Treating Urinary Tract Infections With Amoxicillin-Clavulanate Potassium

By Terez Malka, MD
Medically reviewed
December 17, 2021

As many women (and men) know, the typical treatment for a urinary tract infection (UTI) is an antibiotic.

The best antibiotic to take depends on which bacteria is causing the infection; however, amoxicillin is a common treatment. 

In this article, I’ll explain what amoxicillin is, how it works to treat UTIs, and its possible side effects.

I’ll also discuss antibiotic-resistance UTIs and when to see a doctor if you think you have a UTI.

What Is Amoxicillin-Clavulanate Potassium?

Amoxicillin is a common antibiotic that’s in the same class of antibiotics as penicillin.

It works by preventing the cell wall of bacteria from forming, which kills the bacteria and keeps it from growing.

Clavulanate Potassium is an ingredient that is added that makes the antibiotic more effective against bacteria that are resistant to amoxicillin alone.

Since amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium treats bacterial infections caused by a wide variety of bacteria, it’s considered a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

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Uses

Amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium is prescribed to treat a range of bacterial infections, including:

Like all antibiotics, amoxicillin does not treat viral infections such as the flu, COVID-19, or the common cold.

What Is a UTI?

Urinary tract infections are bacterial infections that occur in the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. 

Causes

Most often, UTIs happen when bacteria from the skin or rectum get inside the urethra.

From there, the bacteria can travel to any part of the urinary tract and grow.

If not properly treated, the infection can travel to the kidneys and cause a more complicated infection known as pyelonephritis.

UTIs are more common in women and infants, due to their shorter urethras that more easily let bacteria in.

Symptoms

UTI symptoms include:

  • Pain or burning sensation when peeing
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Peeing small amounts on a frequent basis
  • Lower abdominal pressure
  • Cloudy, reddish, or foul-smelling urine

Diagnosis

To diagnose a UTI, a provider will ask about your symptoms and if you have any history of UTIs. 

They may prescribe an antibiotic based on your symptoms alone.

Most often, they’ll collect a urine sample to test for signs of inflammation that suggest an infection. 

In some cases, your provider will send a urine culture, which shows exactly what bacteria is growing and can determine which antibiotic will work best.

How to Use Amoxicillin-Clavulanate Potassium to Treat UTIs

As with any prescription medication, follow your doctor’s or pharmacist’s directions for how to take amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium to treat a UTI.

The information below outlines the most common dosage, frequency, and length of treatment, but your treatment plan may differ.

Dosage

Amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium comes in four different forms: 

  • Tablets
  • Chewable tablets
  • Suspension liquid

Amoxicillin-cavulanate potassium dosage depends on your age and the severity of your UTI:

  • Adults with mild or moderate UTIs: 500 milligrams (mg) or amoxicillin component every 12 hours or 250 mg every 8 hours
  • Adults with severe UTIs: 875 mg  of amoxicillin component every 12 hours or 500 mg every 8 hours
  • Children with mild or moderate UTIs: 20-25 mg per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day divided into doses every 8-12 hours
  • Children with severe UTIs: 40-45 mg/kg/day divided into doses every 8-12 hours

If you miss a dose of amoxicillin-potassium-clavulanate take it as soon as you realize it.

However, if you are too close to your next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your normal schedule.

Never double up on antibiotic doses.

For how long

To avoid antibiotic resistance and other complications, your healthcare provider will recommend the shortest course of antibiotics to address your UTI.

Many times this is 3-5 days. Children and infants will need to take their antibiotic for 7-10 days.

Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, it is important to take the full antibiotic regimen.

If you do not, some bacteria may remain, which could lead to a recurrent infection.

Antibiotic resistance is also a concern.

Possible Side Effects of Amoxicillin-Clavunalate Potassium

Like many antibiotics, amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium may cause some common side effects.

These include:

Less commonly, amoxicillin-clavulanate-potassium may result in serious side effects.

If you experience any of the below, contact your healthcare provider or head to the emergency room:

  • Itching, hives, or skin rashes
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Skin blisters
  • Swelling of the lips, face, throat, tongue, or eyes
  • Stomach cramps
  • Severe, persistent diarrhea or bloody stools

At any time while taking amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium if your symptoms worsen or you are concerned, contact your provider. 

Antibiotic-Resistant UTIs

Due to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, some UTIs have become resistant to common antibiotics used to treat them.

Translation: The medications don’t work to kill the bacteria and clear the infection. 

Although this may sound scary, there are still ways to treat an antibiotic-resistant UTI.

Certain antibiotics are reserved for harder-to-treat infections.

These include:

  • Newer Fluoroquinolones (delafloxacin, gemifloxacin, others)
  • Ceftazidime (Fortaz, Tazicef, others)
  • Cefepime (Maxipime)
  • Piperacillin-tazobactam (Zosyn)
  • Carbapenems (doribax, doripenem, others)
  • Ceftolozane-tazobactam (Zerbaxa)
  • Ceftazidime-avibactam (Avycaz)
  • Aminoglycosides (gentamicin, tobramycin, amikacin, others)
  • Cefiderocol (Fetroja)

These newer drugs are not associated with antibiotic resistance yet.

However, they are used more sparingly to prevent the development of multi-drug resistance.

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When to See a Doctor

If you have signs of a UTI, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.

While not all UTIs require antibiotics, most of them do.

Leaving a UTI untreated can result in serious complications such as a kidney infection.

If a healthcare provider prescribes amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium for a UTI and you experience any serious side effects, contact them.

But if you think you’re having an allergic reaction, head to the emergency room or call 911.

Also contact your doctor if your UTI doesn’t appear to clear after finishing the full course of antibiotics or if symptoms worsen.

How K Health Can Help

Primary care providers at K Health can help you treat a UTI, right from the comfort of your own home.

In just a few minutes, you can speak to a doctor about your symptoms and, if needed, get a prescription sent to your local pharmacy.

Download K to check your symptoms, explore conditions and treatments, and text with a doctor in minutes. K Health’s AI-powered app is HIPAA compliant and based on 20 years of clinical data.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will UTI symptoms linger after completing an antibiotic regime?
If you complete a course of antibiotics and still experience UTI symptoms, contact your doctor. You may need another antibiotic of a different class to cure the infection. If not done so already, your doctor will likely take a urine sample to be cultured to ensure they prescribe the most appropriate antibiotic.
Are there OTC options for antibiotics for UTIs?
In the U.S., you cannot get antibiotics over the counter (OTC). Antibiotic resistance is a global health crisis, so they should only be taken under the guidance of a trained medical professional.
Are antibiotics always needed to treat a UTI?
According to some studies, as many as 25-50% of UTIs may resolve without antibiotics or other treatment. However, if a UTI does not get better on its own, you run the risk of developing a more serious kidney infection that may require hospitalization or a longer recovery time. So anytime you experience UTI symptoms, it’s best to check with a healthcare provider.

K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Terez Malka, MD

Dr. Terez Malka is a board-certified pediatrician and emergency medicine physician.