Augmentin vs Amoxicillin

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For patients dealing with bacterial infections, certain antibiotics that inhibit the growth of bacteria are a critical part of treatment. Augmentin and Amoxicillin are two such drugs commonly prescribed for these conditions. Both belong to the penicillin class of antibiotics and work by blocking the formation of bacterial cell walls which kills the bacteria causing the infection. However, while Amoxicillin is more narrowly focused on specific types of bacteria, Augmentin combines amoxicillin with a beta-lactamase inhibitor called clavulanic acid. This combination allows it to fight off a broader spectrum of bacteria strains, some of which would otherwise be resistant to amoxicillin alone due to their production of an enzyme called beta-lactamase that neutralizes antibiotic effects.

What is Augmentin?

Amoxicillin (a generic name for drugs like Amoxil) was one of the first widely used antibiotics in the penicillin class, which marked a significant advancement over earlier treatments. First approved by the FDA in 1972, it works by inhibiting bacterial cell wall synthesis, thus effectively killing bacteria and preventing infection from spreading. It is prescribed for various types of infections caused by susceptible strains of bacteria.

Augmentin is a brand name that combines amoxicillin with clavulanic acid. The addition of clavulanic acid to amoxicillin extends its spectrum and makes it effective against bacteria that are usually resistant to amoxicillin alone due to their production of beta-lactamase enzymes. This combination results in Augmentin being more potent than amoxicillin on its own against certain types of bacteria, but also potentially leading to a slightly higher risk of side effects such as diarrhea or rash.

What conditions is Augmentin approved to treat?

Augmentin is approved for the treatment of various bacterial infections including:

  • Lower respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis
  • Sinusitis and otitis media (ear infection)
  • Skin and soft tissue infections
  • Urinary tract infections It can also be used to treat some sexually transmitted diseases. Unlike amoxicillin, Augmentin contains clavulanic acid which helps in fighting bacteria that are often resistant to penicillins and other antibiotics.

How does Augmentin help with these illnesses?

Augmentin helps to manage bacterial infections by destroying the bacteria and preventing their growth. It does this through two key ingredients: amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. Amoxicillin kills bacteria by attacking their cell wall, specifically the peptidoglycan layer, which is crucial for bacterial survival. However, some bacteria produce an enzyme called beta-lactamase that can break down amoxicillin before it has a chance to work.

This is where clavulanic acid comes in—it inhibits beta-lactamase enzymes from breaking down amoxicillin, allowing the antibiotic to effectively kill off the bacteria. Therefore, Augmentin can help patients manage and overcome their bacterial infections more effectively than if they were using a medication solely containing amoxicillin due to its added protection against certain resistant types of bacteria.

What is Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is a type of penicillin antibiotic that fights bacteria in the body. It was first discovered and developed by scientists from Beecham Research Laboratories in 1972, and it has since become one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics worldwide.

Amoxicillin works by inhibiting the creation of bacterial cell walls which halts their growth and multiplication, effectively killing them off. As Amoxicillin does not contain clavulanic acid (like Augmentin does), its effectiveness can be reduced when facing bacteria that produce beta-lactamase enzymes – these enzymes have evolved to resist penicillins like Amoxicillin.

However, because it lacks clavulanic acid, patients taking Amoxicillin generally experience fewer side effects compared to those using Augmentin. The typical side-effects associated with Amoxicillin may include nausea, diarrhea or less frequently skin rashes. Despite this difference in tolerability between both drugs, they are equally effective for many types of infections.

What conditions is Amoxicillin approved to treat?

Amoxicillin is a widely prescribed antibiotic, approved for the treatment of numerous conditions such as:

  • Bacterial sinusitis
  • Otitis media (an infection or inflammation of the middle ear)
  • Streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat)
  • Skin infections
  • Lower respiratory tract infections Its broad-spectrum activity against various types of bacteria makes it an effective choice in many circumstances.

How does Amoxicillin help with these illnesses?

