Generic Name: ampicillin and sulbactam (am pi SIL in and sul BAK tam)
Brand Name: Unasyn
What is Unasyn (ampicillin and sulbactam)?
Ampicillin and sulbactam are penicillin antibiotics that fight bacteria.
Ampicillin and sulbactam is a combination medicine used to treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria.
Ampicillin and sulbactam may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about Unasyn (ampicillin and sulbactam)?
You should not use ampicillin and sulbactam if you are allergic to any type of penicillin antibiotic.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using Unasyn (ampicillin and sulbactam)?
You should not use ampicillin and sulbactam if you are allergic to any type of penicillin antibiotic, or if you have:
a history of liver problems (hepatitis or jaundice) while using ampicillin and sulbactam.
To make sure ampicillin and sulbactam is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
mononucleosis (also called "mono");
an allergy to a cephalosporin antibiotic such Ceftin, Cefzil, Keflex, Omnicef, and many others; or
any other allergies.
Ampicillin and sulbactam is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
Ampicillin and sulbactam can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I use Unasyn (ampicillin and sulbactam)?
Ampicillin and sulbactam is injected into a muscle, or into a vein through an IV. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles, IV tubing, and other items used to inject the medicine.
Ampicillin and sulbactam is a powder medicine that must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before using it. If you are using the injections at home, be sure you understand how to properly mix and store the medicine.
Use a disposable needle and syringe only once. Follow any state or local laws about throwing away used needles and syringes. Use a puncture-proof "sharps" disposal container (ask your pharmacist where to get one and how to throw it away). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Ampicillin and sulbactam will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.
You may need frequent blood tests to check your liver function.
This medication can cause unusual results with certain lab tests for glucose (sugar) in the urine. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using ampicillin and sulbactam.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
After mixing your medicine, you will need to use it within a certain number of hours. This will depend on the diluent and how you store the mixture (at cool room temperature, or in a refrigerator). Carefully follow the mixing and storage instructions provided with your medicine. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose may cause seizure (convulsions).
What should I avoid while using Unasyn (ampicillin and sulbactam)?
Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, stop taking ampicillin and sulbactam and call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Unasyn (ampicillin and sulbactam) side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
thrush (white patches inside your mouth or throat);
sudden weakness or ill feeling, fever, chills, sore throat, mouth sores, red or swollen gums, trouble swallowing;
liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Common side effects may include:
swollen, black, or "hairy" tongue;
mild or occasional diarrhea;
vaginal itching or discharge;
mild skin rash; or
pain, swelling, bruising, or irritation around the IV needle.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Unasyn (ampicillin and sulbactam)?
Other drugs may interact with ampicillin and sulbactam, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about Unasyn (ampicillin / sulbactam)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about ampicillin and sulbactam.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.02.
Date modified: January 10, 2017
Last reviewed: December 15, 2014