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Penicillin VK

Common brand names: PenVee K, V-Cillin K, Veetids, Pen VK, Pen-V

Description: Penicillin VK is an antibiotic known as a narrow-spectrum penicillin. That means it kills a limited range of bacteria.

Dental uses: For many dental infections, no other antibiotic works better, is safer or costs less than penicillin VK. These uses include dental abscesses, infections around wisdom teeth and infections after surgery.

Dosages for dental purposes: The typical adult dose is 250 milligrams to 500 milligrams every 6 hours. It should be taken for 7 to 10 days. Dosages for children are based on body weight.

As with all medicines, be sure to follow your doctor's prescription. Take penicillin VK for the prescribed length of time, even if you start to feel better. Do not stop taking it without talking to your doctor. Stopping an antibiotic too soon may cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics. This means the antibiotics won't work the next time.

Concerns and possible side effects: Tell your dentist and physician about all the medicines you take. This should include over-the-counter vitamins and herbal supplements. Also, let your dentist know if you have had a sensitive or allergic reaction to any medicine. If you are pregnant or nursing, or might be pregnant, talk to your primary care doctor before starting any new medicine. This also includes vitamins and supplements.

Side effects of penicillin VK occur occasionally. They may include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you are allergic to any penicillin drug, do not take penicillin VK. Make sure that you tell your doctor about any drug allergies, especially allergies to cephalosporins. These include cefaclor (Ceclor), cephalexin (Keflex) and others.

Allergic reactions vary. Some people get a rash. Some people have a drop in blood pressure. In others, the airway swells and makes it difficult to breathe. If you take this medicine and begin to have difficulty breathing or swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat, get medical help right away.

People who take blood-thinning drugs (for example, warfarin) may have an increased risk of bleeding while taking penicillin VK. Talk with your physician or dentist about the drugs you are taking and any possible drug interactions.

Penicillin VK can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using a non-hormone method of birth control to prevent pregnancy while using penicillin VK. These methods include condoms, spermicides or a diaphragm.

Tell your doctor about any reaction to a prescribed medicine, no matter how minor it might be.

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