Amoxicillin is one of the most common antibiotics which is used to treat bacterial infections. It is sold under various brand names like Amoxil, Dispermox, Trimox, and is available in various forms like tablets, capsules, chewable tablets, powder, liquid, etc. It is commonly used to treat ear infections, lung infections, bronchitis, throat infections, tonsils, laryngitis, skin infections, or urinary tract infections in adults and infants.
Use of Amoxicillin
The antibiotic amoxicillin is a member of the class of antibiotics called penicillins. It does not kill the pathogenic bacteria but it prevents bacteria from forming the walls that surround them. These walls protect the bacteria from the surrounding harmful environment and promote the safety of the bacterial cell contents. It is difficult for the bacteria to survive without cell walls. Since, this antibiotic prevents formation of the cell walls, fast bacterial growth (multiplication of bacteria) is automatically controlled. Bacteria like H. influenzae, N. gonorrhoeae, E. coli, Pneumococci, Streptococci, and certain strains of Staphylococci cannot thrive in the presence of amoxicillin. Though the antibiotic does not kill the bacteria, it prevents them from multiplying. This medicine is available on prescription and its dosage depends upon the age of the affected person and the type and severity of infection.
Side Effects in Infants
Diarrhea, diaper rash, oral thrush, and vomiting are some of the most common side effects of this antibiotic. Since, the body of the baby is not used to its intake, it is likely to result in digestive distress. Abdominal cramps, stomach cramps, pain in the lower abdomen, etc., are some of the common side effects of this medicine. As the babies are not able to speak out, parents or doctors have to judge from the symptoms noticed. Due to stomach pain, the infant may not sleep or eat as usual. Persistent crying, restlessness, loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea can be noticed. Some of them may develop skin rash when taking the drug. The itching sensation can make them restless. Parents need to follow the instructions of the doctor regarding the dosage of the antibiotic religiously. A wrong dosage could result in side effects.
In case of infants, side effects like dizziness, heartburn, insomnia, itching, confusion, and abdominal pain are not easy to detect. So, more care has to be taken while administering medicines. Some of them are allergic to amoxicillin and can exhibit mild to severe side effects if they are given this medicine. Skin rashes, bruises, bleeding can be noticed. Some side effects can be extreme and can prove to be fatal. The infant may experience breathing difficulty, difficulty in swallowing, swollen face, etc. Parents should immediately contact the doctor if such symptoms are noticed.
If the infant already has developed symptoms of asthma, hives, or other allergies, parents should inform the doctor before administering this antibiotic. If one of the parents is allergic to cephalosporin or penicillin, he/she should tell the doctor before getting amoxicillin prescribed for their baby. This type of allergy can be hereditary and those who are allergic to any form of cephalosporin or penicillin, are usually allergic to amoxicillin. With proper care, the side effects can be prevented.
Some of the serious side effects include pale skin tone or jaundice-like appearance, seizures, blood in loose stools, not urinating, and unusual bruising. One should immediately contact the doctor if any of the above symptoms are noticed.
Studies show that this drug can destroy the enamel of their teeth. This results in an increased risk of developing dental fluorosis. This effect is not noticed until the permanent teeth begin to emerge after the loss of baby teeth.
Amoxicillin is inexpensive and greatly effective but it should be administered with proper care. It is possible that the baby may build up a resistance to this antibiotic. In that case, a different or more potent antibiotic may be required to treat the infection. 'Upset stomach' is one of the most common side effects of this medicine. Parents should give plenty of liquids to the baby. This will help replace the fluid loss due to side effects like diarrhea and vomiting. This can help avoid dehydration which is quite common in ill infants. Plenty of rest and liquids promote fast recovery. Parents should not give any other medicines to the baby to control the side effects like diarrhea. Moreover, they should always consult the pediatrician before administering any medicine to the infants.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.