Augmentin : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More
Why is this medication prescribed?
Augmentin (Amoxicillin and Clavulanic Acid) is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, including infections of the ears, lungs, sinuses, skin, and urinary tract. Amoxicillin is in a class of drugs called penicillin-like antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria. Clavulanic acid belongs to a class of medications called beta-lactamase inhibitors. It works by preventing bacteria from destroying amoxicillin.
Antibiotics 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?
Augmentin (Amoxicillin and Clavulanic Acid) comes as a tablet, a chewable tablet, an extended-release (long-acting) tablet, and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. The tablets, chewable tablets, and suspension are usually taken at the beginning of a meal every 8 hours (three times a day) or every 12 hours (twice a day). The extended-release tablets are usually taken with a meal or snack every 12 hours (twice a day). To remind you to take Augmentin, take them around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any parts you don’t understand. Take Augmentin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less, or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the extended-release tablets whole; do not chew or crush them.
Shake the liquid well before each use to mix the medicine evenly.
The chewable tablets should be chewed completely before swallowing. The other tablets should be taken with a full glass of water.
Augmentin 250 mg and 500 mg tablets contain the same amount of clavulanic acid. Do not substitute two 250 mg tablets for one 500 mg. The 250 mg regular tablet and the 250 mg chewable tablet contain different amounts of clavulanic acid. Nor should they be replaced.
Take Augmentin until the prescription is finished, even if you feel better. If you stop taking Augmentin too soon, or miss doses, your infection may not be fully treated and the bacteria may become resistant to the antibiotics.
Other uses for this medicine
Augmentin are also sometimes used to treat certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Talk to your doctor about the possible 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 taking Augmentin,
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to amoxicillin (Amoxil, Trimox, Wymox), clavulanic acid, penicillin, cephalosporins, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in Augmentin preparations. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: allopurinol (Aloprim, Lopurin, Zyloprim) probenecid (Probalan) and warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven). 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 kidney or liver disease, allergies, asthma, hay fever, hives, or mononucleosis.
- You should know that Augmentin can decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives (birth control pills). Plan to use another form of birth control while taking Augmentin.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking Augmentin, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for the one you forgot.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Augmentin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- mild skin rash
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- severe skin rash
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- vaginal itching and discharge
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
Augmentin can cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking 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).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medicine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children. Store the tablets at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Keep the liquid medicine in the refrigerator, tightly closed, and throw away any unused medicine after 10 days. Do not freeze.
It is important to keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children, since many containers (such as those containing weekly pills and those for eye drops, creams, patches and inhalers) are not resistant to children and small children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately place the medicine in a safe place, one that is upright and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and others cannot consume them. 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, has trouble breathing, or cannot wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
- stomach pain
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 Augmentin.
If you are diabetic, use Clinistix or TesTape (not Clinitest) to test your urine for sugar while taking this drug.
Do not let anyone else take your medicine. Your prescription may not be refilled. If you still have symptoms of infection after finishing Augmentin, call your doctor.
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 of combination products
- Amoclav® (containing Amoxicillin, Clavulanate)
- Augmentin® (containing Amoxicillin, Clavulanate)
- Augmentin® XR (containing Amoxicillin, Clavulanate)
- Clavamox® (containing Amoxicillin, Clavulanate)
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.