Side Effects of Amoxicillin: Side Effect #1 – Anticholinergic effect
Anticholinergics are drugs which block the action of acetylcholine (ACh) receptors. They include atropine, scopolamine, quinidine and many others. These drugs have been used since ancient times to treat seizures, mental disorders and other conditions where ACh is involved.
However they are not without their risks!
The most common side effects of anticholinergics are drowsiness, dizziness, headache and nausea. Dizziness is usually the first sign of overdose. If you experience these symptoms then it’s time to stop taking your medication immediately!
You may feel like you’re going to fall asleep but if you don’t take care of yourself right away, you could become unconscious!
If you develop any of these symptoms, contact your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately!
Side Effects of Amoxicillin: Side Effect #2 – Dry mouth and throat
Amoxicillin is known to cause dry mouth and throat. It causes a decrease in saliva production. This means that you won’t be able to produce enough saliva for proper hydration.
So when you swallow water, it will just pass through your stomach instead of being absorbed into your body fluids.
If you develop dry mouth and throat, it is recommended to drink more water and other liquids. Saliva substitutes can also help. In severe cases of dry mouth, doctors may also recommend other methods to keep the mouth wet such as sucking on hard candies or chewing gum.
In more severe cases, you may need to talk to a doctor about taking an anticholinergic drug instead.
Side Effects of Amoxicillin: Side Effect #3 – Stomach cramps and diarrhea
It is common to experience stomach pains after taking amoxicillin. If you experience severe stomach pains, you may also have diarrhea. If this happens to you, make sure you contact your physician.
You may have an allergic reaction to the drug.
You can try taking an antacid with magnesium hydroxide or calcium carbonate (such as Tums) to relieve the pain. However if your stomach pain persists, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Side Effects of Amoxicillin: Side Effect #4 – Allergic reactions
Allergic reactions occur when the body mistakes a drug for an enemy and launches an attack on it. This can cause rashes, breathing difficulties, swelling and even loss of consciousness. If you develop any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately and take the medication exactly how prescribed.
Common allergic reactions to amoxicillin include itching, hives and swelling of the face, lips, tongue and throat that may cause difficulty in breathing. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.
Other rare allergic reactions to amoxicillin are less common and can cause hay fever, asthma, vomiting and diarrhea. Be sure to let your doctor know about any allergies you have to penicillin or other related antibiotics when you begin treatment.
Side Effects of Amoxicillin: Side effect #5 – Changes in menstrual period
Menstrual changes are a relatively rare side effect of amoxicillin however if you experience any of these changes or their duration becomes irregular, be sure to contact your physician as soon as possible.
• missing your period
• unusually long or short duration of menstrual bleeding
If you are pregnant, it is best to contact a physician before taking amoxicillin or any other medication.
If you experience any other side effects while taking amoxicillin, be sure to contact your physician as soon as possible.
Amoxicillin dosage for children
Amoxicillin is typically prescribed in the range of 5-15 mg/kg. This may be adjusted according to the needs of the patient. It can be given once or twice a day depending on the condition being treated and your physician’s recommendation.
The liquid form of amoxicillin should be used with caution in young children as they may accidentally aspirate it into their lungs if the dropper is used incorrectly or spilled. It should be given to children above 6 months only after consultation with a doctor.
Amoxicillin may be taken by mouth with or without food.
Amoxicillin is also available in combination with clavulanic acid (such as Augmentin) which is taken twice a day for the treatment of a wide variety of bacterial infections including respiratory tract infections, skin and soft tissue infections, urinary tract infections, sepsis, gonorrhea and middle ear infections.
The dosage for children may be adjusted between 6.8-25 mg/kg.
Amoxicillin with clavulanic acid is also available as a liquid, which can be given to young children without any complications.
Side effects of Amoxicillin
Common side effects of amoxicillin are:
• Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dark urine.
These symptoms are sometimes due to the infection itself and will resolve once the infection is treated.
Less common side effects of amoxicillin are:
More serious allergic side effects of amoxicillin are:
• Difficulty breathing
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
Severe allergic reactions to amoxicillin are rare but may include:
• Rash, hives, itching
Rash that spreads and causes red patches on the skin
Allergic reactions to amoxicillin are more common in adults than children.
Less serious side effects can be avoided by taking amoxicillin with food.
