What Does Augmentin Treat?

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Augmentin, or amoxicillin with clavulanic acid, is a drug used to treat infection. In the United States, it is available by prescription and is marketed as both brand (Augmentin, Augmentin ES, Augmentin ER) and generic products. Amoxicillin is a derivative of penicillin, whose common use has led to bacterial resistance. The addition of clavulanic acid to amoxicillin helps combat this resistance in certain bacterial strains.

Place in Therapy

  • Augmentin exerts coverage over bacterial strains responsible for infections of the upper and lower respiratory tracts, skin and urinary tract. Susceptible organisms include Streptococcus, the class of organisms responsible for strep throat, and Staphylococcus, the pathogen involved in certain skin and tissue infections. Augmentin also has activity against Haemophilus, the causative agent of some ear infections and certain types of meningitis; Escherichia coli, the organism commonly associated with urinary tract infections; and Neisseria, a common sexually transmitted pathogen.

How Supplied

  • Augmentin is available in doses ranging from 125 mg to 875 mg. Dosage forms include immediate and extended-release tablets, chewable tablets and powder for oral suspension.

Dosing, Storage and Stability

  • Adult dosing is guided by kidney function and type of infection. Pediatric doses are usually based on the weight of the child and type of infection. Average length of therapy is 10 days but may range from 7 to 14 days depending on use. Augmentin tablets should be stored in the original container away from heat and moisture at room temperature. Oral suspension should be refrigerated, shaken well before administration and discarded after 10 days. All dosage forms should be kept out of reach of children or pets.

Side Effects

  • Patients prescribed Augmentin may experience stomach upset in the form of diarrhea, nausea or vomiting. Taking Augmentin with food may decrease the instance of gastric distress. Other less common effects include mild rash or itching, vaginal yeast infection and reduced effectiveness of oral contraceptive agents. As with any medication, allergy is a consideration. Patients with symptoms of allergic reaction, including breathing or swallowing difficulty, itching, rash or swelling, should seek urgent medical attention.

Considerations

  • Because the clavulanic acid content varies between formulations, doubling a lower dose, such as 250 mg, will not be equivalent to a higher dose, such as 500 mg. Patients should finish the entire course of antibiotic therapy as prescribed by the physician unless otherwise directed.

References

  • Drug Information Handbook, Fifteenth Edition; Charles Lacy; 2009
  • The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy, Thirty-ninth Edition; David N. Gilbert, et al.; 2009
  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Michael Hashizume
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