Drugs Q & A

Does Amoxicillin Treat Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary system. This type of infection can involve your urethra (a condition called urethritis), kidneys (a condition called pyelonephritis), or bladder, (a condition called cystitis).

Your urine typically doesn’t contain bacteria (germs). Urine is a byproduct of our filtration system—the kidneys. When waste products and excess water is removed from your blood by the kidneys, urine is created. Normally, urine moves through your urinary system without any contamination. However, bacteria can get into the urinary system from outside of the body, causing problems like infection and inflammation. This is a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Urinary tract infections are very common, occurring in 1 out of 5 women sometime in their lifetime. Though UTIs are common in women, they can also happen to men, older adults, and children. One to 2% of children develops urinary tract infections. Each year, 8 million to 10 million visits to doctors are for urinary tract infections.

Anyone can get a urinary tract infection, but they are more common in women. This is because the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) in females is shorter and closer to the anus, where E. coli bacteria are common. Older adults also are at higher risk for developing cystitis. This increased risk may be due to incomplete emptying of the bladder. There are several medical conditions that can be related to this, including enlarged prostate or a bladder prolapse (a condition where the bladder falls or slips out of its usual position). Males and females share the same symptoms. However, research suggests that males had a higher chance of experiencing symptoms that affect the lower urinary tract.

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.

Amoxicillin oral tablet comes as immediate-release (IR), extended-release (ER), or chewable tablets. The chewable tablet and IR tablet are only available as generic drugs. The ER tablet is only available as the brand-name drug Moxatag. Amoxicillin also comes as a capsule and a suspension. All forms are taken by mouth.

Can amoxicillin treat UTIs?

Yes, several studies have shown that amoxicillin is a very effective medication for the treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs). In clinical trials, the drug was found to be effective and well-tolerated.

The recommended or normal dosage of amoxicillin for urinary tract infections is as follows:

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

The typical dosage is 500 mg every 12 hours or 250 mg every 8 hours.

Child dosage (ages 3 months–17 years)

The typical dosage is 25 mg/kg/day in divided doses every 12 hours, or 20 mg/kg/day in divided doses every 8 hours.

Child dosage (ages 0–2 months)

Maximum dosage is 30 mg/kg/day. Your child’s doctor can tell you more about dosage.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lower dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

According to an observation of 285 patients taking amoxicillin from 2014 to 2015, 10 people (18 percent) developed acute kidney issues related to amoxicillin.

Special considerations

•          For children’s dosage: The children’s dosage listed here is meant for children who weigh less than 88 pounds (40 kg). Children who weigh more than 88 pounds should be dosed according to the adult recommendations.

What side effects should I expect while taking amoxicillin for UTI?

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).


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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