Before initiating therapy with amoxicillin, careful enquiry should be made concerning previous hypersensitivity reactions to penicillins, cephalosporins or other beta-lactam agents (see sections 4.3 and 4.8).
Serious and occasionally fatal hypersensitivity (anaphylactoid) reactions have been reported in patients on penicillin therapy. These reactions are more likely to occur in individuals with a history of penicillin hypersensitivity and in atopic individuals. If an allergic reaction occurs, amoxicillin therapy must be discontinued and appropriate alternative therapy instituted.
Amoxicillin is not suitable for the treatment of some types of infection unless the pathogen is already documented and known to be susceptible or there is a very high likelihood that the pathogen would be suitable for treatment with amoxicillin (see section 5.1). This particularly applies when considering the treatment of patients with urinary tract infections and severe infections of the ear, nose and throat.
Convulsions may occur in patients with impaired renal function or in those receiving high doses or in patients with predisposing factors (e.g. history of seizures, treated epilepsy or meningeal disorders (see section 4.8).
In patients with renal impairment, the dose should be adjusted according to the degree of impairment (see section 4.2).
The occurrence at the treatment initiation of a feverish generalised erythema associated with pustula may be a symptom of acute generalised exanthemous pustulosis (AEGP, see section 4.8). This reaction requires amoxicillin discontinuation and contra-indicates any subsequent administration.
Amoxicillin should be avoided if infectious mononucleosis is suspected since the occurrence of a morbilliform rash has been associated with this condition following the use of amoxicillin.
The Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction has been seen following amoxicillin treatment of Lyme disease (see section 4.8). It results directly from the bactericidal activity of amoxicillin on the causative bacteria of Lyme disease, the spirochaete Borrelia burgdorferi. Patients should be reassured that this is a common and usually self-limiting consequence of antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease.
Overgrowth of non-susceptible microorganisms
Prolonged use may occasionally result in overgrowth of non-susceptible organisms.
Antibiotic-associated colitis has been reported with nearly all antibacterial agents and may range in severity from mild to life threatening (see section 4.8). Therefore, it is important to consider this diagnosis in patients who present with diarrhoea during, or subsequent to, the administration of any antibiotics. Should antibiotic-associated colitis occur, amoxicillin should immediately be discontinued, a physician consulted and an appropriate therapy initiated. Anti-peristaltic medicinal products are contra-indicated in this situation.
Periodic assessment of organ system functions; including renal, hepatic and haematopoietic function is advisable during prolonged therapy. Elevated liver enzymes and changes in blood counts have been reported (see section 4.8).
Prolongation of prothrombin time has been reported rarely in patients receiving amoxicillin. Appropriate monitoring should be undertaken when anticoagulants are prescribed concomitantly. Adjustments in the dose of oral anticoagulants may be necessary to maintain the desired level of anticoagulation (see section 4.5 and 4.8).
In patients with reduced urine output, crystalluria has been observed very rarely, predominantly with parenteral therapy. During the administration of high doses of amoxicillin, it is advisable to maintain adequate fluid intake and urinary output in order to reduce the possibility of amoxicillin crystalluria. In patients with bladder catheters, a regular check of patency should be maintained (see section 4.8 and 4.9).
Interference with diagnostic tests
Elevated serum and urinary levels of amoxicillin are likely to affect certain laboratory tests. Due to the high urinary concentrations of amoxicillin, false positive readings are common with chemical methods.
It is recommended that when testing for the presence of glucose in urine during amoxicillin treatment, enzymatic glucose oxidase methods should be used.
The presence of amoxicillin may distort assay results for oestriol in pregnant women.
Important information about excipients
Patients with rare hereditary problems of fructose intolerance should not take this medication.