Why is this medication prescribed?
Ampicillin is a penicillin-like antibiotic used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria such as pneumonia; bronchitis; and ear, lung, skin, and urinary tract infections. Antibiotics will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Ampicillin comes as a capsule, liquid, and pediatric drops to take by mouth. It is usually taken every 6 hours (four times a day). Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take ampicillin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Shake the liquid and pediatric drops well before each use to mix the medication evenly. Use the bottle dropper to measure the dose of pediatric drops. The pediatric drops and liquid may be placed on a child's tongue or added to formula, milk, fruit juice, water, ginger ale, or other cold liquid and taken immediately.
The capsules should be swallowed whole and taken with a full glass of water.
Continue to take ampicillin even if you feel well. Do not stop taking ampicillin without talking to your doctor.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking ampicillin,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to ampicillin, penicillin, or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially other antibiotics, allopurinol (Lopurin), anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin), atenolol (Tenormin), oral contraceptives, probenecid (Benemid), rifampin, sulfasalazine, and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney or liver disease, allergies, asthma, blood disease, colitis, stomach problems, or hay fever.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking ampicillin, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking ampicillin.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Take ampicillin at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Ampicillin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- mild skin rash
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- severe skin rash
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- vaginal infection
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store the capsules at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Keep liquid medicine in the refrigerator, tightly closed, and dispose of any unused medication after 14 days. Do not freeze. The liquid may be stored for 7 days at room temperature.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your response to ampicillin.
If you are diabetic, use Clinistix or TesTape (not Clinitest) to test your urine for sugar while taking this drug.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the ampicillin, call your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
¶ This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.