Amoxicillin for Cellulitis

The skin serves as a protective barrier against a wide range of bacteria that are present in the environment. Breaks or cracks in the skin allow these bacteria to enter and cause a skin infection called cellulitis. Doctors commonly prescribe penicillin-like drugs such as amoxicillin for people with cellulitis, says the Mayo Clinic.

A patient holds two amoxicillin pills in his hand. (Image: memorisz/iStock/Getty Images)

Features

When bacteria enter through the skin and infect the underlying tissue, the area becomes reddened, swollen and tender, says the Mayo Clinic. If the infection continues untreated, it spreads to more of the surrounding skin and skin structures, causing increased pain. Cellulitis may feel hot to the touch.

Causes

Cellulitis is typically caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria, according to the Mayo Clinic. A particularly resistant strain of bacteria known as methicillin-resistant staph aureus, or MRSA, can infect skin structures and cause serious cellulitis.

Treatment

Physicians choose amoxicillin as the drug of choice for group A streptococcal infections and staphylococcal infections from the B, C and G groups, notes Rx List: it's a first line of defense against cellulitis caused by MRSA.

Dosage

Babies younger than 3 months typically require 20 to 30mg of amoxicillin daily for each kg, or 2.2 pounds, of their body weight. From 4 months through 12 years of age, the recommended dose is 20 to 50mg/kg/day, divided into two or three doses. Doctors typically prescribe 250 to 500mg of amoxicillin three times a day, or 500 to 875mg orally twice daily for adults with cellulitis. The course of treatment ranges from 7 to 10 days, says Drugs.com.

Forms

Amoxicillin comes in oral suspension formulas for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. It's also manufactured as chewable tablets for older youngsters, as well as regular tablets or capsules for people who can safely swallow whole pills.

Time Frame

Cellulitis symptoms should disappear during the first few days of amoxicillin therapy, according to the Mayo Clinic. Individuals who continue to have symptoms or those who develop high fevers should notify their doctors right away.

Warning

Amoxicillin, like penicillin and other penicillin-like antibiotics, can trigger a severe allergy called anaphylaxis that can lead to cardiac and respiratory collapse. People who have had allergic reactions to penicillin, ampicillin, dicloxacillin, oxacillin, carbenicillin or combination products like amoxicillin and clavulanate should not take amoxicillin, cautions Rx List.

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