Amoxicilin for children

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Philippe Gloaguen
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Amoxicilin or amoxicillin plus clavulanic acid (trade names Zimox and Augmentin respectively)

What is They are both antibiotics belonging to the penicillin class. The association with clavulanic acid is used only in special cases, for example to counter urinary tract infections or bacterial bronchopneumonia, in which there are bacteria that can destroy amoxicillin, while for the most common bacterial diseases of childhood, such as pharyngitis or otitis, amoxicillin alone is sufficient.

When they are indicated Like all antibiotics, amoxicillin should only be used in the presence of bacterial infections and not for viral infections, because antibiotics are unable to kill viruses. Therefore, the decision to administer an antibiotic must be made only and exclusively by the pediatrician and not by the parent: improper use, in addition to having no therapeutic effect, increases the risk of developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria (which therefore in case of need does not are more effective!).

How they are administered Antibiotics for children are usually formulated in ready-made syrups or in oral suspension, with a powder that at the time of use must be diluted with water and then kept in the fridge. The duration of therapy depends on the type of infection: if 6-7 days are sufficient for pharyngitis, it may take up to 10 days for otitis: as always, the pediatrician will determine the times. For the effectiveness of the treatment, it is essential to respect both the prescribed duration and the interval between one administration and the next, in order to ensure constant coverage over the course of 24 hours. A minimum of tolerance is allowed: if the antibiotic is taken every 12 hours, for example, an early or late delay of 15-30 minutes is allowed.

when not Antibiotics should not be taken in case of viral infections (e.g. flu, cold).

If the child has experienced allergic reactions to penicillins in the past, the pediatrician may prescribe other categories of antibiotics instead of amoxicillin, such as cephalosporins or macrolides, although it should be borne in mind that there is a greater risk of cross allergies (who is allergic to penicillins, that is, he may also be allergic to other categories of antibiotics).

Anaphylactic shock, the most feared reaction

It is one of the possible side effects of antibiotics (especially penicillins), which scares mothers so much when they read the package insert. “In reality it is a very rare event” Clavenna underlines, “especially if we consider that antibiotics are now very widespread drugs.

To minimize the risks, on first use the pediatrician always inquires if there have ever been cases of allergy to penicillins in the family and in case of doubt he could decide to carry out the first administration in a "protected" environment (eg. ). In any case, if, immediately after taking the antibiotic, the child experiences difficulty in breathing or swelling of the tongue, it is necessary to call 118 immediately or go to the nearest emergency room ".

(Consultation by Clavenna, researcher at the Laboratory for Maternal and Child Health of the Mario Negri Institute in our city)

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