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Side Effects Of Amoxicillin In Babies

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Is Amoxicillin Safe for My Baby?

One of the most commonly prescribed antibiotic for infants or young children, amoxicillin, helps treat a host of bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, and infections of the ear, throat, skin, or urinary tract. While some of its common side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, skin or diaper rash, it may even lead to accelerated bone growth, disturbed gut flora in long-term.

There have been a lot of wonderful inventions as far as drugs are concerned and one of them is amoxicillin. This penicillin antibiotic fights bacteria and is the first choice for many doctors while treating tonsillitis, bronchitis, strep throat, pneumonia, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. It is also advised for other bacterial infections such as those of the ear, nose, throat, skin, or urinary tract. A lot of these diseases affect children and they are commonly prescribed by many pediatricians.

Though largely considered safe for kids, amoxicillin is also associated with some scary side effects. There have been reports of some rare cases of drug-induced hepatitis due to a reaction to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid. A 53-year-old male developed hepatitis after using amoxicillin-clavulanic acid over a course of four weeks while being treated for chronic rhinosinusitis. Amoxicillin is known to affect the liver and kidney, but only for a short while. In this case, too, the patient did not suffer any long-term damage.1

Common Amoxicillin Side Effects In Babies

But what about the side effects of amoxicillin in babies? A study reports that in comparison to other drugs like cefuroxime axetil and cefaclor, infants and children treated with amoxicillin experienced more side effects. The kids, who were being treated for acute otitis media (a common ear ailment) primarily reported diarrhea, vomiting, or diaper rash.2

These are some common amoxicillin side effects in toddlers. However, it is not necessary that every child experiences them. So if you notice your child showing any of these adverse reactions to amoxicillin, you can contact your pediatrician right away.

Diarrhea

One of the most common side effects of amoxicillin in children seems to be diarrhea. According to a study on 240 children being treated with the drug for acute otitis media, 17 percent suffered from diarrhea on day four. This percentage reduced to 12 percent on day 10. In fact, two subjects had to be excluded from the study on account of diarrhea. The study compared the effects of amoxicillin with placebo on children under two years.3

Skin Rash

We all know that sometimes antibiotics and painkillers can lead to adverse reactions and the most common one is a skin rash. It is no different for children either. In young children undergoing amoxicillin treatment for mononucleosis, the drug has been associated with the highest incidence of antibiotic-induced rash occurrence. Of the 238 children observed in a study, 29 percent reported a rash. It is interesting to note that all other antibiotics were associated with a lower rash incidence as compared to amoxicillin.4

Vomiting

Your little one may throw up during the course of treatment with amoxicillin. Yes, vomiting is among the most common amoxicillin side effects in both adults and infants. It can happen with the use of the amoxicillin or a combination of amoxicillin with clavulanic acid.5

Diaper Rash

There’s nothing more annoying than an infant screeching in pain due to a diaper rash. Unfortunately, one of the many side effects of amoxicillin is also diaper dermatitis. In a study observing 57 infants, it was found that the use of amoxicillin increases the risk for developing diaper dermatitis.6

Tooth Enamel Defects

Dental enamel is perhaps the hardest, most mineralized tissue in the human body. It coats and protects our teeth from all sorts of damage. According to a study, there seems to be a link between amoxicillin use during infancy and developmental enamel defects of permanent teeth. Early erupting permanent teeth of 579 subjects were assessed for fluorosis using the Fluorosis Risk Index at approximately 9 years of age. They were followed up from birth to 32 months using questionnaires every three to four months. The results revealed that amoxicillin use from the ages of three to six months significantly increased the risk of fluorosis on the maxillary central incisors.7

Are There Any Long-term Side Effects?

According to a 2015 study, commonly prescribed antibiotic drugs like amoxicillin have a long-term effect on children. Using a rat model to mimic antibiotic consumption by children, scientists were able to illustrate that the effect of such drugs includes accelerated total mass and bone growth. They also lead to progressive changes in the diversity and population structure of gut bacteria. Amoxicillin, in particular, led to abnormally large bones and was also associated with a low diversity and improper proportion of communities of bacteria living in the gut.8

The next time the pediatrician prescribes amoxicillin for your baby, discuss the possibilities of side effects with him thoroughly before proceeding with the treatment.

References   [ + ]

1. CUNDIFF, Jason, and Stephanie JOE. “Amoxicillin-clavulanic acid-induced hepatitis.” American journal of otolaryngology 28, no. 1 (2007): 28-30.
2. Pichichero, Michael, Gerson H. Aronovitz, W. Manford Gooch, Samuel E. McLinn, Bruce Maddern, Candice Johnson, and Paul M. Darden. “Comparison of cefuroxime axetil, cefaclor, and amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium suspensions in acute otitis media in infants and children.” Southern medical journal 83, no. 10 (1990): 1174-1177.
3. Damoiseaux, Roger AMJ, Frank AM van Balen, Arno W. Hoes, Theo JM Verheij, and Ruut A. de Melker. “Primary care based randomised, double blind trial of amoxicillin versus placebo for acute otitis media in children aged under 2 years.” Bmj 320, no. 7231 (2000): 350-354.
4. Chovel-Sella, Aluma, Amir Ben Tov, Einat Lahav, Orna Mor, Hagit Rudich, Gideon Paret, and Shimon Reif. “Incidence of rash after amoxicillin treatment in children with infectious mononucleosis.” Pediatrics 131, no. 5 (2013): e1424-e1427.
5. Amoxicillin for bacterial infections
6. Honig, Paul J., Bruce Gribetz, James J. Leyden, Kenneth J. McGinley, and Lizabeth A. Burke. “Amoxicillin and diaper dermatitis.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 19, no. 2 (1988): 275-279.
7. Hong, Liang, Steven M. Levy, John J. Warren, Deborah V. Dawson, George R. Bergus, and James S. Wefel. “Association of amoxicillin use during early childhood with developmental tooth enamel defects.” Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine 159, no. 10 (2005): 943-948.
8. Nobel, Yael R., Laura M. Cox, Francis F. Kirigin, Nicholas A. Bokulich, Shingo Yamanishi, Isabel Teitler, Jennifer Chung et al. “Metabolic and metagenomic outcomes from early-life pulsed antibiotic treatment.” Nature communications 6 (2015).