- Side Effects of Amoxicillin
- Amoxicillin Side Effects
- Can amoxicillin cause light-headedness in a patient who is allergic to penicillin?
- Side effects – Antibiotics
- Antibiotic allergic reactions
- For the Consumer
- For Healthcare Professionals
- Further information
- More about amoxicillin
- I feel dizzy and have a dry mouth after taking antibiotics – should I be worried?
Side Effects of Amoxicillin
Allergies are usually not the reason for a negative reaction to a drug. In fact, allergic reactions are an uncommon occurrence. Though it may seem like an allergic reaction, it is really a nonallergic adverse reaction.
Mild allergic reactions include itching and hives. Mild allergic reactions aren’t too worrisome on their own but should be observed in case symptoms worsen. Mild symptoms can be treated with antihistamines and hydrocortisone.
Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and shortness of breath are signs of a severe allergic reaction. If you experience a severe allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately.
If an allergic reaction occurs, monitor the spreading of the rash or redness. Amoxicillin can cause delayed allergic reactions even after you’ve stopped taking it.
Breathing difficulty involves a sensation of difficult or uncomfortable breathing or a feeling of not getting enough air.
In some circumstances, a small degree of breathing difficulty may be normal. Severe nasal congestion is one example. Strenuous exercise, especially when you do not exercise regularly, is another example.
If you have difficulty breathing, you could be experiencing an allergic reaction to amoxicillin.
If you’re experiencing mild breathing problems, you can try to ease breathing by doing the following:
- Breathe through pursed lips, which slows down breathing and allows for deeper breaths.
- Perform activities at a comfortable pace; avoid rushing.
- Try not to hold your breath.
- Sit in front of a fan.
If you are allergic to amoxicillin or penicillin, inform your doctor so you can be prescribed another medication to prevent this reaction. If breathing becomes increasingly difficult, contact your doctor right away.
If you have swelling of your lips, face, mouth or throat, and difficulty breathing call 911 or go to the emergency room.
Blisters and other skin problems
Blisters are small, raised lesions where fluid has collected under the skin. They may be caused by an allergic reaction, burns, frostbite, or by excessive friction or trauma to the skin. Blisters may also be a symptom of a systemic illness, or of a specific skin disorder.
This side effect is somewhat rare, but serious when it does occur. If you experience redness, blistering, or peeling or loosening of the skin after taking amoxicillin, contact your doctor right away.
Home treatments may be used to manage mild, non-itching rashes that are not severe. Treatment includes antihistamines or hydrocortisone, oatmeal baths, and drinking lots of water. If skin starts blistering, peeling, or loosening, however, seek medical attention immediately.
To prevent severe skin irritations, do not take amoxicillin if you’re allergic to penicillin.
Dizziness occurs when you feel lightheaded, like you might faint, being unsteady, or experiencing a loss of balance or vertigo (a feeling that you or the room is spinning or moving).
Most causes of dizziness are not serious and either quickly get better on their own or are easily treated.
Tell your doctor all of the medications you are currently taking before they prescribe you amoxicillin. To prevent dizziness, avoid drinking alcohol when on amoxicillin.
Avoid driving until you know how amoxicillin will affect you. If you get dizzy, sit down for a moment and see if it passes. Keep your head elevated with a pillow if you lie down.
Dizziness may be a symptom of anemia or an allergic reaction.
If dizziness is severe or combined with symptoms like shortness of breath or swelling of the lips, face, or tongue, a severe allergic reaction could be present. Seek immediate medical attention.
Sleeping difficulty, called insomnia, can involve difficulty falling asleep when you first go to bed at night, waking up too early in the morning, and waking up often during the night.
Everyone has an occasional sleepless night, and this is not a problem for most people. However, as many as 25 percent of Americans a year experience acute insomnia, and insomnia is a chronic problem for many people.
A seizure is a sudden change in behavior characterized by changes in sensory perception (sense of feeling) or motor activity (movement) due to an abnormal firing of nerve cells in the brain. Epilepsy is a condition characterized by recurrent seizures that may include repetitive muscle jerking called convulsions.
