Ampicillin is an antibiotic used to prevent and treat a number of bacterial infections. This includes respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, meningitis, salmonella infections, and endocarditis. It may also be used to prevent group B streptococcal infection in newborns. It is used by mouth, by injection into a muscle, or intravenously.It is not useful for the treatment of viral infections.
Common side effects include rash, nausea, and diarrhea. It should not be used in people who are allergic to penicillin. Serious side effects may include Clostridium difficile colitis or anaphylaxis. While usable in those with kidney problems the dose may need to be decreased. Its use during pregnancy and breastfeeding appear to be okay.
Ampicillin was developed in 1961.It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most important medication needed in a basic health system.Its wholesale costs is between 0.13 and 1.20 USD for a vial of the intravenous solution as of 2014. In the United States it is available as a generic medication and ten days of treatment is about 13 USD.
It is active against many Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.
Ampicillin was the first 'broad spectrum' penicillin with activity against Gram-(+) bacteria including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes, some isolates of Staphylococcus aureus (but not penicillin-resistant or methicillin-resistant strains), and some Enterococci. Activity against Gram-(-) bacteria includes Neisseria meningitidis, some Haemophilus influenzae, and some Enterobacteriaceae. Its spectrum of activity is enhanced by co-administration of sulbactam, a drug that inhibits beta lactamase, an enzyme produced by bacteria to inactivate ampicillin and related antibiotics.
It is used for the treatment of infections known to be or highly likely to be caused by these bacteria. These include common respiratory infections including sinusitis, bronchitis, and pharyngitis, as well as otitis media. In combination with vancomycin (which provides coverage of ampicillin-resistant pneumococci), it is effective for the treatment of bacterial meningitis. It is also used for gastrointestinal infections caused by consuming contaminated water or food, such as Salmonella, Shigella, and Listeriosis.
Ampicillin is a first-line agent for the treatment of infections caused by Enterococci. The bacteria are an important cause of healthcare-associated infections such as endocarditis, meningitis, and catheter-associated urinary tract infections that are typically resistant to other antibiotics.
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