Augmentin: Uses & Side Effects

Augmentin is an antibiotic, which is used to treat bacterial infections like pneumonia and sinus infection. It belongs to the penicillin group of medicines.

The three major forms of Augmentin available in the market are:

  • Extended-release tablet
  • Immediate-release tablet
  • Liquid suspension

The major compositions of Augmentin are two drugs – amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, which make it more effective on bacterial infections than any other antibiotic that contains amoxicillin only.

These infections include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Skin infections
  • Ear infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sinus infections

Amoxicillin/clavulanate potassium is the generic name of Augmentin.

Augmentin Uses

Augmentin is a commonly available antibiotic drug, which is widely used for the treatment of bacterial infections in children and adults. These infections can be related to the urinary tract, ear, sinus, skin, and respiratory tract.

While not all of these uses of Augmentin are not approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and these are off-label.

Here are some common uses of Augmentin and Augmentin XR.

  • Augmentin for UTI or Urinary Tract Infections

The use of Augmentin for the treatment of UTI is approved by FDA. However, it is not the first and foremost choice when it comes to the treatment of UTI, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).

Augmentin is recommended only when other preferred medications like trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole fail to treat the infection.

  • Augmentin for Ear Infections

The use of Augmentin for the treatment of ear infection is approved by the FDA and is referred to as Otitis Media in both children and adults. However, Augmentin is not the first choice when it comes to the treatment of ear infection in children, according to the America Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

It is recommended and used only for children who have already been treated with other preferred antibiotic medications like amoxicillin. Augmentin can also be used for the treatment of children who have already had treatment for ear infections, which amoxicillin failed to effectively treat.

  • Augmentin for Sinus Infections

The use of Augmentin for the treatment of sinus infection or sinusitis is approved by the FDA and in both children and adults. In fact, Augmentin is the first choice as medication when it comes to the treatment of sinusitis.

  • Augmentin for Skin Infections

The most common type of skin infection is Cellulitis. The use of Augmentin for the treatment of some types of skin infections like Cellulitis, which is caused by bacteria, is approved by the FDA.  However, it is not the first choice when it comes to the treatment of Cellulitis.

  • Augmentin for Respiratory Tract

The use of Augmentin for the treatment of certain types of respiratory infections, including the one that infects bronchitis is approved by the FDA.

Bronchitis is often infected by bacteria or virus and antibiotics fail to treat the infection. Based on your medical condition, i.e. you have a really bad cough that does not go away for a long time, your doctor suspects that it could be a bacterial infection. In such a case, Augmentin is highly recommended to treat the respiratory tract infection.

  • Augmentin for Strep

The use of Augmentin for the treatment of strep throat is not approved by the FDA. This infection is also called streptococcus pharyngitis. Favoring the FDA, the Infectious Diseases Society of America also does not recommend Augmenting for the treatment of even a single case of strep throat.

  • Augmentin for Diverticulitis

The use of Augmentin for the treatment of diverticulitis is not approved by the FDA. While Augmentis is used as an off-label antibiotic for this treatment, Augmentin XR is usually preferred as the second option as an antibiotic for diverticulitis treatment.

  • Augmentin for Acne

In order to treat Acne and other skin-related allergies, antibiotics are often used. As it is one of the off-label uses of Augmentin, it usually is not the first and preferred antibiotic for Acne treatment.

Augmentin Side Effects

Augmentin, like other medications, can have some side-effects ranging from mild to serious. Here is a list of some commonly observed side-effects of Augmentin. However, this list does not contain all of them.

  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Vaginitis (typically caused by yeast infection)

Based on how you care for yourself and how religiously follow your doctor’s directions, these side-effects may go away from within a few days to a couple of weeks.

However, if you don’t see some side-effects of Augmentin, you must speak to your doctor about it. Side-effects in your case could be severe.

Serious Side Effects of Augmentin

As soon as you experience any type of serious side-effects, you should seek medical help. For this, you can directly call your doctor or any or your immediately available family member and talk about the side-effects.

The following is a list of some serious side-effects:

  • Liver problem

In some rare cases of senior citizens who have been taking Augmentin, a liver problem was diagnosed. The problem usually goes away as soon as the person stops taking the medication. If your side effects persist, do seek medical help. These can be the symptoms:

  • Stomach pain
  • Yellow skin and whites of your eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Intestinal infection

This is another rare case but people who have been taking Augmentin have got an intestinal infection. The following symptoms are common in such cases:

  • Stomach pain or cramping
  • Blood in your stool
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Allergic reaction

Those who take Augmentin may experience serious allergic reactions, especially in people who are allergic to penicillin. Taking this medicine should be immediately stopped if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Hives
  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe skin rashes
  • Swelling of tongue, lips or throat

Well, there could be many more types of serious side-effects of Augmentin, based on your age and current health condition. Therefore, it is highly recommended to keep in touch with your doctor and always take Augmentin subject to the directions given by the doctor or a pharmacist.

For any unusual symptom or side-effect, immediately seek medical help for a high probability of successful treatment.

Guest Author – Hemant Kumar Gupta