Itching when taking amoxicillin

Why does it itch?

Amoxicillin is an antibiotic and is used to treat bacterial infections of various parts of the body. It belongs to the group of penicillins. 10 out of 100 users suffer from itching (pruritus) while taking Amoxicillin, i.e. itching is a relatively common side effect of the drug.

Itching occurs because the body is hypersensitive or allergic to amoxicillin or any of its ingredients. The immune system is falsely activated by antibodies in the blood that bind to the drug and its components. As a result, histamine, which is sometimes found in the skin and mucous membrane, is released from the mast cells.

Histamine is a tissue hormone and is ultimately one of the strongest triggers of itching when there is increased release. However, histamine can also cause skin rashes or edema (water retention). In addition, it is possible that the first intake of amoxicillin was well tolerated and that an allergic reaction such as itching does not occur until the next intake – even years later. Why one person reacts hypersensitively and another does not, is probably due to the genes.

What can you do about it?

The itching during or after taking amoxicillin is usually accompanied by a skin rash, but is usually harmless in the course of time. Nevertheless, if you experience symptoms that may be due to the medication, you should consult your doctor. The doctor can investigate whether the reaction is an allergic reaction to amoxicillin and whether the amoxicillin should be discontinued, replaced by another drug or further treatment should be given.

This further treatment may make it necessary to take further medication. For example, in cases of severe itching and accompanying skin rash, creams containing cortisone can be prescribed by the doctor and applied to the itchy areas of the skin. If the itching is severe, the doctor can prescribe so-called H1 antihistamines such as Fenistil (active ingredient Dimetinden) in drop or tablet form to relieve the itching. Since itching can also be accompanied by other life-threatening symptoms such as swelling in the face and neck area, shortness of breath or a drop in blood pressure, the emergency doctor should be called urgently in the event of such signs. Amoxicillin and other penicillins should then be avoided at all costs during the next treatment of bacterial infections.


How long the itching lasts varies from person to person. After stopping the medication, the itching should have improved after a few days. The itching usually disappears in about one to two weeks for most people. If the skin continues to itch after this period or if there is no general improvement, you should see your doctor again. If the itching is severe and persistent, the doctor can administer an injection of antihistamines, for example, which should lead to an immediate improvement of the itching.