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Clavulanic acid is often combined with amoxicillin to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, including infections of the ears, lungs, sinus, skin, and urinary tract. Clavulanic acid is in a class of medications called beta-lactamase inhibitors . It works by preventing bacteria from destroying amoxicillin.
Amoxicillin is ineffective against bacteria that produce ß-Lactamase . They destroy the ß-Lactum ring of Amoxicillin and makes it ineffective. Clavulanic acid, too, has a ß-lactam ring. It has no antimicrobial effect, yet it can inhibit ß-lactamases, the enzymes produced by bacteria. ß-lactamases are much more inclined to bond to clavulanic acid than to amoxicillin. In bonding ß-lactamases to clavulanic acid a lasting inactive molecule is produced. In this way, bacterial ß-lactamases miss their target and amoxicillin has free access to the bacterial wall which it affects.
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