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Augmentin (amoxicillin trihydrate/potassium clavulanate) is an antibiotic in the penicillin family, used to treat specific types of bacterial infections, ranging from:
The above conditions may be treated with medications other than Augmentin; this medication is particularly beneficial in cases where the infection is caused by bacteria that are susceptible to amoxicillin but are resistant to amoxicillin alone.
The potassium clavulanate in Augmentin enhances the potency of the amoxicillin, making it effective where amoxicillin alone would provide little benefit. In both cases, with amoxicillin alone or when enhanced by potassium clavulanate, the medication works by inhibiting the growth and spread of bacteria, allowing the immune system to gain the upper hand.
Before taking Augmentin, note that different delivery modes (tablets versus chewable tablets or oral suspension) and different dosage strengths are not necessarily interchangeable. Be sure to look close at the dosage strength of both medications; in the case of tablets, for example, both 500 mg and 250 mg amoxicillin tablets contain 125 mg potassium clavulanate -- taking two 250 mg tablets to achieve a 500 mg dose of amoxicillin would result in a double dose of potassium clavulanate.
Ideally the medication is taken only after the bacteria causing the infection are identified; Augmentin is not effective against all strains of bacteria.
In adults, treatment is similar for most conditions:
Treatment in children is highly variable depending on weight, age and other considerations; speak with a doctor for ideal dosage.
Precautions & Side Effects
Note that patients allergic to penicillin are likely to experience an allergic reaction to amoxicillin. Likewise, patients that experience an allergic reaction to amoxicillin are likely to have reactions to other antibiotics in the penicillin family. If concerned about allergic reactions, most doctor offices offer inexpensive allergy tests.
In some individuals Augmentin may temporarily reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills, during and shortly after treatment.
Augmentin is generally a safe medication with only mild side effects; even the more severe side effects are usually reversible if treatment is stopped. Certain conditions do increase the risk of potentially serious reactions, however:
Side effects from Augmentin are similar to those experienced with any antibiotic:
Stomach-related side effects are often eased by taking the medication with food. If diarrhea is experienced, be sure to get plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
Rarely more serious adverse reactions occur. Warning signs to be alert for include:
Again, these negative effects of treatment typically reverse when treatment is stopped. Any severe or persistent side effects should be brought to the attention of a doctor.
The medication is not believed to be harmful to unborn or nursing babies; however, there is little data available on the subject. Discuss potential risks with a doctor or pharmacist.
No current Rx required
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Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional.
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