Contraindications of Amoxicillin: Who should not take it
If you are allergic to amoxicillin or any of the other ingredients of this medication.
If you are allergic to any penicillin based medication such as ampicillin, carbenicillin, oxacillin etc.
This medication should not be taken by pregnant women as it may cause harm to the fetus.
If you are expecting to give birth soon, inform your physician before taking this medicine.
It is best not to take amoxicillin if you are:
• Allergic to any medicine or food ingredient.
Possible food and medicine allergies should be discussed with a physician before taking amoxicillin.
Amoxicillin should not be taken by breastfeeding mothers since it may be passed on to the baby and cause harm.
It is best to consult your physician before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Amoxicillin may be taken if necessary but you should monitor your baby for any allergic reaction caused by this medicine.
It should not be given to children less than 6 months old unless specifically prescribed by a doctor.
Do not exceed the recommended dose or duration of amoxicillin unless prescribed by a physician.
Exceeding the recommended dosage may increase the risk of side effects without providing any additional benefit to you.
Do not take amoxicillin if you are allergic to any penicillin based medication such as ampicillin, carbenicillin, oxacillin etc.
Do not take amoxicillin and drink alcohol as this may increase the risk of stomach irritation.
Taking amoxicillin with alcohol may also lead to light headedness; dizziness; headache and diarrhea.
To avoid these side effects, it is best to take amoxicillin with a full glass of water and remain upright for at least 30 minutes.
Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how amoxicillin affects you.
Amoxicillin should not be taken with any other medicine or food without consulting your physician or pharmacist.
Do not take amoxicillin if you are pregnant as this may cause harm to the fetus.
Do not take amoxicillin and clavulanic acid once the expiration date printed on the carton has passed. The expiration date refers to the last day of that month.
Amoxicillin is not known to cause life-threatening symptoms in overdose. However, some of the potential overdose symptoms of amoxicillin include diarrhea; nausea and vomiting. If you experience any such symptoms after an overdose of amoxicillin, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Amoxicillin may cause diarrhea; nausea; vomiting; stomach pain and skin rashes in some people. If you experience any of these symptoms after taking the medication, you should seek medical attention immediately.
If you accidentally consume more than the recommended dosage of amoxicillin, contact your physician or local poison control center immediately.
Amoxicillin may be habit forming if taken for a long time.
Amoxicillin should not be used in children less than 1 month old. This medication could cause permanent hearing loss in the child.
Other medication interactions
Before taking amoxicillin, let your physician know if you are allergic to any other medicine or food. Also inform your doctor of all prescription and non-prescription drugs you are taking.
You should not take amoxicillin if you are allergic to any penicillin based drug.
You should avoid taking amoxicillin with the following drugs:
• ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
This combination may increase the risk of tendon rupture. Tendon problems may be more likely to occur if you are older than 60, take steroids or have kidney, heart or lung transplantation.
• carbamazepine (Tegretol)
There is a heightened risk of CNS side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, unsteadiness, headache, weakness, and mood and thought changes.
• fluconazole (Diflucan)
This combination may increase the serum concentration of amoxicillin which may increase the risk of side effects.
Sources & references used in this article:
Amoxicillin-clavulanic acid therapy may be associated with severe side effects-review of the literature by U Gresser – European journal of medical research, 2001 – researchgate.net
Effects of amoxicillin-clavulanate combination on the motility of the small intestine in human beings. by F Caron, P Ducrotte, E Lerebours, R Colin… – Antimicrobial agents …, 1991 – Am Soc Microbiol
… . amoxicillin plus omeprazole for treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection: a multicenter, prospective, randomized, controlled study of efficacy and side effects by JC Thijs, AA Van Zwet, W Moolenaar… – American Journal of …, 1996 – acpjc.acponline.org
Toxic effects of amoxicillin on the photosystem II of Synechocystis sp. characterized by a variety of in vivo chlorophyll fluorescence tests by X Pan, C Deng, D Zhang, J Wang, G Mu, Y Chen – Aquatic toxicology, 2008 – Elsevier
Oral amoxicillin as prophylaxis for endocarditis: what is the optimal dose? by AS Dajani, RE Bawdon, MC Berry – Clinical infectious diseases, 1994 – academic.oup.com