Augmentin, Clavamox, Similar Antibiotics Given to Children Linked to Stomach Problems, Yeast Infections
New research raises questions about the use of Augmentin, Clavamox and other types of amoxicillin-based antibiotics to treat children suffering from acute sinusitis, indicating that the drugs may increase the child’s risk of suffering gastrointestinal problems and yeast infections.
In findings published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers compared amoxicillin and amoxicillin-clavulanate antibiotic treatments to see which was more effective in treating acute sinus infections in children. However, they discovered that the latter was actually linked to a number of adverse events, while providing no additional benefits.
Augmentin, Clavamox Risks
Researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, conducted a cohort study involving more than 320,000 children 17 years old or younger, who had a new outpatient diagnosis of acute sinusitis and were given a new same-day prescription for amoxicillin-clavulanate or amoxicillin. Data was taken from a nationwide healthcare database.
Amoxicillin and amoxicillin-clavulanate are both antibiotics in the same class of drugs, but amoxicillin-clavulanate, sold under brand names Augmentin and Clavamox, are combined with clavulanic acid, or clavulanate.
Clavulanate is a beta-lactamase blocker that stops enzymes from infectious bacteria from reproducing. This can help treat bacteria that are more resistant to antibiotics, which is important since antibiotic-resistant superbugs continue to proliferate due to overprescribing. However, some research indicates Augmentin may increase the likelihood of the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
In the new study, researchers found no difference in treatment for sinusitis between the two types of amoxicillin. Treatment failure was rare and occurred in only 1.7% of cases in both groups overall. Serious treatment failure was even more rare and occurred in 0.01% of cases.
However, the findings indicate adverse events occurred more often in the Augmentin group, with children in the Augmentin group suffering more instances of gastrointestinal symptoms and yeast infections.
In the Augmentin group, side effects occurred in 2.3% of children, but in the amoxicillin group, side effects occurred in only 2% of children.
Those in the Agumentin group faced a 15% increased risk of suffering stomach problems and a 33% greater risk of yeast infections compared to those in the amoxicillin-alone group, researchers concluded.
Pediatric Antibiotic Use Concerns
Other studies have also shown a link between antibiotic use in childhood and increased rates of stomach problems.
Children may suffer more stomach issues after taking antibiotics because the drugs tend to kill off not only the harmful bacteria causing the infection, but also any protective bacteria in the gut as well.
The same mechanism may be at work and cause yeast infections when good bacteria are killed, and harmful bacteria are allowed to proliferate.
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Sinusitis is one of the most common reasons children are prescribed antibiotics in the U.S. Roughly 4.9 million amoxicillin prescriptions are written for children every year. Most symptoms of sinusitis include headache, congestion, and sinus pain.
Nearly 85% of children who go to the doctor for a sinus infection will be given an antibiotic. The latest findings back up previous research indicating the two types of amoxicillin will improve symptoms of bacterial sinusitis at the same rate, researchers noted.
They concluded that the findings of the latest study highlight the need for doctors to reconsider which types of antibiotics should be prescribed to children and for which ailments. They recommended doctors focus on offering the best medications to treat the problem with the least amount of side effects.
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