Amoxicillin is an antibiotic that’s able to treat a variety of bacterial infections, including pneumonia, gonorrhea, E. coli, ear infections and bladder infections. When combined with Biaxin, it can also be used to get rid of stomach ulcers. (Amoxicillin doesn’t work on viral infections such as influenza, however.)

One good thing about amoxicillin is that you have a variety of options in terms of how you want to take it. You can get it in a chewable tablet, an extended-release tablet or in a suspension liquid. If you get chewable tablets, then make sure you actually chew them and do not just swallow them whole. Conversely, if you get the extended-release tablet, you must swallow it whole: do not attempt to chew, crush or break that tablet. And if you choose the liquid form, use a measuring spoon or measuring cup when pouring out your daily dosage; don’t just eyeball it or use a tablespoon. You’ll also have to shake this liquid well before you pour it out to ensure an even distribution of the medication. You also have the option of taking this medication with food or without food. Some people even mix the liquid form of amoxicillin with water, milk, fruit juice or another beverage. However you decide to take this drug – and it might be the case that your doctor will decide for you – follow the prescription exactly at all times.

The way you store your supply of amoxicillin is especially important. It must be kept free of heat, light and moisture at all times. You should store solid amoxicillin at room temperature. As far as the liquid form goes, you can store it either at room temperature or in your refrigerator; just be sure that it doesn’t freeze. And don’t keep any liquid amoxicillin longer than fourteen days after your pharmacist gives it to you. Throw the remainder away after fourteen days, and be careful about the way you dispose of this liquid, too.

When you are on amoxicillin, you may be required to undergo regular blood tests, liver tests and kidney tests. These tests will ensure that this medicine is not doing any damage to your body and that it is doing its job properly. And if you’re going to see a new physician or medical specialist for the first time, inform this person that you are taking amoxicillin, as this kind of medication can skew the results of various kinds of medical tests.

A few warnings about amoxicillin: this medication can weaken the effects of some hormonal birth control pills, which means you may have to use another form of birth control, like a condom or a diaphragm, while you’re on this medicine. You also might not be able to take amoxicillin if you have problems with blood clots, liver disease, kidney disease, asthma or certain kinds of allergies, but your doctor will make that call for you. You should also let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. (You may be able to take amoxicillin even if you are pregnant.)

Amoxicillin side effects are generally mild, but this medication, as is the case with most other antibiotics, can cause diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. If you find that there is blood in your diarrhea, however, you should call your doctor, as that is not a normal symptom. More severe side effects of amoxicillin – and these are rare – include skin peeling, fever and other flu-like symptoms, pain in your joints and muscles, mouth sores, yellow or unusually pale skin, weak muscles and inexplicable bleeding. Should you come down with any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention quickly, as these issues may indicate that there’s a larger problem.

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