Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Clavulanic acid

Clavulanic acid is often combined with the penicillin antibiotic amoxicillin to protect the antibiotic against resistance as a result of the effect of ß-lactamase.

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Clavulanic acid is not available on its own; it is available in combination with amoxicillin in many antibiotic preparations.

General information

Clavulanic acid is often combined with the penicillin antibiotic amoxicillin to protect the antibiotic against resistance as a result of the effect of ß-lactamase, a bacterial enzyme that inactivates most penicillins. This combination is called co-Amoxiclav.

How does clavulanic acid work?

Clavulanic acid is a competitive inhibitor of ß-lactamase, meaning that it 'tricks' the bacteria into binding to it instead of the 'real' antibiotic, thus allowing the antibiotic to overcome resistance. Despite this, some bacterial strains have emerged that are resistant to even such combinations.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 4

What does it do? Clavulanic acid is combined with some antibiotics to reduce drug resistance.

User information

Dietary advice: Products containing clavulanic acid should be taken with or shortly after a meal to prevent gastrointestinal upset and nausea.

Special precautions

Pregnancy: Avoid unless you have consulted your doctor.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: This medication is safe use.

Infants and children: This medication is safe for use in children at the recommended dose.

The elderly: No special precautions need to be taken.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

diarrhoea

x

x

nausea

x

x

jaundice

x

x

Recommended dosage

Clavulanic acid is not prescribed on its own.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

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