How Does Augmentin Work?|Effectiveness & Safety of Augmentin as a Penicillin Antibiotic

Augmentin is a penicillin antibiotic. It is a combination of clavulanate potassium and amoxicillin. Amoxicillin belongs to a group of antibiotic drugs called penicillins. Amoxicillin fights against bacteria within the body and kills them. Clavulanate potassium, a form of clavulanic acid, is much similar to penicillin in action, thus fights against bacteria even against those which are resistant to penicillins as well as other antibiotics etc.

It is used to treat many infectious diseases caused by bacteria like pneumonia, sinusitis, bronchitis, ear infections, skin infections and urinary tract infections etc. It is thus a vital drug to treat infections caused by bacteria.

Do not prescribe Augmentin to patients allergic to amoxicillin or clavulanate potassium or in patients who developed hepatic complications with its use in the past. Also, do not prescribe this to patients allergic to other penicillin antibiotic, like amoxicillin (Dispermox, Amoxil, Moxatag), dicloxacillin ( Dynapen, Dycill ), oxacillin, ampicillin, or penicillin etc…

Before using this, narrate your doctor if you had some hepatic complications in the past such as jaundice or hepatitis, renal disease, mononucleosis or if you are also sensitive to cephalosporins like cefdinir, cefuroxime, cefprozil, cephalexin or others etc.

If you go from one tablet to another one such as chewable, regular, or extended release tablet, use the newer tablet form according to the strength prescribed to you by the doctor. Using some other form of tablet and not the one prescribed for you may not be much effective instead can also prove harmful for you.

Clavulanate potassium and Amoxicillin have potential to pass into breast milk and can harm baby feeding on breast milk, so do not use this drug without telling the doctor that you are also breastfeeding a baby. It also decreases the effectiveness of birth control pills. So , consult with your doctor about using a non hormonal method of birth control such condoms, spermicide or diaphragm etc to prevent pregnancy while using this drug.

How Does Augmentin Work?

How Does Augmentin Work?

Augmentin is a combination of Clavulanate potassium and Amoxicillin. It is a variant of penicillin related antibiotics. Amoxicillin is the active antibiotic component while Clavulanate potassium enhances the effectiveness and duration of action of amoxicillin.

How Effective is Augmentin as a Penicillin Antibiotic?

Augmentin is very effective against greater organisms than amoxicillin itself. Augmentin penicillin antibiotic is available as pills, extended-release and liquid formulations and chewable tablets etc. Its money-saving generic formulations are also available.

  • Augmentin should be taken at the start of a meal.
  • Seek immediately for emergency help if you experience any difficulty in breathing, tightness or swelling of the throat.
  • Consult your doctor if you develop significant or prolonged diarrhea or a rash etc.
  • Complete its course.

The effectiveness and response of Augmentin is outstanding. It can take up to 48 hours after dose starts for a clinical improvement to be seen. Augmentin is effective against more organisms than amoxicillin itself. While some bacteria are inherently resistant to Augmentin, while others can also acquire resistance. To prevent resistance and thus treatment failure, you should complete the full course of antibiotic, even if you feel healthy earlier.

How to Take Augmentin Drug?

It should be used exactly as directed on the label or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in smaller or larger amounts or period longer than recommended.

  • Take the dose at the same time every day.
  • The tablet should be swallowed as a whole.
  • While, chewable tablet should be chewed and not swallowed as a whole.
  • Do not chew or crush Augmentin XR tablet. Swallow the pill whole or half. And if you can’t swallow this, then consult your doctor to recommend other forms of Augmentin.
  • While using liquid form, shake well before measuring a dose, to measure the correct dose, measure it with medicine cup or marked measuring spoon.
  • Complete the course. Signs and symptoms of infections may improve well before the infection is completely treated. Skipping doses during the treatment, also increases the risk of further infections by making microorganisms resistant to antibiotics. It is not used to treat viral infections like common cold or flu etc.
  • Augmentin can also give false positive test for glucose in urine. So, you should tell this to the doctor that you are using this drug.
  • Augmentin should be kept at 25°C away from heat and moisture. Store liquid form in refrigerators. Waste away any unused liquid form of it after 10 days.

How Safe is Augmentin as a Penicillin Antibiotic?

Diarrhea, insomnia, abnormal dreams and anxiety are the usual side effects of Augmentin. It can cause outgrowth of candida, a yeast, causing thrush (yeast infection occurring within mouth) or vaginal infections of yeast. Do not use this drug if you are sensitive to penicillin or any other penicillin-like antibiotic such as ampicillin, oxacillin, or others.


Augmentin is a combination of penicillin-type antibiotic which is used to effectively treat a variety of infections very effectively. Its use can also be limited because of resistance and side effects like diarrhea and yeast outgrowth etc…

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 27, 2017

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