Certain types of bacterial infections can be treated with amoxicillin. Uses of the antibiotic include the treatment of lower respiratory tract infections, ear infections, strep throat, and gonorrhea. The medication is approved for use in both adults and children (including very young children). Some healthcare providers may also occasionally recommend off-label uses of amoxicillin, such as for preventing infections instead of treating them.
Amoxicillin (Amoxil®, Moxatag™) is an antibiotic used to treat a variety of different infections, including:
- Ear infections
- Nose infections
- Sinus infections (sinusitis)
- Throat infections, such as "strep throat"
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs), such as bladder infections or kidney infections
- Lower respiratory tract infections (such as pneumonia)
- Helicobacter pylori infections in people with small intestine ulcers (when combined with other antibiotics).
Amoxicillin is approved for treating the above infections only when they are caused by certain types of bacteria. Not all bacteria will respond to amoxicillin. Also, bacteria have different resistance patterns in different regions in the country. This means that some bacteria may be susceptible to amoxicillin in certain parts of the country but not in others. Amoxicillin is completely ineffective for treating viral illnesses (such as the common cold or the flu).
In some situations, your healthcare provider may perform certain tests to see if your particular infection is susceptible or resistant to amoxicillin. In other situations, your healthcare provider may decide to try amoxicillin without such tests, especially for infections that are not severe.
It is important to note that a high percentage of people with mononucleosis ("mono") who take antibiotics similar to amoxicillin develop a skin rash. Therefore, amoxicillin is not recommended for use in people with mononucleosis.