What Are Side Effects of Penicillin and How to Avoid

You may experience penicillin side effects if you don't pay attention to certain things before and after taking penicillin. Learn how severe side effects can be and how you can prevent them.

Penicillin works amazingly well to help clear bacterial infections, but not everyone is a good candidate for penicillin therapy. Penicillin V is an effective way of fighting bacterial in your body. Your doctor may make use of this antibiotic to deal with different types of infections, including ear infections as well. The interesting thing is that you can find penicillin V potassium (Penicillin VK) in oral as well as intravenous formulations. It is more effective in treating mild infections due to penicillin G-sensitive microorganisms. There's no doubt about the effectiveness of penicillin, but there are certain penicillin side effectsas well. You should know about those side effects of penicillinand have some info about what to do to avoid making matters worse.

Penicillin Side Effects

There have been fewer cases of reactions to oral penicillin, but there is always a possibility of experiencing hypersensitivity, including fatal anaphylaxis.

  • Some of the most common side effects include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, epigastric distress, vaginal itching and discharge, and black hairy tongue or white patches in mouth or on tongue.
  • You may also experience symptoms which are less common, including join pain, fever, irregular breathing pattern, shortness of breath, hives, skin rash, and puffiness around the face.
  • Some rare side effects are convulsions, abdominal tenderness, stomach cramps, mental depression, yellow skin, sore throat, and unusual bleeding. Some people also complain about hallucinations, confusion, agitation, and fear of impending death.
  • Remember, some side effects will go away without any treatment, but on other occasions, you may have to discuss it with your healthcare provider to figure the best ways to reduce side effects and manage them better.

Precautions and Warnings

You may consider using penicillin to clear bacterial infections, but some penicillin side effects will make it difficult for you to continue with the therapy. If the side effects persist, you should consult your doctor. Here are some other precautionary measures to take.

Talk to your doctor if you're experiencing severe diarrhea. This could be due to a serious side effect. Don't take any diarrhea medicines without consulting your doctor – it may make things worse. You can however take medicine containing attapulgite or kaolin for mild diarrhea.

Penicillin and Birth Control Pills

It is worth mentioning that the use of penicillin V can make your birth control pills less effective, which may result in unwanted pregnancy. Inform your doctor if you're already pregnant or you are on pregnancy control pills before taking penicillin V. You should also let your doctor know if you're using drugs like probenecid or methotrexate before using penicillin. They will also explain other more effective birth control methods that you can use while taking penicillin V.

How to Avoid Penicillin Side Effects

Before Taking

  • The simple thing is to avoid certain medications when you're allergic to penicillin V, such as amoxicillin, dicloxacillin, carbenicillin, ampicillin, and oxacillin.
  • It is equally important to tell your doctor about any other medical conditions before you start using penicillin V. You may not want to use it if you have asthma, a bleeding disorder, a history of allergy, a history of diarrhea triggered by antibiotics, and a kidney disease. If you really want to take penicillin with these conditions, you may consider working with your healthcare provider for a dose adjustment.

When Taking

It is of immense importance to not exceed the prescribed dose. You should also avoid using it for extended period and follow all the directions mentioned on your prescription label.

Even when you follow directions, you may still experience certain penicillin side effects. These side effects may become serious if you exceed the prescribed dosage. If you have taken it more than the recommended dose or someone you know has accidentally exceeded the recommended dose, contact your healthcare provider, local hospital, or emergency help immediately.

Here are the details on proper use of Penicillin from Mayoclinic:

Last note: tell your doctor that you're using penicillin before going for a urine sugar test. Penicillin can affect the results, and may also ask for a change in the dosage of your diabetes medicine. 

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