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October 20, 2020

Ampicillin is a penicillin-type of antibiotic prescribed by most doctors for the treatment of various infections caused by bacteria which includes:

  • Bladder infections
  • E.coli or salmonella infection
  • Infection of the membrane that surrounds the spinal cord and brain called meningitis
  • Gastrointestinal infection
  • Infection of the throat and sinuses
  • Bacterial infections that affect the inner layer of the heart called endocarditis
  • Prevention of group B streptococcal infection in newborn
  • Uncomplicated gonorrhea
  • Blood poisoning or sepsis
  • Whooping cough
  • Prevention and treatment of secondary infections

Ampicillin is a cheaper but good antibiotic for treating many types of bacterial infections. It’s well-tolerated and generally has few side effects. It’s suitable for adults, children, and even pregnant women. Ampicillin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that kills a wide variety of bacteria. It’s able to penetrate Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. It came into medical use in 1961 and is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines needed in the health system.

As a penicillin-type of antibiotic, Ampicillin stops the infection by killing the bacteria. It works by interfering with the ability of bacteria to form their cell wall which allows holes to form in the bacterial cell wall. This prevents them from multiplying and eventually kills them.

When and How to Use Ampicillin

Your dose and how long you need to take it is based on your condition, the severity of your condition, and the strength of the medicine. The typical dose for most infections in an adult is 250 mg to 500 mg 4 times a day for 7 to 14 days. The dose in treating uncomplicated gonorrhea is a single dose of 3.5 grams with 1 gram of probenecid. Probenecid slows down the excretion of Ampicillin from the body so it remains in the body longer.

Ampicillin is well-absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. It reaches its peak concentration one to two hours after intake. The duration of the effect of this medicine lasts for an average of 3 to 6 hours. Take Ampicillin at an evenly spaced-time to get the most benefit from it. If you have missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Skip your dose if it’s almost time to take your next dose.

Take Ampicillin one hour before or two hours after a meal as foods can reduce how much and how quickly this medicine is absorbed. However, if this medicine upsets your stomach, you can take it with food. Take it with plenty of water.

Continue taking this medicine even if you feel better. You have to finish the entire course of your treatment. Stopping your medication will not treat your condition. It will only make the bacteria resistant to the antibiotic. Stopping the medication too early will increase your chance of getting back the infection.

Possible Side Effects of Ampicillin

Ampicillin can cause unwanted side effects aside from its intended effects. Tell your doctor if the following common side effects do not go away or become severe:

Some side effects can be serious and may need immediate medical attention like:

  • Allergic reactions with signs like itching, rash, hives, wheezing, difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • Severe diarrhea that may occur with or without fever
  • Sore throat, cough, chills, the return of fever, and other signs of infection

What should I know before taking Ampicillin?

  • Do not take Ampicillin if you are allergic to penicillin or cephalosporin-type of antibiotic.
  • Extra monitoring and a lower dose are needed if you have:
  • Decreased kidney function
  • A history of allergies
  • Acute or chronic lymphoid leukemia
  • Susceptible glandular fever
  • Ampicillin is not known to cause harm to an unborn baby. However, just like any medicines, tell your doctor if you are pregnant before taking any medications. Your doctor will discuss the risk and benefits of taking Ampicillin.
  • This medicine is safe for breastfeeding. In case you will experience rashes on the skin or your child develops diarrhea, or oral thrush, consult with your doctor.
  • Ampicillin can alter the normal bacteria in the colon. This encourages an overgrowth of C. difficile bacteria which causes inflammation of the colon. In case you will experience abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fever, and possibly shock, contact your doctor right away.

Getting the Best Result from Ampicillin

  • Ampicillin, as an antibiotic, is effective against a wide variety of bacterial infections. However, this medicine won’t work against flu, colds, and other viral infections.
  • Taking antibiotics such as this one when not needed will only increase your risk of further infections in the future. It may only make the bacteria resistant to the antibiotic.
  • The increased use of antibiotics has made many strains of bacteria resistant to penicillin. Bacteria causing serious infection should be tested first for resistance against this medicine.
  • To make sure that the bacteria causing your infection is susceptible to ampicillin, your doctor may take a tissue sample.
  • You should begin to feel better after a few days of treatment. If your symptoms persist or do not improve, contact your doctor.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medications including those bought without prescriptions like vitamin, herbal, and dietary supplements.

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