Augmentin (Amoxicillin/clavulanate potassium)
What is Augmentin?
Augmentin contains two drugs: amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. This combination makes Augmentin work against more types of bacteria than antibiotics that contain amoxicillin alone.
Augmentin is effective for treating infections caused by many different types of bacteria. These include bacteria that cause:
Augmentin comes in three forms, all of which are taken by mouth:
- immediate-release tablet
- extended-release tablet
- liquid suspension
Augmentin generic name
Augmentin is available in a generic form. The generic name of Augmentin is amoxicillin/clavulanate potassium.
Generic drugs are often less expensive than the brand-name version. In some cases, the brand-name drug and the generic version may be available in different forms and strengths. The generic version of this drug is available in the same forms as Augmentin, as well as in a chewable tablet.
The Augmentin dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:
- the type and severity of the condition you're using Augmentin to treat
- your age
- the form of Augmentin you take
- other medical conditions you may have
The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to suit your needs.
Forms and strengths
The three forms of Augmentin come in different strengths:
- immediate-release tablet: 250 mg/125 mg, 500 mg/125 mg, 875 mg/125 mg
- extended-release tablet: 1,000 mg/62.5 mg
- liquid suspension: 125 mg/31.25 mg per 5 mL, 250 mg/62.5 mg per 5 mL
For the strengths listed above, the first number is the amoxicillin amount and the second number is the clavulanic acid amount. The ratio of drug to drug is different for each strength, so one strength can't be substituted for another.
Dosage for urinary tract infections
- Typical dosage for mild-to-moderate infections: One 500-mg tablet every 12 hours, or one 250-mg tablet every 8 hours.
- Typical dosage for severe infections: One 875-mg tablet every 12 hours, or one 500-mg tablet every 8 hours.
- Treatment length: Usually three to seven days.
Dosage for sinus infection
- Typical dosage: One 875-mg tablet every 12 hours, or one 500-mg tablet every 8 hours.
- Treatment length: Usually five to seven days.
- Typical dosage: Two tablets every 12 hours for 10 days.
Dosage for skin infections such as impetigo
- Typical dosage: One 500-mg or 875-mg tablet every 12 hours, or one 250-mg or 500-mg tablet every 8 hours.
- Treatment length: Usually seven days.
Dosage for ear infections
- Typical dosage: One 875-mg tablet every 12 hours, or one 500-mg tablet every 8 hours.
- Treatment length: Usually 10 days.
Dosage for respiratory infections such as pneumonia
- Typical dosage: One 875-mg tablet every 12 hours, or one 500-mg tablet every 8 hours for 7 to 10 days.
- Typical dosage: Two tablets every 12 hours for 7 to 10 days.
Augmentin suspension for adults
The Augmentin liquid suspension form may be used instead of the tablet for adults who have trouble swallowing pills. The suspension comes in different concentrations. Your pharmacist will determine the suspension to use and the amount to take based on your doctor's prescription.
The liquid suspension form of Augmentin is typically used for children. The dosage depends on the condition being treated, its severity, and the age or weight of the child.
Your pharmacist will determine the concentration of the suspension and the amount your child should take based on their doctor's prescription.
For infants younger than 3 months old
- Typical dosage: 30 mg/kg/day (based on the amoxicillin component of Augmentin). This amount is divided and given every 12 hours.
- Typical form used: The 125-mg/5-mL suspension.
For children 3 months of age and older who weigh less than 88 lbs (40 kg)
- For less severe infections:
- Typical dosage: 25 mg/kg/day (based on the amoxicillin component of Augmentin), using the 200-mg/5-mL or 400-mg/5-mL suspension. This amount is divided and given every 12 hours.
- Alternative dosage: 20 mg/kg/day (based on the amoxicillin component of Augmentin), using the 125-mg/5-mL or 250-mg/5-mL suspension. This amount is divided and given every eight hours.
- For more severe infections or ear infections, sinus infections, or respiratory infections:
- Typical dosage: 45 mg/kg/day (based on the amoxicillin component of Augmentin), using the 200-mg/5-mL or 400-mg/5-mL suspension. This amount is divided and given every 12 hours.
