Home Drugs Augmentin

Augmentin (Amoxicillin Clavulanate)

Augmentin is a prescription antibiotic containing the active ingredients amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. It is used to treat bacterial infections such as sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, urinary tract infections and more. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) first launched the Augmentin brand in 1981 in the UK.

Last Modified: September 5, 2023
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What Is Augmentin?

Augmentin is an antibiotic that doctors prescribe for certain bacterial infections. Its active ingredients are amoxicillin and clavulanic acid.

Clavulanic acid, a beta-lactamase inhibitor, prevents bacteria from destroying amoxicillin, making Augmentin useful in fighting a range of antibiotic-resistant infections. Augmentin and amoxicillin are both penicillin drugs and first-line treatment options for certain bacterial infections such as strep throat, bronchitis, tonsillitis and ear infections.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) launched Augmentin in the UK in 1981. In 2003, GSK PLC settled a trade dispute with Novartis AG about a generic version of Augmentin.

Augmentin Uses

Augmentin, the combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, treats a variety of bacterial infections, including infections of the lungs, skin, ears, sinus and urinary tract.

An American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) study found positive outcomes in treating mild outpatient cases of diverticulitis with amoxicillin-clavulanate. A review of COVID-19 treatment guidelines in 10 African countries recommended a variety of antibiotics, including amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, for the management of COVID-19.

Conditions that Augmentin may help treat include:
  • Bronchitis: A clinical trial on the use of amoxicillin-clavulanate acid in the treatment of acute chronic bronchitis showed a cure rate of 93% in an average of 7.1 days.
  • Infections of the middle ear (otitis media): Amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (Augmentin) fights the main pathogens associated with acute otitis media (AOM).
  • Laryngitis: In cases of bacterial laryngitis, amoxicillin has become an established penicillin antibiotic treatment for acute laryngitis in adults.
  • Pneumonia: Amoxicillin-clavulanate taken twice daily was clinically effective in the treatment of adult patients with community-acquired pneumonia without an increase in adverse effects.
  • Sinusitis: Amoxicillin-clavulanate is a safe and effective treatment for acute bacterial maxillary sinusitis when given orally at both eight and 12-hour intervals.
  • Skin infections: Studies show that amoxicillin-clavulanate has an efficacy of 84% in the management of skin and soft tissue infections in children. That is a higher efficacy than amoxicillin, erythromycin and co-trimoxazole.
  • Throat infections (pharyngitis): A study showed that amoxicillin-clavulanate was the most prescribed antibiotic for the treatment of pharyngitis. The median treatment duration was seven days.
  • Tonsillitis: Amoxicillin-clavulanate shows promise in treating patients with acute recurrent tonsillitis.

Antibiotics, including amoxicillin-clavulanic, cannot treat flu strains, colds or other viral infections. Do not take antibiotics when you don’t need them. Doing so increases the risk that your body won’t respond to antibiotic treatment later.

Possible Side Effects of Augmentin

Augmentin can cause side effects ranging from mild to serious. For mild side effects such as nausea and a skin rash, the manufacturer recommends you notify your doctor if the effects persist.

Serious side effects include vomiting, severe stomach pain and diarrhea. In such cases, GSK recommends calling your doctor immediately. Persistent diarrhea can cause severe dehydration.

Call your doctor immediately if you experience the following symptoms:
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hives
  • Severe skin rash and itching
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Vaginal itching and discharge
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes

This is not a complete list of all potential side effects. Other symptoms may occur. If you notice other symptoms not listed above, contact your doctor immediately.

Augmentin Warnings

Before taking Augmentin, talk to your doctor about any pre-existing medical conditions. Avoid it if you are allergic to Amoxil, Cefzil, Ceftin, Omnicef, Moxatag or any other cephalosporin or penicillin antibiotic. Your pharmacist can assist you with a list of the ingredients in Augmentin.

Avoid taking Augmentin if you have had:

  • Allergies or asthma
  • Hay fever
  • Hives
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver problems or jaundice while taking amoxicillin-clavulanate
  • Mononucleosis

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, are trying to get pregnant or are breast-feeding. Amoxicillin clavulanate can pass into breast milk and harm a nursing baby. Augmentin can also reduce the efficiency of birth control pills.

Ask your doctor about using a non-hormonal method of birth control such as a diaphragm, condom or spermicide while taking Augmentin. If you become pregnant while taking amoxicillin clavulanic acid, talk to your doctor immediately.

Drug Interaction Risks

Drugs interactions may change how each of them works or may increase your risk for serious side effects. Discuss all prescription medications, OTC drugs, vitamins, supplements and herbal products you take with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop or adjust the dosage of any prescribed medications without talking to your doctor.

Drugs that could have adverse interactions with Augmentin include:
  • Allopurinol (Aloprim, Zyloprim, Lopurin)
  • Probenecid (Probalan)
  • Warfarin (Jantoven, Coumadin)

Note that this list does not include all possible drug interactions.

Studies have shown that when ampicillin, a penicillin drug, and allopurinol, used to reduce uric acid in the body, are used together, the risk of rashes increases. However, it is not clear if this is also the case when Augmentin and allopurinol are used simultaneously.

Studies also show that probenecid, used to treat gout, impacts the body’s system that eliminates amoxicillin in urine. When probenecid and Augmentin are taken at the same time, blood levels of amoxicillin may become too high. Taking them at the same time is not recommended.

Augmentin can alter blood-work results and taking Warfarin and Augmentin together can increase your risk of bleeding. Your doctors may adjust the dosage of other medications or monitor you closely for side effects.

Impact on Oral Contraceptive Effectiveness

Some broad-spectrum antibiotics, including Augmentin, may decrease the efficacy of oral contraceptives such as the birth control pill. Although researchers say they need more data for confirmation, they believe Augmentin can affect intestinal flora, leading to lower estrogen reabsorption and combined oral progesterone/estrogen contraceptives.

Until researchers know more about these potential interactions, ask your doctor about using a non-hormonal birth control such as a diaphragm, condom, contraceptive sponge or cervical cap to prevent pregnancy.

How To Take Augmentin

Take Augmentin exactly as prescribed. If you accidentally miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you can. If that catch-up dose comes at a time near your next dose, skip the missed dose and then continue with your regular schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.

Augmentin is available in liquid, extended-release tablets and chewable tablets. 

Don’t chew or crush extended-release tablets. Swallow the pill whole or break it into two halves and swallow each half at a time. Talk to your doctor if you have trouble swallowing a whole or half pill.

Shake the liquid form before you measure your dose. It’s better to use the dosing syringe provided rather than a kitchen spoon.

Both the 250 mg and 500 mg tablets of Augmentin contain the same amount of clavulanic acid. Consumers should not substitute two 250 mg tablets for one 500 mg tablet. Similarly, the 250 mg chewable Augmentin tablet and 250 mg regular tablet also contain different amounts of clavulanic acid and should not be taken interchangeably.

Take the full dosage of medication as prescribed even after you feel better. Do not stop or adjust your dosage without consulting your doctor.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.