Augmentin

Medically Reviewed By University of Illinois Chicago Drug Information Group

Augmentin at a glance

Key highlights to know about Augmentin are:

  • Augmentin is a combination of two medications: amoxicillin (an antibiotic) and clavulanic acid (also called clavulanate). Clavulanic acid helps extend the effect of amoxicillin. Augmentin is used to treat infections such as those of the lungs (pneumonia), ear, skin, urinary tract (bladder), or sinuses (sinusitis).
  • Augmentin is available as a tablet, chewable tablet, extended-release (long-acting) tablet, and liquid suspension that is administered by mouth.
  • Augmentin is a moderate-cost drug, defined in this article as costing between $30-$100/month.
  • Augmentin is available as a generic medication.

Important safety warnings for Augmentin

Users of Augmentin should be aware of these safety warnings:

  • Allergic (hypersensitivity or anaphylaxis) warning: Augmentin can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening allergic reactions, most often in those with a history of a penicillin allergy. Tell your doctor if you have an allergy to amoxicillin, clavulanate, penicillin antibiotics, or antibiotics called cephalosporins. If you experience swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat or problems with swallowing or breathing, seek emergency care (call 911) right away.
  • Liver disease warning: Do not take Augmentin if you have had certain liver problems, such as cholestatic jaundice, caused by Augmentin in the past. Augmentin may cause certain types of liver disease. If you have liver disease, your doctor will monitor your therapy while taking Augmentin.
  • Kidney disease warning: The extended-release (long-acting) tablets are not recommended if you have severe kidney disease. Tell your doctor if you have kidney disease.
  • Diarrhea warning: A type of diarrhea, called Clostridioides difficile (also called “Clostridium difficile” or “C. diff”)-associated diarrhea, has occurred with the use of Augmentin. Tell your doctor if your diarrhea is severe (watery or bloody stools), lasts more than 2 or 3 days, or occurs two months or more after stopping Augmentin.
  • Mononucleosis warning: Augmentin should not be used to treat a viral infection called mononucleosis (“mono”) because it may increase the risk of a skin rash.
  • Phenylketonuria warning: If you have phenylketonuria (PKU) (an inherited condition where a special diet is followed because the body cannot break down the amino acid phenylalanine), it is important to know that some Augmentin chewable tablets and oral solution (liquid) may contain phenylalanine.
  • Drug-resistant bacteria warning: Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics, such as Augmentin, especially if it is used for something other than a bacterial infection. If this happens, the bacteria may not be treatable by other antibiotics in the future. Resistance is more likely if Augmentin is not taken exactly as directed by a doctor.

Talk with your doctor about these warnings in the context of your individual treatment plan and medical history.

What Augmentin treats

This medication is used to treat:

  • Bacterial infections, such as infections of the lungs (pneumonia), ear, skin, urinary tract (bladder) or sinuses (sinusitis).

Doctors sometimes prescribe medications for different uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for information about other uses of this medication.

How it works

Augmentin is a prescription drug that contains a combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. Amoxicillin is an antibiotic and belongs to a class of medications that works like penicillin. It works by stopping bacteria from building their cell walls to grow and survive. Clavulanic acid is called a “beta-lactamase inhibitor,” meaning it stops bacteria from destroying amoxicillin. Augmentin works against many types of bacteria.

Augmentin comes in many forms that are administered by mouth, including tablets, chewable tablets, extended-release tablets, and liquid suspensions. All forms of Augmentin are also available as the generic: amoxicillin and clavulanic acid.

Side effects of Augmentin

Augmentin side effects are possible and may go away with continued use. Serious side effects are rare.