If you are experiencing this side effect, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Normal urine is often a pale or straw yellow color. When urine color strays from this color, it is considered abnormal. Abnormally colored urine may be cloudy, dark, or blood-tinged.
Any changes in urine color, or the presence of an abnormal urine color that cannot be linked to the consumption of a food or drug, should be reported to your doctor. This is particularly important if it happens for longer than a day or two, or you have repeated episodes.
Dark urine can be caused by amoxicillin due to changes in blood, liver, and/or kidney function. Renal toxicity is rare (occurring in approximately .03 percent of patients), but when it does occur, it can be serious.
Those at risk for kidney complications in particular should not use amoxicillin to prevent this side effect and potential kidney damage. Your doctor can prescribe another type of antibiotic.
If you are prescribed amoxicillin, make sure to only take the prescribed dose within the amount of time that is suggested by your doctor. It’s also important to drink the recommended requirement of water.
Dark urine is a severe side effect of amoxicillin. Talk to your doctor if you experience changes in your urine.
Painful urination describes any pain, discomfort, or burning sensation during urination.
Pain during urination is a fairly common problem. It is most often caused by a urinary tract infection.
Amoxicillin may cause crystals to form in the urine. These crystals are directly tied to the amoxicillin and look very different than crystals otherwise commonly found in urine. It can also happen in rare cases where the kidney is negatively impacted.
To prevent this, never take more than your prescribed dose and drink plenty of water. If you’re experiencing slight discomfort when you urinate, drink water and reduce the amount of protein in your diet.
Painful urination can also indicate renal failure or damage. Contact your doctor right away if you are experiencing this.
Unusually weak or tired
Fatigue is a feeling of weariness, tiredness, or lack of energy.
Fatigue is different from drowsiness. In general, drowsiness is feeling the need to sleep, while fatigue is a lack of energy and motivation. Drowsiness and apathy (a feeling of indifference or not caring about what happens) can be symptoms that go along with fatigue.
If your fatigue falls under the category of “excessive tiredness,” this is a serious side effect. It’s uncommon, but you should still consult your doctor immediately. This can happen when the nervous system is affected.
If you’re just tired, take some time to rest, take things easy, and get enough sleep. Try to reduce stress.
When taking amoxicillin to combat an infection, it’s normal to feel tired. However, if you’re excessively tired to the point of feeling weak, faint, or struggling to stay awake, get medical attention.
Unusual bleeding or bruising
Bleeding under the skin can occur from broken blood vessels that form tiny pinpoint red dots (called petechiae). Blood can also collect under the tissue in larger flat areas (called purpura), or in a very large bruised area (called an ecchymosis).
Amoxicillin can increase the risk of bleeding. If you’re experiencing either unusual bleeding or bruising, see a doctor immediately. Internal bleeding may be occurring, which could lead to bleeding in the digestive system, or, in rare cases, the brain.
To prevent this, make sure your doctor knows if you’re on anticoagulants or blood thinners before you start taking amoxicillin.
If you experience this side effect of amoxicillin, it’s considered a rare but serious side effect. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Yellowing of the eyes or skin
Jaundice is a yellow color in the skin, the mucous membranes, or the eyes. The yellow pigment is from bilirubin, a byproduct of old red blood cells. If you’ve ever had a bruise, you may have noticed that the skin went through a series of color changes as it healed. When you saw yellow in the bruise, you were seeing bilirubin.
This effect, and liver damage or injury, can also be caused by amoxicillin. The liver injury can even occur after amoxicillin doses have stopped. This is more likely to happen when taking amoxicillin with clavulanate.
Recognizing early symptoms such as fatigue, poor appetite, and vomiting can help prevent jaundice from worsening. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
Before taking amoxicillin, tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver damage.
