What is Augmentin?
Augmentin® is an antibiotic that contains two active substances
- clavulanic acid.
Amoxicillin is an antibiotic effective in the treatment of various bacterial infections and is, for example, the therapeutic approach of choice for infections of the middle ear, but in many cases represents the first choice for the treatment of:
- streptococcal sore throat,
- skin infections,
- urinary tract infections
- and others.
It is taken by mouth.
Nausea and rash are frequent side effects, but can also increase the risk of yeast infections (e.g., Candida) and, in combination with clavulanic acid, diarrhea.
It should not be taken by people allergic to penicillin. It can be used by individuals with kidney problems, but at reduced doses. It is believed to be safe both during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Amoxicillin has been available since 1972. It is included in the list of essential drugs according to WHO, i.e., the list of the most important drugs that a basic health system must have.
It is one of the most frequently prescribed antibiotics in children. It is also available as a generic preparation (for example Augmentin and Clavulin are identical).
Clavulanic acid is a ß-lactam drug that functions as a ß-lactamase inhibitor. By itself it is not effective as an antibiotic, instead of in combination with antibiotics of the penicillin group, it can overcome the resistance of the bacteria producing ß-lactamase, which acts by deactivating most of the penicillins.
Antibiotics do not work in the case of colds , influences or other viral infections and, for this reason too, require a prescription to be purchased.
What is it for?
The combination of amoxicillin-clavulanic acid contained in Augmentin is used in the treatment of numerous bacterial infections, including:
- upper respiratory tract infections and otomastoid infections such as bacterial sinusitis,
- acute average otitis,
- exacerbations of chronic bronchitis,
- respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and bronchopneumonia,
- dental infections,
- enteric and biliary tract infections such as peritonitis,
- urogenital infections such as acute cystitis and pyelonephritis,
- gynecological infections,
- infections of the skin and soft tissues such as bacterial cellulitis, infected wounds, sores, burns, and animal bites,
- bone and joint infections such as osteomyelitis.
Amoxicillin and clavulanic acid are also sometimes used to treat certain sexually transmitted diseases.
Mechanism and spectrum of action
This drug acts by inhibiting the synthesis of bacterial cell walls, preventing cross-linking between the linear chains of peptidoglycan that constitute a fundamental component of the cell walls of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.
It is an intermediate-spectrum ß-lactam antibiotic, bacteriolytic belonging to the aminopenicillin family, used in the treatment of Gram-positive and Gram-negative sensitive bacteria.
It is the first choice drug in its class because it is better absorbed when taken by mouth than other ß-lactam antibiotics.
They are usually sensitive to the amoxicillin Streptococcus, Bacillus subtilis, Enterococcus, Haemophilus, Helicobacter and Moraxella, while they are resistant to Citrobacter, Klebsiella, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Some strains of E.
Coli and most clinically relevant Staphylococcus aureus strains have developed varying degrees of resistance to amoxicillin.
Dosage and intake
Augmentin exists in the form of
- sachets (for adults and children),
- suspension in a liquid (syrup)
and it is assumed by mouth.
Generally, it is taken before a meal or snack every 8 hours (three times a day) or every 12 hours (twice a day), according to the doctor, and the treatment continued for a period generally not less than 7 days, but in some cases it is extended up to 14 days or more.
Exceptions are cases in which the drug is used for preventive purposes, for example in patients at risk of development of bacterial endocarditis.
The positive effects of the drug may take a few days to manifest, but it is important:
- carefully follow the instructions on the package insert;
- consult your doctor or pharmacist for any clarifications;
- take the amoxicillin-clavulanic acid combination exactly as prescribed;
- do not administer it in doses other than what is established by your doctor.
It is recommended to shake the syrup well before each administration to mix the active substance evenly and remember that this formulation, once prepared, is kept for 7 days in the refrigerator.
The tablets should be taken with a glass of water, preferably before meals to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal side effects.
It is recommended that you follow the treatment of amoxicillin-clavulanic acid until the end prescribed by your doctor, even if you feel better sooner.
Stopping the antibiotic ahead of time can induce antibiotic resistance in bacteria.
The dose in adults generally involves the administration of 1 g (one tablet, or one adult sachet) every 8-12 hours according to the doctor; the duration of therapy varies according to the situation.
In the case of children the usable dose is widely variable based on the weight of the child and the severity and location of the diagnosed infection, for this reason, it must always be suggested by the pediatrician.
Pregnancy and lactation
Augmentin is generally considered to be safe both during pregnancy and lactation, also because it is a drug of the first choice also in pediatrics (i.e., in children).
Before taking amoxicillin-clavulanic acid:
- inform your doctor and pharmacist of any allergies to amoxicillin, clavulanic acid, penicillin, cephalosporins or any other medication;
- report to the doctor and pharmacist any other medication (prescribed or self-medication), vitamin, supplement or herbal product you are taking.
- Report any current or previous diseases, kidney or liver disease, allergies, asthma, hay fever, urticaria or mononucleosis (in this case it may become a cause of a characteristic and widespread allergic reaction on the skin).
- Remember that the combination of amoxicillin-clavulanic acid can reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives ( contraceptive pill ). Program a different anti-conceptional practice during the intake of amoxicillin-clavulanic acid and in the following days (as indicated in the package insert of the contraceptive).
- Inform your doctor about any pregnancies, ongoing or planned, or breastfeeding. If you become pregnant during treatment, consult your doctor immediately (although it is generally a combination deemed to be safe for each trimester of pregnancy).
Unless medical instructions to this effect, you can keep your eating habits, no problem with eggs or moderate amounts of alcohol.
In case of missed intake of a dose
If you forget, take the dose as soon as you notice. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, do not take the missed dose and resume your usual treatment schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for the skipped one.
The combination of amoxicillin-clavulanic acid can induce side effects. Report one or more of the following symptoms to the doctor, if severe or persistent:
- diarrhea ,
- stomach discomfort,
- itching and vaginal discharge (usually it is candida ),
- slight rashes.
Immediately contact the emergency department for any of the following symptoms:
- important rashes,
- widespread and severe pruritus,
- difficulty breathing or swallowing,
- shortness of breath,
- jaundice (skin and yellow eyes).
Augmentin may induce other side effects, call your doctor if unusual problems occur during treatment with the drug.
How long do side effects of augmentin last?
Without a doctor’s visit, this “side effect” can last for several weeks.
Generally, Augmentin is not a cause of photosensitivity; i.e., it does not cause skin rashes as a result of exposure to the sun.
The combination of amoxicillin-clavulanic acid has been linked to hundreds of cases of clinically complete acute liver injury; it is currently the most common cause of drug-induced liver disease in most cases in the US and Europe.
The onset of damage typically occurs from a few days to even 8 weeks (on average, 3 weeks) from the start of therapy; often occurs once the cycle of antibiotics is completed, with latency ranging from a few days to six weeks. The first symptoms are typically
- tiredness ,
- nausea and abdominal pain,
- followed by jaundice and itching.
The drug is generally considered to be very safe, even in children and in elderly people, but I considered it important to report these warnings (they are statistically non-frequent problems) to facilitate the diagnosis in case of abnormal symptoms a few weeks after antibiotic treatment.
Intoxication and overdose
Symptoms of overdose can be:
- stomach ache,
- He retched,
Storage and disposal
- Store the medicine in its original container, tightly closed and out of reach of children.
- Store the tablets at room temperature and away from excessive heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
- Dispose of expired or no longer needed medications.
- Store the liquid formulation in the refrigerator (do not freeze), tightly closed; throw away any unused residue after 7 days. Do not freeze.
- Ask the pharmacist for the correct practice of drug disposal.