Ampicillin and Sulbactam Injection : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More

Why is this medication prescribed?

The combination of injectable ampicillin and sulbactam is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, including infections of the skin, female reproductive organs, and abdomen (stomach area). Ampicillin is in a class of drugs called penicillin-like antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria. Sulbactam is in a class of medications called beta-lactamase inhibitors. It works by preventing bacteria from destroying ampicillin.

Antibiotics like ampicillin and sulbactam injection do not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections. Using antibiotics when they are not needed increases the risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment.

How should this medicine be used?

Ampicillin and sulbactam injection comes as a powder that is mixed with liquid and injected intravenously (into a vein) or intramuscularly (into a muscle) every 6 hours (4 times a day). The length of treatment depends on the type of infection you have. Your doctor will tell you how long to use ampicillin and sulbactam injection. Once your condition improves, your doctor may switch you to another antibiotic that you can take by mouth to complete your treatment.

You can receive an injection of ampicillin and sulbactam in a hospital or you can use the medicine at home. If you are going to use injectable ampicillin and sulbactam at home, your healthcare provider will show you how to use the medicine. Make sure you understand these instructions and consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions.

You should begin to feel better during the first few days of treatment with injectable ampicillin and sulbactam. If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish your ampicillin and sulbactam injection, tell your doctor.

Use injectable ampicillin and sulbactam until the prescription is finished, even if you feel better. If you stop using ampicillin and sulbactam injection too soon or if you miss doses, your infection may not be fully treated and the bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics.

Other uses for this medicine

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before receiving ampicillin and sulbactam injection,

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to ampicillin; sulbactam; penicillin antibiotics; cephalosporin antibiotics such as cefaclor, cefadroxil, cefazolin (Ancef, Kefzol), cefdinir, cefditoren, cefepime (Maxipime), cefixime (Suprax), cefotaxime (Claforan), cefotetan, cefoxitin (Mefoxin, Kefzol), Taziceaftazoline en ceftarftazoline (ceftarftazoline) Avycaz), ceftibuten, ceftriaxone, cefuroxime (Ceftin, Zinacef), and cephalexin (Keflex); any other medication; or any of the ingredients in ampicillin and sulbactam injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: allopurinol (Aloprim, Lopurin, Zyloprim) or probenecid (Probalan, in Col-Probenecid). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease, especially if it occurred after using a penicillin antibiotic. Your doctor may tell you not to use injectable ampicillin and sulbactam.
  • Tell your doctor if you have mononucleosis (a virus also called ‘mono’) and if you have or have ever had allergies, asthma, hives, hay fever, or kidney disease.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using injectable ampicillin and sulbactam, call your doctor.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Ampicillin and sulbactam injection may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • redness, irritation, or pain at the injection site

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using ampicillin and sulbactam injection and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:

  • rash
  • peeling or blistering of the skin
  • itching
  • hives
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • wheezing
  • swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, lips, tongue, throat, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs
  • hoarseness
  • severe diarrhea (watery or bloody stools) that may occur with or without fever and stomach cramps (may occur up to 2 months or more after your treatment)
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • pain in the upper right part of your stomach
  • dark urine
  • a return of fever, cough, sore throat, chills, and other signs of infection

Ampicillin and sulbactam injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medicine.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or cannot wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.

Symptoms of overdose may include the following:

  • seizures

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body’s response to ampicillin and sulbactam injection.

Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are using injectable ampicillin and sulbactam. If you are diabetic, use Clinistix or TesTape (not Clinitest) to test your urine for sugar while using this medicine.

Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about ampicillin and sulbactam injection.

It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you every time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names of combination products

  • Unasyn® (containing Ampicillin, Sulbactam)

Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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