Amoxicillin is a beta-lactam antibiotic that is used to treat bacterial infections. Compared to penicillin, amoxicillin can be better absorbed into the body, and it has a wider spectrum of action, as it is also effective against certain gram-negative bacteria. The antibiotic has a bactericidal effect: it kills bacteria by dissolving the cell walls of certain bacteria, thus preventing them from multiplying. We answer the 16 most frequently asked questions about amoxicillin.
- What is Amoxicillin?
- How quickly does Amoxicillin take effect?
- How is Amoxicillin available?
- What do I need to know before taking Amoxicillin?
- Does Amoxicillin interact with other medicines?
- How do I take Amoxicillin?
- Should I make up for a missed dose of Amoxicillin?
- How long can I take Amoxicillin?
- What is the best way to stop taking Amoxicillin?
- What are side effects of Amoxicillin?
- What to do in case of an Amoxicillin overdose?
- Can I take Amoxicillin during pregnancy and breast-feeding?
- Can I do sports with Amoxicillin?
- Can I consume dairy products with Amoxicillin?
- Can I drink coffee with Amoxicillin?
- Can I drink alcohol while taking Amoxicillin?
1. What is Amoxicillin?
Amoxicillin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is used to treat bacterial infections. These can be infections of the gastrointestinal tract or urinary and respiratory tract infections. In addition, the drug is often used in the treatment of middle ear infections, tonsillitis and other ENT diseases.
2. How quickly does Amoxicillin take effect?
Amoxicillin reaches its maximum concentration in the blood after 1 or 2 hours.
3. How is Amoxicillin available?
The purchase of antibiotics such as Amoxicillin is only possible throughout the EU with a doctor's prescription. In addition to the tablets, it is also possible to obtain an infusion or suspension with Amoxicillin, whereby the active ingredient content is between 50 and a maximum of 1000 mg per unit, depending on the prescribed medication.
Amoxicillin is the generic name of the drug, which is sold under the trade names Clamoxyl®, Amoxilan®, Amoxi 1A Pharma® or Amoxi HEXAL®, among others.
Amoxicillin is also available in dual therapy as Augmentin (Amoxicillin plus Clavulanic acid). Clavulanic acid inhibits the enzyme beta-lactamase, which would otherwise break down amoxicillin. This allows Amoxicillin to work more strongly.
Since this fixed combination is considered to have a slightly higher probability of damaging the liver, it is especially important that older patients over 60 or people who have already been diagnosed with liver dysfunction have their blood and liver values checked regularly.
4. What do I need to know before taking Amoxicillin?
Amoxicillin must not be taken if you are hypersensitive to the active substance, such as penicillin, betalactam, cephalosporin, sulphites or any constituent of the medicine.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking Amoxicillin in the following circumstances:
- Tendency to allergies
- A tendency to asthma
- Severe illness of the gastrointestinal tract (with vomiting and diarrhea)
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- Impaired kidney function (it may be necessary to reduce the individual or total dose or extend the dosing interval in consultation with your doctor)
- Viral infections, e.g., Pfeiffer's glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis)
5. Does Amoxicillin interact with other medicines?
It is important that amoxicillin is not combined with other antibiotics such as tetracyclines, macrolides, sulphonamides or chloramphenicol. It can have a negative effect on antibiotic therapy.
Diuretics (drug that makes the kidney produce more urine, should also be avoided), as the increased excretion of water also reduces the amount of antibiotics and thus its effect.
Taking medicines for gout at the same time, such as probenecid or allopurinol, can prevent the excretion of amoxicillin and thus dangerously increase concentration and promote allergic skin reactions.
In addition, the effect of blood thinners (anticoagulants) can be increased, which can lead to dangerous bleeding if you injure yourself.
As antibiotics can reduce the effect of the contraceptive pill, simultaneous use should be avoided. To maintain contraceptive protection, you should ask your doctor or pharmacist about a suitable contraceptive method. They will recommend condoms, diaphragms and cervical caps as alternatives.
As antibiotics influence the hormonal effect of other contraceptives such as the "morning-after pill" or the "three-month injection", you should also ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice on suitable contraceptives.
Taking Amoxicillin with painkillers such as Ibuprofen is not a problem. Although some antibiotics are not recommended to be taken at the same time as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen or Diclofenac, this does not apply to Amoxicillin. Nevertheless, when it comes to finding a suitable painkiller, a doctor or pharmacist should always be consulted for advice.
If you need to take other medicines in addition to Amoxicillin, you must always discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist first.
6. How do I take Amoxicillin?
Amoxicillin is taken by infusion, juice or tablets, which are taken with a glass of water. Since both the amount and the time of taking it must be very individually adapted to the patient and his or her illness, it is essential that you follow your doctor's instructions, whereby a maximum daily dose of 6000 mg of the active substance must not be exceeded. The usual dose is 1500-3000 g.
