Sinus infections occur when the lining of the sinus cavity becomes swollen, irritated and inflamed, blocking normal drainage, according to the Mayo Clinic. Due to blockage, mucus builds up within the sinuses and bacteria sets in, leading to an infection. Various drugs are used to treat a sinus infection, such as decongestants, antihistamines and anti-inflammatory pain relievers, but the most common way to kill the bacteria is with antibiotics. The most common antibiotic used for sinus infections is amoxicillin.
Amoxicillin is in the penicillin category of antibiotics. It is considered a narrow-spectrum antibiotic, used for a specific type of bacterium. Amoxicillin works by disrupting the bacterium's building of its cell wall. Once the bacterium grows to a certain level, it bursts and destroys the infection. But amoxicillin may kill other helpful bacteria in the body during the duration of taking this medicine.
Do not take amoxicillin if you are allergic to penicillin drugs or other antibiotics. Talk to your doctor about alternative antibiotic treatments to treat the sinus infection. If you have gastrointestinal issues, heart disease or a liver disease, amoxicillin may not be the right drug for you. Amoxicillin may decrease the effectiveness of various types of birth control, so you should take additional precautions if you are avoiding getting pregnant. Taking a probiotic supplement in conjunction with the antibiotic will help to maintain good bacteria levels in the gut and throughout the body, preventing diarrhea. Take the entire dose prescribed, even if your symptoms improve; otherwise, you risk the chance of the sinus infection returning.
According to Drugs.com, the common side effects while taking amoxicillin are fever, headache and sore throat. You may also experience nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, weakness, body chills, loss of appetite, mental confusion and seizures. More serious, yet less common, side effects include stomach pain with vomiting, vaginal itch, severe head pain, black or swollen tongue, and thrush accompanied by a sore throat.
Amoxicillin may be taken with or without food, as it does not typically affect the stomach. The common dose for children is between 200 and 400 mg twice a day for up to 10 days. Children's amoxicillin comes in liquid form and should be shaken vigorously before given, to ensure the drug is evenly distributed. For adults, pills of 500 to 875 mg are prescribed and taken twice daily for up to 10 days.
The overuse of antibiotics may make you immune to amoxicillin. If you develop a tolerance to this drug, your doctor may recommend a different classification of antibiotic to treat your sinus infection. Avoid using antibiotics when possible. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have related to penicillin.