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Reserving the use of amoxicillin clavulanate

Amoxicillin clavulanate is an important and effective medicine but its use must be reserved for specific indications in order to reduce the rate of antimicrobial resistant infections. Amoxicillin clavulanate accounted for 18% of all national antibiotic dispensings in 2012. While amoxicillin clavulanate and other broad spectrum antibiotics (quinolones and cephalosporins) are effective, they are best avoided when other more narrow-spectrum antibiotics could be used, because they contribute to increasing antimicrobial resistance e.g. MRSA.1

Indications for amoxicillin clavulanate2

Amoxicillin clavulanate is best reserved for the few indications where it is necessary so that it remains an effective antibiotic when needed and the adverse effects associated with the use of broad spectrum antibiotics are avoided. First-line indications include; bites (mammalian-including human), diabetic foot infections and acute pyelonephritis. Please refer to the bpacnz 2013 antibiotic guideline for further information.

* These data include prescribing by any New Zealand health provider including those who do not work in your practice. For individual annual report data on amoxicillin clavulanate dispensing please login to “mybpac” at

Did you know there is an audit related to this topic? See "Prescribing amoxicillin clavulanate appropriately", bpacnz (2013).
  1. Health Protection Agency (HPA) and Association of Medical Microbiologists. Management of infection guidance for primary care for consultation and local adaptation. HPA, 2013. Available from: (accessed Jul, 2013)
  2. bpacnz. Antibiotics, choices for common infections , 2013. Available from (accessed Jul, 2013)