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How many times a day should you take 500 mg amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is a commonly prescribed antibiotic used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. It belongs to a class of antibiotics called penicillins and works by stopping the growth of bacteria. Amoxicillin comes in different dosages, with 500 mg being a commonly prescribed dose.

Typical dosing of 500 mg amoxicillin

The standard dosage recommendation for amoxicillin is 500 mg taken 3 times per day. This equals a total daily dose of 1500 mg. Taking 500 mg 3 times a day helps maintain a consistent level of the antibiotic in your bloodstream over 24 hours. Some guidelines for 500 mg amoxicillin dosing include:

  • Take 1 capsule or tablet every 8 hours
  • Take 1 capsule or tablet with breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Space doses evenly throughout the day, at least 4-6 hours apart

This 3 times per day schedule usually provides the best absorption and effectiveness for treating bacterial infections with amoxicillin. Taking amoxicillin about every 8 hours helps sustain antibiotic concentrations better than just taking it twice a day. The half-life of amoxicillin is around 1 to 1.5 hours, meaning levels can decrease by 50% rather quickly between doses.

Ideal timing of 500 mg amoxicillin doses

While the general recommendation is to take 500 mg amoxicillin 3 times per day, the specific timing can vary. Some ideal times to take each 500 mg dose include:

  • Morning: 8 am
  • Afternoon: 2 pm
  • Evening: 8 pm

Thisprovides three evenly spaced out doses throughout the day. Other reasonable dose timings could be breakfast, lunch, and dinner or 9am, 3pm, and 9pm. Work with your doctor to determine the best times for your daily amoxicillin doses. Taking doses about 8 hours apart leads to the most consistent antibiotic coverage.

Taking 500 mg amoxicillin with or without food

Amoxicillin does not have to be taken with food and can be taken on an empty stomach. However, some people may get upset stomach or nausea when taking amoxicillin on an empty stomach. Taking amoxicillin with food can help minimize GI side effects.

Food does not significantly affect the absorption of amoxicillin. It is considered relatively bioavailable when taken without food. Therefore, 500 mg amoxicillin can be taken with or without food.

To reduce GI discomfort, take amoxicillin with breakfast, lunch or dinner. Be consistent and take amoxicillin 500 mg doses with or without food each time. Just be sure there is at least 2 hours before or after eating dairy products or calcium-fortified juices, as these can impair absorption.

How long to take 500 mg amoxicillin

The typical course of 500 mg amoxicillin is anywhere from 5 to 14 days. The duration depends on the type of infection being treated. Some general guidelines for treatment length include:

  • Ear infections: 5 to 7 days
  • Strep throat: 10 days
  • Sinus infections: 5 to 7 days
  • Pneumonia: 5 to 7 days
  • Skin infections: 7 to 14 days
  • Dental infections: 5 days

Always finish out the entire course of amoxicillin even if you start feeling better. This helps prevent antibiotic resistance and ensures the infection is fully cleared. Talk to your doctor about how long to take amoxicillin 500 mg doses for your particular condition. They may recommend a longer 14-day course for some stubborn bacterial infections.

Recognizing amoxicillin is working

Here are some signs that the amoxicillin 500 mg 3 times per day regimen is working to fight the infection:

  • Decreased intensity of symptoms
  • Feeling better in 2-3 days
  • Fever goes away
  • Reduced swelling, pain, or skin redness

In more serious infections like pneumonia, it can take 3 or more days before you start to notice improvement. Check with your doctor if symptoms do not start getting better within the first few days of antibiotic treatment.

Switching to twice daily amoxicillin

In some cases, amoxicillin may be taken just twice per day. This could include:

  • Less severe infections
  • Children over 12 years old
  • The last 2-4 days of treatment
  • If the three times per day schedule is too difficult to follow

Talk to your doctor about the possibility of switching amoxicillin to just twice daily if a three times daily schedule is problematic or if the infection has improved and is more stable. The total daily dose when going to twice daily is usually 1000 mg instead of 1500 mg.

Who should take 500 mg amoxicillin 3 times a day

The typical recommendation of 500 mg amoxicillin 3 times per day is appropriate for most teens and adults treating bacterial infections. Some specific groups who should follow this standard dose guideline include:

  • Adolescents 13 years and older weighing over 40 kg
  • Adults with mild to moderate bacterial infections
  • Older adults with normal kidney function
  • Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
  • Postmenopausal women

The 500 mg dose taken three times daily is suitable for a wide range of demographics. It covers many common bacterial infections seen in teens, adults, and the elderly without being too strong of a dose.

