Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics: Mechanism of Action:
Amoxicillin is a semisynthetic antibiotic with a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity against many gram-positive and gram-negative microorganisms. Amoxicillin is, however, susceptible to degradation by β-lactamases and therefore, the spectrum of activity of amoxicillin alone does not include organisms which produce these enzymes.
Clavulanic acid is a β-lactam, structurally related to the penicillins, which possesses the ability to inactivate a wide range of β-lactamase enzymes commonly found in microorganisms resistant to penicillins and cephalosporins. In particular, it has good activity against the clinically important plasmid mediated β-lactamases frequently responsible for transferred drug resistance. It is generally less effective against chromosomally-mediated type 1 β-lactamases.
The presence of clavulanic acid in Augmentin formulations protects amoxicillin from degradation by β-lactamase enzymes and effectively extends the antibacterial spectrum of amoxicillin to include many bacteria normally resistant to amoxicillin and other penicillins and cephalosporins. Thus, Augmentin possesses the distinctive properties of a broad spectrum antibiotic and a β-lactamase inhibitor.
In the list as follows, organisms are categorised according to their in vitro
susceptibility to Augmentin (see Table 1).
Click on icon to see table/diagram/image
The 2 components of Augmentin, amoxicillin and clavulanic acid are fully dissociated in aqueous solution at physiological pH. Both components are rapidly and well absorbed by the oral route of administration. Absorption of Augmentin is optimised when taken at the start of a meal.
Amoxicillin serum concentrations achieved with Augmentin are similar to those produced by the oral administration of equivalent doses of amoxicillin alone.
: Following IV administration, therapeutic concentrations of both amoxicillin and clavulanic acid may be detected in the tissues and interstitial fluid. Therapeutic concentrations of both drugs have been found in gall bladder, abdominal tissue, skin, fat, and muscle tissues; fluids found to have therapeutic levels include synovial and peritoneal fluids, bile and pus.
Neither amoxicillin nor clavulanic acid is highly protein bound, studies show that about 25% for clavulanic acid and 18% for amoxicillin of total plasma drug content is bound to protein.
From animal studies there is no evidence to suggest that either component accumulates in any organ.
Amoxicillin, like most penicillins, can be detected in breast milk. Trace quantities of clavulanate can also be detected in breast milk. With the exception of the risk of sensitisation associated with this excretion, there are no known detrimental effects for the breastfed infant.
Reproduction studies in animals have shown that both amoxicillin and clavulanic acid penetrate the placental barrier. However, no evidence of impaired fertility or harm to the foetus was detected.
: Amoxicillin is partly excreted in the urine as the inactive penicilloic acid in quantities equivalent to 10-25% of the initial dose. Clavulanic acid is extensively metabolized in man to 2,5-dihydro-4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-5-oxo-1H-pyrrole-3-carboxylic acid and 1-amino-4-hydroxy-butan-2-one, and eliminated in urine and faeces as carbon dioxide in expired air.
As with other penicillins, the major route of elimination for amoxicillin is via the kidney, whereas for clavulanate, it is by both renal and non-renal mechanisms. Approximately 60-70% of the amoxicillin and approximately 40-65% of the clavulanic acid are excreted unchanged in urine during the first 6 hrs after administration of a single 250/125 mg or a single 500/125-mg tablet.
Concomitant use of probenecid delays amoxicillin excretion but does not delay renal excretion of clavulanic acid (see Interactions).