Amoxicillin is an antibiotic of the penicillin family. It is bactericidal, that is, it destroys microbes. It is therefore used to treat a large number of infections caused by germs sensitive to this antibiotic. Among the most frequent infections that can be treated with amoxicillin are some tonsillitis, acute otitis media, sinusitis, pneumonias, urine infections, skin infections and dental infections. It is also used in combination with other drugs in the treatment to eradicate Helicobacter pylori from the stomach. Why is it often accompanied by clavulanic acid?
Bacteria, being in frequent contact with antibiotics, create mechanisms to defend themselves against them, this is what we know as resistance. There are different types of resistance mechanisms. Some microbes are capable of producing enzymes called beta-lactamases that render amoxicillin ineffective. When we physicians suspect that some of these infections may be caused by this type of germs, we add clavulanic acid to the amoxicillin prescription, which inactivates these beta-lactamases so that amoxicillin becomes effective again.
If clavulanic acid is added to amoxicillin to treat infections caused by other microbes that do not produce beta-lactamases, it does not improve the action of amoxicillin and, on the contrary, causes an increase in side effects such as fungal infections in the mouth or vagina. What mistakes do we most frequently make when taking amoxicillin?
The most frequent mistakes are taking amoxicillin for fewer days than indicated by the doctor, generally because "you are already feeling well", and taking it with an interval of hours between doses different from that prescribed by the doctor. The most common interval is every 8 hours. Even if it is 3 times a day, it is difficult to comply with the interval if the intake coincides with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Another common mistake is to take it with a "stomach protector" such as omeprazole, since it is not necessary. When and how should it be taken?
Your doctor will indicate an interval of hours between each dose and for a certain number of days. Take it like this. With amoxicillin, the most frequent interval is every 8 hours, but in some cases your doctor may tell you to take it every 12 hours. The duration is different according to the type of infection, and although there is a tendency for the number of days required to be less and less, it is important that you never shorten it on your own.
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