Augmentin is a combination of antibiotic drugs. It contains amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium, which is a broad-spectrum antibiotic. It is used for the treatment of various infections like urinary tract infections, pneumonia, tonsillitis, and sinusitis. In 1984, the use of Augmentin was approved by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). GlaxoSmithKline is one of the manufacturers of Augmentin.
Mode of action of Augmentin
Clavulanic acid is produced by “Streptomyces clavuligerus” and is a β-lactamase inhibitor. Augmentin is effective against the infections caused by gram-negative bacteria because Clavulanic acid present in it inhibits staphylococcal β-lactamases and many other β-lactamases produced by Gram-negative organisms. Clavulanic acid also helps in overcoming the effect of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Amoxicillin is also the part of Augmentin and is a penicillin antibiotic. It kills bacteria by blocking the production of compounds needed by bacteria to build their cell wall.
Available forms of Augmentin
- Extra-strength formulation (Augmentin ES)
- Extended-release formula (Augmentin XR)
Uses of Augmentin
Generally, Augmentin is taken orally in the form of pills for adults and in the form of liquid for children.
It can be used to treat the following conditions:
- It works against many types of gram-negative bacteria.
- It is used to treat ear infections, which are resistant to amoxicillin alone.
- It can treat sore throats and certain types of eye infections.
- Bronchitis and tonsillitis caused by bacteria can also be treated using Augmentin
- Urinary tract and skin infections are also treated by its use.
According to a study held in the International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Augmentin can also treat sinusitis, gastritis and Lyme disease.
Side Effects of Augmentin
Augmentin can cause several types of side effects which are the following:
The common side effects
The Common side effects associated with Augmentin are the following:
- Swelling of mouth
- Blackish tongue
- Thrush, which is the oral form of candida infection
The Severe side effects
The severe side effects of Augmentin are the following:
Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD)
Augmentin can cause Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD)which is a severe form of diarrhea. Its symptoms are watery stool with an unusually foul smell. Prolonged and untreated condition of CDAD can cause severe dehydration and can also lead to sepsis.
During dehydration, normal levels of sodium and potassium are disturbed which can lead to the following conditions:
- Weakness or fatigue
- Irregular heartbeats
The use of Augmentin can cause a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called “ anaphylaxis”. Anaphylaxis can cause the following symptoms:
- Stomach discomfort
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Skin rashes and itching
- Swelling of the gums, tongue or throat
- Trouble in breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing, the whistling sound produced during breathing
Augmentin should not be used by people who are allergic to any of its constituent.
The use of Augmentin should also be avoided if the person had an allergic reaction to other penicillin antibiotics.
Severe reactions of Augmentin can cause few potentially life-threatening skin diseases. It can also cause irritation or inflammation of skin followed by a red or purple skin rash. It also causes blistering and peeling.
Blood or bone marrow disorders
Augmentin can also cause a disorder of blood or bone marrow. It can cause the lowering of red blood cells or white blood cells.
Augmentin can also lead to seizure in rare conditions.
The use of Augmentin can cause jaundice by affecting the functioning of the liver.
The less common side effects
Less common side effects caused by Augmentin are the following:
- skin rashes
- itching of the genital area
- Thick, whitish vaginal discharge with mild odor
- Painful sexual intercourse
The Rare side effects
- Swelling of lower legs
- Low of the frequency of urination
- Bloody urine
The use of Augmentin can cause some severe reaction to people suffering from other diseases. The people suffering from the following conditions should consult a doctor before the use of Augmentin:
- liver problems
- Severe kidney problems, like kidney failure
- Acute leukemia
Is Augmentin safe for Pregnant women?
The use of Augmentin is generally considered safe for pregnant women and its unborn baby. However, it should be used after the consultation of the doctor. To avoid complications, pregnant or breastfeeding women should be careful about its use.
Studies also suggest that usual therapeutic doses of Augmentin don’t harm pregnant women. High can be problematic.
Is Augmentin safe during birth control program?
The use of Augmentin during pregnancy can lower the normal level of estrogen in the body.
In this way, Augmentin also lowers the effect of birth control pills.
During the use of oral contraceptives along with Augmentin, the back-up form of contraception should be used to avoid the chances of unwanted pregnancies. These backup contraceptives should be used for a few weeks.
Is Augmentin safe during breastfeeding?
Generally, Augmentin is considered safe during breastfeeding but it can be passed to the infant through breast milk. During breastfeeding, Amoxicillin and clavulanate pass to the baby through breast milk and can harm the baby. Therefore, it should be used after the consultation of the doctor only.
Overdosing of Augmentin
Overdosing of Augmentin can cause the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- A decrease in the amount of urine produced in the body
- Cloudy urine
Some side effects caused by Augmentin do not need medical attention. Some of these side effects can also go away with time, as the body adjusts to the medicine. Health professionals can also guide the prevention or reduction of the side effects caused by Augmentin.
Augmentin Interactions with other drugs
Augmentin is a high potency antibiotic and its use along with other drugs can cause problems. He/she should avoid the use of Augmentin with the following drugs:
- Vivotif, the live oral typhoid vaccine
- Chloroquine (Aralen)
- Magnesium citrate
- Tetracycline antibiotics, like tetracycline or doxycycline
- Omeprazole, which is a proton pump inhibitor
- Mycophenolate mofetil
Augmentin is an effective antibiotic and is safe to be used at recommended doses. The general use of Augmentin can cause common to severe side effects, which various individual to individual. High dose of Augmentin can be dangerous, therefore it should be used under the recommended doses only.