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What’s the Difference Between Amoxicillin and Augmentin?

Both Augmentin and amoxicillin work well for the treatment of a variety of bacterial infections, but they do have some differences.


Amoxicillin is classified as a penicillin-like antibiotic and can kill a broad range of bacteria. It is often used to treat both adults and children for these infections:

  • Ear (otitis media).
  • Throat (tonsillitis, strep throat).
  • Sinusitis.
  • Lung infections like pneumonia.
  • Urinary tract.
  • Skin infections like cellulitis.
  • Sexually transmitted infections, like gonorrhea.

Amoxicillin is a prescription only medicine.

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Augmentin is also from the penicillin class of drugs, but it is a combination formulation that contains amoxicillin and clavulanate. Clavulanate has the ability to block an enzyme called beta-lactamase, which is produced by bacteria to make them more resistant to antibiotics. When clavulanate is combined with amoxicillin, it makes the drug more effective against a wider range of bacteria.

Augmentin is often prescribed for these infections:

  • Sinus infections.
  • Lung infections like pneumonia.
  • Strep throat.
  • Tonsillitis.
  • Skin infections like cellulitis.
  • Ear infections.
  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Bone infections like osteomyelitis.

Augmentin is also a prescription-only drug.

Adverse Effects

The side effects profile for amoxicillin and Augmentin are similar and include:

  • Abdominal cramps that are most common when the drug is taken on an empty stomach.
  • Mild nausea and vomiting.
  • Skin rash.
  • An allergic reaction that may present with swelling of the lips or difficulty breathing.
  • Diarrhea, if taken for prolonged periods. It is important to not take either of these antibiotics for more than the prescribed duration.
  • Augmentin may cause a mild headache.
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