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What is Flucloxacillin?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Flucloxacillin is an antibiotic medication a doctor may prescribe to treat certain kinds of Staphylococcus infections, including skin, bone, and lung infections. This drug is in the penicillin class and people cannot obtain it without a prescription. This protects patient safety and reduces antibiotic resistance in bacteria and other organisms by making sure people only take these drugs when they absolutely need to. Patients on this medication should make sure to complete the full course of medication, even if they start to feel better.

This drug works against a narrow spectrum of Gram positive bacteria. It is among a group of drugs known as beta-lactam antibiotics because they are not sensitive to beta-lactam, an enzyme some bacteria can produce to resist antibiotic therapy. If a patient has an infection that does not appear to be responding to regular antibiotic drugs, beta-lactam antibiotics can be part of treatment, as they will be effective even against bacteria using this enzyme in their defense.

Patients can take flucloxacillin orally or by injection. The length of a course of treatment varies, depending on the type of infection and the situation, and some patients may take it for prophylaxis before or after surgery, with the goal of preventing infections. The antibiotic works by attacking the process bacteria use to synthesize cell walls. Without a cell wall, bacteria cannot survive. The rate of growth will slow and older organisms will start to die off, causing the infection to end.

The most common flucloxacillin side effect is digestive upset. Patients may feel nauseous and can develop diarrhea and vomiting. If these symptoms are low level, they may not be a big cause for concern, but if patients start to experience severe stomach pain and uncontrollable side effects, it may be necessary to consider an alternative. Patients can also develop allergies, and should not take this medication if they have a history of bad reactions to other penicillins.

People can store their flucloxacillin in a cool, dry place out of reach of other members of the household. It is important to take the medication at the same time each day and to follow dosage instructions carefully. If people miss a dose, they should make it up, unless it is close to the time for the next dose. In cases where flucloxacillin is ingested by a household pet, patients can call their veterinarians for advice on what to do. They should have the dosage information available so the vet can determine whether the animal is in danger.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon290743 — On Sep 11, 2012

I read somewhere about another drug that was infused with penicillin to make it last longer in the body. If anyone knows about that, can they please answer?

By andee — On Feb 11, 2012

@ddljohn - I have heard conflicting answers about taking penicillin and alcohol. I just always assumed it was a bad idea to drink alcohol when taking any kind of medication and have avoided it.

When I was recently talking about this with a friend, she told me that is an old school of thought. They used to think that if you drank alcohol while taking penicillin, the alcohol in your system would keep the penicillin from working properly.

Now many are saying it is OK to drink some alcohol while taking penicillin, but of course this should be done in moderation and is not recommended.

Does anybody know what the correct answer is when it comes to mixing alcohol and penicillin drugs?

By bagley79 — On Feb 10, 2012

@julies - You are lucky you had a mild reaction to the flucloxacillin. When I was prescribed this, I ended up getting a rash and hives all over my body.

I had never reacted like this to an antibiotic before. I was prescribed this medication for an infected ulcer. I had quite a bit of pain with the ulcer, and then when I had a reaction to the flucloxacillin, I was really miserable.

I am thankful there are many different antibiotics available for doctors to choose from. My body usually responds very quickly to the penicillin drugs, but this is one that I need to stay away from.

By julies — On Feb 09, 2012

@sunshined - You were wise to read through the precautions listed on the flucloxacillin medication. This is something I always read through when taking a medication I am not familiar with.

Many times after reading about the potential side effects, I am half scared to begin taking it.

I don't usually have any side effects from antibiotics, but did have a reaction when I was prescribed flucloxacillin.

My first reaction was feeling nauseated. A few hours later this was followed up with some diarrhea. At the time I was taking this for pneumonia.

When I called my doctor and told her the side effects I was having, she told me to stop taking it and prescribed a different antibiotic for me.

You never know how your body is going to react to a new medication. Flucloxacillin is one I will not take again since there are other antibiotics out there that will do the same thing.

