Can You Buy Amoxicillin Over the Counter?

Amoxicillin is one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics in both children and adults, with millions of prescriptions filled in the United States each year.

However, with the numerous medications available OTC, it’s only natural to wonder if amoxicillin is one of them, or if it can only be attained through a prescription.

The short answer is no, you cannot buy amoxicillin over the counter. This medication is classified as a prescription-only drug due to its potential side effects and the risk of developing antibiotic resistance.

Continue reading to learn more about when amoxicillin is used and how you can get ahold of this antibiotic.

Table of Contents

What Is Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is a penicillin-like antibiotic that stops bacteria from growing. It accomplishes this by interfering with the bacteria on a cellular level, keeping them from forming their cell walls. Without cell walls, the bacteria’s cells leach nutrients, making it so that they cannot reproduce and survive.

In some cases, amoxicillin may also be combined with potassium clavulanate, which makes it more efficient and better able to combat less sensitive bacterial infections.

The good thing about amoxicillin is that, since it is an antibiotic, you often begin feeling better soon after taking it, often within just a few days.

Uses of Amoxicillin

As an antibiotic, doctors prescribe amoxicillin to treat various bacterial infections, such as:

  • pneumonia
  • bronchitis
  • infections of the ears, nose, throat, and skin
  • urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • dental infections
  • Lyme disease
  • anthrax exposure
  • h. pylori infections

Of note, amoxicillin is only effective against bacterial infections, so it does not work for viral or fungal infections such as the flu or a yeast infection.

Can You Get Amoxicillin Over the Counter?

While there are some antibiotics available to purchase over the counter (OTC), amoxicillin is not one of them; it can only be purchased with a prescription.

It might seem frustrating that an antibiotic such as amoxicillin is not available for purchase OTC, but there are many good reasons for that.

Antibiotics can work differently for each person, meaning that the side effects you experience may differ from the side effects someone else does. In addition, someone else may have no side effects from a certain antibiotic while you find yourself hit hard. 

Not only that, but antibiotics such as amoxicillin can also interact with medications that you are already taking or medical conditions you have. 

Furthermore, there are also risks associated with overusing and misusing antibiotics. For example, taking an antibiotic when you don’t need it can harm the good bacteria in your body, resulting in a variety of consequences. Your doctor, though, is able to identify when an antibiotic is or isn’t needed to ensure that this does not happen. They also know the ideal dosage for various infections to ensure that you are not taking more of an antibiotic than you need, or for longer than you need.

Finally, while amoxicillin can treat many different types of infections, it is not the best antibiotic for every situation. Your doctor knows when amoxicillin is a viable antibiotic choice for your specific illness or when one antibiotic is a better fit than another, ensuring that the antibiotics you take actually clear your infection.

Because of all that there is to consider before taking an antibiotic, it’s best to leave the prescribing aspect, and finding the best antibiotic and dosage, to the professionals.

Can You Get Other Antibiotics Over the Counter?

There are some types of antibiotics available OTC, and they are generally topical varieties that are not as strong as a prescription variety. Some examples of antibiotics available OTC include:

  • Proactive (benzoyl peroxide)
  • Polysporin (bacitracin/polymyxin B)
  • Neosporin (bacitracin/neomycin/polymyxin B)
  • Neosporin Plus (neomycin/polymyxin B/pramoxine)

However, there are still many topical antibiotics unavailable OTC, as they are more potent varieties that require a prescription.

A common misconception is that, if an antibiotic is available OTC, there is no need to worry about side effects and possible complications. However, while these antibiotics are not as strong as prescription varieties, you can still see some damage if you use them when they are not needed, most often resulting in skin irritation. Because of this, it’s always best to consult with a medical professional before using any antibiotics, OTC varieties included.

Can You Get Amoxicillin Without Seeing a Doctor?

As we now know, it’s not possible to get amoxicillin OTC, which is the only way to get medicine without seeing a doctor. In fact, it’s only possible to get amoxicillin with a prescription from your doctor, and they generally like to talk to you first to see what symptoms you have before diagnosing your ailment.

