Augmentin general information
What is Augmentin used for?
Many common infections are caused by bacteria that become overgrown in various parts of the body and they can cause a range of illnesses, some quite severe, depending on where the infection takes hold. There are several antibiotic medications available that can be used to treat bacterial infections. However, many bacteria that are susceptible to antibiotic treatment have developed resistance, which means that the infection cannot be prevented from spreading, and this can become a serious problem.
Augmentin tablets 875/125mg are a combination antibiotic used for short-term treatment of a wide range of common bacterial infections and diseases that are treated in general practice and in hospital, and they are suitable for adults and children.
Infections that can be treated by Augmentin include those caused by inhaled bacteria, if an infected person coughs or sneezes near you, bacteria that enter the body through cuts on the skin, or are introduced during surgery, or a wound that is not healing. Bacteria can invade many parts of the body resulting in superficial skin infections or an internal infection of the lungs and respiratory tract, the organs, the genitourinary system, blood and bone.
Many symptoms of a bacterial infection are caused by the immune system attacking the invading pathogen. These include fever, feeling unwell and tired, headache, nausea, inflammation (redness, swelling and pain). Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, in the armpits and in the groin are further signs that the immune system is actively fighting the infection.
These infections include the chest, throat, ear and sinuses. Bacterial infections of the upper respiratory tract include pharyngitis (inflammation of the pharynx at the back of the throat), tonsillitis (infection of the tonsils, which are patches of lymph node tissue at the back of the throat), sinusitis (infection of the sinuses or nasal passages) otitis media (infection of the middle ear). Lower respiratory tract infections include bronchitis (infection of the bronchioles or airways); pneumonia and emphysema (infections of the lungs).
Skin and soft tissue infections
Cellulitis is an infection that begins when the skin is broken, and therefore, the bacteria can invade the deeper layers of the skin and underlying soft tissue, causing inflammation and swelling, which makes you feel generally unwell. It can spread rapidly and become life-threatening if not treated. Impetigo is a superficial skin infection causing sores that usually begin with small blisters that break and weep, and these are very contagious so that the infection is easily spread. A boil (furunculus) is an infection around a hair follicle that causes a pus-filled swelling; a large boil is called an abscess.
Bone, joint and dental infections
Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone that happens as a result of being exposed due to an injury or during surgery. Also, bacteria can travel to the bone in the bloodstream. If the bacterial infection is in a joint, this is known as septic arthritis.
Dental infections include periodontitis, which is an infection of the gum causing inflammation, and periodontal abscess, which is a painful condition that is caused by the build-up of pus in the tissues surrounding a tooth as a result of infection. Dental extraction can result in bacteria getting into the blood, known as bacteraemia, with increased risk of blood poisoning or sepsis, which is the body’s response to the bacteria. This can also cause joint infection following a hip replacement.
Urinary tract infections
Acute, uncomplicated lower urinary tract infections include cystitis (infection of the bladder) and urethritis (infection of the urethra, the tube leading out from the bladder). Urethritis and gonorrhoea are sexually transmitted diseases caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoea. Urethritis can also be caused by chlamydia. Pyelonephritis is an infection that usually begins in the urethra or bladder and then spreads into the kidneys, causing inflammation and pain.
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused by the body’s immune system reacting to large numbers of bacteria in the bloodstream (septicemia) and producing chemicals that can cause tissue damage and organ failure. The bacteria can originate from infection of the female reproductive tract following childbirth (puerperal sepsis), or an abortion (septic abortion), the peritoneal cavity such as (intra-abdominal sepsis).
Other infections that can be treated with Augmentin include post-surgical infections, and peritonitis, an infection of the peritoneum (lining of the abdominal cavity) usually caused by leakage from a perforated intestine, or appendicitis.
How does Augmentin work?
Augmentin tablets 875/125 contain a combination of two antibiotics, amoxycillin, an antibiotic similar to penicillin belonging to the beta-lactam group of antibiotics, and clavulanic acid is an antibiotic structurally related to the penicillins. These antibiotics are used together to treat a range of common and serious bacterial infections.
Amoxicillin in Alphamox capsules 500mg contains a structure called the beta-lactam ring, which interferes with the formation of the bacterial cell wall in susceptible bacteria. This leads to the weakening and destruction of the bacterial cell, which kills the bacteria. A susceptible bacteria means that the antibiotic blocks its growth. However, amoxycillin can be inactivated by an enzyme produced by bacteria called beta-lactamase, which makes those bacteria resistant to amoxycillin. Clavulanic acid is an antibiotic that can inactivate a wide range of beta-lactamase enzymes commonly found in amoxycillin-resistant bacteria.
Augmentin is effective against most common bacterial infections caused by Streptococci, Staphylococci, Pneumococci, Haemophilus, and Chlamydia, but it is also effective against other bacteria for certain infections such as gonococcus.
This dual action of Augmentin 875/125 tablets provides a broad-spectrum antibiotic and a beta-lactamase inhibitor, which extends the range of susceptible bacteria as well as helping to prevent drug resistance developing. This allows Augmentin tablets to combat infection and treat a wide range of symptoms caused by bacterial infections. Augmentin tablets do not work against viruses, which use a different mechanism to grow and replicate.
What does Augmentin contain?
Augmentin tablets contain a combination of the active ingredients amoxycillin 875mg and clavulanic acid 125mg, which are antibiotics used to treat a wide range of common general practice and hospital bacterial infections. They also contain magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, silicon dioxide, sodium starch glycollate, dimeticone, hypromellose, Macrogol 4000, Macrogol 6000, Opadry film coat, Titanium dioxide.
What are the side effects of Augmentin?
Most medications have some side effects, but they are not experienced by everyone. Some side effects are commonly experienced when taking Augmentin, but others are not so common, and you should discuss any problems or concerns with your primary care physician.
Common side effects when taking Augmentin include diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, oral and vaginal thrush, headache, mild skin rash.
When should Augmentin not be used?
Have a talk with your primary healthcare physician before taking Augmentin so that you have a full understanding of what this medicine is for and how to use it. There are some reasons for not taking a medication; these are called contraindications, and for Augmentin you should consider the following before taking Augmentin:
- Have you ever had an unusual reaction or an allergy when taking Augmentin?
- Have you ever had an allergic reaction to amoxycillin or any other beta-lactams antibiotic, including cephalosporins; or clavulanic acid?
- Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Do you have any problems with your kidneys or your liver, or liver disease like hepatitis or jaundice?
- Are taking oral contraceptives as Augmentin may lower oestrogen levels?
What medications interact with Augmentin?
Some medicines interact with Augmentin and may affect the way it works, or are affected by Augmentin or increase side effects; you should discuss possible interactions with your primary care physician. These may include probenecid and allopurinol (for gout), anticoagulants.
If other medications may interact with Augmentin, your doctor will discuss these with you.
How should Augmentin be taken and for how long?
You should take your Augmentin tablets 875/125 with a glass of water and with food, preferably just before a meal, to reduce stomach effects. The dose you take and how often depends on what you are being treated for and your doctor's recommendations, which may be 1-2 tablets 1-3 times a day for up to 14 days. Always finish your course of tablets even if you feel better if not, the infection may not clear up completely or your symptoms may return and you run the risk of the bacteria causing your infection developing resistance to Augmentin.
Missed dose of Augmentin
If you miss a dose of Augmentin take it as soon as you remember, unless it is time to take the next dose, then skip the missed dose. Do not take a double dose.
How should Augmentin be stored?
You should store your Augmentin below 25°C in a cool dry place.