Famously discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, penicillin remains one of the most important and effective antibiotics in the world.
If you have a bacterial infection that needs treatment, talk to one of our doctors and see if penicillin could help you get better.
Penicillin is usually prescribed in either tablet or liquid form, and can sometimes be taken with food or drink. Full instructions on storage and dosage will be found on the label - the important thing is that you take the medicine as instructed by your doctor.
In order for it to help, you must take penicillin for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor. Even if you feel better, the infection might still not be completely cleared, while penicillin can take a few days to have an effect. You shouldn’t stop taking it without consulting your doctor.
If you accidentally miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, unless it’s nearly time for your next dose. Doubling up on doses won’t make penicillin any more effective and you’ll be more likely to experience side effects.
Your doctor will decide if penicillin will help with your infection. It’s used to treat:
Like all antibiotics, the most common side effect of penicillin is diarrhoea. This is usually nothing to worry about, but you should speak to a doctor if it becomes very watery or has blood in it.
Other common side effects include:
Women may also experience vaginal itching or thrush.
Some side effects are less common and you should let your doctor know about them straight away, including:
In rare cases, penicillin can cause an allergic reaction. Seek urgent medical attention if you notice swelling around your face, lips and throat, or you’re having trouble breathing.See a Doctor About Your Penicillin
Your doctor will need to know if you’re taking any other medication, in order to make sure that it’s okay to mix this with penicillin.
For example, antibiotics can make the birth control pill less effective, so your doctor needs to know if you’re on it.
Penicillin might also be unsuitable if you have:
You mustn’t start taking other medication alongside penicillin without checking this with a doctor first.
It won’t do you any harm to have a couple of drinks if you’re on penicillin. Studies have shown that it’ll still be just as effective.
Of course, drinking while you’re ill isn’t always a good idea, as you can easily become dehydrated and a subsequent hangover could make you feel even worse. You might also increase your chance of side effects such as diarrhoea.
Penicillin isn’t thought to be harmful to unborn babies, but you should always tell a doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to start a family soon, as this may influence which drugs they choose to prescribe for you.
It’s thought that penicillin can get into breast milk and pose a risk to your baby, so you should avoid breastfeeding while you’re taking this medication.See a doctor about Penicillin
If your bacterial infection isn’t clearing up, talk to one of our doctors about choosing the best treatment. They can write you up a prescription straight away and you’ll be able to collect the medication from a pharmacy of your choice.