Disclaimer: the following information is not meant to replace consultation with your physician or pharmacist. You can also find more information about your medication by reading the patient information leaflet. The mention of any brand is not meant to mention superiority over others.
What is amoxicillin?
Amoxicillin is a penicillin based antibiotic prescription drug used to fight off bacteria.
What is amoxicillin used for?
It is a broad spectrum antibiotic meaning it works against a wide range of bacteria. It is effective only against bacteria infections such as those on the ear, nose, throat, skin, urinary tract, chest infections, dental abscesses and more.
It is also used sometimes in combination with other drugs to treat ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori
It is ineffective against infections caused by viruses such as common cold.
– 250 mg and 500 mg tablets or capsules
– 250 mg dispersible scored tablet, for paediatric use
– 125 mg/5 ml powder for oral suspension, to be reconstituted with filtered water
You can find it in generic presentation. Common brand names (in Cameroon) include Clamoxyl, Ospamox, Rivamox
Before you take amoxicillin
Let your doctor know:
- If you allergic to amoxicillin or any other penicillin antibiotic
- If you are allergic to cephalosporin type penicillins like ceftriaxone, cefixime etc.
- All the medicines and supplements you take.
- If your have liver or kidney problems
- If you have mononucleosis (a viral infection, also called ‘kissing disease’)
- If you were recently vaccinated or plan to be vaccinated soon.
- If you are pregnant, plan to be or breastfeeding.
- If you are on birth control pills
Who should not use amoxicillin?
- Do not use if you have an allergic to amoxicillin or any other penicillin antibiotic for example oxacillin, ampicillin etc.
Where can I get amoxicillin?
Amoxicillin is a prescription drug. This means it will be prescribed to you by your doctor.
Best to buy your local pharmacy and not from street vendors. Prices will differ from one pharmacy to another. Tips on how to save money on your medicines, read here. How to reduce your wait time in a pharmacies, read here.
How should I take amoxicillin?
Take as directed by your doctor. Your dosage and duration of treatment will depend on your condition, age and weight (for children). Follow directions on the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication.
Can be taken with or without food. It is usually taken twice or 3 times a day (every 8-12 hours). Take at the same time time each day.
- Drink tablets and capsules with a glass of water. Swallow tablets and capsules whole. Do not crush, chew or split.
- For dispersible tablets mix in a small amount of water before drinking.
- For suspensions: mix powder with filtered water till the mark as indicated on the bottle of your medication. Always shake for 15s before each use. Can be mixed with baby formula, juice, so long as you drink it immediately.
Complete treatment even if you feel better. For tips on how to give medicines to children, watch here.
What are the possible side effects of amoxicillin?
Like all drugs, use of amoxicillin may come with side effects. They range from mild to severe. Not everyone will experience a side effect with amoxicillin.
The most common side effects of amoxicillin are allergies (itching, rash, sneezing…) and gastro-intestinal disturbances like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
See a doctor if
- Dark urine
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Yellowing of the eyes
- Any other serious side effects
You may be experiencing a serious side effect or an signs of an overdose.
What should I do in case of an overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention.
What if I miss a dose?
- As much as possible try not to miss a dose. This could make your infection grow worse and develop resistance (becoming unresponsive to antibiotic).
- If you however miss a dose, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose. Do not double up your next time.
- For tips on how to remember to take your medicines, read here
- If you vomit your medication within 30 minutes of taking, take another dose. If after 30 minutes, you do not need to take another dose.
What could affect my medication?
Let your doctor know all medications and supplements (including herbal products) you take. This especially if you take drugs for gout like probenicid and allopurinol, blood thinners like warfarin and other antibiotics. Do not take amoxicillin with methotrexate (an anti-cancer medication, used also in rheumatic diseases).
Amoxicillin may affect the effectiveness of your birth control pills. So you might want to discuss your options with your health care provider.
Alcohol does not affect amoxicillin. You should however, like all other drugs take with caution.
How do I store amoxicillin at home?
Keep out of reach of children. Store in a cool, dry place. Away from heat, light, moisture and rodents.
For suspensions, do not use after 10 days of opening and mixing.
Medication safety tips
- Do not share your medications even if the other person has similar symptoms.
- Do not use if not prescribed to you even if you are experiencing same symptoms like last time.
- Complete your treatment even if you feel better.
- Avoid misuse of antibiotics
- Always read the patient information leaflet that came with your medication .
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About the author
Dr. Ekwoge Hilda is a trained pharmacist from Cameroon and Co-founder of HILPharma. When she is not busy creating content, she slings pills to pay the bills.