What are the Uses and Possible Side Effects of Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin uses and side effects
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mavra Farrukh

Overview of Amoxicillin

Amoxicillin is one of the most widely prescribed antibiotics in the primary healthcare setting. It covers many gram-positive bacteria, with some added gram-negative coverage compared to penicillin, but it’s not considered safe for everyone. Around 1 out of 16 people have an allergic reaction to Amoxicillin. The allergic reaction in most cases is mild; the reaction may cause mild skin rashes, which antihistamines can usually treat. Therefore, to know about the correct dosage and side effects of Amoxicillin, read this article until the end.

What is Amoxicillin?

It is a penicillin antibiotic used to treat many bacterial infections, such as chest infections (pneumonia), middle ear infections, strep throat, bronchitis, skin infections, and urinary tract infections. Amoxicillin is often prescribed for children to treat infections such as chest infections and ear infections. It is only available on a doctor’s prescription. Also, it comes in capsules or as liquids that you swallow. It is less commonly taken by injections. 

Amoxicillin is also used in combination with other medicines to eliminate H.pylori, a bacteria that causes ulcers. Bacteria are thereby prevented from growing inside the body. 

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Dosage form and Route of Administration 

It comes as a capsule, chewable tablet, and as a suspension to take by mouth. It’s normally taken every 8 or 12 hours, twice or thrice a day. The time period of treatment depends upon the type of infection you have. Take it exactly as it is directed by your doctor. Don’t forget to shake the suspension well before each use to mix it evenly with other medicines. It can be placed directly on the tongue or added to the formula, milk, or any other liquid. 

The chewable medicines should be chewed thoroughly before swallowing.

Take the medication until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. If you stop taking medicine too soon or skip doses, the infection may not be treated completely, and the bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics. You should call your healthcare provider if your symptoms get worse.

Who can Take Amoxicillin?

Most adults and children can take it. 

For bacterial infections: Children and adults weighing 40 kg or more should take 250 to 500 mg every 8-9 hours or 500 to 875 mg every 12 hours. The dose is based on your body weight. It must be determined by your healthcare provider.

Without any severe conditions, this medicine may not be safe for everyone. To make sure it’s suitable for you, tell your doctor the following:

  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to Amoxicillin, penicillin, or any other medicine.
  • If you have ever had liver or kidney problems 

Which infections or diseases are treated with Amoxicillin?

There are many conditions that Amoxicillin treats. The following is the list of these diseases:

  • Typhoid fever
  • Skin infection 
  • Ear infection
  • Strep throat
  • Tonsils
  • Lyme disease
  • Urinary tract infection 
  • Infection of genitals 
  • Skin infection caused by anthrax
  • Acute sinusitis is caused by streptococcus pneumonia 
  • Acute sinusitis is caused by Haemophilus influenza
  • Chronic bronchitis 
  • Peptic ulcer due to bacteria H.pylori 
  • Ulcer of the duodenum that is caused by helicobacter pylori bacteria
  • A lower respiratory infection  
  • It is an infection caused by Haemophilus influenza that affects the tonsils.
  • Urinary tract or genital infection due to E.coli or proteus 
  • Bacterial infection of a heart valve.
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Who Should Avoid Taking Amoxicillin?

A penicillin allergy is when your immune system reacts abnormally to the antibiotic penicillin, so people who are allergic to penicillin should avoid taking it. You should only take it if your doctor prescribes it. Please don’t take more of it, don’t take it more often, and don’t take it for a longer period of time than your doctor ordered. Whether you take this medicine with food or not is up to you. Moreover, this medication requires careful monitoring, so it should not be taken without proper consultation from a doctor.

Amoxicillin for Pregnant Women

Amoxicillin is considered safe during pregnancy as long as your doctor believes it is necessary. Suppose you get a bacterial infection while you are pregnant. Taking an antibiotic, such as Amoxicillin, may be necessary to treat the bacterial infection in that situation, as it is a prescription drug that is used to treat certain kinds of infections. 

It is classified as a pregnancy Category B drug by the US Food and Drug Administration. When Amoxicillin is used during the first trimester of pregnancy and during the period when fetal organs are developing, it can cause congenital disabilities, such as cleft palates. For this reason, it is important that your prescribing doctor should be aware of your pregnancy and how far along you are. 

It may cause a severe allergic reaction in some pregnant women, although severe reactions are rare.

Possible Increased Risk of Cleft Palate:

Researchers have found that cleft palates in babies are more likely to occur when mothers take Amoxicillin during pregnancy. When taking Amoxicillin during your first trimester of pregnancy, you may be at an increased risk of developing a cleft palate, so you should avoid it. However, after the first trimester, there is no need to worry about it because the palate is fully formed during the twelfth or thirteenth week of the fetal period. Therefore, taking Amoxicillin in the second or third trimesters of pregnancy won’t result in cleft lip or palate.

But if you think you can make it through a bacterial infection without taking any antibiotics, that might be your best course of action during pregnancy. 

Side Effects of Amoxicillin.

There are a number of side effects of Amoxicillin. Not all of the mentioned side effects may occur, but if they do, they may need medical attention:

  • Stomach pain
  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Dark urine
  • Diarrhea 
  • Nose bleeding 
  • Blistering, peeling, or skin loosening
  • Dizziness 
  • Difficulty while swallowing 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Heavier menstrual period
  • Fast heartbeat 
  • Puffiness or swelling around the eyes.
  • Sores, white spots, or ulcers on the lips or in the mouth 
  • Wheezing
  • Unusual weakness or tiredness 
  • A sudden decrease in the amount of urine
  • Tenderness 
  • Difficulty while breathing
  • Swollen lymph glands 
  • Headache
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Blood vomiting 

Some of the mentioned side effects that usually do not need medical care may occur. These side effects may disappear during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine over time.

