Antibiotics Advice Sheet

This advice sheet is for people who have been prescribed an antibiotic. Your pharmacist is also a very good source of advice and information. Antibiotics are drugs that fight the bacteria which cause infections. There are a number of important things you need to know about antibiotics:

What you should do to make sure that the antibiotics work:
For antibiotics to be effective, they must be taken as directed (refer to the label on the bottle or advice sheet in the packet). This will also advise whether the antibiotic should be taken with food or after food. Your pharmacist will also be able to advise you. Make sure the antibiotics are taken with plenty of fluid and make sure you keep well hydrated during the course of antibiotics. The tablets should be taken at approximately equal intervals during the day, eg:
1 tablet 3xdaily (tds) = 1 tablet approximately every 8 hours
1 tablet 4xdaily (qds) = 1 tablet approximately every 6 hours.
It is very important to complete the full course of antibiotics, even if you feel better and your symptoms disappear (unless you are advised to stop taking them early).

What you should do if you feel pain:
You may experience discomfort when you have a dental infection. It may take up to 48 hours before you feel the benefit of the antibiotics, so if you are in pain you can take painkillers such as Ibuprofen (eg. Nurofen), Paracetamol (eg. Panadol) or Aspirin (eg. Anadin). Be sure to follow the directions on the packaging and don’t exceed the maximum daily dose. To avoid this you can alternate between different types of painkiller. If the pain continues for more than three days please contact us

What you should do if your condition changes:
You have been given antibiotics because you have (or are suspected to have) an infection. Infections do sometimes get worse before they get better. If you find that:
• you start to experience swelling
• an existing swelling gets worse
• the pain increases
• you begin to develop a temperature
contact us immediately for advice (Out of hours advice is available on calling 03000 33 32 24).

What you should do if you experience side-effects:
It is important that you keep us informed of any changes to your medical history including any new illnesses, allergies or medications. This enables us to make sure that you do not have an adverse reaction to the antibiotics. If you experience a rash or fever, you may have developed an allergy to the antibiotics. Do not take any more of the antibiotics. Contact us or your Doctor immediately.
If you experience mild nausea or diarrhoea there is no need for concern – antibiotics often cause these mild side effects and they are not harmful. Stomach problems can be reduced by drinking probiotic drinks and eating live yogurts.
However, if the nausea or diarrhoea becomes severe of if you experience diarrhoea with bleeding – do not take any more of the antibiotics. This is especially important if you are taking Clindamycin. Again contact us or your Doctor immediately
If you are prescribed Metronidazole you must not drink alcohol during the course of antibiotics – mixing the two will make you nauseous.

What you must do if you are pregnant:
It is essential that you make sure your dentist knows if you are pregnant before you take the antibiotics. Please contact us or your Doctor if you learn that you are pregnant before completing the course of antibiotics.

What you must do if you are taking the oral contraceptive pill:
Antibiotics may interfere with the way that the oral contraceptive pill works, making it less effective. You must use additional methods of contraception while you are taking antibiotics and for seven days after you finish the course of antibiotics. Don’t stop taking your contraceptive pill - you should continue to take it in the normal way. If the ‘extra days’ extend on what would be your Pill free week, then do not have your usual break, but start a new pack of oral contraceptive pills immediately. For more information ask your pharmacist or check the leaflet in your packet of contraceptive pills.

Even if you feel better after taking the antibiotics it is very important that you come to any follow-up appointment that has been made for you. If you don’t, you may just end up ill or in pain again.