- Alternative dosage: 40 mg/kg/day (based on the amoxicillin component of Augmentin), using the 125-mg/5-mL or 250-mg/5-mL suspension. This amount is divided and given every eight hours.
For children who weigh 88 lbs (40 kg) or more
- The adult dosage can be used.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. However, if it's just a few hours until your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next one on schedule.
Never try to catch up by taking two doses at a time. This can cause dangerous side effects.
Augmentin side effects
Augmentin can cause mild or serious side effects. The following list contains some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Augmentin. This list does not include all possible side effects.
For more information on the possible side effects of Augmentin, or for tips on how to deal with a troubling side effect, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
More common side effects
The more common side effects of Augmentin include:
These side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they're more severe or don't go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you're having a medical emergency.
Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:
- Liver problems. It's not common, but some people who take Augmentin can develop liver damage. This seems to be more common in seniors and those who take Augmentin for a long time. Usually these problems go away when the medication is stopped, but in other cases, they may be severe and require treatment. Tell your doctor if you develop symptoms of liver problems while taking Augmentin. Your doctor may do blood tests to check for liver damage. Symptoms can include:
- stomach pain
- yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
- Intestinal infection. Some people who take antibiotics, including Augmentin, can develop an intestinal infection called Clostridium difficile. Tell your doctor if you develop symptoms of this infection. Symptoms can include:
- severe diarrhea that doesn't go away
- stomach pain or cramping
- blood in your stool
- Allergic reaction. Serious allergic reactions can occur in some people who take Augmentin. This is more likely to happen in people with a penicillin allergy. You may not be able to take this medication again if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal. If you've had a reaction to this medication in the past, talk to your doctor before taking it again. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:
- severe skin rash
- swelling of the lips, tongue, throat
- trouble breathing
Many medications, including Augmentin, can cause rash in some people. This is a common side effect of Augmentin, which is a penicillin-type antibiotic. This class of antibiotics causes skin rash more often than most other kinds of antibiotics.
Rash occurs in about 3 percent of people who take Augmentin.
Raised, itchy, white, or red bumps that occur after the first couple doses of Augmentin may indicate an allergy to the medication. If this occurs, contact your doctor. If you have an allergic reaction, you may need to be treated with a different antibiotic.
Rashes that develop several days after you take the medication and appear as flat, red patches often indicate a different kind of rash that's not caused by an allergic reaction. These usually go away on their own after a few days.
Fatigue is not a common side effect of Augmentin. However, it's common for people who are fighting infections to feel fatigued, tired, or weak. If you become fatigued after starting Augmentin, or your symptoms are not improving, talk to your doctor.
Vaginal yeast infections can sometimes occur after treatment with antibiotics, including Augmentin. If you've never had a yeast infection before and think you might have one, see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.
Side effects in children
Children who take Augmentin can experience the same side effects as adults.
In addition to those side effects, children can experience tooth discoloration. Augmentin use can cause a brown, gray, or yellow staining of children's teeth. In most cases, brushing or dental cleaning can reduce or remove the discoloration.
Augmentin is commonly used in adults and children to treat infections of the urinary tract, respiratory tract, ear, sinuses, and skin. Some of these uses are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and some are off-label.
The following information describes some of the common uses of Augmentin and Augmentin XR.
Augmentin for urinary tract infection (UTI)
Augmentin is FDA-approved for treating UTI. According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Augmentin is not a first-choice antibiotic for UTI. It should be used when other medications such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole cannot be used.
Augmentin for sinus infection / sinusitis
Augmentin and Augmentin XR are FDA-approved for treating sinus infection in adults and children. Augmentin is considered a first-choice medication for this condition.
Augmentin for strep
Augmentin is not FDA-approved for treating strep throat, which is also known as streptococcus pharyngitis. In addition, the Infectious Diseases Society of America does not recommend Augmentin for treating most cases of strep throat.
Augmentin for pneumonia
Augmentin and Augmentin XR are FDA-approved for treating pneumonia. They're typically not first-choice antibiotics for pneumonia. However, they're often used in people with pneumonia who also have other medical conditions such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease, or heart disease.
