Amoxicillin + clavulanic acid

Also called Co-amoxiclav, Augmentin, Synermox, Curam

Amoxicillin + clavulanic acid is an antibiotic used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Amoxicillin + clavulanic acid is also called Curam, Augmentin, Synermox or Co-amoxiclav.

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 belongs to a group of antibiotics called penicillins. Like all antibiotics, it is not effective against infections caused by viruses.

Dose

In Aotearoa New Zealand amoxicillin clavulanic acid is available as tablets (625mg) and liquid and can be given as an injection in the hospital. 

  • The dose of amoxicillin clavulanic acid will be different for different people depending on the type of infection and your age. 
  • The usual dose in adults is 1 tablet 3 times a day.
  • 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 tablets

  • Timing of your doses: Swallow the tablets whole with a glass of water. Take amoxicillin clavulanic with or after food. This helps to prevent stomach upset.  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. 
  • Missed dose: If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, take the next dose at the right time. Do not take extra doses to make up for a forgotten dose. If you are not sure what to do, ask your healthcare provider.
  • Finish the course: 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. If you stop your treatment early, your infection could come back.

Things to consider while you are taking amoxicillin clavulanic acid tablets

  • Amoxicillin clavulanic acid does not have direct interactions with alcohol. This means that most people could have the occasional drink while taking it without any serious problems. However, if amoxicillin clavulanic acid makes you feel sick (nausea), do not drink alcohol as it will make you feel worse.
  • If you are taking the contraceptive pill, you do not usually need to use additional contraception if you're taking amoxicillin clavulanic acid. But if the antibiotics or the illness they're treating cause diarrhoea or vomiting, lasting more than 24 hours, absorption of the contraceptive pill may be affected. If this happens, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice about contraception over the following few days. 

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.

Allergic reaction

Tell your healthcare provider if you have had an allergic reaction to a medicine, especially a penicillin antibiotic. True penicillin allergy is rare – fewer than 5 out of 10,000 people are allergic to penicillin.
Most people who think they have a penicillin allergy do not – read more about penicillins and penicillin allergy).

If you develop s
igns of an allergic reaction such as skin rash, itching, swelling of your lips, face and mouth, or difficulty breathing, stop taking amoxicillin and seek immediate medical attention. 

Other side effects

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.
Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product

Learn more

The following links have more information about amoxicillin clavulanic acid.

Augmentin Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet
Aoxicillin and clavulanic acid NZ Formulary Patient Information

References

  1. Amoxicillin + clavulanic acid NZ Formulary
  2. Antibiotics – choices for common infections BPAC, NZ, 2017

Additional resources for healthcare professionals

Augmentin Medsafe, NZ
Curam Medsafe, NZ
Synermox Medsafe, NZ
Appropriate use of amoxicillin clavulanate BPAC, NZ, 2013

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 26 Jun 2018