UTIs are among the most common bacterial infections, making antibiotics effective treatments against them. Even more, there are different types of antibiotics used to treat UTIs based on infection type, severity, and safety.
One antibiotic used to treat UTIs is Augmentin, but many may wonder what sets Augmentin apart from the others. Through this guide, we will help answer your questions about Augmentin so that you better understand the power of this antibiotic and how to take it safely.
Table of Contents
- What Is Augmentin?
- What Is Augmentin Typically Used to Treat?
- Can Augmentin Treat a UTI?
- Dosage Of Augmentin for UTI
- Potential Side Effects
- Other Drug Interactions
- What Antibiotics Are Typically Used to Treat UTIs?
- Key Takeaways
What Is Augmentin?
Augmentin is a prescription antibiotic medication used to treat bacterial infections. It belongs to the penicillin antibiotic class and contains two drugs: amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. This combination makes Augmentin more effective than amoxicillin alone.
By adding clavulanic acid, Augmentin is effective against bacteria that are otherwise resistant to amoxicillin. Amoxicillin and Augmentin are often used to treat similar infections, but a doctor may prescribe Augmentin instead of amoxicillin if they suspect that your infection is amoxicillin-resistant.
There are three forms in which Augmentin is available, which can come in different strengths:
- Liquid suspension: 125 mg/31.25 mg per 5 mL, 250 mg/62.5 mg per 5 mL
- Immediate-release tablet: 250 mg/125 mg, 500 mg/125 mg, 875 mg/125 mg
- Extended-release tablet: 1,000 mg/62.5 mg
The first number listed in each grouping is the amount of amoxicillin, and the second is the amount of clavulanic acid. These ratios can differ for each strength, so one strength cannot always be substituted for another.
For example, looking at the options for an immediate-release tablet show that all three options have the same amount of clavulanic acid (125 mg), but the amount of amoxicillin differs. Taking two of these 250 mg tablets in the hopes of equaling the 500 mg tablet would double the amount of clavulanic acid, which can lead to unpleasant side effects.
What Is Augmentin Typically Used to Treat?
Augmentin is effective against the bacteria that typically cause:
- ear infections
- skin infections
- sinus infections
- urinary tract infections
This medication works by attaching to proteins within the bacteria cell and preventing the bacteria from building a cell wall. This then causes the bacteria to die and your infection to clear up.
Because Augmentin is effective against a wide range of bacteria, it is considered a broad-spectrum antibiotic.
Can Augmentin Treat a UTI?
Augmentin is effective against various bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Since most UTIs result from bacterial infection, this makes Augmentin an effective treatment for most UTIs. However, UTIs resulting from a virus or fungus will not see a positive effect from Augmentin, and another remedy will be needed in these cases.
Because of the increasing probability of amoxicillin-resistance in UTIs, Augmentin is a favorable treatment since its addition of clavulanic acid helps to prevent the degradation of amoxicillin by beta-lactamase enzymes, which certain bacteria may produce.
Dosage Of Augmentin for UTIs
The dosage prescribed for Augmentin will vary based on the severity of your UTI, your age, what type of Augmentin you are prescribed, and any other medication conditions you may have.
Mild-to-moderate infections are generally treated with one 250 mg tablet every 8 hours or one 500 mg tablet every 12 hours. For severe infections, these doses can increase to one 500 mg tablet every 8 hours or one 875 mg tablet every 12 hours.
Treatment typically lasts for 3-7 days, depending on the dosage prescribed and the infection’s severity.
If you forget to take a dose, take it once you remember. However, if your next dose is only a few hours away, skip the missed dose and take the next one on schedule. It’s crucial to never take two doses at once if you miss a dose, as this can cause severe side effects.
It is vital to take Augmentin as prescribed by your doctor and to continue taking Augmentin for the entire course even if you begin feeling better to prevent a recurrent infection.
Augmentin immediate release can be taken on an empty stomach or with food, although taking it with food may help resolve any stomach upset. For those taking Augmentin XR, it must be taken at the start of a meal.
Augmentin can be crushed, but Augmentin XR should not. For those who struggle to swallow pills, Augmentin liquid suspension is an alternative.
Potential Side Effects
Side effects for Augmentin can be divided into mild and severe, with some of the more common side effects being:
- skin rash
These side effects should generally go away within a few days or weeks. However, if they seem severe or do not go away, be sure to reach out to your doctor.
While less common, there are also some serious side effects that may develop in those who take Augmentin.
One potential side effect is an intestinal infection of C. diff, which can cause additional symptoms of:
- severe diarrhea that does not go away
- blood in stool
- stomach cramping or pain
Liver damage can also occur in those who take Augmentin, although this is more common in seniors and those taking Augmentin for a long time. Symptoms include fatigue, stomach pain, and yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes. In general, these symptoms should go away when the medication is stopped, but they may become severe and require treatment. Contact your doctor if you develop any symptoms of liver damage while taking Augmentin.
