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Augmentin (amoxicillin / clavulanate potassium)

Augmentin is an antibiotic drug which is a combination of amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium. Amoxicillin belongs to the penicillin group of antibiotics and fights against several bacteria present in the body while Clavulanate potassium prevents the bacteria from becoming resistant to amoxicillin.

The drug received the approval from FDA in the year 1984 and ever since been produced by various pharmaceutical firms, the leading one being GlaxoSmithKline.

What is Augmentin?

Augmentin is a combnation drug that contains amoxilin and clavulanate potassium. Amoxicillin helps in the fight of the bacterias and Clavulanate potassium helps in overcoming the bacterial resistance to amoxicillin.

Amoxicillin is also an antibiotic that belongs to the group of medications known as penicillins. This medication helps in fighting the bacteria that are present in the body.

Augmentin is commonly used antibiotic medication that is used for the treatment of certain bacterial infections like sinusitis, pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infection, UTI or skin infections.

Clavulanate potassium is beta- lactamase inhibitor. It helps in prevention of certain bacteria from attaining a resistance to amoxicillin.

The generic name of Augmentin is amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium whereas it has different brand names. Apart from augmentin, this medicine is also available as Augmentin ES- 600 and Augmentin XR.

How Augmentin is used

All drugs should be used only as per the prescription. Never take Augmentin for a long period. Well, care should be taken that you take the exact form of Augmentin drug prescribed by the doctor, as a change in the form may not work on your infections. Augmentin can be taken with a full glass of water. It is better to take the drug with food to avoid stomach upset.

Once you have been given Augmentin, complete the whole dosage. If the medicine is stopped on your own, there are chances that the infection may relapse.

Augmentin is used for curing several diseases caused by several bacteria such as. coli( Beta-lactamase producing strain), Klebsiella spp., Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalisand Enterobacter spp. These infections include:

  • sinusitis
  • pneumonia,
  • ear infections
  • Throat infections( Tonsillitis and pharyngitis)
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • bronchitis,
  • urinary tract infections,
  • Febrile Neutropenia
  • infections of the skin.
  • a severe dental abscess with spreading cellulitis
  • osteomyelitis

Dosage

Augmentin can be given in the form of tablets (for adults), liquid (flavored for small children) and orally. You need to make sure that you take it with meals or a simple snack to avoid stomach upset. It can be given to all age groups such as children and adults with a different dosage which depends upon few factors that should be taken into consideration. Those factors are:

  • Expected mass of antigens and their susceptibility to several antibacterial agents
  • On the site which is affected
  • How much severe the infection is
  • Age and weight of the patient
  • Renal function of the patient
  • For adults and children more than 40 kg- One 500 mg/125 mg dose (three times a day)
  • For Children less than 40 kg -20 mg/5 mg/kg/day to 60 mg/15 mg/kg/day ( three divided doses)
  • Augmentin should not be given to children weighing less than 40 kgs
  • Augmentin should be taken exactly as prescribed by the doctor otherwise it can cause adverse effects.

The medicine is available in multiple forms and in multiple dosages:

  • Augmentin tablets: Available in 250mg, 500mg and 875mg with 125mg of Clavulanate-potassium in each tablet. The amoxicillin doses in the tablets vary.
  • Augmentin ES: Available in the form of a liquid, this comes in two formula dosages viz.,
  • Each 5ml containing 42.9mg of clavulanate and 600mg of amoxicillin.
  • Each 5ml containing 57 mg of clavulanate and 400mg of amoxicillin.
  • Augmentin XR: These are extended release available in tablet forms containing 1g of amoxicillin with 62.5mg of clavulanate.

It is advisable to take it before a light meal for better absorption of the clavulanate potassium and can also help to avoid any interference in the gastrointestinal region.

What happens if a dose is missed?

If a dose is missed, take it once you remember it. However, skip the missed Augmentin dosage if the time for your scheduled dose is almost close. Never compensate for a missed dosage.

What happens if an overdose is used?

An overdose is dangerous. You have to seek immediate medical attention if you feel of having used an overdose. Skin rash, Nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea and hyperactivity are some of the overdose symptoms.

Talking with the doctor

When approaching the doctor for your infections, make sure that the doctor is completely aware of your present and past health conditions. The doctor has to know if you are having any liver problems or kidney issues.

Some drugs can also interact with Augmentin. So it is better to inform the doctor about all the medicines that you are using.