Knowing this, it is necessary to see a doctor in some way in order to get amoxicillin. However, you are not only limited to in-person visits.

Can You Get Amoxicillin Online?

It is impossible to get amoxicillin without talking to a doctor, but you can get an amoxicillin prescription without having to see a doctor in person.

The solution is seeing an online doctor, which allows you to still meet with a doctor and gain their professional opinion without having to take the time out of your day traveling to a doctor’s office or clinic. This makes it convenient and easy to get a prescription antibiotic, and you get the added benefit of knowing that the medication you are taking is the correct one for your body to fight the infection.

Even more, online doctors are able to prescribe antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, virtually, so you can still obtain the medicine you need to feel better.

How Can DrHouse Help You?

With DrHouse, you can meet with an online doctor in just 15 minutes to discuss your symptoms. During your consultation, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, medical history, and any concerns you may have. After gaining all this information, they will then decide if an antibiotic is needed and what kind. They can also write the prescription for you, all through the DrHouse app, and you can be on your way to feeling better without ever having to step foot outside your house.

If you’re looking to receive an amoxicillin prescription online, DrHouse can help.

Key Takeaways

Amoxicillin is a penicillin-like antibiotic that treats various bacterial infections by interfering with bacterial growth. However, while some antibiotics are available OTC, amoxicillin is not one of them. If you need this antibiotic, you can only get it with a prescription.

This is to help reduce cases of antibiotic use when it’s unnecessary, which can have unpleasant complications. Furthermore, your doctor can determine if this is the best antibiotic for your specific ailment and medical history, or if another type would be a better fit.

While you need a prescription for amoxicillin, you can easily obtain it online through an app such as DrHouse. In just 15 minutes, you can begin your consultation to discuss your symptoms and receive an antibiotic, such as amoxicillin, if needed.

Sources:

  • Akhavan BJ, Khanna NR, Vijhani P. Amoxicillin. [Updated 2022 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482250/ 
  • Mainous, A., Everett, C., Post, R., Diaz, V., & Hueston, W. (2009). Availability of Antibiotics for Purchase Without a Prescription on the Internet. The Annals Of Family Medicine, 7(5), 431-435. doi: https://doi.org/10.1370/afm.999 
  • Salvo, F., De Sarro, A., Caputi, A. P., & Polimeni, G. (2009). Amoxicillin and amoxicillin plus clavulanate: a safety review. Expert opinion on drug safety, 8(1), 111–118. https://doi.org/10.1517/14740330802527984 
  • Huttner, A., Bielicki, J., Clements, M., Frimodt-Møller, N., Muller, A., Paccaud, J., & Mouton, J. (2020). Oral amoxicillin and amoxicillin–clavulanic acid: properties, indications and usage. Clinical Microbiology And Infection, 26(7), 871-879. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmi.2019.11.028 
  • Sodhi, K., Kumar, M., & Singh, D. (2021). Insight into the amoxicillin resistance, ecotoxicity, and remediation strategies. Journal Of Water Process Engineering, 39, 101858. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jwpe.2020.101858 
  • Jehan, F., Nisar, I., Kerai, S., Balouch, B., Brown, N., Rahman, N., Rizvi, A., Shafiq, Y., & Zaidi, A. K. M. (2020). Randomized Trial of Amoxicillin for Pneumonia in Pakistan. The New England journal of medicine, 383(1), 24–34. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1911998 
  • Banerjee S, Argáez C. Topical Antibiotics for Infection Prevention: A Review of the Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines [Internet]. Ottawa (ON): Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health; 2017 Mar 30. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK487430/ 

Content on the DrHouse website is written by our medical content team and reviewed by qualified MDs, PhDs, NPs, and PharmDs. We follow strict content creation guidelines to ensure accurate medical information. However, this content is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For more information read our medical disclaimer.

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