What is Amoxicillin?
Amoxicillin is a penicillin-type antibiotic used for treating a wide range of bacterial infections. It works by inhibiting the cell wall biosynthesis of bacteria, which stops them from multiplying and eventually kills them. The drug only works on antibacterial infections and is not recommended to treat viral infections such as the common cold, flu, etc. Don’t use Amoxicillin unnecessarily, or you will end up building resistance to it, making it harder to treat future infections. Sometimes, doctors prescribe this antibiotic with other drugs to treat and prevent stomach/intestinal ulcers caused by the bacteria H. pylori.
What is Amoxicillin used for?
It is an FDA-approved drug used for treating a broad range of infections such as:
- Genitourinary tract infections
- Ear/nose/throat infections
- Lower respiratory tract infections
- Bacterial pharyngitis
- Bacterial rhinosinusitis
- Skin and skin stricture infections
Moreover, it has off-label uses, such as treating erysipeloid (infection caused by handling fish and meat) and preventing endocarditis.
Doctors may also administer Amoxicillin alone or combine it with other drugs to treat dental infections. It is the first choice of doctors to cure dental infections. It is often recommended for people with hip replacements, knee replacements, or other prosthetic joints undergoing dental procedures for preventing infections. Doctors may combine it with metronidazole for treating periodontitis.
CDC also approves Amoxicillin as a treatment for Lyme disease.
Common Doses of Amoxicillin
Remember to take the dosage as prescribed by your doctor. Under no circumstances must you increase or decrease the dosage without consulting your doctor.
The recommended dose varies depending on a person’s age, type, and severity of the infection.
Commonly prescribed Amoxicillin dosage:
1) For the lower respiratory tract
Adults or children weighing more than 40 kg: 500 mg every 8 hours or 875 mg every 12 hours
Adults or children weighing less than 40 kg: 45 mg/kg/day dose divided every 12 hours
2) Ear, nose, throat, skin, skin structure, and UTI (mild and moderate)
Adults or children weighing more than 40 kg: 500 mg every 12 hours or 250 mg every 8 hours
Adults or children weighing less than 40 kg: 25 mg/kg/day dose divided every 12 hours or 20 mg/kg/day dose split every 8 hours
3) Ear, nose, throat, skin, skin structure, and UTI (Severe)
Adults or children weighing more than 40 kg: 875 mg every 12 hours or 500 mg every 8 hours
Adults or children weighing less than 40 kg: 45 mg/kg/day dose divided every 12 hours or 40 mg/kg/day dose divided every 8 hours
4) For Severe Kidney infections
Your medical provider will adjust the dosage in case of severe infections.
5) Pylori Infection
For triple therapy, your doctor may prescribe Amoxicillin (1 gm) with clarithromycin (500 mg) and Lansoprazole (30mg) twice a day for 14 days.
For dual therapy, your doctor may prescribe Amoxicillin (1 gm) and Lansoprazole (30mg) three times a day every 8 hours for 14 days.
According to a study, a mild overdose may not be a serious concern, provided the overdose amount remains less than 250 mg/kg body weight. However, kidney disorders had been noticed in a small amount of overdosed patients.
One must consult a doctor about taking this antibiotic during pregnancy. Like Azithromycin, the safety of Amoxicillin during pregnancy has not been studied in depth yet.
What are the side effects of Amoxicillin?
Some common side effects include diarrhea, upset stomach, vomiting, headache, rash, and nausea. Meanwhile, triple therapy patients may experience diarrhea, headache, and taste perversion. Similarly, people having dual therapy may experience headaches and diarrhea.
Although rare, Amoxicillin may cause serious side effects such as wheezing, difficulty breathing or swallowing, rash, itching, hives, severe diarrhea; water/bloody stool with/without fever/stomach cramps, and rash.
If you experience any such side effects, you must stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical help.
The antibiotic may cause severe allergic reactions such as rash, and swelling on the face, tongue, eyes, lips, and throat.
As an antibiotic, Amoxicillin also kills the good bacteria in the colon, which may lead to the overgrowth of toxin-causing bacteria known as C. Difficile. This may occur two months after taking the antibiotics, ranging from mild to severe.