Antibiotic Basics

A young girl being examined by her pediatrician.
Your pediatrician will look at your child's ear with an otoscope for signs of an ear infection.. Photo by Getty Images

Amoxil is a wonderful antibiotic and often doesn't get the respect it deserves from parents, some of whom go so far to ask their pediatrician not to prescribe it because 'Amoxil doesn't work' for their child.

What Amoxil Is Used For

In reality, it is usually recommended as first line treatment by experts for many common infections that affect kids, although it is now often used at almost twice the dose that it used to be.

Amoxil is most commonly used to treat children with ear infections, pneumonia, sinusitis, and strep throat. It can sometimes also be used to treat some other infections, including uncomplicated gonorrhoeae, urinary tract infections, and skin infections, when they are caused by susceptible strains of bacteria.

Amoxil is also used in combination with other medicines to treat patients with H. pylori infections. It is even among the antibiotics that are used to treat young children with Lyme disease.

Amoxil Facts

So what makes Amoxil so wonderful? Well, it is inexpensive, tastes good, and it does often work. And you really can't ask for more than that in a medicine. Since it is available as a generic drug, you will pay the lowest copay if you have a prescription card, but you likely won't pay more than $10 or $15 even if you have to pay full price, which is a welcome change from the $50 to $100 than many other antibiotics cost.

Other facts about Amoxil include that:

  • it is usually not given to children who are allergic to penicillin
  • Amoxil is now often prescribed just twice a day
  • high dose Amoxil (90mg/kg/d) is given at almost twice the usual dosage (50mg/kg/d)
  • Amoxil doesn't have to be kept in the refrigerator, although refrigeration is preferable
  • Amoxil's generic name is amoxicillin and other brand names include Trimox, Wymox, and Dispermox
  • amoxicillin is available in a variety of forms, including Pediatric drops, oral suspension, chewable tablets, capsules, and tablets

Amoxil Side Effects

As with most antibiotics, children taking Amoxil can develop nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and pseudomembranous colitis. Other side effects can include tooth discoloration (usually reversible), hepatitis, crystalluria, anemia, reversible hyperactivity, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, convulsions, behavioral changes, and or dizziness.

Hypersensitivity or allergic reactions can also occur in children taking Amoxil, including serum sickness-like reactions, erythematous maculopapular rashes, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, exfoliative dermatitis, toxic epidermal necrolysis, acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis, hypersensitivity vasculitis and urticaria. You should stop the antibiotic and call your pediatrician if your think your child is having an allergic reaction to Amoxil.

Keep in mind that not every rash that your child develops while taking Amoxil is going to be caused by an allergic reaction, so be sure to see your pediatrician before you simply blame it on an allergy. If your child gets labeled as being allergic to Amoxil, that eliminates an important class of antibiotics that your child can take, at least in the near future.

What You Need To Know About Amoxil

Other things to know about Amoxil include that:

  • although even generic amoxicillin has a fairly good bubble gum taste, some kids think that brand name Amoxil tastes even better
  • newborns and infants under 3 months of age are given a lower dosage of Amoxil (30mg/kg/d) than older children
  • Amoxil is recommended by experts in many treatment guidelines as the first choice to treat many common Pediatric infections, including ear infections and sinusitis


GlaxoSmithKline Amoxil Prescribing Information Sheet

Diagnosis and Management of Acute Otitis Media, PEDIATRICS Vol. 113 No. 5 May 2004, pp. 1451-1465.

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