Augmentin (Amoxicillin and Clavulanate) – Oral

What Is Augmentin?

Augmentin (amoxicillin and clavulanate) is an oral prescription drug used to treat certain bacterial infections.

Augmentin contains two ingredients: amoxicillin and clavulanate. Amoxicillin is a penicillin antibiotic that works by stopping bacterial growth. Clavulanate is a beta-lactamase inhibitor. It protects amoxicillin from being destroyed by bacteria. Augmentin does not treat viral infections, such as the common cold, the flu, or COVID-19.

This medication is available as an oral tablet, chewable tablet, oral extended-release tablet, and oral suspension.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Amoxicillin and clavulanate

Brand Name(s): Augmentin

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Penicillin-like antibiotic

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Administration Route: Oral

Active Ingredient: Amoxicillin and clavulanate

Dosage Form(s): Tablet, chewable tablet, extended-release tablet, suspension

What Is Augmentin Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Augmentin to treat the following bacterial infections:

This medication is used when the bacterium is susceptible to Augmentin, meaning Augmentin will work effectively to fight the infection.

How to Take Augmentin

If you are prescribed Augmentin, read the label and the information leaflet that comes with your prescription. Consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions. Use Augmentin exactly as directed by your healthcare provider and do not skip doses.

Although you can take Augmentin with or without food, it may be absorbed better and cause fewer stomach side effects if taken with a meal (but not a high-fat meal).

This medication is available as a tablet, chewable tablet, oral extended-release tablet, and oral suspension:

  • Chewable tablets: Chew these tablets well before swallowing.
  • Extended-release tablets: Swallow extended-release tablets whole. Or, you can break it in half and take one half, then take the next half. Do not crush or chew the extended-release tablet.
  • Suspension: For the oral suspension (liquid), shake the bottle well before measuring your dose. Use a medicine measuring device or oral syringe. Do not use a kitchen utensil like a kitchen spoon, which will not give you an accurate dose.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have difficulty swallowing pills. They may prescribe Augmentin oral suspension or chewable tablets instead.

Skipping doses or stopping the medicine too early can cause antibiotic resistance. This means that the medicine may not work the next time you need it. Remember that Augmentin does not treat viral infections like the common cold, flu, or COVID-19 and should not be taken for these illnesses.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about Augmentin.

Storage

Store Augmentin tablets at room temperature away from heat, light, and moisture. Store the liquid in the refrigerator and throw away any remaining medication after 10 days. Keep Augmentin out of sight and out of reach of children and pets.

Off-Label Uses

Healthcare providers may prescribe Augmentin for off-label uses, meaning for conditions not specifically indicated by the FDA.

Off-label uses of Augmentin may include:

  • Dental infections
  • Tuberculosis (in combination with other medicines) that is not cured by other drugs
  • Appendicitis
  • Catheter-related infections from peritoneal dialysis (dialysis done through the abdomen)

How Long Does Augmentin Take to Work?

You may start to feel better as soon as two days after you start taking Augmentin. However, it is important to finish the prescription for the full length of treatment. This way, the bacteria do not return. Taking the full prescription also can help prevent antibiotic resistance.

What Are the Side Effects of Augmentin?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A medical professional can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a medical professional. You may report side effects to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

As with other medications, Augmentin can cause side effects. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effects you experience while taking this medication.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects of Augmentin are:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Skin rashes and hives
  • Vaginitis (vaginal inflammation; yeast infection)
  • Diaper rash in infants/toddlers

Severe Side Effects

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Hypersensitivity reaction or anaphylaxis: Symptoms can include rash, hives, swelling around the lips, tongue, and face, and difficulty breathing, and require emergency medical attention. 
  • Serious skin reaction: Symptoms of various skin reactions may include fever, burning eyes, sore throat, red or purple rash, bull's-eye-shaped lesions, or blistering and peeling skin. These symptoms are life-threatening and can cause death if not treated. Seek emergency medical attention.
  • Serum sickness-like reaction: This is a type of allergic reaction that has symptoms of hives/skin rash, joint and muscle pain, and fever.
  • Superinfection: This is an infection that occurs after the first infection.
  • Diarrhea associated with Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile or C. diff): Be alert to watery and bloody diarrhea, and stomach pain, which can occur up to two months after you stop taking Augmentin. Call your healthcare provider right away if these symptoms occur. This type of diarrhea can vary from mild to life-threatening and can cause death if not treated.
  • Hemolytic anemia: This is when red blood cells are destroyed faster than they are being made. Symptoms may include tiredness, dizziness, and weakness.
  • Low white blood cell levels: A low white blood cell count can interfere with the body's ability to fight infection.
  • Low platelet levels: This can increase the risk of bleeding (easy bruising or bleeding may occur).
  • Kidney problems: Be aware of changes in urination (little to no urination).
  • Liver problems: Be alert for stomach pain, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, dark urine.
  • Seizures: These are sudden, abnormal, uncontrolled changes in electrical activity within the brain.

