Clavulanic acid is a β-lactamase inhibitor that is often combined with β-lactam antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, to increase their effectiveness against β-lactamase-producing bacteria. β-lactamases are enzymes produced by some bacteria that can break down β-lactam antibiotics, rendering them ineffective.
When combined with amoxicillin, clavulanic acid binds to and inhibits β-lactamases, allowing amoxicillin to continue to inhibit bacterial cell wall synthesis and effectively treat the infection. This combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid is known as amoxicillin-clavulanate, and is often marketed under the brand name Augmentin.
Amoxicillin-clavulanate is commonly used to treat a range of bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections, respiratory tract infections, skin infections, and dental infections. However, like all antibiotics, it can cause side effects, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and allergic reactions. Therefore, it is important to take amoxicillin-clavulanate only as directed by a healthcare provider and to report any side effects to them immediately.