Amoxicillin is a penicillin antibiotic that is commonly used in the treatment of different infections. Its clinical effectiveness has been proven through different scientific studies and it remains one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics. However, as is the case with any form of treatment, amoxicillin also has certain side-effects that both the patient and the doctor need to be aware of. In this article, we shall briefly review some of the common side-effects seen with amoxicillin.
Side-effects of amoxicillin:
This is one of the most common concerns with the use of penicillin-based antibiotics and amoxicillin is no exception. Patients who have a history of bronchial asthma or some form of skin allergy tend to be more prone to developing allergic reactions. The common clinical symptoms include the development of a rash, vomiting, low blood pressure and skin problems. Sometimes, the allergic response can be so severe that patients require emergency treatment. This type of allergic response is known as an anaphylactic response and must be treated aggressively.
Another worrying condition that can occur with amoxicillin use is angioedema and Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Both of these are acute emergencies and require aggressive management. If not treated on time, they can be life threatening. Any patient who develops allergies to amoxicillin must not be prescribed any form of penicillin-based drugs in the future.
Patients who take amoxicillin can develop nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Long-term use of amoxicillin has been associated with a condition called pseudomembranous colitis where an organism called Clostridium difficile can cause an infection within the bowel and severe diarrhoea.
Amoxicillin can cause skin reactions such as a drug rash, small fluid filled vesicles (called bullous pemphigoid) and other types of rashes as well.
In a small number of individuals who take amoxicillin, side-effects that affect the nervous system may occur. The common side-effects include increased drowsiness, headache, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, dizziness and alteration in behaviour. However, these side-effects tend to be rather rare.
Amoxicillin is broken down in the liver and as such can alter the levels of certain liver enzymes. This can result in jaundice.
These tend to be rather rare but have been reported in pharmacological literature. Amoxicillin can sometimes damage the tubules within the kidney and can cause a condition known as acute interstitial nephritis. Patients who develop this notice a fever along with a skin rash and alterations in the kidney function on blood tests.
Amoxicillin side-effects in children
The side-effects that have been described above can also be seen in children. Typically, children who take amoxicillin can sometimes develop stomach cramps, loose motion and vomiting. If this occurs, discontinuing the drug and seeking advice from a medical professional is recommended.
Amoxicillin is a powerful penicillin antibiotic that has a wide range of uses. However, side-effect profiles must be borne in mind and in the event of any side-effects occurring, patients must completely avoid penicillin-based drugs.