Long-Term Side Effects

While many people tolerate Augmentin well (and only take it for a short time), in some cases, long-term or delayed side effects are possible. Some long-term side effects can be mild, such as: 

Moderate long-term side effects can include:

  • Vaginal infections
  • Crystals in the urine, which can lead to kidney stones
  • Blood in the urine
  • Mouth sores
  • Liver problems
  • Problems with white or red blood cells
  • Diarrhea (C. difficile-associated diarrhea)

Severe long-term side effects may include:

  • Kidney problems/kidney failure
  • Severe skin reactions
  • Seizures
  • Problems with white or red blood cells

Report Side Effects

Augmentin may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication. If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Augmentin Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For bacterial infections:
    • For oral dosage forms (chewable tablets or suspension):
      • Adults, teenagers, and children weighing 40 kilograms (kg) or more—250 to 500 milligrams (mg) every 8 hours, or 500 to 875 mg every 12 hours.
      • Children 3 months of age and older and weighing less than 40 kilograms (kg)—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The dose is usually 20 to 40 mg per kg of body weight per day, divided and given every 8 hours, or 25 to 45 mg per kg of body weight per day divided and given every 12 hours.
      • Children younger than 3 months of age—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The dose is usually 30 mg per kg of body weight per day, divided and given every 12 hours.
    • For oral dosage form (extended-release tablets):
      • Adults—2000 milligrams (mg) every 12 hours.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage form (tablets):
      • Adults, teenagers, and children weighing 40 kilograms (kg) or more—250 to 500 milligrams (mg) every 8 hours, or 500 to 875 mg every 12 hours.
      • Children weighing less than 40 kg—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications

You may need to use caution when taking Augmentin if you are 65 years or older, especially if you also have kidney problems. People of any age with severe kidney problems and/or on hemodialysis will need a lower dosage of Augmentin.

Based on nonhuman animal studies, Augmentin may be safe in pregnant people, but there is not enough data on humans to know for certain. The prescribing provider will weigh the risks and benefits when deciding on antibiotic treatment. If you are breastfeeding, the prescribing information recommends using caution with Augmentin.

People who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding should consult their healthcare provider regarding Augmentin use.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of Augmentin, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to try to make up for a missed dose.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Augmentin?

Taking too much Augmentin can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, drowsiness, and/or hyperactivity. It can also cause kidney problems and lead to kidney failure.

What Happens If I Overdose on Augmentin?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Augmentin, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Augmentin, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

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Your doctor will check the progress of you or your child while you are using this medicine. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

If your or your child's symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you or your child have itching, hives, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth after taking this medicine.

Amoxicillin and clavulanate combination may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. It may occur 2 months or more after you stop using this medicine. Do not take any medicine to treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. If you have any questions or if mild diarrhea continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.

In some young patients, tooth discoloration may occur while using this medicine. The teeth may appear to have brown, yellow, or gray stains. To help prevent this, brush and floss your teeth regularly or have a dentist clean your teeth.

Amoxicillin and clavulanate combination may decrease the effects of some oral contraceptives (birth control pills). Use another form of birth control to avoid getting pregnant. Other forms include condoms, a diaphragm, contraceptive foam, or jelly.

Before you or your child have any medical tests, tell the doctor in charge that you are taking this medicine. The results of some tests may be affected by this medicine.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn't Take Augmentin?

Augmentin is not appropriate for everyone. You should not take this medication if you are allergic to amoxicillin or any of the inactive ingredients in Augmentin. People who have had a serious allergic reaction or serious skin reaction to any penicillin or cephalosporin antibiotic should avoid Augmentin use.

Other people who should not take Augmentin include:

  • People with a history of liver problems or jaundice associated with Augmentin
  • People with mononucleosis infection
  • People who are on hemodialysis or have severe kidney problems should not take the extended-release version of Augmentin.

Augmentin may be prescribed with caution in some people, only if the healthcare provider determines it is safe. This includes people with:

  • A nonserious allergic reaction to a penicillin or cephalosporin antibiotic
  • An allergy to multiple allergens
  • Asthma or a history of asthma
  • A type of cancer called acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Recent C. difficile-associated diarrhea
  • Seizure disorder
  • Kidney or liver problems

People with phenylketonuria (a type of inherited metabolic disorder in which the body cannot break down the amino acid phenylalanine) should not take chewable tablets or liquid if they contain aspartame (which contains phenylalanine)

What Other Medications May Interact With Augmentin?

