Also known as Penicillin V, phenoxymethylpenicillin potassium is a type of antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections. Penicillin V has some advantages over other types of penicillin due to its potassium salt component, which makes the drug less vulnerable to breaking down in your stomach. In Australia and New Zealand, phenoxymethylpenicillin potassium is available under the brand name Cilicaine VK. Despite its effectiveness, Cilicaine VK is not for everyone as it presents several risks for side effects and complications in some patients.
Common Side Effects
The most common side effects of Cilicaine VK are not normally serious in nature and pose little discomfort. Many patients taking Cilicaine VK experience gastrointestinal side effects, including nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea and anal itching. Dermatological side effects are also common, such as itchy skin rash and a black, hairy appearance of the tongue. Also, many patients using Cilicaine VK report shortness of breath.
Though rare, Cilicaine VK has the potential to cause allergic reactions in some patients. Often, these reactions are mild, marked by itching around the mouth accompanied my patches of skin hives. Infrequently, these allergies develop into a more serious hypersensitivity reaction known as anaphylaxis. When anaphylaxis occurs, your immune system identifies Cilicaine VK as a threat and creates antibodies to combat against the drug. This results in a number of symptoms, including rapid heartbeat and wheezing. If left untreated, there is a risk of anaphylactic shock, which is life-threatening. If you experience any signs of an allergic reaction at any point while using Cilicaine VK, seek prompt emergency medical care.
In addition to minor side effects and the risk of allergic reactions, Cilicaine VK has the potential to cause serious medical complications. These risks occur most frequently with prolonged usage of Cilicaine VK at high dosages. Some patients develop a shortage of blood platelets or thrombocytopenia while undergoing treatment with the drug, increasing the risk of developing bleeding inside the skull. Anemia or a shortage of oxygen-laden red blood cells is also possible, posing a risk for heart problems, severe fatigue and nerve damage. In some cases, patients experience a drop in disease-fighting white blood cell levels or leukopenia, making them susceptible to infections. Inflammation or damage to your kidneys is also possible while taking Cilicaine VK.
There are some medications which produce unwanted side effects when used in conjunction with Cilicaine VK. For example, certain seizure medications, antithrydoid medications, estrogen and methotrexate all have the potential to cause liver damage when taken with Penicillin V. Use of Cilicaine VK with diuretics or lisinopril increases incidences of side effects. When combined with blood thinners like warfarin, Cilicaine VK increases your risk of experiencing uncontrollable bleeding during surgery or following an injury. In addition, use of Cilicaine VK often decreases the effectiveness of oral contraceptives, raising the risk of unwanted pregnancy.
Due to the risk of infants developing allergic reactions, doctors do not typically prescribe Cilicaine VK for nursing mothers. Because Cilicaine contains a potassium salt, you may not be a candidate for the drug if you are on a low-sodium diet. If you have a history of cystic fibrosis, congestive heart failure, hypertension, colitis, problems related to bleeding or disease of your kidneys or liver, your doctor is not likely to recommend Cilicaine VK for you due to its potential side effects. Patients with mononucleosis experience an increased chance of skin rash when taking Penicillin V. If you have previously experienced an allergic reaction to penicillin or a drug derived from penicillin, you should not take Cilicaine VK.