What is Amoxicillin Overdose & How is it Treated & Managed?

Overdose of amoxicillin even by a small amount can cause permanent damage to multiple organs of the human body. However, amoxicillin overdose chances are low. Also, the situation can be controlled using several management options.

What is Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is used to cure infections. Amoxicillin belongs to the group of penicillin antibiotics. Amoxicillin is recommended for patients suffering from tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia and gonorrhea. It takes a few days for amoxicillin to ensure that the infection has been cured.

If a person does not complete the entire course of medicine, the microorganisms may become resistant to it. Some of the common side-effects associated with the usage of amoxicillin include diarrhea, nausea, bleeding gums, stomach upset, rashes and muscle aches.

What is Amoxicillin Overdose?

A normal patient may be given a maximum dosage of 6g of amoxicillin per day safely. The dosage must be broken into 3-4 dosages in a day. In case of people with renal impairments, the maximum allowable dosage is less than 6g. If the filtration rate in a person reduces to 10mL/min or lower, the overall amoxicillin dosage must not exceed 500mg.

What is Amoxicillin Overdose?

What are the Symptoms of Amoxicillin Overdose?

It is important for a person to identify the signs of amoxicillin overdose early as it helps in starting the medication early. The common symptoms of amoxicillin overdose include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and teeth staining. The teeth stain is usually mild initially but get worse with time. Thus, it is important not to ignore even the mild teeth stains. Overdose of amoxicillin can cause severe damage to kidney including kidney failure. Mild overdose of amoxicillin may cause abnormal vaginal discharge or itching and irritation in vagina. In few cases, amoxicillin overdose may also cause swelling of tongue. The color of the tongue changes to black and becomes hairy.

Signs of Amoxicillin Overdose

The signs of amoxicillin overdose can differ from person to person. The signs also depend on the part of the body affected. A mild amoxicillin overdose can cause abdominal discomfort, nausea and dizziness. Severe amoxicillin overdose can cause yeast infection, flue like symptoms or discharge of blood in urine. Other signs include reduced urine output, swelling in eyes and color changing to yellow.

Some signs of amoxicillin overdose can resemble to those of flu such as fever, runny nose, body ache etc… Thus, a lot of people can be misled to think that the changes in the body are being caused due to allergy and not due to overdose of amoxicillin. In a few cases, the overdose may also lead to swollen feet, hands and face.

Overdose of amoxicillin may also lead to jaundice. Common signs and symptoms of jaundice include yellowing or skin and eyes. In few cases, the overdose of amoxicillin is also known to cause anaphylaxes with signs like breathing problems, sore throat etc. Some other common signs of amoxicillin overdose include pain in chest and skin rashes.

What is Amoxicillin Overdose Management?

The complications resulting due to overdose of amoxicillin can be reduced if the treatment is started early. Thus, it becomes important to identify the signs of drug overdose early and seek immediate medical attention. A person suspected with the overdose or amoxicillin must be rushed to the nearest medical facility to provide necessary supportive care such as pumping of the stomach and medications. Pumping of the stomach is most useful in case of early treatment. It helps in expelling amoxicillin out of the body. The supportive care measures help in managing the symptoms of amoxicillin overdose. If the kidney of a person has undergone damage, diuretics can help in reducing further damage. Hemodialysis is an effective option for treating symptoms of drug overdose.

Treatment of Amoxicillin Overdose

As the symptoms of amoxicillin overdose vary from person to person, the treatment procedure also needs to be varied according to the symptoms. In case a person has recently taken the overdose of amoxicillin, the first step is to try and pump it out from the stomach. In this procedure, a tube is inserted into the stomach and a pump is used to suck the drug out of the stomach. The patient may also be forced to vomit in an attempt to get the drug out of the stomach before it enters into the blood stream and spreads to various parts of the body.

If the amoxicillin has entered into the bloodstream, dialysis remains the best treatment option. There is no particular antidote that works in case of amoxicillin overdose. However, a balanced supply of electrolyte in the body may be helpful. Activated charcoals are also helpful in absorbing drug from the body. Gastric lavage is used as the last measure for the treating such cases.

How to Prevent Amoxicillin Overdose?

The simplest way to avoid the overdose of amoxicillin is to take the dose strictly according to the prescription. If you skip any dose by mistake, do not try to make up for it by taking extra dose. Be aware of the symptoms of overdose of amoxicillin and report the same to doctor immediately to avoid any damage to the body organs.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 11, 2017

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