Amoxicillin Side Effects
Incidence not known
Abdominal or stomach cramps or tenderness
back, leg, or stomach pains
black, tarry stools
blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
blood in the urine
diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
difficulty with breathing
difficulty with swallowing
feeling of discomfort
general body swelling
heavier menstrual periods
hives or welts
inflammation of the joints
joint or muscle pain
loss of appetite
nausea or vomiting
pain in the lower back
pain or burning while urinating
painful or difficult urination
pinpoint red spots on the skin
puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
red, irritated eyes
redness, soreness, or itching skin
shortness of breath
sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
sores, welting, or blisters
sudden decrease in the amount of urine
swollen, lymph glands
tightness in the chest
unpleasant breath odor
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusual tiredness or weakness
unusual weight loss
vomiting of blood
watery or bloody diarrhea
yellow eyes or skin
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Can amoxicillin cause light-headedness in a patient who is allergic to penicillin?
A 91-year-old patient is taking 500 mg of amoxicillin leading up to a sedation appointment and is experiencing dizziness. The patient is allergic to penicillin. A DOCS Education Member seeks the advice of DOCS Education faculty for next steps.
A DOCS Education Member inquires:
A 91-year-old patient has been taking amoxicillin 500 mg since Thursday, July 23. Her daughter called on July 28 and said the patient has been light-headed since she has been taking the medication. She was curious if this was a side effect.
The patient is also taking Crestor® 10 mg, diltiazem 120 mg and esomeprazole. She has high blood pressure, mitral valve prolapse and is allergic to latex and penicillin.
She is scheduled to have two teeth extracted. Research literature (i.e. www.ehealthme.com) makes reference to a study in which dizziness is a side effect of amoxicillin. We ran the drug combinations through Lexicomp; the only interaction was noted as a “C” (recommended monitoring).
Please provide your recommendations for either continuation of amoxicillin until surgery is done, or ceasing immediately with any. Also include your thoughts on the study on ehealthme.com.
Thank you for your consideration.
Dr. Anthony S. Feck, DOCS Education Dean of Faculty, responds:
Dizziness is listed as a side effect of amoxicillin in Lexicomp, but this does not mean the amoxicillin is causing the dizziness. You can certainly change the antibiotic and see if the dizziness dissipates. As always, a medical consult is a good idea to address medical-related concerns.
Some questions to consider:
- How significant is the dizziness, i.e. how does it impair normal activity? If the dizziness is mild, then it may be a non-issue if the patient is carefully monitored.
- What are the patient’s baseline vitals? If the BP is low, then dizziness may just as well be related to this.
- When was the last time the patient had a medical evaluation? For a 91-year-old, it should have been within the last six months.
Dr. Jerome Wellbrock, DOCS Education faculty member, also provides insight:
This has nothing to do with her dizziness, but I assume she has no allergic cross-sensitivity to amoxicilin. I would usually go to an alternative antibiotic for patients with a penicillin allergy.
The following are discussed in more detail in other sections of the labeling:
- Anaphylactic reactions
Clinical Trials Experience
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
The most common adverse reactions (> 1%) observed in clinical trials of AMOXIL capsules, tablets or oral suspension were diarrhea, rash, vomiting, and nausea.
Dual therapy: The most frequently reported adverse events for patients who received double therapy amoxicillin/lansoprazole were diarrhea (8%) and headache (7%). For more information on adverse reactions with clarithromycin or lansoprazole, refer to the Adverse Reactions section of their package inserts.
Postmarketing or Other Experience
In addition to adverse events reported from clinical trials, the following events have been identified during postmarketing use of penicillins. Because they are reported voluntarily from a population of unknown size, estimates of frequency cannot be made. These events have been chosen for inclusion due to a combination of their seriousness, frequency of reporting, or potential causal connection to AMOXIL.
- Infections and Infestations: Mucocutaneous candidiasis.
- Gastrointestinal: Black hairy tongue, and hemorrhagic/pseudomembranous colitis.
Onset of pseudomembranous colitis symptoms may occur during or after antibacterial treatment .
- Hypersensitivity Reactions: Anaphylaxis . Serum sickness-like reactions, erythematous maculopapular rashes, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, exfoliative dermatitis, toxic epidermal necrolysis, acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis, hypersensitivity vasculitis, and urticaria have been reported.