Common side effects

The more common side effects that occur with Augmentin include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Mild skin rash and hives 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Seek emergency care (call 911) if you experience life-threatening symptoms, such as difficulty breathing; chest pain; loss of consciousness; sudden vision changes; or swelling of the face, mouth, tongue or throat.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Serious allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:
    • Itching
    • Raised, red areas on the skin (hives)
    • Rash
    • Skin peeling
    • Swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, throat, lips or eyes
    • Trouble breathing or swallowing
    • Wheezing
  • Severe diarrhea. Symptoms can include:
    • Bloody stools
    • Fever
    • Stomach cramps
    • Watery stools
  • Liver problems. Symptoms can include:
    • Dark urine
    • Lack of energy
    • Loss of appetite
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Stomach pain
    • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Vaginal itching or discharge

Other side effects are possible. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Costs of Augmentin

Without insurance, Augmentin is typically a moderate-cost drug (defined as costing between $30-$100/month). All forms of Augmentin are available as generic drugs. You can check the out-of-pocket cash pay price for Augmentin on prescription drug discount websites.

With insurance, prices can vary considerably. Insurance may control whether a brand or generic version is used. Individual health plans may have preferred drugs with better pricing. If the price of Augmentin on your health plan is too expensive, ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is an equivalent drug you can substitute.

How Augmentin may interact with other medicines

Augmentin may interact with other medicines you may be taking, including prescription or over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Either Augmentin or the other medicine can be affected and cause serious side effects. To help avoid harmful interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements you are taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you are taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

This is not a complete list of drugs that may interact with Augmentin. However, examples of drugs that may interact with Augmentin include:

Birth control pills

Augmentin can lower the effectiveness of oral contraceptives (birth control pills). This may increase the chance of pregnancy. If you are taking birth control pills, use another form of birth control, such as a condom, while taking this drug.

Blood thinner medicines

Bleeding may be more likely when Augmentin is used with blood thinner medicines. Lowering the dose of the blood thinner may be necessary; check with your doctor. Examples of blood thinner medicines include:

  • Warfarin (Coumadin)

Allopurinol

When Augmentin is administered with allopurinol (Zyloprim), a drug used to treat gout, it may increase the risk of rash.

Probenecid

Probenecid, a drug used commonly for gout, may increase the levels of amoxicillin (one of the drugs in Augmentin) in the body. Your doctor will monitor your therapy if you are prescribed probenecid with Augmentin.

Other antibiotics

Certain antibiotics, such as those called tetracyclines, may interfere with the ability of amoxicillin (one of the drugs in Augmentin) to fight your infection. However, your doctor might prescribe other types of antibiotics with Augmentin to help fight the infection. Tell your doctor about other antibiotics you may already be taking when they prescribe you Augmentin.

  • Doxycycline (Anticlate, Doryx, Doxy 100, Doxy 200, Oracea, Vibramycin)
  • Minocycline (Dynacin, Minocin, Minolira, Ximino, Solodyn)
  • Tetracycline (Achromycin V)

Laboratory Tests

Augmentin may cause a false-positive result when testing for urine glucose (sugar) using certain tests such as Clinitest tablets, Benedict’s Solution or Fehling’s Solution. It is recommended to use a certain test that Augmentin does not interfere with, such as Clinistix or TesTape. Talk with your healthcare professional if you are taking Augmentin during laboratory tests for urine glucose.

Disclaimer: Since drugs interact differently in each person, this information is not guaranteed to include all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbal supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

Other Augmentin alerts

This drug comes with several alerts:

Diarrhea warning

Antibiotics can commonly cause diarrhea that ends when the antibiotics are stopped. Diarrhea that occurs later, as late as two months after stopping the antibiotic, may be a sign of an intestinal infection. Call your doctor if you have watery or bloody stools, stomach cramps, or fever.

