Make sure you tell your doctor if you are allergic to penicillin. Flucloxacillin is a type of penicillin - do not take it if you are allergic to penicillin.
Flucloxacillin should be taken when your stomach is empty. This means you should take your doses an hour before meals.
Space your doses out evenly over the day and complete the full course of antibiotic.
If you have an allergic reaction (such as any swelling around your mouth, any difficulties breathing or a red rash) contact a doctor straightaway.
|Type of medicine||Penicillin antibiotic|
|Used for||Bacterial infections (adults and children)|
|Available as||Capsules, oral liquid medicine and injection|
Flucloxacillin is also used before some surgical operations to prevent an infection from developing.
Before taking flucloxacillin
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking flucloxacillin it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding. (Although flucloxacillin is not known to be harmful to babies, it is still important that you tell your doctor if you are expecting or breast-feeding a baby.)
- If you have problems with the way your liver works.
- If you have kidney problems.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have an allergic condition, or if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine. This is particularly important if you have ever had a bad reaction to any penicillin antibiotic.
How to take flucloxacillin
- Before you start this antibiotic, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about flucloxacillin and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take flucloxacillin exactly as your doctor tells you to. It is taken four times daily. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how many capsules (or how much liquid medicine) to take for each dose, and this information will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you. If you have been given liquid medicine for a child, read the directions carefully to make sure you measure out the correct amount of medicine.
- You should take flucloxacillin 'on an empty stomach', which means you should take it about an hour before a meal, or wait until two hours afterwards. This is because your body absorbs less flucloxacillin after a meal, which means the medicine is less effective. Space the doses out evenly during the day.
- Swallow the capsules whole - do not chew or open them. Some people find it helps to swallow the capsules with a drink of water.
- If you forget to take a dose, take one as soon as you remember. Try to take the correct number of doses each day, but do not take two doses at the same time to make up.
- Even if you feel your infection has cleared up, keep taking the antibiotic until the course is finished, unless you are told to stop. This is to prevent the infection from coming back. Your doctor will tell you how long your course of treatment will last. If you still feel unwell after finishing the course, go back to see your doctor.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Some people develop thrush (redness and itching in the mouth or vagina) after taking a course of antibiotics. If you think you have thrush speak with your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
- If you are using oral combined hormonal contraception (the 'pill'), additional contraceptive precautions such as condoms are recommended for a time if you have vomiting or diarrhoea which lasts for more than 24 hours. If you need further advice about this, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
- If you are having an operation or any other medical treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking an antibiotic.
- Flucloxacillin may stop the oral typhoid vaccine from working. If you are having any vaccinations, make sure the person treating you knows that you are taking this antibiotic.
- If you are taking flucloxacillin over an extended period of time, your doctor will want to routinely check on your progress. Try to keep any regular appointments you have booked with your doctor, as you will need to have some blood tests to check that your liver and kidneys are working well.
Can flucloxacillin cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with flucloxacillin. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common flucloxacillin side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling or being sick||Stick to simple foods|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids. If the diarrhoea continues, becomes severe, or contains blood, let your doctor know straightaway|
|Skin rash||Let your doctor know as soon as possible, as your treatment may need to be changed|
Important: if you develop an itchy rash, swollen face or mouth, or have difficulty breathing, these may be signs that you are allergic to a penicillin antibiotic. Do not take any more flucloxacillin and speak with your doctor or go to your local accident and emergency department straightaway.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store flucloxacillin
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store flucloxacillin capsules in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- If you have been given liquid medicine, store it in a refrigerator. It will have been made up by the pharmacy and lasts for seven days, so check the expiry date on the bottle and do not use it after this date.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Floxapen® 250 mg and 500 mg capsules; Actavis UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2012.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Flucloxacillin Sugar-free Powder for Oral Solution; Actavis UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2010.
- British National Formulary; 66th Edition (September 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Helen Huins