Like all medicines, antibiotics have the potential to cause side effects. When antibiotics are necessary, the benefits far outweigh the risks, but when they are not needed, you are taking an unnecessary risk.
Up to 10% of people taking an antibiotic may experience these common side effects:
- stomach problems like diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting
- thrush infections, which can affect the mouth (white patches will be visible) and in women can also occur in the vagina (causing itchiness, pain and discharge).
Other less common side effects include:
- ongoing diarrhoea caused by an intestinal infection, which may be serious and require further investigation and treatment
- allergic reactions, such as hives (large, red, raised areas on the skin), fever and breathing problems.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the possible side effects of your medicine. You should also ask if there are any medicines you should not take with your antibiotic.
The Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) for your medicine also lists the most common side effects as well as any interactions with other medicines.
Who can I ask about side effects?
If you’re concerned that you or someone in your care may have had side effects related to a medicine, seek medical advice.
People with questions about their medicines or seeking general information about side effects can also call the NPS Medicines Line on 1300 633 424 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm AEST).
To report possible side effects call the Adverse Medicine Events (AME) line on 1300 134 237 from anywhere in Australia (Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm AEST).
Find out more about medicine side effects and interactions