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How Do Penicillin and Amoxicillin Work Differently?


Penicillins (Discovered by Alexander Fleming, 1928), which were initially derived from Penicillium moulds, primarily P. chrysogenum and P. rubens, are a class of antibacterial medications that are effective against a broad variety of bacteria, including E. coli. Antibiotics are medications that are used to treat bacterial illnesses in both humans and animals. Many bacterial infections caused by staphylococci and streptococci were treated successfully with penicillins, which were among the first antibiotics to be developed.

What is penicillin used for?

Penicillin is most widely used to treat infections caused by Streptococcus and other Gram-positive bacteria. Pneumonia, strep throat, meningitis, gonorrhoea and syphilis may all be treated with penicillin. As a preventative measure, it may also be applied to the teeth. It can also treat diseases like listeria, clostridium etc.

How does penicillin work?

Only Gram-positive bacteria can be treated with penicillin. The peptidoglygan layer of the cell wall of Gram negative bacteria is protected against penicillin assault by a lipopolysaccharide and protein layer. Penicillin molecules are very effective and tiny enough to penetrate through the gaps between glycoproteins in the cell wall. It suppresses the cell wall synthesis of bacteria and attacks the peptidoglycan resulting in the bacteria’s cell wall exploding and eventually its destruction.

There are two chemical compounds or derivatives of penicillin:

  1. Penicillin G (Phenoxymethylpenicillin)
  2. Penicillin V (Benzylpenicillin)

The method of administration of Penicillin V is oral. There are oral tablets and oral solutions. Penicillin G cannot be taken by mouth as it gets destroyed by the stomach acid easily. Thus, the method of administration od G-type Penicillin is intravenous and intramuscular.

How quickly does it work and what is the correct dosage?

Due to the fact that antibiotics take a few days to begin working, it is possible that patients may need to wait 3-5 days before they see any benefits. In other cases, it may take a bit lengthier to feel completely recovered from an illness (like with bacterial pneumonia).The dose of penicillin G is as high as 2.4g and for penicillin V the dose is 500g.

Is there any side effect of penicillin?

The most prevalent side effects of taking oral penicillin are nausea, vomiting, epigastric distress, diarrhoea, severe skin rash, severe skin rash, itching, or peeling black hairy tongue etc. It is important to note that Penicillin must not be consumed by those who have allergies to the same and those who experience irritation, burning, and swelling at the site of a penicillin skin prick.

What is Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is an antibacterial medication with the chemical formula C16H19N3O5S. A semi-synthetic antibiotic that is closely related to ampicillin (another semi-synthetic penicillin that is used to treat infections of the urinary and respiratory systems) and has qualities that are comparable to ampicillin. It belongs to the beta-lactam class of antibiotics. Amoxicillin is a kind of antibiotic that belongs to the same family as penicillin.

What is Amoxicillin used for?

It generally treats bacterial infections such as chest infection (including Pneumonia), middle ear infection, strep throat, urinary tract infection etc. It also treats tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, and infections of the ear, nose, throat, skin, etc. Amoxicillin is often used for children with acute otitis media who are less than 6 months of age.

Treatment of early cutaneous Lyme borreliosis with amoxicillin is successful, and oral amoxicillin is not more efficient safe than commonly used other antibiotics in this setting.

Amoxicillin is beneficial in the treatment of stomach ulcers because it kills the bacterium that causes them, Helicobacter pylori. When combined with clarithromycin and lansoprazole, amoxicillin is used as a triple treatment. When administered alone, lansoprazole is utilised as a dual therapy. This medication completely eliminates Helicobacter pylori and significantly minimises the likelihood of recurrence.

How does Amoxicillin work?

Amoxicillin works by inhibiting with bacteria’s capacity to build cell walls, which is why it is so effective. Bacterial cell walls are essential for the survival of the bacterium. They prevent undesired chemicals from entering their cells and also prevent the contents of their cells from seeping out into the environment.

How to consume Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin starts to function immediately after a person consumes it, and it hits maximum blood levels in approximately one or two hours. Improvement in symptoms, on the other hand, will take longer. There are oral capsule, oral tablets, powder for oral suspension, oral chewable tablets.

It is given orally, or less often, it is administered intravenously. The dose can be of 500mg and minor infections can be cured by it within 3 days and maximum 5-10 days. Children generally take 40-90 mg divided into every 8 to 12 hours.

