Augmentin Side Effects
Augmentin is a penicillin-based antibiotic that is used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections within the body. While it has been used with great success in doing so, patients should be aware of the potential for side effects. The most serious of these include severe allergic reactions, breathing problems and unusual bleeding or bruising.
Common Augmentin Side Effects
The most common side effects of Augmentin are as follows:
- Vaginal yeast infection
- White patches in the mouth or throat
- Skin rash and itching
- Mild headache
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Mild diarrhea, gas and stomach pain
Although these side effects of Augmentin are relatively mild and should not be a cause for immediate concern, any of these that persist or become extremely bothersome should be reported to a physician. Like with many medications, these side effects can be avoided by taking the lowest dose of the medication that is effective against the illness for the shortest amount of time possible.
Vaginal yeast infections and white patches in the mouth or throat—known as thrush—can sometimes be prevented by taking a course of probiotics while taking Amoxicillin. Talk with your doctor to discuss your treatment options.
Serious Augmentin Side Effects
The following side effects associated with Augmentin (Amoxicillin/Clavulanic) are serious and should be reported to a physician immediately:
- Extremely watery or bloody diarrhea
- Pale or yellow skin
- Dark colored urine accompanied by fever, weakness or confusion
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Muscle weakness and pain along with severe tingling, numbness, skin rash or bruising
- Agitation, unusual aggressive behavior, convulsions and confusion
- Nausea, loss of appetite, pain in the upper stomach, clay-colored stool, and jaundice
If patients experience any of these side effects of Augmentin, they should immediately stop taking the medication and consult with a physician. Signs of a severe allergic reaction include hives, difficulty breathing, severe skin rash, blistering and peeling. Anyone who experiences an allergic reaction to Augmentin should seek immediate medical help by visiting an emergency room or calling paramedics.
Taking Augmentin with any of the following medications may cause an increased likelihood of serious side effects and it should therefore be avoided:
- Allopurinol (Zyloprim)
- Probenecid (Benemid)
- Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantovin)
- Other antibiotics like Amoxicillin
In order to prevent this, patients should always tell their doctors and pharmacists about any other medications they are taking, including over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements and vitamins.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
The Food and Drug Administration—or FDA—has assigned Augmentin to the pregnancy category B based upon findings in animal studies. While these studies failed to prove that significant harm came as a result of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers taking Augmentin, there is a concern that the use of Augmentin during pregnancy may result in Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) in newborn infants in a very few cases. In order to reduce this risk, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should only take Augmentin if the benefits to the mother clearly outweigh the risks to the fetus or infant.
Augmentin can be used in children safely and the dosage is based upon the child’s weight and the type and severity of the condition being treated. Children may be prescribed an Augmentin oral suspension that can be flavored according to the child’s preferences, but Augmentin chewable tablets are also available.
The side effects of Augmentin in children are the same as those in adults, so parents and caregivers should always keep a watchful eye on children who are prescribed the medication. There have been no reports of an increased incidence of Augmentin side effects in children but children may be more prone to diarrhea, vaginal yeast infections and thrush.
Augmentin and Oral Contraceptives
Augmentin and other antibiotics like it can cause a significant decrease in the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.
This is because the drug does not discriminate against the bacteria it kills; it rids the body of good bacteria that is needed for healthy and balanced digestive tract and causes diarrhea. On the same note, the medication also kills the bacteria that are needed for the proper processing of the synthetic estrogens found in many oral contraceptives. Women who are taking oral contraceptives should use a backup method during their course of treatment and for at least seven days after the course of treatment has been completed in order to counteract these side effects.
Augmentin and Food
There have been some concerns among patients when it comes to taking Augmentin and other antibiotics with dairy products and grapefruit juice. While it is true that the calcium found in dairy products may reduce the amount of the antibiotic that is absorbed in some cases, this is not true for Augmentin. In fact, it is sometimes best for patients to take the drug with milk in order to avoid stomach upset. The only foods that can cause side effects of Augmentin are those that are extremely high in acid, including tomato products and citrusy foods.
Augmentin is a commonly prescribed medication that can eradicate bacterial infections when used as prescribed. Patients should be aware of Augmentin side effects and know what to do to reduce them, as well as how to handle them if they do present themselves.