When used to treat pneumonia, Augmentin and Augmentin XR are typically used in combination with other antibiotics.
Augmentin for ear infection
Augmentin is FDA-approved to treat ear infections, also known as otitis media, in children and adults.
However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, Augmentin is not usually the first-choice antibiotic for treating ear infections in children.
Augmentin is often reserved for children who have recently been treated with another antibiotic such as amoxicillin. It may also be reserved for those who have had previous ear infections that were not effectively treated by amoxicillin.
Augmentin for cellulitis
Cellulitis is a type of skin infection. Augmentin is FDA-approved to treat some types of skin infections, including cellulitis caused by certain bacteria. However, Augmentin is usually not the first-choice antibiotic for treating cellulitis.
Augmentin for bronchitis
Augmentin is approved to treat certain types of respiratory infections. In some cases, this can include bronchitis.
Bronchitis is often caused by a virus, so antibiotics are not usually effective in treating it. But if you have a cough that doesn't go away and your doctor suspects it's caused by a bacterial infection, they may consider treating you with antibiotics such as Augmentin.
Augmentin for acne
Antibiotics are sometimes used for treating certain types of acne. Although it may be used off-label for treating acne, Augmentin is not usually a first choice for this purpose.
Augmentin for diverticulitis
Augmentin is not FDA-approved for treating diverticulitis. However, it's used off-label to treat it. Augmentin XR is usually considered a second-choice antibiotic for diverticulitis.
Augmentin and alcohol
Drinking alcohol while taking Augmentin may increase your risk of certain side effects, or make your side effects worse.
Examples of side effects that might be more likely to occur or worsen with alcohol use include:
- stomach upset
- liver problems
Augmentin can interact with several other medications. It can also interact with certain foods.
Augmentin and other medications
Below is a list of medications that can interact with Augmentin. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Augmentin.
Different drug interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some can interfere with how well a drug works, while others can cause increased side effects.
Before taking Augmentin, be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.
If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Taking Augmentin with oral anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) might increase the effects of the anticoagulants. This could result in increased bleeding.
If you take an anticoagulant drug with Augmentin, your doctor may need to monitor your bleeding risk more often.
Taking Augmentin with allopurinol (Zyloprim, Aloprim) might increase your risk of developing a skin rash.
Some antibiotics, including Augmentin, might decrease how well oral contraceptives (such as the birth control pill) work. However, research on this interaction is inconsistent and controversial.
Until more is known about this potential interaction, consider using a backup method of contraception while taking Augmentin.
Augmentin and Tylenol
There is no known interaction between Augmentin and Tylenol (acetaminophen).
Augmentin and dairy
Milk and other dairy foods can interact with some antibiotics. However, they don't interact with Augmentin.
How to take Augmentin
Take Augmentin exactly according to your doctor's instructions. You might start to feel better before you finish your entire treatment. But even if you do feel better, don't stop taking Augmentin. In many cases, it's important to finish the entire treatment to ensure that the infection does not come back.
If you're feeling better and want to stop Augmentin early, be sure to ask your doctor if it's safe to do so.
Augmentin is taken two or three times daily. If you take it twice daily, spread out the doses so that they're roughly 12 hours apart. If you take it three times daily, spread out the doses so that they're roughly eight hours apart.
Augmentin XR is taken twice daily. Spread out the doses so that they're about 12 hours apart.
Taking Augmentin with food
You can take Augmentin on an empty stomach or with a meal. Taking it with a meal may reduce stomach upset and help your body absorb the drug better.
You should take Augmentin XR at the start of a meal. This increases the amount of medication your body absorbs and helps reduce stomach upset.
Can Augmentin be crushed?
Augmentin can be crushed. However, Augmentin XR should not be crushed. If either type of tablet is scored (has an indented line across it), it can be split in half.
If you have trouble swallowing pills, ask your doctor or pharmacist about taking Augmentin liquid suspension instead.
How does Augmentin work?
