💊Amoxicillin and clavulanate (Augmentin)

October 09, 2019 - 3 min read 🍵🍵

Tags: lifebiochemistry

Disclaimer: This post is strictly for informational purpose and contains the contents of my personal experience, opinion and research I found on the internet and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare providers for any questions regarding your condition.

Augmentin or Amoxicillin Clavulanic acid is an antibacterial combination drug consisting of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid.

What is amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is a very popular penicillin antibiotic used to treat a number of bacterial infections ranging from middle ear infections, strep throat, pneumonia, skin infection and many more. With the increase of antibiotic resistance from bacteria, pharmaceuticals have found ways to synthesize and combine drugs to increase their effectiveness[1].

How does amoxicillin work?

Amoxicillin is part of a class of β-lactam antibiotics which are any antibiotics that consists of a special ring structure called a β-lactam ring (a cyclic amide - a nitrogen atom connected to the β-carbon atom relative to the carbonyl).

The β-lactams bind to the penicillin-binding proteins which prevent a process called transpeptidation, thus leading to the activation of enzymes that are responsible for lysis of the bacterial cell wall. The lysis of the bacterial cell walls lead to the destruction of bacteria[1].

What is clavulanate?

Clavulanate or Clauvulanic acid is a β-lactam drug that functions as a β-lactamase inhibitor which binds to the β-lactamase active sites[2].

How does clavulanate help amoxicillin?

β-lactamases are enzymes secreted by Gram-negative organisms when exposed to penicillin antibiotics, this gives them their ability to be antibiotic resistant.

The β-lactamases in bacteria break β-lactam rings found in penicillin antibiotics (amoxicillin) via hydrolysis and therefore rendering them useless. However, combining clavulanic acid with amoxicillin increases amoxicillin’s effectiveness by inhibiting β-lactamases[2].

Alternative to ciprofloxacin and metronidazole

I recently wrote about ciprofloxacin and metronidazole which are antibiotics often used together to treat bacterial infections. My friend, who’s a medical student, warned me about the side effects of fluoroquinolones recommended me to ask for an alternative (Augmentin), thus prompting me to request for a different type of abx from my doctor when he wrote me a new session of antibiotics.

Unfortunately for me, after 2 sessions of cipro and metronidazole, I’m back on antibiotics again, but this time, with a safer alternative. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about what I’ve been taking and how its affected me. This one in particular upsets my stomach; my pharmacist had told me it’s a very common side effect.

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