Augmentin is rated FDA pregnancy category B. Though Augmentin will not cause harm to the unborn and the newborn, it is better that pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers consult the doctor before using Augmentin.

More Augmentin information

Augmentin is not advised if you have any allergies to amoxicillin, clavulanate potassium carbenicillin, dicloxacillin, oxacillin and penicillin.

When taking Augmentin, there is a possibility that you may come across diarrhea. Well, you should not treat diarrhea on your own.

It is also known that Augmentin medicines can lessen the effect of birth control pills. So it is better to look for alternative birth controls.

Possible side effects

Augmentin causes certain side-effects. The side-effects can be classified under two categories: mild and common, and serious and rare.

The mild side-effects of Augmentin go on their own and do not require medical intervention, whereas the serious side- effects require medical help.

The mild and common side-effects of Augmentin include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Pain in stomach
  • Itching on skin
  • Rashes on skin
  • Occurrence of white patches on the mouth as well as throat
  • Vaginal yeast infection manifesting as itching as well as discharge from the vagina

The rare and serious side- effects of Augmentin include:

  • Bloody or watery diarrhea
  • Yellow or pale skin, dark colored urine, confusion, weakness or fever
  • Easy bleeding
  • Easy bruising
  • Occurrence of skin rashes
  • Severe tingling and numbness
  • Pain and muscle weakness
  • Agitation
  • Seizures (convulsions)
  • Unusual thoughts as well as behavior
  • Confusion
  • Nausea, pain in upper stomach, itching, clay- colored stools, yellowing of the eyes and the skin (jaundice)
  • Severe skin reaction manifesting as swelling on the face and tongue, burning in the eyes, pain in skin followed by the occurrence of red or purple skin rashes that spread on the face and the upper body and ultimately leading to blistering as well as peeling
  • Allergic reaction manifesting as hives, swelling on the lips, face, throat and tongue, and difficulty in breathing

You must consult your doctor at once, if you experience any of the serious side-effect.

If you see any swelling (face, throat, lips, mouth), hives or have any breathing problems, then you have to stop taking Augmentin and rush to the doctor.

People using Augmentin can also come across severe side effects like diarrhea, yellowed skin, fever, dark urine, easy bruising, confusion, skin rashes, tingling, pain, numbness, muscle weakness, confusion, convulsions, unusual thoughts, nausea, appetite loss, stomach pain, clay-colored stools and headache. If you have any such problems, you should immediately go to the doctor.

People can also come across Less serious side effects like mild diarrhea, stomach ache, gas, nausea, headache, itching, white patches in mouth/throat and vaginal infection.

More side effects:

Augmentin is a safer drug to use in all age groups but still few side effects may occur at a certain level. These side effects may be common or at some stages, it may become severe. Patients with the weak renal system or those who took overdose may suffer from convulsions.

  • Common side effects - It disappears after some time includes diarrhea or loose stools, vomiting, nausea, skin infections such as rashes or hives.
  • Serious side effects - These are rare but occurs if the patient has a history of allergic reactions to penicillin It includes Severe skin rashes, easy bruising, difficulty in breathing, wheezing, yellowing of the skin or the whites of eyes, loss of appetite, dark or tea-colored urine.

If any of these symptoms occur then one should immediately call a doctor without any ignorance as it may be become fatal and can even lead to death.

Precautions:

Some points should be considered before taking this medicine. These are:

  • One should not be allergic to amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium or any other penicillin and Cephalosporin antibiotic.
  • One should not have had liver problems such as jaundice while taking these antibiotics.
  • The patient should tell the doctor if he/she had a history of kidney disease, liver disease or mononucleosis. If you undergo dialysis to prevent failure of kidneys, then you should definitely not be taking Augmentin.
  • The drug should be avoided if you are taking warfarin or similar blood thinners, probalan/probenecid.
  • You should avoid the medicine if you suffer from ulcerative colitis or if you have acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Pregnancy and Breast-feeding

There are no studies that show that Augmentin causes harm to the unborn baby, but to be on the safer side, you must always tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to get pregnant during the course of the treatment.

Both amoxicillin as well as clavulanate potassium pass into the breast milk and can harm the nursing baby and cause some unwanted side- effects in the nursing baby. Hence, you must discuss the potential side- effects with the doctor before taking Augmentin.

Can this be taken during pregnancy?

