Breitbandantibiotikum Amoxicillin

Amoxicillin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that belongs to the penicillin group and is used to treat various bacterial infections. The dosage depends, among other things, on the weight of the person concerned and on the type of infection. As with other medications, taking amoxicillin can cause side effects. In this article you can read which are particularly common, which areas of application are typical for the active ingredient and what you should consider when taking it, for example in combination with alcohol or dairy products.

Antibiotic amoxicillin: effect and application

Antibiotics  with the active ingredient amoxicillin ensure that bacteria in the body cannot develop a protective outer shell during their growth phase. As a result, the bacteria die after a short time and can no longer multiply.

Amoxicillin is usually administered in the form of film-coated tablets, effervescent tablets or dry juice. However, the antibiotic can also be injected: This is always necessary when the administration of  juice  or tablets is not sufficient, for example in the case of meningitis or  blood poisoning .

The medicine is used in particular for the following complaints:

  • Infections of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Kidney and urinary tract infections, such as  cystitis
  • Respiratory infections, such as pneumonia or tonsillitis
  • Inflammation of the ear, nose and throat area, such as inflammation of the middle ear and paranasal sinuses
  •  Stage I Lyme disease
  • skin infections

In addition to treating bacterial infections, the antibiotic is also used to  prevent  them : in some operations, people with certain heart diseases are given amoxicillin as a preventive measure. This is to prevent bacteria from entering the bloodstream during the operation and possibly causing inflammation of the heart.

Amoxicillin and clavulanic acid: often in combination

Many amoxicillin-based antibiotics contain the active ingredient in combination with clavulanic acid. This is what is known as a beta-lactamase inhibitor. Beta-lactamase is an enzyme that enables bacteria to break down amoxicillin.

Clavulanic acid thus expands the possible areas of application for amoxicillin, as it can also be used against bacteria that can produce beta-lactamases. These include, for example, some species of the bacteria Escherichia coli.

Side Effects of Amoxicillin

Amoxicillin is usually well tolerated. Since the active substance is absorbed relatively quickly from the intestine into the body, the  intestinal flora  is protected more than with other antibiotics. Despite this, side effects can occur when taking amoxicillin.

The following side effects are particularly common:

If diarrhea persists during or after therapy, an intestinal inflammation triggered by amoxicillin can be the cause. In such a case, the intake should be stopped immediately and medical advice sought. Treatment is then usually continued with another antibiotic. Diarrhea and vomiting also reduce the effectiveness of the antibiotic because the body cannot absorb the entire dose through the intestines.

Overall, there can be a large number of side effects, but they occur rather rarely overall. These include yeast infections ( thrush ), dizziness, kidney problems, discoloration of the  tongue  or  anemia  (low blood count). The latter can manifest itself in symptoms such as tiredness, paleness or  shortness of breath  .

Allergy to amoxicillin

A skin rash can occur as a side effect when taking medicines containing amoxicillin. On the one hand, this can be the result of an allergic reaction, but it can also occur as a so-called  pseudoallergy  . The symptoms of this are similar to a normal  allergy , but it is not caused by a misguided reaction of the immune system to certain allergy-causing substances. A skin rash caused by amoxicillin usually occurs one week to ten days after ingestion.

In addition to this pseudoallergic reaction, as with all other penicillins, taking amoxicillin can lead to an  allergic reaction  up to and including anaphylactic shock. In most cases, the symptoms appear just a few minutes up to a maximum of a few days after starting the intake. Possible symptoms are, for example, wheals, swelling of the skin, itching or  fever .

For this reason, the antibiotic should not be taken if you are hypersensitive to penicillin. Such hypersensitivity is particularly common in people with other allergies and  asthma  .  But the risk of an allergic reaction is also increased in people who also suffer from a viral infection or chronic lymphocytic  leukemia .

Basically, if you notice any symptoms that could be related to taking the drug, you should always seek medical advice immediately. If anaphylactic shock occurs, emergency services should be called immediately.