Less common side effects 

  • Unpleasant or bad taste
  • Change in taste 

The dose of Amoxicillin will be different for different patients. You should follow the directions on the label or your healthcare provider’s instructions. If the dose differs from the mentioned doses, only change it if your doctor tells you to do so.

The strength of the medicine determines how much medicine you should take. You should also take medicine according to your medical condition. You may take a certain number of doses each day, take a certain amount of time between each dose, or even take it for a specific length of time.

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For Oral Dosage Forms

For bacterial infections:

  • A dose of 250 to 500 milligrams (mg) every 8-9 hours or 500 to 875 mg every 12 hours is recommended for adults, teenagers, and children weighing 40 kilograms (kg) or more.
  • For children and infants older than 3 or 4 months of age weighing less than 40 kilograms: The dose is based on their body weight and must be determined by the doctor. A typical dose is 25 to 45 milligrams (mg) per kg of human body weight per day, divided and taken every 12 hours, or 20 to 40 milligrams (mg) per kg of body weight per day taken every 8-9 hours.
  • For infants three months of age and younger: The dose is based on body weight and must be determined by the healthcare provider. Amoxicillin is normally taken every 12 hours at a dose of 30 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.

Dosage for the Treatment of H.pylori Infection: 

  • Dual therapy: Amoxil 1000 milligrams (mg) and lansoprazole 30 milligrams (mg). Each is given a day, every 8 hours for 14 to 15 days thrice.
  • Triple therapy: Two times a day, every 12 hours, for 14 to 15 days, 1000 milligrams of Amoxicillin, 500 milligrams of clarithromycin, and 30 milligrams of lansoprazole are taken.

Dosage for the Treatment of Gonorrhoea:

  • For adults, teenagers, and children weighing 40 kg or more: 3 grams (g) is taken as a single dose.
  • Children of age two and older weighing less than 40 kg: Your doctor will determine the dose depending on your body weight. In most cases, the recommended dose is 50 milligrams per kilogram (kg) per day. When combined with 25 mg of probenecid per kilogram, it is taken as a single dose.
  • Children younger than two years: The use of Amoxicillin is not recommended for children younger than two years. 

The Toxicity Level of Amoxicillin:

Mild overdoses of amoxicillin are not associated with significant toxicity. Even though it may not be toxic past its expiration date, however, in some cases, taking too much of it can cause your body to have dangerous or poisonous levels of drugs. It may also lead to kidney failure in higher-dose cases. If you think you have taken a large amount of this drug, you should immediately call your healthcare provider or local poison control center. 

Nutrient-Drug Interactions: 

It is defined as the physical, chemical, physiological, the pathophysiologic relationship between drugs and nutrients. It is the effect of a medication on food or a nutrient in food. Medications interact with foods and nutrients in different ways. Some medications can decrease your appetite or change how a nutrient is absorbed, metabolized, or excreted.

It is possible that dietary nutrients can alter the absorption or metabolism of medications. The food we eat could make the medications we take work faster or slower or even prevent them from working. Medications and nutrients may interact, leading to nutritional deficiencies or changing the effectiveness of medications. It does not mean that mineral supplements or vitamins must be taken if you are on medication. It is unlikely that your nutritional status will be affected by taking a medication for a short period of time, such as nine to ten days. However, using some medications for a long time, such as for months or years, may affect your nutritional health.

Children, pregnant women, and older adults are at a higher risk of medicines affecting their nutritional health because they are poorly nourished. However, medicines can affect how the body uses nutrients. Patients taking medications for months or years may suffer from vitamin or mineral deficiencies as a result of drug-nutrient interactions. Following is the list of nutrients that possibly interact with amoxicillin:

  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B2 and B12
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin K
  • Zinc

Drug-Drug interaction

It occurs when two or more drugs react with each other. It may cause some unexpected side effects. For instance, mixing a drug you take to help you balance your blood pressure and a drug you take for allergy (an antihistamine). This drug-drug interaction can slow down the reactions of your body and can lead to significant side effects. The following drugs can interact with Amoxicillin: 

  • Warfarin
  • Zyloprim
  • Sulfamethoxazole
  • Tetracycline
  • Macrolides
  • Aspirin
  • Benadryl
  • Xanax
  • Zyrtec
  • Probenecid (Probalan)
  • Lopurin
  • Typhiod Vaccine
  • Doxycycline
  • Estradiol
  • Minocycline
  • Amiloride
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When to Consult a Doctor:

Amoxicillin is not over-the-counter medicine, and doctors’ prescription is needed before its use.

You should consult a doctor to know about the recommended dosage of amoxicillin, how it treats your disease, and the side effects if you’re taking it over an extended period.

Your doctors online team has a professional team of pharmacists and doctors that can guide you on the most appropriate way to take medicine and its benefits.

FAQs About Amoxicillin Answered By your Doctor Online Team

How much longer does it take for Amoxicillin to make you feel better?

It will typically help you start feeling better within 3-4 days. Because it begins to fight your infection soon after you start taking it, make sure to keep taking it for as many doses as prescribed by your doctor.

How does Amoxicillin make you feel? Do you feel sleepy after taking it?

Yes, it does make you feel sleepy. Antibiotics sometimes kill the good bacteria along with the bad ones, leading to stomach problems and dehydration. In such cases, antibiotics can make you feel tired and sleepy.

Can an overdose of Amoxicillin weaken my immune system?

Antibiotics used beyond prescribed dosages can hinder the immune system’s functioning. It may also lead to decreased protective immunity to infections.

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