Tell your healthcare provider about all your medications, including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, and vitamins or supplements.

Augmentin may interact with the following drugs:

  • Probalam (probenecid): The combination of this gout medication and Augmentin can cause higher levels of amoxicillin in the body.
  • Zyloprim (allopurinol): People who take this gout medication have a higher incidence of rashes when also taking Augmentin.
  • Coumadin or Jantoven (warfarin): Taking Augmentin with warfarin can increase the risk of bleeding. People who take Augmentin and a blood thinner will be monitored and may need a warfarin dosage adjustment.
  • Wellbutrin (bupropion): Combining Augmentin with bupropion can increase the risk of seizures, especially in people with kidney problems. You may need a lower dose of Wellbutrin.
  • Trexall (methotrexate): If you also take methotrexate, your healthcare provider may monitor kidney function and blood cell counts. Augmentin can increase methotrexate levels, worsening side effects.
  • Hormonal birth control containing estrogen and progesterone: Augmentin can make this type of birth control less effective when used together. While taking Augmentin, use a nonhormonal form of birth control.

Other drug interactions may occur with Augmentin. Consult your healthcare provider for a complete list of drug interactions.

What Medications Are Similar?

Augmentin is a penicillin-like antibiotic. Examples of other penicillin antibiotics include penicillin and Amoxil (amoxicillin).

Several other classes of antibiotics are used to treat various bacterial infections.

Some common classes of antibiotics and examples of drugs in each category include:

Topical OTC antibiotics such as Neosporin and bacitracin are also available.

Your healthcare provider will select an antibiotic based on what will most effectively work against the bacteria causing the infection.

The above is a list of drugs also prescribed for bacterial infections. It is not a list of drugs recommended to take with Augmentin. Discuss any questions with your pharmacist or a healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Augmentin used for?

    Augmentin is a prescription antibiotic used to treat certain bacterial infections such as sinus infections, ear infections, skin infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Augmentin does not treat viral infections such as the common cold, COVID-19, or flu.

  • How does Augmentin work?

    Augmentin contains two ingredients: amoxicillin and clavulanate. Amoxicillin works by stopping the growth of bacteria. Clavulanate protects amoxicillin from being destroyed by bacteria.

  • What drugs interact with Augmentin?

    Augmentin interacts with certain medications. In some cases, close monitoring or a dosage adjustment may be required. Some drugs that interact with Augmentin include probenecid, allopurinol, methotrexate, bupropion, and the blood thinner warfarin.

    If you take hormonal birth control, using a nonhormonal type of birth control such as condoms while taking Augmentin is recommended. Before taking Augmentin, your healthcare provider will review your medications for drug interactions.

  • How long does it take for Augmentin to work?

    You may start to feel better in as little as two days, but it is important to finish the full prescription so the bacteria do not return.

  • What are the side effects of Augmentin?

    The most common side effects are stomach problems (e.g., nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea), skin rashes and hives, and vaginal inflammation or yeast infection. Serious side effects can occur as well. Before taking Augmentin, talk with your healthcare provider about potential side effects and what to do if you experience them.

  • How do I stop taking Augmentin?

    Your healthcare provider will tell you how long to take Augmentin, which usually is about seven to 10 days depending on the type and severity of the infection. Always finish the full course (unless you have a serious side effect) to completely clear the infection and prevent antibiotic resistance. Contact your healthcare provider if you are not feeling better or if you feel worse.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Augmentin?

Before taking Augmentin, discuss all medical conditions and history with your healthcare provider, including medication use. Be sure to mention any allergies to medication, especially antibiotics like penicillin or cephalosporins such as Keflex (cephalexin).  

While taking Augmentin, it is important to remember that Augmentin is an antibiotic. Antibiotics should be taken for the entire length of time prescribed by your healthcare provider. If you stop taking the antibiotic too soon, the infection could return or the bacteria may become resistant to the medication. If this occurs, the medicine might not work as effectively the next time you need it.

While antibiotics may cause diarrhea, you should be alert for more severe diarrhea that is watery or bloody and accompanied by stomach pain. C. difficile-associated diarrhea can range from mild to life-threatening. This type of diarrhea can occur up to two months after taking the antibiotic. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have severe diarrhea.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine. DailyMed. Label: Augmentin- amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium tablet, film coated, Augmentin- amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium powder, for suspension

  3. Prescribers’ Digital Reference. Amoxicillin/clavulanate potassium - drug Summary.

  4. Epocrates. Augmentin.

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By Karen Berger, PharmD
Karen Berger, PharmD, is a community pharmacist and medical writer/reviewer.