By sunshined — On Feb 09, 2012

Has anyone else ever taken flucloxacillin for a urinary tract infection? I have a history of recurring infections and my doctor prescribed this medication for me.

He said I should not develop a resistance to it like many other penicillin type antibiotics. While it did a good job of clearing up my urinary tract infection, I would not want to stay on it for a long period of time.

When I was reading through the precautions it stated that if you take this for longer than 2 weeks you may want to have your kidney and liver functions checked.

I was only on this antibiotic for 7 days, but will definitely remember that if I ever have to take it again. Has anyone else experienced this side effect with this medication?

By Monika — On Feb 09, 2012

@ceilingcat - One thing that I find pretty helpful is taking antibiotics with food. I was even taking one kind of antibiotic once that said to take it on an empty stomach. However, it was really bothering me so I called my pharmacist. The pharmacist said it would be OK to take it with a few crackers, so that's what I did.

Honestly, I try to avoid taking antibiotics in general, but I will if I have to. Sometimes not doing it can be disastrous! I actually had a family member that was prescribed flucloxacillin after having surgery and decided not to take it. Of course she ended up coming down with a terrible infection!

By ceilingcat — On Feb 08, 2012

@starrynight - I'm sure there are some strong antibiotics out there that aren't in the penicillin family. If you ever get a really serious infection, I'm sure there is something out there that could help treat you.

Anyway, I had to take antibiotics for a tooth infection awhile ago. For a minute, it was looking like the antibiotics weren't going to be totally effective. According to my doctor, the next step was going to be prescribing flucloxacillin for me to take. However, the original antibiotic I was taking came through at the end and I started feeling better.

I'm glad I didn't have to go on this stuff, because antibiotics upset my stomach a lot. Even the ones that don't say it on the label! So the antibiotics that warn about possible stomach upset usually do a number on me!

By starrynight — On Feb 08, 2012

It's always comforting to know that there are medications out there like this for infections that don't respond to regular antibiotics. I'm glad that doctors regulate flucloxacillin dosage and don't just give it out to anyone who asks for it. I also hope that people who take it will take every dose so that we don't get any more superbugs than we already have.

However, this medicine won't be able to help me personally if I ever get a really serious staph infection. I'm highly allergic to penicillin and I can't take anything in the penicillin family. I once had a reaction from taking something that had only a 20% allergy crossover rate with penicillin!

By burcinc — On Feb 07, 2012

@ddljohn- I'm taking flucloxacillin capsules right now as well for a skin infection. My doctor said that I can drink in moderation if I really want to. But he also said that alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics and asked me to avoid it if I can or not to go over 1-2 drinks (like beer) at most.

My brother told me that he went out drinking with his buddies one time when he was on antibiotics. He usually has high tolerance for alcohol but apparently he got very drunk very quickly that time. He thinks it's because of the antibiotics.

So try and avoid it if you can.

By serenesurface — On Feb 07, 2012

@ddljohn-- I'm not sure about flucloxacillin and alcohol, but you do need to take the medicine as long as your doctor told you to.

I read in a magazine that cutting antibiotic treatments short is really dangerous because it makes the bacteria even stronger. When you take antibiotics, it basically fights and kills the bacteria that's causing the disease. If you don't take it for long enough, it will not kill the bacteria but will actually strengthen them.

So the infection will come back and this time the bacteria will be even stronger than before and you will need a much stronger and longer treatment to kill them.

So you need to keep taking them! If the side effects are really bad, ask your doctor if he can switch you to another antibiotic but don't quit!

By ddljohn — On Feb 06, 2012

I'm on day three of flucloxacillin for a horrible staph infection. I'm nauseated all the time and cannot eat much since I've started taking it. I'm also getting bad acid reflux at night.

My doctor wants me to take it for ten days but I don't know if I will be able to stand it that long!

Has anyone else gotten these side effects with flucloxacilin? How did you manage?

The other question I have is if it's dangerous to take flucloxacillin and alcohol? I'm invited to a party this weekend and even though I doubt I will be having any drinks due to my nausea, I still need to know. I don't remember my doctor mentioning anything about this.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
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