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Side Effects
Serious

Irregular, rapid, or labored breathing, lightheadedness or sudden fainting, joint pain, fever, severe abdominal pain and cramping with watery or bloody stools, severe allergic reaction (marked by sudden swelling of the lips, tongue, face, or throat; breathing difficulty; skin rash, itching, or hives), unusual bleeding or bruising, yellowish tinge to eyes or skin. Call your doctor immediately.
Common

Mild rash, mild diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, vaginal discharge and itching, pain or white patches in the mouth or on the tongue.
Less Common

Diminished urine output, chills, weakness, fatigue, seizures.
Ampicillin


Drug Class:
Penicillin antibiotic

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: Yes

Generic 500 mg
(Biocraft)
Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions



Available In
Capsules, oral suspension, injection (available only in hospitals)

Why Prescribed
Oral ampicillin is used to treat infections of the skin, urinary tract, and respiratory tract (sinuses, tonsils, and lung) caused by certain bacteria known to be susceptible to this antibiotic. Injectable ampicillin is used to treat more serious infections in hospitalized patients.

How It Works
Ampicillin blocks the formation of bacterial cell walls, rendering bacteria unable to multiply and spread.

Range and Frequency
Adults or children weighing more than 44 lbs (20 kg): 250 to 500 mg, 4 times a day. The dosage for smaller children must be adjusted according to weight.

Onset of Effect
Within 2 hours of oral dose.

Duration of Action
6 to 8 hours with oral dose.

Dietary Advice
Should be taken on an empty stomach with plenty of water.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat and direct light. Keep the suspension refrigerated, but do not allow it to freeze.

Missed Dose
Take it as soon as you remember. If it is within 60 to 90 minutes of the next dose skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
Take it as prescribed for the full treatment period, even if you begin to feel better before the scheduled end of therapy. Stopping the drug prematurely may slow your recovery or lead to a rebound infection, also known as superinfection, in which the heartier strains of bacteria survive and multiply, leading to a more serious and drug-resistant infection.

Prolonged Use
Therapy with ampicillin is usually completed within 7 to 10 days. Prolonged use may promote infection by bacteria resistant to the medication's effects (superinfection).

Over 60
No special problems are expected.

Driving and Hazardous Work
No problems are expected.

Alcohol
No interactions are expected, but alcohol may dampen the immune system's response against infection and may increase the risk of stomach upset when taking this drug.

Pregnancy
Ampicillin may be used during pregnancy under certain conditions. Consult your doctor for guidelines.

Breast Feeding
Ampicillin may pass into breast milk and cause problems in the nursing infant; avoid use while nursing.

Infants and Children
No special problems are expected.

Special Concerns
If severe diarrhea occurs as a side effect of this drug, do not take antidiarrheal medications; call your doctor. Oral contraceptives may not be effective while you are taking ampicillin; consider other methods of birth control. Those who are prone to asthma, hay fever, hives, or allergies may be more likely to have an allergic reaction to a penicillin antibiotic.

Overdose Symptoms
Severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle spasticity, seizures.

What to Do
Call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center immediately.

Drug Interactions
Consult your doctor for specific advice if you are taking aminoglycosides, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, potassium supplements or potassium-containing medications, anticoagulants or other anticlotting drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, sulfinpyrazone, cholestyramine, colestipol, oral contraceptives, methotrexate, probenecid, allopurinol, or rifampin.

Food Interactions
Acidic fruits or juices can interfere with this drug's therapeutic effect.

Disease Interactions
Consult your doctor if you have a history of allergies, asthma, congestive heart failure, gastrointestinal disorders (especially colitis associated with the use of antibiotics), infectious mononucleosis, or impaired kidney function.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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