Dosage of amoxicillin

Amoxicillin is available in different dosages: tablets with 250, 500, 750 or 1000 milligrams are available in the pharmacy. The exact dosage of the drug should always be clarified by a doctor. It is best to take the antibiotic together with a meal, as it is then better tolerated, but its effect is not impaired.

As a rule, amoxicillin is taken over a period of  seven to ten days  . The dosage of the antibiotic depends, among other things, on the age and weight of the person as well as the location, type and severity of the infection. It is important to keep the level of the active substance in the blood as constant as possible: if amoxicillin is taken twice a day, the intervals between doses should be twelve hours, and eight hours if taken three times a day.

Depending on the disease, adults receive between  1,500 and 3,000 milligrams of  amoxicillin daily. Children who weigh less than 40 kilograms should receive between 50 and 100 milligrams per kilogram of body weight daily, but no more than 2,000 milligrams. The exact dosage should be coordinated by a doctor, just like in adults. Careful oral hygiene is particularly important for children when they are taking it, as otherwise tooth discolouration can occur.

amoxicillin and alcohol

Alcohol should be avoided while taking amoxicillin – but also any other antibiotic. Even if the package inserts do not always explicitly warn of the interactions, consuming alcohol while taking antibiotics can lead to side effects.

Like alcohol, many antibiotics are broken down by the liver. Since this is primarily occupied with breaking down the antibiotic while you are taking it, alcohol usually has a faster and stronger effect. Alcohol also impedes the breakdown of many antibiotics. The active ingredient can therefore no longer be degraded quickly enough, but accumulates in the liver. This can damage the organ.

Although most of amoxicillin is excreted via the kidneys, it is not recommended to consume alcohol while taking it. Because the body is already weakened by the bacterial infection – it is additionally burdened by alcohol. In addition, as a result of the side effects, amoxicillin can impair the ability to react and thus the use of machines and driving vehicles. In conjunction with alcohol, this effect is intensified.

Amoxicillin: Milk and milk products

Many antibiotics should not be taken with products high in calcium. Because some active ingredients form a compound with calcium in the body, which then cannot be absorbed by the intestines. This greatly reduces the effectiveness of these drugs.

However, this does not apply to all antibiotics. Milk  and other foods high in calcium do not affect the effectiveness of amoxicillin  . To be on the safe side, however, the package leaflet should always be consulted again for medicines with this active ingredient in order to avoid possible administration errors.

Amoxicillin during pregnancy

Amoxicillin should only be used during pregnancy if the treating doctor expressly recommends taking the active ingredient. So far, the antibiotic has not shown any harmful effects on the unborn child, neither in animal experiments nor in human treatment. The assumption that the active ingredient could increase the risk of inflammatory bowel disease in premature babies could not be confirmed.

Even if you are breastfeeding, amoxicillin should only be taken after a detailed risk-benefit assessment, as the active ingredient can pass into breast milk. This causes no side effects in most children, but in rare cases infants may react with diarrhea or watery stools.

Amoxicillin: contraindications

If there is a disturbance in liver or kidney function, amoxicillin may only be taken in correspondingly lower doses. In addition, the organ function and the  blood count must be  checked at regular intervals while taking the antibiotic. This is especially true for long-term use of amoxicillin.

The antibiotic must also not be used in the case of an acute infection with the Epstein-Barr virus ( glandular fever ), since in this case the probability of a pseudoallergic skin reaction is increased. As already mentioned, amoxicillin should also not be used if there is an allergy to the active substance or other penicillins.

Interactions with amoxicillin

In women using birth control pills, amoxicillin can reduce absorption from the gut, making the contraceptive less effective. The additional use of a non-hormonal contraceptive is therefore necessary for safe pregnancy protection.

Antibiotics that inhibit the growth of bacteria must not be taken at the same time as amoxicillin, as the two antibiotics can otherwise interfere with each other’s effects. Certain gout medications containing probenecid and  allopurinol  can increase the effects of amoxicillin, while diuretics decrease it by increasing urine output. Amoxicillin itself can increase the effect of certain anticoagulants (DOAC) and cardiac glycosides. If you are taking any of these medications, you should definitely discuss this with your doctor.


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