The doctor should be informed whether the patient is pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding. While there is no evidence of the drug having adverse effects on pregnancy and many doctors continue to prescribe it, given its ability to lower the estrogen levels, it is better to go with the doctor's prescription during pregnancy.

If you are using contraceptive pills, then you might want to consider a back up for using Augmentin. Augmentin can lower the estrogen levels, making the effectiveness of the contraceptive pills to diminish. If you are using oral contraceptives, then consider taking another medicine or use a backup while having Augmentin.

Antibiotics and Birth Defects

When we talk about antibiotics during pregnancy it is usually associated with birth defects. Not every drug is associated with defects but some are really dangerous. And the most sought after medication through pregnancy are antibiotics. Drugs like cephalosporin, penicillin and erythromycin are some of the drugs that have been considered safe to use during pregnancy. But due to bacteria being resistant on a daily basis, new drugs are being concocted and produced with rapid speed which doesn't have any full proof validation against birth defects and its safety during pregnancy.

During a recent research done by the CDC's that is the national center for birth defects and developmental disabilities, published in the medical book of paediatrics and adolescent medicine, observed and wrote about the birth defects in association with the antibiotics taken during the pregnancy before the conception to the first trimester. The research consist of more than 3,000 cases of expecting mothers and 1,467 controls in a analysis that showed tie up between ones who are exposed to the antibiotics and birth defects. The study was done through telephone interviews which are not very efficient but it worked well because it was recorded for 6 weeks between 2 years of duration. But due to the long duration most of the patients don't remember the correct medicines which resulted in false report.

After the research the results showed that most of the penicillin, cephalosporin and erythromycin are the safe drugs that can be taken during pregnancy and have no to minimal side-effects. These drugs are the most sought after drugs to treat bacterial infection like urinary tract infection. Also some other drugs have been surfaced are nitrofurantoin and sulfonamides are also given for urinary tract infection but they have been under observation for birth defects as the study have found that they are not entirely safe. Also associated among the birth defect from nitrofurantoin are the microphthalmos and anophthalmos, hypoplastic left heart disease, cleft lip, cleft palate and septal defects. Also associated with sulphonamides like bactrim and septra are anencephaly and choanal atresia, coarctation of aorta, diaphragmatic hernia, and transverse limb deficiency and left sided heart defect.

These defects are very fatal to the unborn baby. No other conclusions have been made about any other drug and its side-effects to the mother and the baby. We suggest that you continue with the drugs that have been deemed safe by the doctor and which poses less or no side-effects like penicillin. You should always consult your doctor before taking any drug during pregnancy. Many drugs are contraindicated during pregnancy and should not be taken because of the potential side-effects. Sometimes abortion may happen due to drug effects in which case it is also suggested that you immediately contact your doctor. Also prenatal vitamins are must for everyday strength and for healthy body. Pregnancy is a crucial stage of life and during that time you should take outmost care without endangering the life of your foetus.

Interaction with other drugs

There are a variety of drugs with which Augmentin interacts which can further result in an adverse effect on your body. It is therefore important that you inform your physician of any medicine, including OTC drugs, herbal supplements, nutritional shakes or powders, vitamins, recreational drugs, etc., when you are prescribed for Augmentin.

Some of the drugs which will react with Augmentin and hence has to be treated with care include,

  • Bupropion (Zyban, Wellbutrin, Forfivo XL, Contrave, Aplenzin)
  • Tramadol (Ultracet, Ultram)
  • Tetracycline antibiotics like doxycycline and tetracycline
  • Mycophenolate mofetil
  • Blood thinners like Warfarin (Jantoven, Coumadin)
  • Chloroquine (Aralen)
  • Exenatide (Bydureon, Byetta)
  • Methotrexate (Trexall, Rheumatrex)
  • PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors) like esomeprazole (Nexium), dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), rabeprazole (Aciphex) and omeprazole (Prilosec)
  • Magnesium Citrate (Citroma)

What to avoid while on Augmentin?

  • Alcohol is a dangerous combination with any medicine and Augmentin is no exception. A combination can cause dizziness and make you drowsy.
  • Grapefruit juice is also not advisable while taking Augmentin. There is no clear understanding yet on how the liver reacts with the two together and it is therefore better to avoid consuming them together.
Augmentin is a drug that is given to people having bacterial infections on middle ear and throat, tonsillitis, bronchitis, sinusitis, laryngitis and pneumonia. A pencilin antibiotic, Augmentin is also advised for skin infections, urinary tract infections and gonorrhea.
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