- Liver: A moderate rise in AST and/or ALT has been noted, but the significance of this finding is unknown. Hepatic dysfunction including cholestatic jaundice, hepatic cholestasis and acute cytolytic hepatitis have been reported.
- Renal: Crystalluria has been reported .
- Hemic and Lymphatic Systems: Anemia, including hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, thrombocytopenic purpura, eosinophilia, leukopenia, and agranulocytosis have been reported. These reactions are usually reversible on discontinuation of therapy and are believed to be hypersensitivity phenomena.
- Central Nervous System: Reversible hyperactivity, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, convulsions, behavioral changes, and/or dizziness have been reported
- Miscellaneous: Tooth discoloration (brown, yellow, or gray staining) has been reported. Most reports occurred in pediatric patients. Discoloration was reduced or eliminated with brushing or dental cleaning in most cases.
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Amoxicillin (Amoxicillin)
Antibiotic allergic reactions
Around 1 in 15 people have an allergic reaction to antibiotics, especially penicillin and cephalosporins. In most cases, the allergic reaction is mild to moderate and can take the form of:
- a raised, itchy skin rash (urticaria, or hives)
- tightness of the throat, which can cause breathing difficulties
These mild to moderate allergic reactions can usually be successfully treated by taking antihistamines.
But if you’re concerned, or your symptoms don’t get better with treatment, call your GP for advice. If you cannot contact your GP, call NHS 111.
In rare cases, an antibiotic can cause a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Initial symptoms of anaphylaxis are often the same as a mild allergic reaction. They include:
- feeling lightheaded or faint
- breathing difficulties – such as fast, shallow breathing
- a fast heartbeat
- clammy skin
- confusion and anxiety
- collapsing or losing consciousness
There may be other allergy symptoms, including an itchy, raised rash (hives), feeling or being sick, swelling (angioedema), or stomach pain.
Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency and can be life-threatening. Dial 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance if you think you or someone around you is experiencing anaphylaxis.
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Nov 22, 2018.
- Side Effects
For the Consumer
Applies to amoxicillin: oral capsule, oral powder for suspension, oral tablet, oral tablet chewable, oral tablet extended release
Along with its needed effects, amoxicillin may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking amoxicillin:
Incidence not known
- Abdominal or stomach cramps or tenderness
- back, leg, or stomach pains
- black, tarry stools
- bleeding gums
- blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
- blood in the urine
- bloody nose
- chest pain
- clay-colored stools
- dark urine
- diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
- difficulty with breathing
- difficulty with swallowing
- fast heartbeat
- feeling of discomfort
- general body swelling
- heavier menstrual periods
- hives or welts
- increased thirst
- inflammation of the joints
- joint or muscle pain
- loss of appetite
- muscle aches
- nausea or vomiting
- pain in the lower back
- pain or burning while urinating
- painful or difficult urination
- pale skin
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- red, irritated eyes
- redness, soreness, or itching skin
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
- sores, welting, or blisters
- sudden decrease in the amount of urine
- swollen, lymph glands
- tightness in the chest
- unpleasant breath odor
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- unusual weight loss
- vomiting of blood
- watery or bloody diarrhea
- yellow eyes or skin
Some side effects of amoxicillin may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
- change in taste
Incidence not known
- black, hairy tongue
- changes in behavior
- discoloration of the tooth (brown, yellow, or gray staining)
- trouble with sleeping
- unable to sleep
- white patches in the mouth or throat or on the tongue
- white patches with diaper rash
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to amoxicillin: oral capsule, oral powder for reconstitution, oral tablet, oral tablet chewable, oral tablet dispersible, oral tablet extended release
The most frequently reported side effects were diarrhea, nausea, and skin rash.
