Clavulanic acid is a natural amino-glycoside antibiotic produced by the bacterium Streptomyces clavuligerus . Used singly, it has a low antibacterial power, but is a strong progressive inhibitor of the beta-lactamases of many Gram-negative bacteria and Staphylococcus Aureus .
It is able to deactivate both extra-cellular and membrane enzymes as it penetrates through the bacterial wall: thus avoids the destruction of beta-lactam antibiotics (penicillins, cephalosporins) and enlarges both its activity and its spectrum of action against many resistant strains.
In itself it has a low antibacterial power and if used alone it has no useful antibacterial effect; for this reason it is not administered individually, but together with other antibiotics (such as amoxicillin , carbenicillin and ticarcillin).
What is Clavulanic Acid used for?
Clavulanic acid works by preventing the destruction of beta-lactam antibiotics (penicillins, cephalosporins) and expands the activity and spectrum of action of these same antibiotics against many resistant strains. It is not taken alone, but usually associated with amoxicillin, carbenicillin and ticarcillin.
How is Clavulanic Acid taken?
It is administered orally or parenterally (usually associated with amoxicillin, carbenicillin and ticarcillin).
Side effects of Clavulanic acid
Since the drug is not administered alone , the side effects deriving from taking one of the best known formulations containing Clavulanic acid, or amoxicillin + Clavulanic acid, can be highlighted. In the presence of this association, the main side effect of the drug is the increase in cholecostatic jaundice and acute hepatitis.
Purpura and Stevens Johnson syndrome seem to have a higher finding when the clavulanic acid is associated with amoxicillin.
Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Clavulanic acid
As for the use of Clavulanic Acid in pregnant women , the limited scientific data available on the use of amoxicillin / Clavulanic Acid during this particular period do not indicate a particular increase in the risk of congenital malformations. The use of the drug in pregnancy should however be avoided, unless it is considered essential by the doctor for maternal well-being.
As far as breastfeeding is concerned , it should be noted that both substances are excreted in breast milk. Since the effects of Clavulanic Acid on the breastfed baby are not yet known , it is advisable not to take the drug during this period unless it is considered essential by the caregiver.