Augmentin is a penicillin-type antibiotic. It contains two components: amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. The clavulanic acid ingredient makes Augmentin effective against bacteria that amoxicillin or other penicillin drugs may not work against when they're taken by themselves.
Augmentin kills bacteria by attaching to proteins within the bacteria cell. This prevents the bacteria from building a cell wall, which results in the death of the bacteria.
Augmentin is considered a broad-spectrum antibiotic. This means it works against many different types of bacteria.
How long does it take to work?
Augmentin begins to work against bacterial infections within hours of when you take it. However, you may not notice improvement in your symptoms for a few days.
Augmentin and pregnancy
Augmentin has not been studied enough in pregnant women to know for sure what effects it could have. Studies in animals have not found any harm to the fetus when given to pregnant mothers. However, animal studies don't always predict the way humans would respond.
Augmentin should only be used during pregnancy if there's a clear need for its use.
Augmentin and breastfeeding
Augmentin is excreted in breast milk in small amounts. Although it's often considered safe to use during breastfeeding, it may lead to side effects in a child who is breastfed.
If you're breastfeeding your child, talk with your doctor before taking Augmentin.
Augmentin vs. amoxicillin
Augmentin and amoxicillin may be easily confused with each other, but they're not the same drug.
Is Augmentin amoxicillin?
No, they're different medications. Augmentin is a combination medication that contains amoxicillin in addition to another drug.
The other ingredient, which is called clavulanic acid, helps the amoxicillin in Augmentin work against bacteria that are normally resistant to amoxicillin when it's used alone. (Resistant bacteria don't respond to treatment with a certain antibiotic.)
Augmentin and amoxicillin are often used to treat similar types of infections. If your doctor suspects that your infection may be resistant to amoxicillin alone, they may recommend Augmentin instead.
Is amoxicillin or Augmentin stronger?
Because it contains amoxicillin as well as clavulanic acid, Augmentin works against more types of bacteria than amoxicillin alone. In this regard, it could be considered stronger than amoxicillin.
Augmentin for dogs
Veterinarians sometimes prescribe Augmentin to treat infections in dogs and cats. The form approved for animals is called Clavamox. It's commonly used for skin infections and gum disease in animals, but may also be used for other kinds of infections.
If you think your dog or cat has an infection, see your veterinarian for an evaluation and treatment. Different doses of this drug are used for animals than for humans, so don't try to treat your pet with a human prescription of Augmentin.
If your dog or cat eats your prescription Augmentin, call your vet right away.
Common questions about Augmentin
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Augmentin.
Is Augmentin a type of penicillin?
Yes, Augmentin is an antibiotic in the class of penicillins. It's called a broad-spectrum penicillin. This is because it works against many different types of bacteria, including some that are normally resistant to penicillin drugs.
How long does Augmentin take to work?
Augmentin starts working within a few hours of when you take it. However, your symptoms may not start to improve for a few days after that.
Can Augmentin make you tired?
Augmentin doesn't typically make you feel tired or drowsy. But if your body is fighting an infection, you're more likely to feel weak or tired.
If you're concerned about how tired you feel while you take Augmentin, talk to your doctor.
If I get diarrhea when I take Augmentin, does that mean I'm allergic to it?
Diarrhea and stomach upset are common side effects of Augmentin. If you experience them, it doesn't mean you have an allergy to the medication.
However, if you have severe diarrhea or diarrhea that doesn't go away, you should talk to your doctor.
There are other antibiotics that are often used to treat the same conditions as Augmentin. Some may be better suited for you than others.
The best choice of antibiotic may depend on your age, the type and severity of your infection, previous treatments you've used, and patterns of bacterial resistance in your area.
To learn more about other medications that may work well for you, talk to your doctor.
