Ampicillin (Omnipen) Nursing Considerations

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Included In This Lesson

Study Tools


Generic Name


Trade Name



Skin infections, soft tissue infections, otitis media, sinusitis, respiratory infections, GU infections, meningitis, septicemia


Bactericidal, broader spectrum than penicillin, binds to cell wall leading to bacterial cell death

Therapeutic Class


Pharmacologic Class


Nursing Considerations

• Contraindicated in penicillin allergy, use caution in renal insufficiency
• May lead to seizures, diarrhea, anaphylaxis, superinfection
• Assess for infection
• Monitor liver function tests
• Instruct patient on signs of superinfection: furry overgrowth on tongue,
vaginal itching, loose and foul smelling stool
• Pt should not use with oral contraceptive use.

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Hey guys, let’s talk about ampicillin. Also known as Omnipen. This is a capsule or oral suspension, or it can be given by IV or IM injection. Ampicillin oftentimes comes in capsule form, which you can see here. An example of that is in the picture. So remember that the therapeutic class is what the drug does in the body, in the pharmacologic class is the actual chemical effect. So ampicillin therapeutic class is it’s an anti-infective and its pharmacologic class is that it is an aminopenicillin. So how does ampicillin work? So it’s bactericidal, which means it binds to cell walls leading to cell death.

Important to mention that ampicillin has a broader spectrum than the antibiotic amoxicillin, which sometimes it’s can be used for. So ampicillin is indicated for skin and respiratory infections, otitis media, sinusitis, meningitis, septicemia, and GU infections. Common side effects of ampicillin are diarrhea because it’s said to also get rid of the good bacteria when it’s getting rid of bad, nausea, and rash. Okay. Let’s look at some nursing considerations guys, assess your patient’s infection. Monitor liver function. Ampicillin has been said to lead to seizures, anaphylaxis, and superinfection. It’s contraindicated in patients with a penicillin allergy; it’s an aminopenicillin. Teach your patient signs of superinfection like overgrowth on the tongue. Uh, guys, I’ve seen this overgrowth on many, many patients who have taken this medication. So be sure to assess for this sign. Also, vaginal itching is a sign of superinfection, and guys, make sure you teach your patients that oral contraceptives’ effectiveness are reduced when taking ampicillin. That’s it for ampicillin or Omnipen. Now go out and be your best self today and as always happy nursing.

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