Amoxicillin is a type of penicillin antibiotic that's heavily involved in fighting off bacterial infections in the body. Its role is crucial as it disrupts the formation of bacterial cell walls, leading to the eventual death and elimination of the infecting bacteria. This makes amoxicillin effective for treating various types of infections such as ear infections, bladder infections, pneumonia, gonorrhea, and E.coli or salmonella infection. Augmentin on the other hand contains two active ingredients: amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium. The latter enhances the effectiveness of amoxicillin by protecting it from being destroyed by certain bacteria’s defense mechanisms—making Augmentin even more potent against resistant strains. Yet still, when patients are not responding well to "typical" antibiotics like Amoxicillin alone due to resistance issues or complex nature of their infection case (such as mixed or severe infections), they may be prescribed with combination drugs like Augmentin.

How effective are both Augmentin and Amoxicillin?

Both amoxicillin and Augmentin (amoxicillin/clavulanate) are well-established antibiotics, used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. They were initially approved by the FDA in 1972 and 1984 respectively. Both drugs share the same active ingredient, amoxicillin; however, Augmentin incorporates clavulanic acid which broadens its spectrum of bacteria it can treat and combats antibiotic resistance.

The effectiveness of both was directly studied in a double-blind clinical trial for sinusitis patients in 2000; they exhibited similar efficacy with promising safety profiles. In this study, there were no significant differences in recovery rates or improvement scores between those receiving amoxicillin alone or Augmentin.

In a review from 2011 evaluating their use for acute otitis media in children revealed that both had good tolerance levels even among pediatric populations. Amoxicillin is often the first-choice antibiotic due to its effectiveness and low side effect profile.

However, Augmentin has been shown to be more effective than amoxicillin when treating certain types of difficult-to-treat infections like sinusitis or ear infections resistant to common antibiotics because of clavulanic acid's ability to overcome beta-lactamase enzymes produced by some bacteria that render them resilient against simple penicillins like amoxicillin alone. Consequently, while generally considered only after simpler treatments have failed or aren't suitable due to allergies or resistance issues, data confirming its efficacy as an stand-alone treatment is robust.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Augmentin typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Augmentin for adults and children over 40kg in weight generally range from 375-625 mg every 8 hours or 1,000-2,000 mg every 12 hours, depending on the severity of the infection. For children under 40kg, dosages are usually based on body weight and are typically administered twice a day. The maximum dosage that should not be exceeded is 4,000mg/day (including amoxicillin and clavulanic acid). Similarly, oral dosages of Amoxicillin for adults and adolescents can range from 250–500 mg every eight hours or alternatively from 500–875 mg every twelve hours. For pediatric patients with less severe disease (greater than two months old), doses range according to weight. Always consult your doctor before taking these medications as it may vary based on individual health conditions.

At what dose is Amoxicillin typically prescribed?

Amoxicillin treatment typically starts with a dosage of 250-500 mg by mouth every 8 hours or 500-875 mg every 12 hours, depending on the severity of the infection. The dose can then be increased to up to a maximum of 875 mg twice daily for severe infections. Treatment duration ranges from seven to fourteen days depending on the nature and severity of the infection. For children, dosing is usually based on weight. As always, amoxicillin should be taken as directed by your healthcare provider, and it's important not to discontinue use before completing the full course of treatment even if symptoms improve earlier than expected.

What are the most common side effects for Augmentin?

Common side effects that can occur with both Augmentin and Amoxicillin include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach or abdominal pain
  • Skin rash, itching, hives
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

In addition to these common side effects, Augmentin might also cause:

  • Mild skin rash or urticaria (hives)
  • Vaginal yeast infection
  • Dark colored urine

If you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms while taking either medication, it is important to consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Augmentin?

In rare cases, Augmentin can cause potentially serious side effects, which include:

  • Allergic reactions that may manifest as skin rashes or hives; difficulty in breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice) indicating liver problems
  • Severe stomach pain or cramping along with watery or bloody diarrhea: This could be a sign of a new infection
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Blistering and peeling of the skin
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat

Also noteworthy are symptoms indicating kidney issues such as little to no urination. If you experience any of these side effects when taking Augmentin, it's critical to seek immediate medical attention. As always with medication use, ensure you're under regular monitoring by your healthcare provider who can assess for potential risks associated with these medications.

What are the most common side effects for Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin can potentially cause a variety of side effects, including:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach pain or discomfort
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Skin rash or itching (in some cases indicating an allergic reaction)
  • Discolored teeth in children when given at a young age It's worth noting that sleep problems, tremors, sweating, feeling anxious or nervous are less commonly associated with Amoxicillin. If you experience any severe reactions such as confusion, agitation and hostility while on Amoxicillin therapy it is important to contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Amoxicillin?