Common (1% to 10%): Diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Vomiting
Frequency not reported: Hemorrhagic/pseudomembranous colitis, tooth discolored, black hairy tongue, glossitis, stomatitis
Postmarketing reports: Sore mouth/tongue
Common (1% to 10%): Erythema, exanthema, rash
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Urticaria, pruritus
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Angioedema, hypersensitivity vasculitis
Frequency not reported: Erythematous maculopapular rashes, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, bullous dermatitis, exfoliative dermatitis, toxic epidermal necrolysis/Lyell’s syndrome, acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis, maculopapular rash, erythema nodosum, pemphigoid reactions
Common (1% to 10%): Vulvovaginal mycotic infection
Common (1% to 10%): Headache, taste perversion
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Convulsion, dizziness, hyperkinesia
Frequency not reported: Reversible hyperactivity, central nervous system toxicity, encephalopathy
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Anaphylaxis, serum sickness-like reaction
Frequency not reported: Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Crystalluria, interstitial nephritis
Frequency not reported: Nephropathy
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Leucopenia, severe neutropenia, agranulocytosis, hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, bleeding time prolonged, prothrombin time prolonged
Frequency not reported: Anemia, thrombocytopenic purpura, eosinophilia, platelet function defective, lymphadenopathy
Common (1% to 10%): Candidiasis, fungal/mycotic infection
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Mucocutaneous candidiasis
Frequency not reported: Intestinal candidiasis, oral moniliasis, vaginal moniliasis, fever, chills
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Hepatitis, cholestatic jaundice, AST increased, ALT increased
Frequency not reported: Hepatic dysfunction, hepatic cholestasis, acute cytolytic hepatitis
Frequency not reported: Bronchospasm, acute severe dyspnea, pneumonitis allergic
Frequency not reported: Phlebitis, injection site pain
Frequency not reported: Electrolyte disturbance, hypokalemia
Frequency not reported: Joint pain, arthralgia
Frequency not reported: Agitation, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, behavior changed, hallucination
1. “Product Information. Moxatag (amoxicillin).” Fera Pharmaceuticals, Locust Valley, NY.
2. Cerner Multum, Inc. “UK Summary of Product Characteristics.” O 0
3. “Product Information. Amoxil (amoxicillin).” SmithKline Beecham, Philadelphia, PA.
4. Cerner Multum, Inc. “Australian Product Information.” O 0
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.
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More about amoxicillin
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Patient Tips
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 234 Reviews
- Drug class: aminopenicillins
- Amoxicillin Capsules and Tablets
- Amoxicillin Chewable Tablets
- Amoxicillin Extended-Release Tablets
- Amoxicillin Suspension
- Amoxicillin (Advanced Reading)
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I feel dizzy and have a dry mouth after taking antibiotics – should I be worried?
Dizziness and a dry mouth are both possible side effects of many antibiotics, so this could be the reason for these symptoms, but they are also signs of dehydration, so make sure you’re getting enough to drink.
Without knowing more details about your abscess, or the type of antibiotics you have taken, it is not possible to give you an exact answer. However, as you’re still unwell after a week of treatment, it would be sensible to follow up with the doctor that prescribed you the antibiotics (especially if the abscess has not gone).
Side effects of antibiotics
The most common side effects of antibiotics are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bloating and indigestion
- Pain in the abdomen
- No appetite.
These aren’t usually too severe and should pass once you finish taking the tablets. If you experience any other side effects, contact your doctor.
Some people have an allergic reaction to antibiotics. This only affects around 1 in 15 people and is not usually too severe. Antihistamines usually treat these symptoms effectively. If you do not respond to treatment, call your doctor.
Symptoms to watch for:
- A rash (including hives)
- Breathing difficulties including wheezing or coughing
- A tight throat that makes breathing hard.
In rare cases, you can experience a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis. This is a medical emergency and you should call 999 immediately.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis:
- A fast heartbeat
- Your neck swelling or tightening, which causes breathing difficulties
- Feeling fear or panic
- A drop in blood pressure causing you to feel light-headed or confused
For more information and support about allergic reactions, visit our allergies centre.
Answered by the Health at Hand team
Sources and further reading
7 signs of dehydration – Know your risk – AXA PPP healthcare
Allergies – NHS factsheet
Antihistamines – NHS factsheet
Antibiotics and their side effects