Augmentin injection, tablets, suspension and Augmentin-duo suspension all contain the active ingredients amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, which together are known as co-amoxiclav. (NB. Co-amoxiclav is also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.) Amoxicillin is a penicillin-type antibiotic, and clavulanic acid is a medicine that prevents bacteria from inactivating the amoxicillin. Co-amoxiclav is used to treat infections caused by bacteria.
Amoxicillin works by interfering with the ability of bacteria to form cell walls. The cell walls of bacteria are vital for their survival. They keep unwanted substances from entering their cells and stop the contents of their cells from leaking out. Amoxicillin impairs the bonds that hold the bacterial cell wall together. This allows holes to appear in the cell walls and kills the bacteria.
Certain bacteria are resistant to penicillin-type antibiotics, because they have developed the ability to produce defensive chemicals called beta-lactamases. These interfere with the structure of penicillin-type antibiotics and stop them from working.
Clavulanic acid is a type of medicine known as a beta-lactamase inhibitor. It is included in this medicine because it inhibits the action of the beta-lactamases produced by certain bacteria. It prevents these bacteria from inactivating the amoxicillin, and leaves the bacteria susceptible to attack. Clavulanic acid therefore increases the range of bacteria that amoxicillin can kill.
Co-amoxiclav is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that kills a wide variety of bacteria that cause a wide variety of commonly-occuring infections. It is usually reserved for treating infections caused by bacteria that are resistant to amoxicillin.
To make sure the bacteria causing an infection are susceptible to co-amoxiclav, your doctor may take a tissue sample, for example a swab from the throat or skin, or a urine or blood sample.
Co-amoxiclav injection is used to treat more serious infections, or in cases where the medicine can't be taken by mouth. It may also given to prevent infection following surgery, particularly gastrointestinal, pelvic, major head and neck surgery and after limb amputation. The injection is given by injection or infusion (drip) into a vein.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
Prolonged treatment with antibiotics can sometimes cause overgrowth of other organisms that are not susceptible to the antibiotic, for example fungi or yeasts such as Candida. This may sometimes cause infections such as thrush. Tell your doctor if you think you have developed a new infection during or after taking this antibiotic.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer. For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while taking this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.
In the past, women using hormonal contraception such as the pill or patch would be advised to use an extra method of contraception (eg condoms) while taking an antibiotic like this one and for seven days after finishing the course. However, this advice has now changed. You no longer need to use an extra method of contraception with the pill, patch or vaginal ring while you take a course of antibiotics. This change in advice comes because to date there is no evidence to prove that antibiotics (other than rifampicin or rifabutin) affect these contraceptives. This is the latest guidance from the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare.
However, if you are taking the contraceptive pill and experience vomiting or diarrhoea as a result of taking this antibiotic, you should follow the instructions for vomiting and diarrhoea described in the leaflet provided with your pills.
Amoxicillin may rarely alter the anti-blood-clotting effects of anticoagulant medicines such as warfarin. Your doctor may wish to monitor your blood clotting time (INR) more frequently while you are taking both medicines.
Amoxicillin may decrease the removal of the medicine methotrexate from the body, which could increase the risk of its side effects. If you are taking methotrexate your doctor may want you to have extra check-ups and blood tests while you are taking a course of this antibiotic.
Oral typhoid vaccine (Vivotif) should not be taken until at least three days after you have finished a course of this antibiotic, because the antibiotic could make the vaccine less effective.
There may be an increased risk of experiencing a rash as a side effect of this medicine if you are also taking allopurinol.
Probenecid increases the blood level of amoxicillin, and people taking probenecid may be prescribed a lower dose of this medicine.
Co-amoxiclav tablets, suspension and injection are also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.