Why is this medication prescribed?
The combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, including infections of the ears, lungs, sinus, skin, and urinary tract. Amoxicillin is in a class of medications called penicillin-like antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria. Clavulanic acid is in a class of medications called beta-lactamase inhibitors. It works by preventing bacteria from destroying amoxicillin. Antibiotics will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.
How should this medicine be used?
The combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid comes as a tablet, a chewable tablet, and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken with a meal or a snack every 8 hours (three times a day) or every 12 hours (twice a day). To help you remember to take amoxicillin and clavulanate, take it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take amoxicillin and clavulanic acid exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Shake the liquid well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
The chewable tablets should be chewed thoroughly before they are swallowed. The other tablets should be taken with a full glass of water.
The 250 mg and 500 mg tablets of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid contain the same amount of clavulanic acid. Do not substitute two 250 mg tablets for one 500 mg tablet. The 250 mg regular tablet and the 250 mg chewable tablet contain different amounts of clavulanic acid. They also should not be substituted.
Take amoxicillin and clavulanic acid until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. Stopping amoxicillin and clavulanic acid too soon may cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics.
Other uses for this medicine
Amoxicillin and clavulanic acid also is used sometimes to treat certain sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking amoxicillin and clavulanic acid,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to amoxicillin (Amoxil, Trimox, Wymox), clavulanic acid, penicillin, cephalosporins, or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention either of the following: allopurinol (Lopurin, Zyloprim) and probenecid (Benemid). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully 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 amoxicillin and clavulanic acid may decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives (birth control pills). Plan to use another form of birth control while taking amoxicillin and clavulanic acid.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, 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 it. 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 a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Amoxicillin and clavulanic acid may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- mild skin rash
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
Amoxicillin and clavulanic acid may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (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 medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store the tablets at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Keep liquid medication in the refrigerator, tightly closed, and throw away any unused medication after 10 days. Do not freeze. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- 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 amoxicillin and clavulanic acid.
If you are diabetic, use Clinistix or TesTape (not Clinitest) to test your urine for sugar while taking this medication.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, call your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry 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)