How Effective Is Ampicillin for Acne?

In most cases, acne can be prevented or treated with over-the-counter cleansers and does not require prescription corticosteroids.
Ampicillin may be combined with topical treatments to treat severe acne.
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  • Written By: Debra Barnhart
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2014
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Oral doses of ampicillin for acne are often prescribed along with a topical antibiotic cream or when other methods of treatment are not effective. The development of resistance to antibiotics is a recurring problem when treating acne. In addition, acne on the chest and back often responds better to oral medication than to topical creams alone, so ampicillin for acne in these cases may be recommended along with a topical antibiotic cream. Patients should be aware that it can take a few months to gain the full benefits of an antibiotic treatment for severe cases of acne.

While not the most commonly prescribed antibiotic for the treatment of acne, ampicillin for acne can be prescribed by dermatologists in combination with other acne treatments, or in cases where other antibiotics have not been effective. A variety of different antibiotics are prescribed for acne, which are capable of killing bacteria as well as minimizing the irritating effects of overactive white blood cells that create inflammation. According to experts, the most commonly prescribed antibiotics for acne are tetracycline, erythromycin, minocycline, doxycycline, and clindamycin. Some antibiotics like tetracycline and erythromycin are available in a topical cream form.


Often an embarrassing and sometimes serious problem, acne is common among many teenagers and some adults. Acne occurs when the body produces an overabundance of sebum, or oil, which combines with dirt and dead skin cells to clog pores, hair follicles and sebaceous glands. Physicians prescribe antibiotics for severe cases of acne when it is obvious that a bacterial infection is making the condition worse.

Ampicillin, a veteran antibiotic, was approved by the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in 1961. It is prescribed for an array of bacterial infections that occur in the human body, including sinus, respiratory and urinary tract infections. Ampicillin can also be prescribed for more serious infections like meningitis.

Like other prescription medications, ampicillin can have side effects. People who have a known allergy to penicillin should definitely inform their physician before taking ampicillin, because this drug is a member of the penicillin family. Patients should watch for signs of a serious allergy by taking note of symptoms like hives and rashes, shortness of breath, swelling of the mouth and tongue, and difficulty swallowing. Other side effects of ampicillin include vaginal discharge, nausea and diarrhea. Persons taking ampicillin for acne should report any severe side effects to a physician immediately.


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Post 3

I was prescribed ampicillin after I developed a resistance to other antibiotics. I thought once I became an adult, I wouldn't have to worry about acne, but I started breaking out when I was in my 30's. My doctor told me that adult acne is not all that uncommon.

I was just as frustrated to deal with this acne as an adult as I was when I was a teenager. I know that many antibiotics have side effects, but I think they are worth the risk for a short time if they can clear up the acne.

I take ampicillin as needed if I break out with acne. I am thankful that it works quickly and I don't have to stay on it for a long period of time.

Post 2

@Mykol-- You are fortunate you didn't develop a yeast infection while taking this antibiotic. I can never take any kind of antibiotic for very long before I end up with one of these.

I found that ampicillin was no different than any of the others. It worked to help clear up my acne, but I had to stop taking it because of other complications.

Post 1

Ampicillin is one of those antibiotics that has been around a long time. I took this years ago when I was a teenager and had bad acne flare ups. In addition to taking the oral antibiotic, I also used an antibiotic cream.

I first started out with the cream, but that wasn't controlling the acne, so I started on the oral medication. It took a few weeks, but my acne cleared up and I remember how wonderful it felt to have clear skin again.

I took the ampicillin off and on for a period of a couple of years. Taking an oral antibiotic was really the only thing that worked for me.

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