxicillin belongs to the Penicillin class of drugs. It is an antibiotic primarily used to fight bacterial infections, but not viral infections. Physicians also use Amoxicillin in combination with other medications to help treat conditions, such as stomach ulcers.

It works by interfering with the synthesis of bacterial cell walls. This antibiotic comes in liquid form or capsules and is only available with a licensed physician’s prescription. However, it may also be injected, but this is usually done only in hospitals.

What Does Amoxicillin Treat?

Physicians use Amoxicillin to treat bacterial infections with susceptible strains of certain micro-organisms. It is active against:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Tonsillitis
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Dental abscesses
  • Ear, throat, nose, and skin infections

In children, it’s often used to treat chest and ear infections. Amoxicillin is not active against viral infections like a cold or cough. While waiting for bacterial test results, doctors may use their best judgement and start treatment with Amoxicillin.

Amoxicillin may be used as prophylaxis before oral surgery, instrumentation, or upper respiratory tract surgery. It may also be used as a prophylaxis of bacterial endocarditis for patients with the following conditions:

  • Prosthetic heart valves
  • Congenital cardiac malformations
  • Rheumatic or other gained valvular lesions

Or for patients with a prior history of:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Bacterial endocarditis
  • Surgically constructed systemic pulmonary shunts
  • Mitral valve prolapse- with valvular regurgitation or…
  • Mitral valve prolapse- without valvular regurgitation associated with redundancy and/or thickening of the valve leaflets.

Amoxicillin should only be used with infections strongly suspected or proven to be treated by the medication. This is so that the patient does not build an immunity to antibiotics.

Common Side Effects

Side effects are rare with the use of Amoxicillin but not impossible. Common side effects include diarrhea and nausea. However, they only occur in around 1 out of 10 people.

Even more rare are serious side effects that only occur in less than 1 out of 1,000 people. These include:

  • Diarrhea (with stomach cramps) that contain mucus or blood.
  • Skin discolouration or bruising.
  • Yellowing of the whites in the eyes or the skin (could be warning signs of gallbladder or liver problems).
  • Dark urine or pale feces.
  • Skin rash that includes circular red patches.
  • Muscle or joint pain that usually comes after taking the medication for 2 days.

It is also important to note that any of these side effects can happen within 2 months after completing the medication. Also, around 1 out of 15 people may have an allergic reaction
with wheezing, coughing, and/or a rash. You should notify your doctor immediately if any of these symptoms should occur.

Not Sure if Amoxicillin is Right for You?

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