Normally, Amoxicillin is taken 2-3 doses a day, regardless of meals. The effectiveness of Amoxicillin is not affected by whether it is taken with, before or after a meal. However, if you do not feel well after taking it on an empty stomach or even get gastrointestinal problems, you can try to avert this by taking it at mealtime or afterwards. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you still do not feel better.
Taking probiotics while taking antibiotics can also alleviate or completely prevent the occurrence of gastrointestinal issues. In principle, this also makes sense, as healthy intestinal flora is important for a well-functioning immune system.
If you have concerns about your dosage or do not feel any improvement, you must not increase the dose on your own, but contact your doctor or pharmacist.
7. Should I make up for a missed dose of Amoxicillin?
If you forget to take Amoxicillin, continue taking it as normal at the next scheduled time without taking twice the amount.
8. How long can I take Amoxicillin?
The duration of use of Amoxicillin depends on the disease to be treated and is therefore prescribed by your doctor. It is important that the medicine is taken for at least 2-3 days after the symptoms have subsided so that the bacteria can be eliminated. In general, the duration of treatment is 7-10 days, and at least 10 days for streptococcal infections.
9. What is the best way to stop taking Amoxicillin?
If you want to stop taking Amoxicillin, this is possible without a gradual reduction of the dose, but you should always follow your doctor's instructions. Often the patient's condition improves long before the bacteria have been eliminated. Stopping the antibiotic early can result in the reinfection and the bacteria becoming resistant the antibiotic.
10. What are side effects of Amoxicillin?
As the possible uses of the active ingredient are relatively diverse and the dosages also vary greatly, you should be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects for your medicine and its dosage.
If you experience any of the following side effects, please inform your doctor. They will be able to advise you in detail and on an individual basis. Depending on the dose and duration of treatment, these side effects are possible:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Penicillin allergy
More rarely, the following side effects occur:
- Inflammation of the colon
- Kidney problems (e.g., crystalluria)
- Cramps, especially if kidney function is disturbed
- Blood count changes
In very rare cases, taking Amoxicillin can cause damage to the liver and even hepatitis. Therefore, if you experience any of the following symptoms, inform your doctor immediately:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Darker urine or paler stools
- Blisters, redness or bleeding on the skin
- Yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes (jaundice)
- Prolonged bleeding time
It is also important to know the signs of an allergic reaction. If you have an allergic reaction to Amoxicillin, you must see a doctor immediately.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction are:
- Skin rash, for example itchy, red or swollen skin.
- Shortness of breath and circulatory problems up to and including shock
- Worsening of the general condition
11. What to do in case of an Amoxicillin overdose?
As Amoxicillin is prescribed in different doses depending on the individual assessment by the doctor, it is important not to exceed these doses in order to avoid possible adverse effects. The dangers of Amoxicillin overdose are mainly the side effects of the drug, which can increase. In addition, the likelihood of these adverse effects occurring is also significantly increased. In the event of an overdose, inform your doctor immediately.
12. Can I take Amoxicillin during pregnancy and breast-feeding?
Amoxicillin falls under Pregnancy Category B which means it may be acceptable for use. In this case animal studies show no risk but human studies not available. If you are pregnant, suspect you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, it is important to discuss this with your doctor. They will help you to weigh up the benefits and risks of pregnancy with amoxicillin.
Amoxicillin should not be used during breast-feeding as it can pass into breast milk in small amounts and cause diarrhea, as well as a fungal infection of the mucous membranes. For this reason, weaning is recommended, especially with high doses. With a lower amount of amoxicillin, you should consult your doctor to decide whether breast-feeding with amoxicillin is possible for you.
13. Can I do sports with Amoxicillin?
In general, doing challenging sports with Amoxicillin is not advisable. The body is already stressed by fighting the infection and the weakened intestinal flora (as antibiotics also attack good bacteria). Challenging sporting activity puts an additional strain on the weakened immune system and delays recovery. An infection that is carried over increases the risk of late complications such as heart muscle inflammation. In case of doubt, you should ask your doctor what is possible and sensible in your condition.
14. Can I consume dairy products with Amoxicillin?
Taking Amoxicillin with dairy products is completely safe. Although there are antibiotics whose effect is greatly weakened by the calcium contained in milk, this does not apply to Amoxicillin. You can safely consume yoghurt, milk, cream and other dairy products together with the medicine.
15. Can I drink coffee with Amoxicillin?
Although no adverse events have been recorded for the simultaneous intake of Amoxicillin with coffee, coffee and tea can interfere with the absorption of antibiotics. If you have any concerns about this, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
16. Can I drink alcohol while taking Amoxicillin?
Alcohol can be consumed while taking Amoxicillin; the concern is that alcohol will delay the absorption of the medication.
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