Amoxicillin + clavulanic acid

Also called co-amoxiclav

Easy-to-read medicine information about amoxicillin + clavulanic acid – what it is, how to take it safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Antibiotic (to treat infections)
  • Penicillin antibiotic
  • Augmentin ®
  • Synermox®
  • Curam®
  • m-Amoxiclav®

What is amoxicillin clavulanic acid?

Amoxicillin clavulanic acid is an antibiotic used to treat different infections caused by bacteria, such as sinus infections, urine infections, skin infections, joint infections and some dental infections. It works by killing or stopping the growth of bacteria (bugs) and gets rid of the infection. Amoxicillin clavulanic acid is not effective against infections caused by viruses. It belongs to a group of antibiotics called penicillins. In New Zealand amoxicillin clavulanic acid is available as tablets and liquid and can be given as an injection in the hospital. 

Dose

  • The dose of amoxicillin clavulanic acid will be different for different people depending on the type of infection and your age. 
  • Adults: the usual dose in adults is 625 milligrams 3 times a day.
  • Children: the dose for children will depend on their body weight. It is usually given 3 times a day. 
  • Your doctor will advise you how long to take amoxicillin clavulanic acid for (usually 3 to 10 days).
  • Always take your medicine exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.

How to take amoxicillin clavulanic acid

  • Take amoxicillin clavulanic with or after food. This helps to prevent stomach upset.
  • Tablets: swallow the tablets with a glass of water. 
  • Liquid: shake the medicine well. Measure the right amount using an oral syringe or medicine spoon. You can get these from your pharmacy. Do not use a kitchen spoon as it will not give you the right amount. Read more: Tips on how to give medicines to babies and children.
  • Amoxicillin clavulanic acid is usually given 3 times a day. Try to space the doses evenly throughout the day, such as the first thing in the morning, early afternoon and at bedtime. 
  • If you forget to take your dose at the correct time, take one as soon as you remember. Try to take the correct number of doses each day, leaving at least 4 hours between doses. Do not take 2 doses at the same time to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • If you are sick (vomit) less than 30 minutes after having a dose of amoxicillin clavulanic acid, take the same dose again. But, if you are sick (vomit) and it is more than 30 minutes after having a dose of amoxicillin clavulanic acid, you do not need to take another dose. Wait until the next normal dose.  

Other tips

  • Store your tablets in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light. If you have been given liquid medicine, this will have been made up by the pharmacy and you may need to keep it in the fridge – check the instructions on the bottle. Make sure the medicine does not freeze.
  • It is best to take the whole course of antibiotics for the number of days your doctor has told you to. Do not stop taking it, even if you feel your infection has cleared up.

Precautions – before starting amoxicillin clavulanic acid

  • Do you have glandular fever?
  • Have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine, especially a penicillin antibiotic?
  • Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • Do you have problems with the way your liver or kidneys work?
  • Are taking any other medicines? This includes any medicines you are taking that you can buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.

If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start amoxicillin clavulanic acid. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, amoxicillin clavulanic acid can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Nausea (feeling sick) or vomiting
  • Take amoxicillin clavulanic acid soon after a meal.
  • Let your doctor or pharmacist know if you are also taking the oral contraceptive pill and have been vomiting.
  • Diarrhoea (loose, watery stools)
  • This is quite common with amoxicillin clavulanic acid.
  • It should settle after a few days.
  • Tell your doctor if it becomes severe or contains blood .
  • If you have diarrhoea and are also taking the oral contraceptive pill, let your doctor or pharmacist know.
  • Vaginal itching, soreness or discharge (thrush)
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist. 
  • Signs of jaundice such as yellow eyes and skin, stomach pain, dark urine
  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone HealthLine 0800 611 116.
  • Allergic reaction such as skin rash, itching, swelling of your lips, face and mouth, or difficulty breathing
  • Stop taking amoxicillin clavulanic acid.
  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone HealthLine 0800 611 116.

Interactions

Amoxicillin clavulanic acid may interact with a few medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting amoxicillin clavulanic acid. If you are taking the contraceptive pill, its effectiveness can be reduced if you have a bout of being sick (vomiting) or diarrhoea that lasts for more than 24 hours. If this happens, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice about contraception over the following few days. 

Learn more

The following links have more information about amoxicillin clavulanic acid.

Augmentin Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet
Aoxicillin and clavulanic acid New Zealand Formulary Patient Information

References

  1. Amoxicillin + clavulanic acid New Zealand Formulary
  2. Antibiotics – choices for common infections BPAC, NZ, 2017
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 26 Jun 2018