Amoxicillin and Clavulanate Potassium
Important Information for Your Healthcare ProviderYou should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium if you have:
- Liver disease, including liver failure, cirrhosis, or hepatitis
- Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
- A penicillin allergy
- Any other allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Augmentin and Pregnancy)
- Breastfeeding (see Augmentin and Breastfeeding).
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Amoxicillin and Clavulanate Potassium to learn more, including information on who should not take the drug.)
Amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium (as the name implies) contains two different medications: amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium (also known as clavulanic acid or simply clavulanate).
Amoxicillin belongs to a group of medications known as aminopenicillins, which is part of a larger group of medications known as beta-lactam antibiotics (named after the ring-like "lactam" structure of these antibiotics). Amoxicillin works by stopping bacteria from making cell walls, which eventually causes the bacteria to die. However, many bacteria have developed resistance to amoxicillin and similar antibiotics by producing enzymes called beta-lactamases. Beta-lactamases break the beta-lactam ring, making amoxicillin and similar antibiotics ineffective.
The other component of the antibiotic is known as a beta-lactamase inhibitor. Clavulanate binds to bacterial beta-lactamase and stops the enzymes from breaking down the amoxicillin molecule. Clavulanate itself has no significant antibacterial activity; it merely helps to prevent amoxicillin from being broken down by bacteria that would otherwise be resistant to it. Essentially, clavulanate "augments" the activity of amoxicillin.