Is there any side effect of Amoxicillin?

The most frequent adverse effects of amoxicillin are nausea and diarrhoea, which are both uncomfortable. Apart from these there are vomiting, stomach pain, headache, vaginal itching or discharge, etc. Using it in conjunction with clavulanic acid may also raise the risk of yeast infections and, when taken alone, the risk of diarrhoea.

Taking amoxicillin while pregnancy and breast feeding is unlikely to cause damage to your child, while certain incidents of diarrhoea and thrush have been documented in newborns who have taken the antibiotic.

When should you avoid Amoxicillin?

If someone has an allergy in penicillin antibiotic, such as ampicillin, dicloxacillin, oxacillin, penicillin, or ticarcillin, he or she should avoid using this medication. If anybody has experienced allergic reactions after taking amoxicillin, should avoid it.

One should avoid alcohol, grape fruits, excess calcium while taking this medicine.

What is the difference between the above two antibiotics?

When comparing amoxicillin to penicillin, the most significant distinction is that amoxicillin is effective against a broader range of bacteria than penicillin.

It is possible to use penicillin to cure Rheumatic fever or chorea, bacterial endocarditis, bacterial meningitis, and dental infections affecting the gum tissue which amoxicillin doesn’t.

Penicillin G is available under the brand names Permapen Isoject and Pfizerpen, whereas the brand names of amoxicilline are Moxtag and Amoxil.

Even though the adverse effects of amoxicillin and penicillin are almost identical, amoxicillin seems to be more likely to trigger an allergic reaction such as a rash, which is not always a symptom of an allergy.

In conjunction with other drugs, amoxicillin may be used to treat genitourinary infections, acute, uncomplicated gonorrhoea, and H. pylori eradication, among other conditions. It is possible to use penicillin to treat or prevent Rheumatic fever or chorea, bacterial endocarditis, bacterial meningitis, and dental infections affecting the gum tissue.

Penicillin can be taken 125 to 250 mg every 6 to 8 hours but amoxicillin can be taken 500 mg every 8 hours.

Whereas the antibiotics penicillin V and penicillin G are derived from naturally occurring penicillins, the antibiotic amoxicillin was created by chemically altering penicillins in order to increase their potency.

Amoxicillin interferes with birth control pills, methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall), and probenecid (Benemid); due to the possibility of an allergic reaction, all additional drugs (supplements, herbal treatments, and so on) should be disclosed prior to treatment with amoxicillin. Whereas, Penicillin may interact with birth control pills, methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall), and probenecid (Benemid) because to the possibility of an allergic reaction, all additional drugs (supplements, herbal treatments, and so on) should be disclosed prior to starting therapy.

Your doctor may recommend a different dose for each medicine depending on the problem you are treating. Take antibiotics as recommended by your doctor, even if you begin to feel better. Do not stop taking antibiotics until the whole course has been completed. Taking all of the medicine helps to prevent the development of antibiotic resistance in the near future.

Frequently asked questions about both the antibiotics:

Which is better among penicillin and amoxicillin?

Despite the fact that both antibiotics are efficient against streptococci, amoxicillin is more effective against bacteria such as E. coli and Haemophilus influenzae, among others. According to a comprehensive study published in 2018, amoxicillin is more effective than penicillin in the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia.

The potency of an antibiotic is determined by the severity of the illness as well as the kind of bacteria that is causing the infection.

Can Penicillin and Amoxicillin be taken together?

Amoxicillin and Penicillin VK did not interact in any way, according to the findings. However, this does not always imply that there are no interactions. Always seek medical advice from a qualified professional.

Can Penicillin be used as a painkiller?

Painkillers (for example, aspirin) are medications that are used to treat pain. It should be noted that they do not truly eliminate the infection; rather, they just aid to alleviate the symptoms. When you take antibiotics such as penicillin, the bacteria causing the disease is killed or prevented from growing rather than your own bodily cells being destroyed.

It is not recommended to use penicillin for the treatment of untreated irreversible pulpitis since penicillin is inefficient in the treatment of pain.

Can painkillers be consumed along with Penicillin and Amoxicillin?

Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen is acceptable if you need to alleviate discomfort or lower a temperature while you are taking penicillin is also OK. In contrast to hormonal contraceptives such as an oral pill, penicillin and amoxicillin have no effect on them.

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