Amoxicillin is an antibiotic from the group of aminopenicillins. It contains ß-lactam as the active ingredient. The antibiotic can be used for many different infections and fights some Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria.
Due to the wide range of possible applications, it belongs to the group of broad-spectrum antibiotics. It can be used for infections of the gastrointestinal tract, the bile ducts, the respiratory tract and also for middle ear infections. The drug is often taken in the form of tablets.
Mode of action of amoxicillin
Amoxicillin is effective against Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. The effect is achieved by inhibiting the cell wall of the bacteria. They build up these during their reproduction and need them to survive.
The antibiotic inhibits an enzyme called transpeptidase. This enzyme is important in the construction of certain substances for the cell wall. If this enzyme is now inhibited, the bacterium cannot build its protective cell wall.
The bacterium can no longer divide and eventually dies. This mode of action, the killing of the bacteria, is called bactericidal. Some bacteria develop resistance, i.e. resistance to drugs.
This can also happen with amoxicillin. These bacteria have a certain enzyme, a beta-lactamase, which can render the active substance ineffective. This is why amoxicillin is administered together with the substance clavulanic acid. Clavulanic acid binds the bacterial enzyme and thus prevents the antibiotic from being inhibited.
Drugs can interact with other drug substances. The effect can either be intensified or cancelled. Furthermore, products that are toxic or non-degradable for the body can also be created, which can become a problem.
Other antibiotics that also inhibit the growth of bacteria should not be taken together with amoxicillin. These antibiotics include tetracyclines and erythromycin, for example. If they are taken at the same time, the efficacy of the drugs will be reversed, which would make the therapy fail.
In addition, the effect of amoxicillin can be increased and undesirable side effects can occur. This can happen if amoxicillin is also taken together with anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone, a drug used in rheumatism. Water-absorbing drugs known as diuretics have a similar effect, as do drugs used to treat gout such as allopurinol.
Not only the effect of amoxicillin can be influenced, but also amoxicillin itself can affect the effect of other drugs. For example, the antibiotic has a reinforcing effect on the effectiveness of heart medication. These are cardiac glycosides such as digitoxin, which are used to treat cardiac insufficiency or arrhythmia.
It should also be taken into account that if amoxicillin is taken, any vaccination carried out with a live vaccine will be ineffective because the bacteria are killed. Patients who have to take antibiotics due to a disease often ask themselves the question whether they can take the medicine with different foods without any problems. Especially with certain foods such as milk and dairy products, many patients are uncertain whether the effect of the antibiotic could then be lost.
With many antibiotics, the consumption of milk products should be avoided because of the loss of effect. The reason for this is the calcium, a mineral contained in milk and other foods containing milk. The calcium combines with some antibiotics to form very poorly soluble compounds.
The antibiotic is then no longer able to exert its effect properly. In addition, it is not even properly absorbed into the organism. However, this does not apply to the antibiotic amoxicillin.
Amoxicillin is generally very well tolerated and can be taken with milk or dairy products without any problems. With most antibiotics, it is not recommended to consume alcohol while taking them. Often the dangers are not specifically mentioned in the package inserts, but nevertheless interactions are known and should be taken seriously.
Undesirable side effects may occur. The antibiotic and also the alcohol are absorbed into the body and are metabolised and broken down by the liver. The liver plays an important role in the detoxification of the body, and therefore also in the breakdown of alcohol.
However, since the liver is initially busy breaking down the antibiotic, the alcohol remains in the blood longer and develops its effectiveness. At the same time, alcohol also has a negative effect on the antibiotic’s breakdown processes. Under certain circumstances, a disturbed degradation process can occur, causing the antibiotic to accumulate more in the liver. As a result, the liver can suffer damage and its function can be restricted.