Warnings for other groups

  • For children: Augmentin is used in infants, children and adolescents. Your doctor will prescribe different dosing in infants younger than 3 months old. The tablets and extended-release (long-acting) tablets are for use in children who weigh more than 40 kg and can swallow tablets.
  • Kidney disease: Kidney disease may affect how the drug is removed from your body. If you have kidney disease, your healthcare provider may start with a lower dose and monitor for side effects. If you have severe kidney disease, avoid use of the extended-release tablets.
  • For elderly patients: Being aged 65 years or older may increase your risk of side effects related to Augmentin. If you are 65 years or older, your healthcare provider may start you at a lower dose and monitor your therapy.  

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Seek emergency care (call 911) if you experience life-threatening symptoms, such as difficulty breathing; chest pain; loss of consciousness; sudden vision changes; or swelling of the face, mouth, tongue or throat.

For pregnant and breastfeeding women

There are no known issues with taking Augmentin for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are concerned about taking Augmentin while pregnant or breastfeeding, talk with your doctor.

Can I take Augmentin when pregnant?

Augmentin has not been shown to cause adverse events during pregnancy in animal studies. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before starting Augmentin.

Can I take Augmentin when breastfeeding?

Amoxicillin (contained in Augmentin) can pass into breast milk and may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your baby if you are taking Augmentin.

How and when to take Augmentin

This drug is administered by mouth. It can be taken with or without food but is recommended at the start of a meal or with a snack to lower the risk of stomach upset. Take the medication close to the same time(s) each day.

The liquid suspension is mixed by the pharmacy before you receive it. Keep the liquid suspension in the bottle it originally came in, tightly closed, refrigerated, and out of reach of children. Shake the suspension each time before use. Use a dosing spoon or medicine dropper to administer to a child. The bottle may contain more liquid than required. Discard any unused liquid suspension after 10 days.

Thoroughly chew or crush the chewable tablets before swallowing. Do not crush or chew the tablets or extended-release tablets; swallow them whole with a full glass of water.

Do not substitute two of the 250 mg tablets with one 500 mg tablet because they contain different amounts of clavulanic acid. The 250 mg tablet should also not be substituted with the 250 mg chewable tablet.

Even if you start to feel better when taking Augmentin for an infection, continue taking Augmentin for the full number of days prescribed by your doctor. Skipping doses or not finishing the full treatment course can make Augmentin less effective for your infection or lead to bacteria that are not treatable by antibiotics in the future.

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take Augmentin will depend on:

  • Condition being treated
  • How you react to the first dose
  • Other medical conditions you have
  • Severity of your condition
  • Your age
  • Your weight

Drug forms and strengths

  • Tablet (expressed as milligrams [mg] amoxicillin/clavulanate)
    • 250 mg/125 mg, 500 mg/125 mg, 875 mg/125 mg

  • Chewable tablet
    • 200 mg/28.5 mg, 400 mg/57 mg

  • Extended-release tablet
    • 1 gram/62.5 mg

  • Liquid suspension
    • 125 mg/5 mL, 200 mg/5 mL, 250 mg/5 mL, 400 mg/5 mL, 600 mg/5 mL

Dosage for infection (tablets, chewable tablets, liquid suspension)

  • Adult dosage (age ≥ 18 years)
    • Typical dosage (mild or moderate): 250 to 500 mg every 8 to 12 hours
    • Typical dosage (severe or lung infection): 500 to 875 mg every 8 to 12 hours
  • Children ≥ 3 months
    • Typical dosage (ear, sinusitis, lung, and severe infections): 40 to 45 mg/kg/day. The total dose is divided and administered 2 to 3 times per day (every 8 to 12 hours).
    • Typical dosage (less severe infections): 20 to 25 mg/kg/day every 8 to 12 hours
  • Children < 3 months
    • Typical dosage: 30 mg/kg/day. The total dose is divided and administered two times per day (every 12 hours).

Dosage for infection (extended-release tablet)

  • Adult dosage (age ≥ 18 years)
    • Typical dosage (pneumonia and bacterial sinusitis): 2000 mg/125 mg every 12 hours
  • Children ≥ 40 kg
    • Typical dosage (pneumonia and bacterial sinusitis): 2000 mg/125 mg every 12 hours

If you miss a dose of Augmentin

Take your missed dose as soon as you remember unless it is close to the time for your next dose. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and stay with your normal schedule. Do not take more than your prescribed dose. Do not double the dose (take two doses at one time) the next day.