Alternatives for UTI
Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat urinary tract infection (UTI) include:
- nitrofurantoin (Macrobid, Macrodantin)
- trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Sulfatrim)
- ciprofloxacin (Cipro, others)
- levofloxacin (Levaquin)
Alternatives for sinus infections
Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat sinus infections include:
- doxycycline (Acticlate, Doryx, Doryx MPC, Vibramycin)
- levofloxacin (Levaquin)
- moxifloxacin (Avelox)
Alternatives for skin infections
Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat skin infections include:
- doxycycline (Acticlate, Doryx, Doryx MPC, Vibramycin)
- cephalexin (Keflex)
- penicillin V
- clindamycin (Cleocin)
Alternatives for ear infections
Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat ear infections include:
- cefuroxime (Ceftin)
Alternatives for pneumonia
Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat pneumonia include:
- azithromycin (Zithromax)
- clarithromycin (Biaxin)
- erythromycin (Ery-Tab)
- doxycycline (Acticlate, Doryx, Doryx MPC)
- levofloxacin (Levaquin)
- moxifloxacin (Avelox)
- cefuroxime (Ceftin)
Taking too much of this medication can increase your risk of severe side effects.
Symptoms of an overdose of Augmentin can include:
- stomach pain
- kidney damage or failure
What to do in case of overdose
If you think you or your child has taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or seek guidance from the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222 or through their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.
Treatment of overdose will depend on the symptoms you have. A doctor may do tests to check for problems with your heart, liver, or kidneys, or breathing issues. They may also check your oxygen levels. In some cases, they may administer intravenous (IV) fluids.
When Augmentin is dispensed from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically one year from the date the medication was dispensed.
The purpose of such expiration dates is to guarantee the effectiveness of the medication during this time.
The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. However, an FDA study showed that many medications may still be good beyond the expiration date listed on the bottle.
How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where the medication is stored.
Augmentin pills should be stored at room temperature in a tightly sealed and light-resistant container. The dry powder for the liquid suspension should also be stored at room temperature. The mixed liquid suspension should be refrigerated. It's good for 10 days in the refrigerator.
If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk to your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.
Warnings for Augmentin
Before taking Augmentin, talk with your doctor about any medical conditions you have. Augmentin may not be a good choice for you if you have certain medical conditions.
These conditions include:
- Allergies to antibiotics. If you've had an allergic reaction to penicillin antibiotics or cephalosporin antibiotics, you're more likely to have an allergic reaction to Augmentin. If you've had an allergic reaction to any antibiotic in the past, be sure to tell your doctor before you take Augmentin.
- Liver disease. It's not common, but some people who take Augmentin can develop liver damage. This seems to be more common in those who take Augmentin for a long period of time. If you already have liver disease, your doctor may decide that you should not take Augmentin. Or, they may do blood tests to check your liver function while you take Augmentin.
- Mononucleosis. Many people who have mononucleosis develop a skin rash after taking Augmentin. If you have mononucleosis, you should not take Augmentin.
- Kidney disease. If you have severe kidney disease, you should not take Augmentin XR. However, you may be able to take Augmentin, but your doctor may prescribe it at a lower dosage.
Professional information for Augmentin
The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.
Mechanism of action
Augmentin contains amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. Amoxicillin is a beta-lactam antibiotic that has bactericidal activity against Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria.
Beta-lactamase-producing bacteria are resistant to amoxicillin. Clavulanic acid is also a beta-lactam that can inactivate some forms of beta-lactamase.
The combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid extends the spectrum of Augmentin against bacteria that are normally resistant to amoxicillin alone.
Pharmacokinetics and metabolism
The oral bioavailability of the amoxicillin component of Augmentin is about 74 percent to 92 percent. The peak blood level of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid occurs between one and two-and-a-half hours after oral intake.
The half-life of the amoxicillin component is about 1 hour and 20 minutes, and about 1 hour for clavulanic acid.
Augmentin and Augmentin XR are contraindicated in people with a history of serious hypersensitivity reactions to amoxicillin, clavulanic acid, penicillin, or cephalosporin antibiotics.
They're also contraindicated in people with a history of cholestatic jaundice or liver dysfunction following treatment with Augmentin.
In addition, Augmentin XR is contraindicated in people with severe kidney disease with a creatinine clearance of less than 30 mL/minute.
Augmentin tablets or powder and Augmentin XR should be stored in the original container at temperatures of 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) or less. Reconstituted Augmentin suspensions should be stored in a refrigerator and discarded after 10 days.