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Amoxicillin, often referred to by it's trade name Augmentin(TM) is a commonly used moderate spectrum antibiotic used for a wide variety of bacterial infections. It is a preferred choice because the active ingredient tolerates the digestive tract well, meaning a lower dose can have a higher therapeutic effect than most drugs of its type. As a result, it is the most commonly prescribed antibiotic for children. In addition, although bacteria resistant to penicillin are often resistant to amoxicillin as well, the addition of clavulanic acid to the preparation will often overcome that resistance. It is almost always delivered in pill form, but it is also available as a liquid for patients who can't swallow pills.
The side effects are usually mild and typical of other antibiotics - nausea, diarrhea, non-allergic rash and colitis. Allergic reactions to the drug are often immediate and severe as well. In addition, it rarely causes mental changes including lightheadedness, insomnia, confusion, anxiety, photophobia, sensitivity to sound and unclear thinking. These symptoms require immediate medical attention as they can also indicate the onset of an allergic reaction.
Amoxicillin works by interfering with the proteins that help build cell walls. However, unlike penicillin, which won't work against bacteria with an ill defined cell wall, Amoxicillin will prevent these cells from reproducing as well.
The patent on amoxicillin has expired, making the drug very inexpensive. A typical course of treatment costs a few dollars.