Ampicillin Injection : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More

Why is this medication prescribed?

Ampicillin injection is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, such as meningitis (infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord) and lung, blood, heart, urinary, and gastrointestinal infections. Ampicillin injection is in a class of medications called penicillins. It works by killing bacteria.

Antibiotics, such as ampicillin injection, do not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections. Taking 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 injection comes as a powder that is mixed with liquid and injected intravenously (into a vein) or intramuscularly (into a muscle). The frequency and duration of your treatment depends on the type of infection you have.

You can receive the ampicillin injection in a hospital or you can give the medicine at home. If you will be receiving ampicillin injection 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. If your symptoms don’t improve or get worse, call your doctor.

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

Other uses for this medicine

Ampicillin injection is also used in some pregnant women to prevent passing an infection to the baby during delivery. Ampicillin injection is also sometimes used to prevent infection in people who have certain types of surgery. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this drug for your condition.

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

What special precautions should I follow?

Before receiving ampicillin injection,

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to ampicillin; penicillins; Cephalosporin antibiotics such as cefaclor, cefadroxil, cefazolin (Ancef, Kefzol), cefdinir, cefditoren (Spectracef), cefepime (Maxipime), cefixime (Suprax), cefotaxime (Claforan), cefotetan, cefoxima, Taziceaf Teflaroid en Avycaz), ceftibuten (Cedax), ceftriaxone (Rocephin), cefuroxime (Zinacef), and cephalexin (Keflex); any other medication; or any of the ingredients in ampicillin injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: allopurinol (Aloprim, Zyloprim); other antibiotics; oral contraceptives; and probenecid (in Col-Probenecid, Probalan). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you have mononucleosis (a virus also called ‘mono’) or have or have ever had allergies, asthma, hives, or hay fever.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while receiving injectable ampicillin, 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 injection may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting

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

  • rash
  • itching
  • hives
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • 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)
  • seizures
  • a return of fever, cough, sore throat, chills, and other signs of infection

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).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Your healthcare provider will tell you how to store your medicine. Store your medicine only as directed. Make sure you understand how to properly store your medicine.

Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure they cannot be consumed by pets, children, and others. However, you should not flush this medicine down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medications is through a drug take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department to find out about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA Safe Drug Disposal website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

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 is unable to wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.

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 injection.

If you are diabetic and your urine is tested for sugar, use Clinistix or TesTape (not Clinitest) to test your urine while you are using this medication.

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 take this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you go into hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.

Brand Names

  • Omnipen-N®
  • Penbritin-S®
  • Polycillin-N®
  • Totacillin-N®

Other Names

  • Aminobenzylpenicillin

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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