If you take too much Augmentin

If you take too much Augmentin, you have a higher risk of having side effects caused by this drug. If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Seek emergency care (call 911) if you experience life-threatening symptoms, such as difficulty breathing; chest pain; loss of consciousness; sudden vision changes; or swelling of the face, mouth, tongue or throat.

Helpful tips when taking Augmentin

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes Augmentin for you.

General

  • Augmentin is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections. Even if you start to feel better when taking Augmentin for an infection, continue taking it for the full number of days prescribed by your doctor. Skipping doses or not finishing the full treatment course can make Augmentin less effective for your infection or lead to bacteria that are not treatable by antibiotics in the future.
  • Augmentin is not used to treat viral infections, such as the common cold.

Storage

  • Store the liquid suspension in the refrigerator. Discard unused liquid suspension after 10 days.
  • Store the tablets, chewable tablets, and extended-release tablets at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C to 25°F).
  • Store Augmentin securely with the lid on tightly and keep out of reach of children.
  • Do not store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Alcohol

There are no known interactions with Augmentin and alcohol. If you are concerned about taking Augmentin while drinking alcohol, talk with your doctor.

Refills

Your doctor will write the number of authorized refills on your prescription. Talk with your pharmacist if you have questions about refills.

Travel

When planning to travel, keep these tips in mind for packing your medication:

  • Bring enough medication for the full number of days of your trip, plus at least two days to be safe.
  • Keep your medication with you, in a purse or a carry-on bag if flying. Do not put it into a checked bag in case you are separated from your luggage.
  • Liquid medications are exempt from the 3-1-1 liquid rule for flying.
  • Keep your medications in their original containers, if possible, to reduce delays during airport or security screening. Keep all your medications together to expedite the process.
  • Avoid leaving your medication in a parked car for extended periods to protect it from extreme temperatures (hot or cold).

Availability

Many pharmacies stock this drug. When filling your prescription, you can call ahead to make sure your pharmacy carries it and has it in stock.

Prior Authorization

Many insurance companies do not require a prior authorization for this drug. Health plans may prefer certain drugs within this medication class over others. If a prior authorization is needed, your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for your prescription.

Medications similar to Augmentin

Augmentin is an antibiotic from the class of penicillin-like antibiotics. There are other medications that work like Augmentin. These include:

  • Amoxicillin (Amoxil)
  • Amoxicillin/lansoprazole/clarithromycin (Prevpac)
  • Amoxicillin/omeprazole/clarithromycin (Omeclamox-Pak)
  • Amoxicillin/omeprazole/rifabutin (Talicia)
  • Ampicillin
  • Dicloxacillin
  • Penicillin V Potassium

Each medication has its own benefits and side effects profile. Your doctor will help determine the best option for you.

Discontinuing use of Augmentin

Do not stop taking this drug unless instructed by your doctor.

Healthgrades Disclaimer:

This information is for educational purposes only. It should not be interpreted as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Healthgrades takes every effort to ensure this information is accurate and up to date. This content is not intended to cover all possible uses, side effects, warnings, precautions, allergic reactions, or drug interactions. Do not assume that the absence of such information means the medication is safe for your personal use. Always consult your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare professional before taking or discontinuing any medication.

Medical Reviewer: University of Illinois Chicago Drug Information Group
Last Review Date: 2021 Sep 14
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. Amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. Medline Plus, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a685024.html
  2. Augmentin package insert. DailyMed. https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=16779d75-67ad-46ff-b9c8-4e464fbeeb08
  3. Augmentin extended-release tablet package insert. DailyMed. https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=e41387c8-2c74-4990-831f-64dc921ee138