While Amoxicillin is generally well-tolerated, it can occasionally lead to severe side effects that need immediate medical attention. Some of these include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Dark urine and yellowing eyes or skin (signs of liver disease)
  • Severe stomach/abdominal pain
  • Unusually tired feeling
  • Easy bruising or bleeding with persistent sore throat and fever

If any such symptoms are experienced after taking Amoxicillin, it's crucial to stop the medication immediately and seek emergency medical help. Remember always to take antibiotics responsibly under a healthcare professional's guidance.

Contraindications for Augmentin and Amoxicillin?

Both Augmentin and Amoxicillin, like most other antibiotics, may cause unwanted side effects in some individuals. If you notice severe diarrhea, persistent nausea or vomiting, unusual tiredness or weakness, easy bruising or bleeding, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin or any other serious effects while using these medications please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Augmentin nor Amoxicillin should be taken if you are allergic to penicillin-based antibiotics. Always inform your physician about any allergies before taking a new medication; an allergic reaction to penicillins will require the antibiotic to be completely cleared from your system to prevent dangerous reactions with both Amoxicillin and Augmentin. Remember that unnecessary use of either antibiotic can lead to decreased effectiveness by promoting resistance.

How much do Augmentin and Amoxicillin cost?

For the brand name versions of these antibiotics:

  • Amoxil, the brand-name version of amoxicillin, costs approximately $10 to $60 for a supply of 30 capsules (500 mg each), which works out to around $0.33 to $2/day based on your dosage.
  • Augmentin, another antibiotic that contains both amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, averages about $200 for 20 tablets (875-125 mg), this equates to roughly $10 per day.

Therefore, if you're taking equivalent dosages in terms of amoxicillin content, then the brand-name Amoxil is less expensive on a per-day treatment basis than Augmentin. However, cost shouldn't be the primary consideration when choosing between these two drugs; efficacy and potential side effects should also be taken into account.

As for generic versions of these drugs:

  • Generic amoxicillin comes in packs from 21 up to 100 capsules (500 mg), with costs ranging from as low as about $4 or up to around $16 depending upon pack size—averaging at around mere cents per day.
  • Conversely, generic Augmentin ranges in price from about $15 - 70 depending on quantity and pharmacy chosen—and while still significantly cheaper than its branded counterpart—it does work out more expensive daily compared with generic amoxicillin.

Popularity of Augmentin and Amoxicillin

Amoxicillin, both in generic form and under brand names like Amoxil, was prescribed to about 26.8 million people in the US in 2017. This antibiotic accounted for approximately 17% of all beta-lactam antibacterial prescriptions (a class which includes penicillins, cephalosporins, and carbapenems), demonstrating its significant usage within this group.

Augmentin is a combination drug made up of amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium. It enhances the effectiveness of amoxicillin by fighting bacteria that are often resistant to amoxicillin alone. In 2020, Augmentin was prescribed to around 14 million people in the USA accounting for nearly half as many prescriptions as singular use amoxicillin.

Both drugs have been largely consistent over recent years with a slight increase due to the rise of bacterial infections requiring treatment with antibiotics. However, it should be noted that their use should be limited when possible due to concerns about antibiotic resistance.


Both Augmentin (amoxicillin/clavulanate) and amoxicillin are antibiotics that have a long history of use for treating bacterial infections. They share similar mechanisms of action; however, Augmentin has an added component - clavulanic acid, which inhibits beta-lactamase—an enzyme produced by some bacteria to resist penicillins such as amoxicillin.

Amoxicillin is often the first-line therapy for simple bacterial infections due to its broad-spectrum activity against numerous strains of bacteria. In contrast, Augmentin could be considered when patients do not respond well to amoxicillin alone or in cases where the infection-causing bacteria produces beta-lactamase.

Both medications come in generic form, offering cost savings especially for patients who must pay out-of-pocket. The onset time varies depending on the type and severity of infection being treated.

The side effect profiles are relatively similar between these two drugs with gastrointestinal effects like diarrhea being common but usually mild. However, because of its additional ingredient—clavulanic acid—Augmentin may sometimes lead to more adverse digestive reactions than amoxicillin alone. For both medications, it's crucial that patients take them as directed and complete their prescribed course even if symptoms improve before completion—to prevent antibiotic resistance development and recurrence.