Amoxicillin is an antibiotic that belongs to the penicillin class. This simply means it kills bacteria using penicillin mold. It is ingested by mouth and used to treat a variety of diseases in children ranging from acute otitis media to Lyme disease. The dosage for amoxicillin depends on two factors;
- Age of child or infant receiving the antibiotic.
- The condition the penicillin being used for treatment.
Availability of amoxicillin in oral forms enables parents to administer the medication effectively and safely to children. Physicians prescribe it for various infections affecting the nose, throat, sinus, stomach, ears, skin and urinary tract.
Typical Amoxicillin Dosage for Children
Amoxicillin dosage for children depends on the disease:
1. Ear, Nose & Throat Infection
Sinusitis or sinus infection develops when bacteria or viruses invade cavities found behind your nose. Ear infections occur when the eardrum fluid is infected by organisms. When a child has been diagnosed with nose, throat and ear infection amoxicillin is often prescribed by doctors.
Before administration of amoxicillin, you should put a few factors into consideration in order to determine the dosage.
- Children under 3 months can take amoxicillin with no more than 30 mg/kg in 2 divided doses per day.
- Children who are 3 months years old and less than 40 kg should be given the dosage according to severity of infection.Children with mild to moderate infection can have amoxicillin in either 3 equal doses of 20mg/kg per day over a period of 24hrs or in 2 divided doses of 25 mg/kg per day. Children with severe infections have a dose recommendation of either two doses of 45 mg/kg per day or three doses of 40mg/kg per day.
- Children who weigh over 40kgs and are over 3 months old should take 500mg two times a day or 250mg thrice a day if they have moderate or mild infections. If the condition is more severe, the dosage is increased to 500mg thrice a day or 875mg two times a day.
NB: The older the child gets, the less weight-dependent the dose gets.
2. Streptococcal Pharyngitis
This condition occurs when the oropharynx (back of the throat and mouth) is infected by bacteria resulting in sore throat. It is common in children aged five to fifteen years old.
Newborns and babies of up to twelve weeks old should take two doses of 30mg/kg per day. Children who are older than twelve weeks can take a daily dose of 50mg/kg for ten days. This dosage is used for treating strep throat and also in preventing rheumatic fever.
NB: Maximum dose is a gram each day; the dose isn't divided.
3. Lyme Disease
When a tick bites a Borrelia burgdorferi infected deer or mouse, and then bites someone, the person will suffer from Lyme disease. Lyme disease has three stages i.e. when the infection starts (early localized), begins to spread (early disseminated) and spreads throughout (late disseminated).
In the early localized stage, the child should take three doses of 50mg/kg per day and take for fourteen to twenty one days. If the disease has spread to the nerves and joints (Lyme arthritis), the dosage is the same as that for early Lyme stage. In such a case, the victim should take three doses of 50mg/kg per day for twenty eight days.
NB: Maximum amount to be taken should never exceed 1500mg per day.
4. Otitis Media (Ear Infection)
Otitis media is middle ear infection and is common in children/infants of ages between six to eighteen months. It is also more common in male children than female children.
Children aged between four weeks to three months should take 20-30mg/kg per day after every twelve hours. Children aged four months to twelve years should take 20-50mg/kg daily after eight to twelve hours.
If the otitis media is acute, the dose should be 80-90mg/kg per day, taken orally in two doses (equal) after every twelve hours.
5. Tonsillitis or Pharyngitis
Tonsillitis and Pharyngitis are throat infections that cause inflammation and are spread by close contact with infected individuals. If the primary affected area is the throat, then it is known as Pharyngitis. If the primary affected area is the tonsils, then it is known as tonsillitis. Infection of both areas is known as pharyngotonsillitis.
Kids aged between four weeks to three months should take 20-30 mg/kg daily, and the doses should be taken every twelve hours. Children aged four months to twelve years should take three doses of 20-50mg/kg per day every eight to twelve hours. Children above twelve years may orally take three doses 2500-500mg/kg daily for seven to ten days. Alternatively, they can orally take two doses of 500-800gm/kg per day.
NB: The 500-800mg/kg dose is the dosage for immediate release. 775mg taken orally once daily for ten days after one hour past a meal is the dosage for extended release.
Pneumonia is swelling (inflammation) of lung tissues. It can affect one or both lungs. It is caused by viral or bacterial infections. The breathing tubes of the lungs have small air sacs that get inflamed and filled with fluid when someone has pneumonia.
Kids with pneumonia should orally take a daily dosage of 40-50mg/kg after every eight hours.
Amoxicillin Dosage for Children in Different Forms
Amoxicillin dosage for children is administered in a number of ways:
- Pediatric Drops. This is given to infants and has the flavor of bubble-gum. It can be administered directly to infant's mouth or mixed with water, juice or baby formula.
- Oral Suspension. This is given to older children and also has flavor of the bubble-gum. It's manufactured in 3 strengths each reflecting the amount of amoxicillin in one teaspoon or 5ml. The 1st strength is 200mg/5ml, the 2nd strength is 250mg/5ml and 3rd strength is 400mg/5ml.
- Chewable Tablets. These are soft tablets given to children who can chew & swallow. They are available in dosages of 200mg and 400mg and have peppermint-cherry-banana flavors making them more convenient compared to oral suspensions.
- Regular Tablets. These are given to children old enough to swallow tablets of 500-875mg of amoxicillin.
- Extended-release Tablets. These tablets should be given to children who are able to swallow full tablets as they should be swallowed whole. This prevents excess amoxicillin from being released at a go.
- Capsules. They are in 500mg form and should be swallowed as a whole. They should not be opened.