What Is Amoxicillin and Clavulanate Potassium Used For?
Amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium is used for treating various types of infections, including urinary tract infections, sinus infections, and ear infections. However, it is only approved for treating these infections when they are caused by certain bacteria. The antibiotic can be used in infants, children, and adults. Off-label amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium uses may include the prevention and treatment of other types of infections.
Amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium (Augmentin®) is an antibiotic used to treat a variety of different infections, including:
- Lower respiratory tract infections (such as pneumonia)
- Ear infections
- Sinus infections
- Skin infections
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs), such as bladder infections or kidney infections.
Amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium is approved for treating the above infections only when they are caused by certain types of bacteria. Not all bacteria (and no viruses) will respond to the medication. Also, bacteria have difference resistance patterns in different regions in the country. This means that some bacteria may be susceptible to amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium in certain parts of the country but not in others.
(This article discusses the approved uses of regular amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium only. See the eMedTV articles on Augmentin ES uses and Augmentin XR uses for information about these other amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium products.)
Overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance. In order to prevent this, "broad-spectrum" antibiotics (which are active against a wide range of bacteria) should not be used to treat infections that could be treated by an antibiotic with a narrower spectrum of activity. Amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium is usually considered a broad-spectrum antibiotic. In addition, the drug should not be used unless tests have shown that a particular infection is caused by bacteria that are susceptible to it or if there is reason to strongly suspect that the bacteria are susceptible to the medication.
It is important to note that a high percentage of people with mononucleosis ("mono") who take antibiotics similar to amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium develop a skin rash. Therefore, the medication is not recommended for use in people with this condition.