Ampicillin is a prescribed medication used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections. It belongs to the group of medications known as penicillin, which are bactericidal, meaning they are effective at killing bacteria. It works by inhibiting the growth of bacteria and can be used in both adults and children.
Ampicillin is a penicillin-based antibiotic utilized to treat and prevent various bacterial infections, including bladder infections, pneumonia, gonorrhea, meningitis, and gastrointestinal tract infections. It is also used to prevent group B streptococcal infection in newborns. It works by inhibiting bacterial growth, and when taken at the first sign of infection, can be most effective.
Uses and Dosage
Ampicillin comes in the form of a capsule that should be taken with a full glass (8 ounces) of water on an empty stomach (either 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals). To ensure that the drug is properly absorbed, do not lie down immediately after taking ampicillin.
The recommended dosages of ampicillin vary depending on the type of infection being treated. Generally:
- For respiratory tract infections, a typical dose is 250 mg taken by mouth 4 times a day (or every 6 hours).
- For gastrointestinal tract infections, a typical dose is 500 mg taken by mouth 4 times a day (or every 6 hours).
- For gonorrhea, a single dose of 3.5 g is usually recommended, along with 1 g of probenecid.
- For other infections, the typical dose is 50-100 mg/kg/day divided into 4 doses. Follow your doctor’s instructions when taking ampicillin.
Serious Side Effects of Ampicillin
- Allergic reactions
- Flu-like symptoms, such as fever and body aches
- Painful red or purple rash that spreads
- Blisters that could lead to skin breakdown
- Diarrhea that lasts after you stop taking the drug
- Diarrhea with or without stomach cramps
- Diarrhea with a fever
Common Side Effects of Ampicillin:
- An allergy to a cephalosporin antibiotic
- Hay fever (seasonal allergy)
- Kidney disease
Form and Strength
Ampicillin is available in the following forms and strengths:
- 250 mg
- 500 mg
- If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding before taking ampicillin. Ampicillin may not be safe for pregnant women and could harm the unborn baby. If you become pregnant while taking ampicillin, call your doctor right away.
- if you have mononucleosis (a virus also called ‘mono’) and if you have or have ever had allergies, asthma, hives, hay fever, or kidney disease before taking ampicillin. Having any of these conditions could affect how the medication works and could increase the risk of side effects.
- If you miss a dose of your medication, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time to take your next dose, in which case you should skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
- Stopping or skipping doses could make your infection last longer and could also make you resistant to the drug. If you develop another bacterial infection, ampicillin may not be effective in treating it.
- Be aware that ampicillin can cause a false positive when their doctor tests them for glucose (sugar) in their urine. This means that the test may show that there is glucose in their urine when there really is not, which could lead to inaccurate diagnosis and treatment. People with diabetes should talk to their doctor before taking ampicillin to make sure it is the right medication for them.
- People with kidney problems may not be able to clear certain drugs from their bodies as effectively as people with healthy kidneys. This can lead to higher levels of the drug in the body, which can increase the risk of side effects.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What diseases does ampicillin cure?
Ampicillin is a prescription penicillin-type antibiotic used to treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria, such as ear infections, bladder infections, pneumonia, gonorrhea, and E. coli or salmonella infection.
Does ampicillin treat urinary tract infections?
Overall cure rates remained high in all groups providing good evidence to support ampicillin for the treatment of complicated UTI caused by ampicillin- and vancomycin-resistant enterococci.
How much ampicillin should I take?
The dosage of ampicillin will vary depending on the type and severity of the infection being treated. Always follow your doctor’s instructions and the directions on the medication label when taking ampicillin.
How long should I take ampicillin?
The length of treatment will depend on the type and severity of the infection being treated. Your doctor will determine the best course of treatment.
Can I drink alcohol while taking ampicillin?
It is best to avoid drinking alcohol while taking ampicillin as it can increase the risk of side effects. If you do choose to drink, do so in moderation.