Popularly used in the United States of America, this drug was discovered by Beecham scientists. Amoxicillin is a penicillin antibiotic which basically means that is fights the bacteria in your body and prevents infection. It is the most common antibiotic prescribed for children. There are a number of bacterial infections which are prevented by this drug, which will be discussed in greater detail a little later.
It may be interesting to know that the patent for Amoxicillin has expired, due to which it is sold under various trade names. It is more commonly known as Amoxil, Amoxin, Amoxibiotic and so on. However, though this drug is available under different brand names, the effects of the drug is pretty much the same.
- The drug is FDA approved
- It is prescribed to treat various infections caused due to specific strains of bacteria
- Has proved to be very effective
- Is considered safe for use by pregnant women
What Amoxicillin is used for:
As mentioned earlier, this drug prevents bacterial infections in the human body such as ear infections, pneumonia, bladder infections, gonorrhea and E. Coli infections. In addition, throat infections, skin infections and urinary tract infections can also be treated through this drug. It can also treat stomach ulcers but it has to be taken along with another antibiotic known as Biaxin. In this case, self-medication is discouraged as it may cause unwanted side-effects.
Amoxicillin is also used to prevent and treat anthrax, plus it is generally given to people post-surgery to prevent the manifestation of any infections.
It should be noted that this drug is effective only against infections caused by bacteria and not viral infections. Moreover, it can successfully treat infections caused only by common strains of bacteria which have been mentioned above. Thus, in case your infection persists despite taking Amoxicillin, it is recommended that you seek medical help and start taking a higher dosage or change your antibiotic completely.
How Amoxicillin works:
This drug does not really kill the bacteria in the body. Instead, it prevents the bacteria from building a wall around itself. This wall is absolutely necessary in order for the bacteria to survive and multiply. So basically, Amoxicillin does not allow the bacteria to protect itself against the body’s immunity system which then kicks in and kills the bacteria, thus marking an end of the infection.
One of the main reasons as to why this drug is preferred over other drugs is because it is absorbed very quickly, especially if it is taken orally.
Amoxicillin side effects:
Like all prescription medications, a small number of individuals may experience unwanted side effects. It is imperative that you seek medical help immediately if you notice the following side effects:
- Sores or white patches inside your mouth
- The same on your lips
- Fever or general ill-feeling
- Rash or itching
- Swollen glands or joint pain
- Yellowing of the eyes and the skin
- Dark coloured urine
- Weakness and/or confusion
- Severe pain, tingling or numbness
- Red or purple pinpoint spots under the skin
- Very easy bruising
- Unusual bleeding of the nose, rectum, vagina or mouth
- Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
- Heartburn and chills
- Abdominal pain and urination less than usual, or not urinating at all
Moreover, if you are allergic to Amoxicillin then some of the allergic reactions that will present themselves include hives, difficulty in breathing and swelling of the face, lips tongue or throat.
In addition to the above listed side effects, some of the uncommon and less serious side-effects include:
- Vaginal itching
- Vaginal discharge
- Headache and dizziness
- Swollen, ‘hairy’ or black tongue
Even though these side effects are less serious, it is still advisable that you discontinue your dosage and visit your doctor immediately to prevent any further damage to your system.
First and foremost, it is dangerous to take this drug if you are allergic to it or any other drug that belongs to the penicillin group. Secondly, you need to inform your doctor if you have any of the following conditions so that he/she can administer an appropriate dosage without causing any serious side effects:
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Bleeding or blood clotting disorder
- History of allergies
- History of having diarrhea caused by antibiotics
Thirdly, Amoxicillin is not known to affect pregnant women or unborn babies but it can pass into breast milk & harm a nursing infant. Hence, it is important that you notify your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on conceiving while taking this medication. Plus, this drug is also known to make birth control pills less effective, which is why it is necessary that you take other precautions to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Also, it is essential that you finish the entire dosage of the medication. You need to take it for the full prescribed length of time even though your symptoms may improve before this. It is necessary to do so because even though your symptoms go away in a short span, the infection might still persist in your body, causing a relapse of the infection. This will decrease the effectiveness of the medicine enabling the bacteria to develop a resistance against the drug, which will be disastrous.
Lastly, Amoxicillin will not treat any viral infections like the common cold. Moreover, it is not advisable to share your medication with anyone else even if they exhibit similar symptoms. This is a prescribed drug and shouldn’t be taken without the approval of a doctor.
How to take Amoxicillin:
Amoxicillin is available in all forms including tablets, capsules, chewable tablets, syrups, drops or powder for oral suspension and intravenous use. This medicine can be taken with or without food.
Lastly, it is essential that you follow the directions on the prescription given by your doctor to the tee. Taking the medication in smaller or larger doses than what is recommended by the doctor can prove to be detrimental to your health.