Drugs Q & A

Can Amoxicillin Liquid Be Used For Adults?

What is Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is an antibiotic. It’s used to treat infections caused by certain types of bacteria. This antibiotic belongs to a specific class of drugs called beta-lactams. Beta-lactam antibiotics such as amoxicillin work by binding proteins and inhibiting certain processes in bacterial cells. This causes the cell walls to break down and destroys the bacteria, a process called bactericidal killing.

In addition to being FDA-approved to treat specific infections, such as pharyngitis and tonsillitis, amoxicillin is commonly prescribed off-label to treat other bacterial infections including Lyme disease, anthrax, chlamydia, dental abscesses, periodontitis, salmonella, and typhoid fever. It’s also given in a single dose to prevent heart infection (endocarditis) for at-risk heart patients undergoing dental procedures. Amoxicillin is also combined with other medications to eradicate Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for peptic ulcer disease.

For most susceptible infections, an amoxicillin capsule, tablet, chewable tablet, or oral suspension is administered by mouth two or three times a day for several days. The chewable tablet and IR tablet are only available as generic drugs. The ER tablet is only available as the brand-name drug Moxatag.

How should I take amoxicillin Liquid?

Take this medicine by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Shake well before using. Use a specially marked oral syringe, spoon, or dropper to measure each dose. Ask your pharmacist if you do not have one. Household spoons are not accurate. You can take it with or without food. If it upsets your stomach, take it with food. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed. Take all of your medicine as directed even if you think you are better. Do not skip doses or stop your medicine early.

When your child’s doctor prescribes amoxicillin for your child, they will tell you the dosage they recommend. The doctor will decide on this dosage based on many factors, including your child’s age and weight, the type of infection they’re treating, and other factors. Each patient is different, so this dosage will be specific to your child. Be sure to give your child the exact dosage their doctor prescribes for them. This is important for all prescription drugs, but it’s especially important for antibiotics, including amoxicillin. If used incorrectly, an antibiotic may not treat your child’s infection completely. This could make the infection get worse or even come back again later. 

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as newborns for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

Can amoxicillin liquid be used for adults?

Yes, sometimes, doctors prescribe amoxicillin suspension for adults who cannot swallow tablets or capsules. However, the dose of amoxicillin for children and adult is different. Do not use amoxicillin liquid if your doctor has not told you to do so.

Studies reveal that almost three-quarters of parents share their children’s antibiotics and the dosage that was given, a practice known as antibiotic diversion. The repeated use and misuse of antibiotics can lead to resistant bacteria. Resistant bacteria are bacteria that are no longer killed by the antibiotics commonly used to treat bacterial infection. These resistant bacteria can also be spread to other children and adults.

What side effects should I expect while taking amoxicillin?

Common side effects of amoxicillin include:

•          nausea

•          vomiting

•          diarrhea

•          stomach pain

•          vaginal itching or discharge

•          headache

•          rash, and

•          swollen, black, or “hairy” tongue.

Other serious side effects of Amoxil include:

•          colitis caused by an overgrowth of Clostridium spp in the intestines,

•          fever,

•          burning eyes,

•          sore throat,

•          skin pain,

•          seizures,

•          hives,

•          diarrhea that is watery or bloody,

•          red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling,

•          severe stomach pain,

•          jaundice, and

•          swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Amoxicillin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

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