Medications for Cellulitis: Augmentin, Cephalexin, Amoxicillin and Cipro

Cellulitis is a severe skin infection that can quickly turn to blood poisoning or gangrene. Without care, it can be life-threatening or require amputations. However, modern medicine for cellulitis can quickly tip the scales in most cases and you will be on your way to a full recovery.

Using Medicine for Cellulitis

The first order of business when you seek medical help for raging skin infection is to make a diagnosis. Medicine for cellulitis remains antibiotics. However, your physician will run cultures to determine the bacteria responsible for the problem so they prescribe the appropriate drug.

Primary medicines for cellulitis include:

  • Penicillins: Penicillin has been a standby for decades and remains a commonly prescribed treatment, although newer and more effective drugs are rising to the top in recent years.
  • Amoxicillin
  • Ampicillin and sulbactam (Unasyn)
  • Cephalexin (Keflex)
  • Cefazolin
  • Clavulanate (Augmentin)
  • Piperacillin and tazobactam (Zosyn)
  • Ceftriaxone (Rocephin)
  • Erythromycin (Erythrocin, E.E.S., Ery-Tab, EryPed)
  • Azithromycin (Zithromax, Zmax)
  • Levofloxacin (Levaquin)
  • Imipenem
  • Cilastatin (Primaxin)
  • Ceftazidime (Fortaz and Tazicef)
  • Cefuroxime (Ceftin or Zinacef)
  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)

Prescribing Augmentin for Cellulitis

Augmentin is the brand name for amoxicillin/clavulanate potassium. It is primarily made up of amoxicillin that has been mixed with a beta-lactamase inhibitor. It is available in tablets, suspension powder, and chewable. They normally use Augmentation for cellulitis if the cultures reveal Staphylococcus aureus. A 500-milligram tablet every twelve hours it the standard dosage for adults. A 250-milligram tablet can also be given more frequently. This medication can also be prescribed for children according to physicians discretion.

Using Cephalexin for Cellulitis

Cephalexin is the ‘go to’ prescription for mild-to-moderate infections. It is not as potent as other pills but is well tolerated. They classify the drug in the cephalosporin antibiotics category. It works well on infections in the genital region and other areas of the body. It is available as a tablet, suspension fluid, or capsule. This drug is a popular alternative to penicillin for those with allergies. Cephalexin for cellulitis works well and is commonly used. It has a bevy of side effects. Many users become nauseous and vomit. Heartburn is also a common complaint. If you experience hives or have difficulty breathing then you should discontinue the meds and seek medical advice.

What About Amoxicillin for Cellulitis?

Amoxicillin is an old standby for infections. Many people have expressed concern that it might be overprescribed, especially by veterinarians and be one of the leading contributors to drug-resistant bacteria.

Without a doubt, Amoxicillin has been the go-to drug for infants, toddlers, children, animals, and adults since it first hit the market. It is considered a penicillin-like drug. Amoxicillin does upset the stomach in many people and can cause an alteration in taste which returns to normal after discontinuation of the drug. Amoxicillin for cellulitis is a common prescription.

Less costly generics are available. Brand names include:

  • Amoxil
  • Dispermox
  • Polymox
  • Trimox
  • Moxtag
  • Larotid
  • Wymx

Using Cipro for Cellulitis

Cipro refers to Ciprofloxacin and is categorized as a quinolone drug. It does not kill existing bacteria but halts the growth of new bacteria. Cipro for cellulitis works well. Remember, ingesting calcium-rich foods such as milk, juice, or yogurt significantly decrease the effectiveness of the medication. You should abstain from all dairy or calcium-fortified foods for at least two hours prior to and after ingesting Cipro

You should not take Cipro within two to six hours of ingesting:

  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Didanosine solution
  • Calcium
  • Antiacids

Using Antibiotics to Treat Cellulitis

They typically use antibiotics as follows:

  • Mild forms of cellulitis: Cephalexin, Doxycycline, Minocycline, Clindamycin
  • Moderate to severe forms of cellulitis: Vancomycin provided as an IV, PCN VK, Aqueous, Procaine
  • Severe forms of cellulitis: Ampicillin/sulbactam, Piperacillin/tazobactam infusions, ciprofloxacin/clindamycin, aztreonam/clindamycin, Meropenem IV

If the cellulitis turns to necrotizing fasciitis, then surgical debridement is required followed by antibiotics. The patient must be hospitalized for an extended amount of time during treatment.

Often cellulitis turns to clostridial myonecrosis (gas gangrene), which requires surgery and amputation.

Taking Prescription Antibiotics for Cellulitis

If your doctor has prescribed antibiotics, then while filling the prescription take the time to discuss the drug in depth with your pharmacist. Doctors are often unfamiliar with the many side effects of the drugs that they prescribe. However, an educated and skilled druggist knows the various drugs well and can advise you on possible side effects. Always let the pharmacist know if you are taking any other prescription medications or supplements to rule out interaction problems.

MRSA and Antibiotics

Antibiotics remain the treatment of choice for most forms of cellulitis, but nowadays an aggressive form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has emerged known as MRSA, (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Unlike other forms of bacterial cellulitis, MRSA is contagious. The bacteria have evolved to be resistant to oxacillin, methicillin, amoxicillin, and penicillin. Each year, over 18,000 people die from the hard-to-control infection. Treatment is very challenging and often uses antibiotics combined with antimicrobial therapy. Linezolid or rifampin sometimes work.

MRSA easily spreads from skin to skin contact which makes it dangerous. They normally require hospitalization to control the MRSA cellulitis.



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