Why is this medication prescribed?
The combination of ampicillin and sulbactam injection is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, including infections of the skin, female reproductive organs, and abdomen (area between the chest and waist). Ampicillin is in a class of medications called penicillin-like antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria. Sulbactam is in a class of medications called beta-lactamase inhibitors. It works by preventing bacteria from destroying ampicillin. Antibiotics will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.
How should this medicine be used?
Ampicillin and sulbactam comes as a powder to be mixed with liquid to be injected intravenously (into a vein) or intramuscularly (into a muscle) every 6 hours. The length of treatment depends on the type of infection being treated. Your doctor will tell you how long to use ampicillin and sulbactam injection. After your condition improves, your doctor may switch you to another antibiotic that you can take by mouth to complete your treatment.
You may receive ampicillin and sulbactam injection in a hospital, or you may use the medication at home. If you will be using ampicillin and sulbactam injection at home, your health care provider will show you how to use the medication. Be sure that you understand these directions, and ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions. Ask your healthcare provider what to do if you have any problems infusing ampicillin and sulbactam injection.
You should begin to feel better during the first few days of treatment with ampicillin and sulbactam injection. If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish ampicillin and sulbactam injection, tell your doctor.
Use ampicillin and sulbactam injection until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. If you stop using ampicillin and sulbactam injection too soon or if you skip doses, your infection may not be completely treated and the bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before receiving ampicillin and sulbactam injection,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to ampicillin, sulbactam, penicillin, cephalosporin antibiotics such as cefaclor, cefadroxil, cefuroxime (Ceftin, Zinacef), or cephalexin (Keflex), any other medications, or any of the ingredients in ampicillin and sulbactam injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: allopurinol (Aloprim, Lopurin, Zyloprim) or probenecid (Probalan). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had mononucleosis (a virus also called 'mono'), or liver or kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using ampicillin and sulbactam injection, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Ampicillin and sulbactam injection may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- redness, irritation, or pain at the injection site
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- peeling or blistering of the skin
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the eyes, face, mouth. lips, tongue, throat, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs
- severe diarrhea (watery or bloody stools) that may occur with or without fever and stomach cramps (may occur up to 2 months or more after your treatment)
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
Ampicillin and sulbactam injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
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).
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory.
Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are using ampicillin and sulbactam injection. If you are diabetic, use Clinistix or TesTape (not Clinitest) to test your urine for sugar while using this medication.
Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about ampicillin and sulbactam injection.
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.
Brand names of combination products
- Unasyn® (containing Ampicillin, Sulbactam)