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What is amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is a penicillin antibiotic that fights bacteria.

Amoxicillin is used to treat many different types of infection caused by bacteria, such as tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, gonorrhea, and infections of the ear, nose, throat, skin, or urinary tract.

Amoxicillin is also sometimes used together with another antibiotic called clarithromycin (Biaxin) to treat stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori infection. This combination is sometimes used with a stomach acid reducer called lansoprazole (Prevacid).

Important information

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to amoxicillin or to any other penicillin antibiotic, such as ampicillin (Omnipen, Principen), dicloxacillin (Dycill, Dynapen), oxacillin (Bactocill), penicillin (Beepen-VK, Ledercillin VK, Pen-V, Pen-Vee K, Pfizerpen, V-Cillin K, Veetids), and others.

Before using amoxicillin, tell your doctor if you are allergic to cephalosporins such as Omnicef, Cefzil, Ceftin, Keflex, and others. Also tell your doctor if you have asthma, liver or kidney disease, a bleeding or blood clotting disorder, mononucleosis (also called “mono”), or any type of allergy.

Amoxicillin can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using a non-hormone method of birth control (such as a condom, diaphragm, spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while taking this medicine. Take this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Amoxicillin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu. Do not share this medication with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea. This may happen while you are taking amoxicillin, or within a few months after you stop taking it. This may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, stop taking amoxicillin and call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use amoxicillin if you are allergic to any penicillin antibiotic, such as ampicillin, dicloxacillin, oxacillin, penicillin, or ticarcillin.

To make sure amoxicillin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • asthma;
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • mononucleosis (also called “mono”);
  • a history of diarrhea caused by taking antibiotics; or
  • food or drug allergies (especially to a cephalosporin antibiotic such as Omnicef, Cefzil, Ceftin, Keflex, and others).

If you are being treated for gonorrhea, your doctor may also have you tested for syphilis, another sexually transmitted disease.

Amoxicillin is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment

Amoxicillin can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using non hormonal birth control (condom, diaphragm with spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while taking this medicine.

Amoxicillin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

The amoxicillin chewable tablet may contain phenylalanine. Talk to your doctor before using the chewable tablets if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

You may store liquid amoxicillin in a refrigerator but do not allow it to freeze. Throw away any liquid medicine that is not used within 14 days after it was mixed at the pharmacy.

Amoxicillin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to amoxicillin: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
  • fever, swollen gums, painful mouth sores, pain when swallowing, skin sores, cold or flu symptoms, cough, trouble breathing;
  • swollen glands, rash or itching, joint pain, or general ill feeling;
  • pale or yellowed skin, yellowing of the eyes, dark colored urine, fever, confusion or weakness;
  • severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin; or
  • severe skin reaction–fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Common amoxicillin side effects may include:

  • stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • vaginal itching or discharge;
  • headache; or
  • swollen, black, or “hairy” tongue.