Children’s dosing of amoxicillin

For children under 12 years old, the dosage of amoxicillin is based on their body weight. Some typical dosing for children includes:

  • Under 3 months: 30 mg/kg/day divided into 2 doses per day
  • 3 months to 2 years: 40 mg/kg/day divided into 3 doses per day
  • 2 to 7 years: 25 mg/kg/day divided into 2 or 3 doses per day
  • 7 to 12 years: 20 to 40 mg/kg/day divided into 3 doses per day

Do not exceed 2000 mg per day in children 12 years and under without consulting a pediatrician. Always use an appropriate child-strength amoxicillin formulation.

Adjusting amoxicillin dose in kidney disease

For adults with kidney impairment, the 500 mg three times daily dosage may need adjusted. Some guidelines include:

  • Mild impairment: No adjustment needed
  • Moderate impairment: 500 mg twice daily or 250 mg three times daily
  • Severe impairment: 250 mg twice daily

Work closely with your doctor for individualized dosing if you have chronic kidney disease. Therapeutic drug monitoring helps determine the best amoxicillin dosage for your degree of kidney function.

Side effects of 500 mg amoxicillin

When taken as prescribed, 500 mg amoxicillin is generally well tolerated. However, some potential side effects can occur.

Most common side effects

The most frequent side effects when taking amoxicillin 500 mg doses are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Rash
  • Vaginal itching or discharge

These mild gastrointestinal and vaginal side effects often resolve on their own within a few days. Taking amoxicillin with food can help reduce GI upset. Let your doctor know if these effects become severe or significantly impact your daily activities.

Less common side effects

Some less common side effects that may occur with amoxicillin include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dark urine
  • Fever
  • Sore mouth or tongue

Very rare but serious side effects requiring prompt medical care include severe skin rash, itching, hives, easy bruising or bleeding, or yellowing skin or eyes.

Allergic reactions to amoxicillin

Around 5-10% of people are allergic to amoxicillin. Some allergy warning signs when taking 500 mg amoxicillin include:

  • Sudden rash, itching or hives
  • Swelling of lips, face, or tongue
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Severe dizziness or stomach cramps

Anaphylaxis is a rare but serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and can be fatal. Seek emergency medical help right away if you experience any concerning allergy symptoms when taking amoxicillin.

Drug interactions

Some medications that can interact with amoxicillin and should not be co-administered include:

  • Methotrexate
  • Probenecid
  • Birth control pills
  • Blood thinners

Talk to your doctor about any other medications, vitamins, or supplements you take to look for possible interactions with amoxicillin.

Special considerations when taking 500 mg amoxicillin

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Amoxicillin is considered safe to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding. No dosage adjustments are needed if taking 500 mg doses while pregnant or nursing.


Let your surgeon know if you have taken amoxicillin within the past 2 weeks. Stopping it 1-2 weeks prior to surgery is sometimes recommended.


Amoxicillin should be avoided in those with mononucleosis, as it increases the risk of a rash.

Kidney disease

The standard 500 mg dose may require adjustment in those with impaired kidney function. Close monitoring is recommended.

Antibiotic resistance

Always finish the entire course as prescribed, even if feeling better, to help prevent antibiotic resistance.

Common questions about 500 mg amoxicillin

1. Can you drink alcohol while taking 500 mg amoxicillin?

It is recommended to avoid drinking alcohol while taking amoxicillin, as alcohol can worsen side effects like nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Heavy drinking can also impair immune system function, making the antibiotic less effective.

2. What does amoxicillin 500 mg treat?

Amoxicillin 500 mg treats a variety of bacterial infections affecting the ears, nose, throat, lungs, urinary tract, and skin. It can be used for conditions like bronchitis, pneumonia, tonsillitis, sinus infections, ear infections, UTIs, and cellulitis.

3. How long does 500 mg amoxicillin stay in your system?

The half-life of amoxicillin is 60-90 minutes, meaning it takes about 1.5 to 2.5 hours for the body to eliminate half of a dose. Most of a 500 mg dose will be out of your system within 8-10 hours.

4. Can you open amoxicillin capsules?

Amoxicillin capsules can be safely opened and their contents mixed with water or juice if swallowing the capsule whole is difficult. Be sure to consume all of the powder right away for the full dose.

5. Can I take paracetamol with amoxicillin 500 mg?

Yes, paracetamol (acetaminophen) can be safely taken with 500 mg amoxicillin if needed for pain or fever reduction. However, avoid using it right before or after your amoxicillin dose, as paracetamol may affect absorption.

The bottom line

The typical prescription for 500 mg amoxicillin is one capsule or tablet taken three times per day, or every 8 hours. This provides sufficient antibiotic concentrations to fight bacterial infections. Take amoxicillin at regular intervals and continue the 500 mg doses for the entire duration prescribed. See your doctor right away if you experience any concerning side effects after starting treatment with amoxicillin.