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Expert Pediatrics Q&A


Updated March 08, 2006

Updated March 08, 2006
Q. My doctor often prescribes the antibiotic Amoxil when my kids are sick. Shouldn't he be using something stronger?

A. Parents often have that belief that Amoxil just isn't strong enough or doesn't work for their child. Part of the reason it may not have worked well in the past, is that your child may have just had a cold and may not have gotten better with any antibiotic, no matter how strong it was. So before asking for Amoxil or something stronger, first be sure that your child even needs an antibiotic.

And while we do often prescribe stronger antibiotics, especially when kids have infections that just won't go away or when they are frequently sick, there are many reasons why you should actually go out of your way to ask for Amoxil the next time your kids are sick, including that:

  • Amoxil tastes good, so you probably won't have to fight your kids to take it or pay for extra flavoring, which often doesn't cover up the taste of antibiotics which don't taste good, like Vantin and Ceftin.

  • It is inexpensive. While some antibiotics, like Omnicef, Vantin, Augmentin, and Ceftin, might cost $80 to $120, a full course of Amoxil will likely cost less than $10 to $20, even if you have to pay full price. Or, since it is generic, it should be the lowest copay, often $5, if you have a prescription card.

  • Amoxil works very well for many common infections, including strep throat, ear infections, and sinus infections. In fact, Amoxil is considered the first line antibiotic treatment for ear infections and sinus infections by the American Academy of Pediatrics for most children.

  • Amoxil is now often prescribed at a higher dose than it used to be. This double dose at 80-90mg/kg works better than the older dose and is well tolerated by most children.

  • Amoxil is now usually prescribed in a twice a day dose, instead of the older three times a day dose, which makes it as convenient as most other antibiotics.

There are situations in which Amoxil might not be the right choice though, such as if your child was recently on Amoxil, if he is allergic to penicillin, or if he has an infection for which Amoxil might not work well, like impetigo.

Still, you should trust your instincts. If your child has frequent ear or sinus infections and ends up with worsening infections every time he is prescribed Amoxil, then you might have a discussion with your Pediatrician to see if another antibiotic might be a better choice to start with the next time he gets sick.

For most children, Amoxil is a great antibiotic though.

Amoxil References:

CLINICAL PRACTICE GUIDELINE. Diagnosis and Management of Acute Otitis Media. PEDIATRICS Vol. 113 No. 5 May 2004, pp. 1451-1465
CLINICAL PRACTICE GUIDELINE. Clinical Practice Guideline: Management of Sinusitis. Pediatrics 2001 108: 798-808.

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