Phenoxymethylpenicillin for infection

Make sure you tell your doctor if you are allergic to penicillin. Phenoxymethylpenicillin is a type of penicillin - do not take it if you are allergic to penicillin.

Space your doses out evenly over the day and complete the full course of this antibiotic, even if you feel your infection has cleared up. You should take phenoxymethylpenicillin an hour before meals.

If you have an allergic reaction (such as any swelling around your mouth, any difficulties breathing or a red rash) contact a doctor straightaway.

Type of medicine A penicillin antibiotic
Used for Infections (in adults and children)
Also called Penicillin V
Available as Tablets and oral liquid medicine

Phenoxymethylpenicillin is used to treat bacterial infections, such as chest infections, tonsillitis, cellulitis, ear infections, and dental abscesses. It is used in particular for respiratory infections in children. It works by killing the bacteria causing the infection. You may also be prescribed it to prevent an infection from occurring if you are at particular risk of getting an infection.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking phenoxymethylpenicillin it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have kidney problems.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have an allergic condition (such as asthma, eczema, or hay fever), or if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine. This is particularly important if you have ever had a bad reaction to any penicillin antibiotic.
  • Before you start this antibiotic, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The manufacturer's leaflet will give you more information about phenoxymethylpenicillin and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • Take phenoxymethylpenicillin exactly as your doctor tells you to. It is usually taken four times daily. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how much to take and when to take it, and your dose will also be on the label of the pack to remind you. Space the doses out evenly during the day.
  • You should take phenoxymethylpenicillin when your stomach is empty, which means taking it one hour before any food, or waiting until two hours afterwards. This is because your body absorbs less of the medicine after a meal, which means it is less effective.
  • Even if you feel your infection has cleared up, keep taking this antibiotic until the course is finished, unless you are told to stop.This is to prevent the infection from coming back. A course of treatment often lasts around seven days, although it may be for longer than this. If you still feel unwell after finishing the course, go back to see your doctor.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take one as soon as you remember. Try to take the correct number of doses each day, but do not take two doses at the same time to make up.
  • Some people develop thrush (redness and itchiness in the mouth or vagina) after taking a course of antibiotics. If this happens to you, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
  • If you are using combined oral hormonal contraception (the 'pill'), additional contraceptive precautions such as condoms are not required during a course of this antibiotic unless you are sick (vomit) or have diarrhoea. If you need further advice about this, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • This antibiotic may stop the oral typhoid vaccine from working. If you are having any vaccinations, make sure the person treating you knows that you are taking this medicine.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with phenoxymethylpenicillin. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common phenoxymethylpenicillin side-effects What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling or being sick, abdominal pain Stick to simple foods
Diarrhoea Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids. If the diarrhoea continues, becomes severe, or contains blood, let your doctor know straightaway
Skin rash, and other allergic-type reactions Let your doctor know as soon as possible as your treatment may need to be changed

Important: if you develop an itchy rash, swollen face or mouth, or have difficulty breathing, these can be signs that you are allergic to a penicillin antibiotic. Do not take any more phenoxymethylpenicillin and speak with your doctor or go to your local accident and emergency department straightaway.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
  • If you have been given liquid medicine, store it in a refrigerator. It will have been made up by the pharmacy and lasts for seven days, so check the expiry date on the bottle and do not use it after this date.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.

If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • British National Formulary; 65th Edition (Mar 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Prof Cathy Jackson
Last Checked:
10/09/2013
Document ID:
1444 (v25)
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