Another potentially severe reaction to Augmentin is an allergic reaction, which is more common in those with a penicillin allergy.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
- severe skin rash
- trouble breathing
- swelling of the tongue, lips, and throat
For those with a previous record of serious allergic reaction, taking this medication again can be fatal.
Occurring in around 3% of those who take Augmentin is a rash, which is not always indicative of an allergic reaction. While allergic rashes develop immediately after starting the medication, this type of rash, termed amoxicillin rash, will appear a few days later. The rash will appear as red, flat patches that go away on their own once the medication is finished.
When prescribed to children, an additional side effect is tooth discoloration, with Augmentin potentially causing gray, brown, or yellow staining on the teeth. Most cases of staining can be reduced or removed through brushing or dental cleaning.
Other Drug Interactions
Augmentin can interact with other medications, sometimes affecting how well either drug works, and other times increasing side effects.
Some of the drugs which Augmentin can interact with include:
- Anticoagulant drugs
- Oral contraceptives
If you are using any of the above drugs, discuss this with your doctor to help avoid potential interactions.
What Antibiotics Are Typically Used to Treat UTIs?
Since most UTIs result from bacterial infections, antibiotics are the only way to treat them. Still, many different types of antibiotics are available that are effective against UTIs, which may make one more favorable than another.
These antibiotics differ in the drugs they may interact with, which is why your doctor will need to be aware of all medications and supplements you take to ensure that they match you with a prescription that will minimize potential interactions and side effects.
Furthermore, some antibiotics are more effective against certain resistant bacteria strains, but they may also have more severe side effects. Because of this, certain antibiotics are more likely to be a first-line treatment, and others are saved only for instances where the first treatment did not completely clear the infection.
The following are some common antibiotics prescribed for UTIs:
Nitrofurantoin is a common UTI antibiotic since it accumulates in the bladder. This antibiotic prevents bacteria from making the proteins and DNA they need to survive.
The dosage for nitrofurantoin is 100 mg twice a day for 5 days. However, this medication is not recommended for those with medical conditions affecting the kidneys.
Fosfomycin is an effective antibiotic used against antibiotic-resistant bacteria causing a UTI, similar to Augmentin. This antibiotic kills the bacteria and prevents them from sticking to the urinary tract.
Only one dose of Fosfomycin, typically of 3 grams, is needed. However, it might not be the best choice for those with medical conditions affecting the liver or kidneys.
This combination drug blocks two actions bacteria take to make proteins needed for survival. However, while this medication is effective on general UTIs, it is not as effective against bacteria resistant to the medication. In these cases, using an alternative antibiotic would be recommended.
The typical dose for trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole is one tablet (160/180 mg strength) taken twice a day for three days. For those with medical conditions affecting the kidneys, a lower dose may be prescribed.
Cefdinir and Cephalexin
These antibiotics kill bacteria by destroying the cell wall, and they are common prescriptions for children with UTIs.
Cefdinir is generally prescribed in a 300 mg tablet twice a day and cephalexin from 250 mg to 500 mg every 6-12 hours. These medications are generally prescribed for 5-7 days, although children may need longer treatment, up to 10 days.
While Cefdinir and Cephalexin are closely related to penicillin, they are generally considered safe for those with a penicillin allergy, although there is a <5% chance of developing an allergy if you already have a penicillin allergy.
Ciprofloxacin and Levofloxacin
These antibiotics stop bacteria from copying their DNA and multiplying, and while they are slightly more effective than the above antibiotic group, this comes with a higher risk of serious side effects. As such, these antibiotics are generally only considered a second-line treatment for more severe or complicated UTIs.
Ciprofloxacin is typically prescribed in a 250 mg to 500 mg dose every 12 to 24 hours for 5 to 7 days. In comparison, levofloxacin is given in a 250 mg tablet taken twice a day for three days.
Augmentin is a prescription antibiotic combining amoxicillin and clavulanic acid that is effective against a range of bacterial infections, including UTIs. With its addition of clavulanic acid, Augmentin is more effective against bacteria that are resistant to the effects of amoxicillin.
Augmentin still has some potential side effects, with the most common ones revolving around an upset stomach. Taking Augmentin with food can help resolve this. Another possible side effect is an allergic reaction, which can be more common in this antibiotic compared to others because Augmentin belongs to the penicillin drug class. It is crucial to see a doctor if you develop any signs of an allergic reaction.
Augmentin is just one medication available to treat UTIs, but for some people, it is the best choice. Your doctor can help discuss your symptoms, medical history, and current medications to determine if Augmentin is a good choice for you before prescribing it.
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