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Allergic Reaction to Amoxicillin

The side effects of amoxicillin can range from allergic reactions to gastrointestinal problems, fever, headaches, confusion, and seizures. The reaction to this medication is more common in individuals who are allergic to penicillin drugs, or have asthma and other allergies.
Chandramita Bora
Last Updated: Jan 25, 2018
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Amoxicillin is an antibiotic that belongs to the penicillin group of drugs. It is mainly used for treating ear infection, pneumonia, bladder infection, gonorrhea, etc., that are caused by bacteria. Like any other medication, drugs of the penicillin group, including amoxicillin, can produce some adverse effects in certain individuals. These side effects can be of a non-allergic as well as allergic nature. Both children and adults can experience an allergic reaction to amoxicillin.
Symptoms of an Allergy Caused by Amoxicillin
Some individuals are likely to experience strong allergic reactions to this drug. Usually, individuals who have initially experienced a hypersensitivity to penicillin, as well as those with allergies like asthma, urticaria and hay fever, are highly prone to develop this particular reaction.
  • Usually, such allergic reactions manifest in the form of skin rash, itching, urticaria or hives, and unexplained swelling of the body, especially swelling of the face, throat, lips and tongue, and asphyxiation too.
  • Body rash may not always be associated with allergic reactions. Such rash usually develops on the trunk, and then spreads to other areas of the body, similar to measles.
  • However, it is usually not possible to differentiate skin rash which is non-allergic from the one caused by an allergic reaction.
  • Therefore, it is advisable to immediately visit a physician on observing skin rash and any of the other symptoms of allergic reaction.
  • It can occur abruptly and with great intensity, or start several days after administering the medication too.
  • Rarely, such an allergic reaction can transition into a potentially life-threatening condition, known as 'anaphylaxis'.
Treatment Options
  • On experiencing any of the symptoms of an allergic reaction, the intake of amoxicillin should be immediately discontinued, and a physician should be consulted at the earliest.
  • Generally, mild cases of allergic reaction can be treated with antihistamines. But severe cases would require administering epinephrine injections.
  • However, people should not try to treat severe allergic reactions on their own, and avoid self-medication at all costs. They should strictly follow the advice given by the physician regarding the medication.
  • People who earlier had an episode of allergic reaction to penicillin or cephalosporins, as well as those with urticaria, asthma, and other such allergies are prone to develop an allergic reaction to this medication.
  • Amoxicillin shouldn't be taken without a proper discussion with the physician. People should also disclose details about other health conditions like liver and kidney diseases, and bleeding disorders.
  • Amoxicillin can interact with certain drugs including probenecid, methotrexate, clarithromycin, erythromycin and tetracycline. Do not follow medication given to another person on yourself as amoxicillin reacts differently from person to person.
Non-allergic Side Effects of Amoxicillin
Generally, the common side effects of amoxicillin, which are not of an allergic nature, are not very severe in nature. Moderate side effects include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Mild abdominal pain
  • Thrush
  • Vaginal discharge and itching in women
Some people can experience certain complicated side effects that may require prompt medical attention. These include:
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Fever
  • Skin rash
  • Body aches
  • Weakness
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
Therefore, if you are on any of these or other medications, do inform your physician before taking amoxicillin. Also, go for health checkups at regular intervals, as the condition might complicate later if ignored.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.