Can Ampiclox (Beecham) prevent pregnancy?

Many misconstrue ampiclox as an emergency contraceptive, but it is not. Learn more about ampiclox and its uses; also, find out if it prevents pregnancy or not.

A woman reading the label of ampiclox medication purchased from a pharmaceutical store

Key takeaway:

  • Ampiclox is not a contraceptive pill; it is an antibiotic used for treating bacterial infection
  • Ampiclox does not work for preventing pregnancy; it does not flush out sperm either
  • Taking ampiclox to prevent pregnancy is drug misuse and can lead to antibiotics resistance

With abortion being declared illegal in some countries, people seek different ways to prevent pregnancy. It is often easy to consume all information online or listen to talks from friends and people who are not certified to offer medical advice.

One of the wrong pieces of information that seem to have gained popularity among people of child-bearing age is that taking antibiotics like ampiclox can help prevent pregnancy. However, that is untrue. While ampiclox medication is used for different purposes (primarily treating different bacterial infections), it does not prevent pregnancy.

In this article, we will discuss what ampiclox medication is and what it is used for. We will also answer your questions regarding using ampiclox to prevent pregnancy, including whether it can flush out sperm or not.

What is ampiclox?

Ampiclox is a combination of ampicillin (derived from penicillin) and cloxacillin (a semisynthetic antibiotic in the penicillin class). This medication is an antibiotic used to treat infections like bacteria, urinary tract infections, meningitis, respiratory tract infections, stomach and intestine and gonorrhoea infections.

Ampiclox is commonly sold in Nigeria with the brand name Beecham; hence, Nigerians usually call it Ampiclox Beecham (combining both the generic and brand names).

Ampiclox is a broad-spectrum antibiotic because it acts against many disease-causing bacterial organisms (including both gram-negative and gram-positive bacterial groups). It can be administered orally, intravenously or through intramuscular means.

Does ampiclox (Beecham) work for preventing pregnancy?

People who advocate for using ampiclox to prevent pregnancy believe it works as an emergency contraceptive (like Postinor 2). A 2022 study highlighted how people misconstrue one capsule of ampiclox (Beecham) taken after unprotected sex to be effective against conception. The paper further pointed out that antibiotics are one of the most commonly misused medications in Nigeria.

While there is a widespread belief among some people that ampiclox can be used as an emergency contraceptive, there is no scientific evidence backing the effectiveness or safety of using antibiotics to prevent pregnancy. The medication was not designed to be used as a contraceptive, even off-label.

Ampiclox, like other antibiotics, is only effective for treating a wide range of bacterial infections.

Ampiclox is readily available and can be purchased from any pharmaceutical outlet in the country. This, along with the fact that there are still some negative views regarding the use of contraceptive pills, hinged on cultural and religious beliefs, may have contributed to the misuse of this antibiotic as an emergency contraceptive.

Nevertheless, this doesn't change the fact that there is no scientific evidence backing antibiotics as contraceptives, so they should not be used as one.

Instead of using ampiclox to prevent pregnancy, consider using Postinor 2, which is effective and approved as an emergency contraceptive. However, you shouldn't use it multiple times in a cycle.

Can ampiclox flush out sperm?

The notion that ampiclox can flush out sperm is also a misconception. Ampiclox does not flush out sperm from the vagina or cervix.

Often, when the topic of flushing out sperm from the vagina is brought up, people come up with different ideas and tips, such as peeing after sex, cleaning the vagina after sex, and inserting vinegar into the vagina, among others. But, contrarily to popular beliefs, doing all or any of these will not flush out sperm from the vagina.

Once semen enters the vagina, the sperm cells tend to start swimming towards the cervix. There is not enough evidence to suggest that there is a safe and effective way of flushing out sperm cells.

If you don't wish to get pregnant, you should consider taking a morning-after-pill like Postinor 2 or taking preventive measures with a regular birth control method such as pills, condoms or an IUD. You can discuss birth control options with your healthcare provider.

Misusing medications like ampiclox has side effects, such as bacterial resistance. Also, taking ampiclox in a bid to flush out sperm can affect the level of estrogen, a hormone needed for menstruation or pregnancy, especially when you are combining it with contraceptives.

The danger of taking ampiclox to prevent pregnancy

Ampiclox has not been approved as an emergency contraceptive and should not be used as one. Taking ampiclox in place of a contraceptive is termed "drug misuse" because you are using it for a purpose for which it is not intended.

One of the serious dangers of misusing antibiotic medications like ampiclox is that you may develop resistance to the bacteria they are used to treat. This phenomenon is called bacterial resistance.

Different research has found that there is increasing bacterial resistance to the medication ampicillin-cloxacillin in Nigeria.

Another study found that some strains of staphylococcus aureus have shown resistance to various brands of ampicillin-cloxacillin in Nigeria (4). The continuous misuse of ampiclox as a contraceptive will only increase the rate of bacterial resistance.

Bacterial resistance happens because bacteria can adapt to a change in environment or change over time. This usually happens when you expose bacteria to an antibiotic without taking enough doses required to kill them. Over time, the bacteria become resistant to that particular antibiotic.

Also, some people take ampiclox alongside contraceptives or other medications. This can cause drug interactions, accompanied by side effects like nausea.

What ampiclox is commonly used for?

Ampiclox has been approved for treating different infections like:

  • Bacteria meningitis: This is a bacterial infection caused by the following gram-negative bacteria: Neisseria meningitis and Escherichia coli. It is also caused by some gram-positive bacteria like Listeria monocytogenes and Group B Streptococci.
  • Respiratory tract infection: This is a respiratory tract infection often caused by Streptococcus pneumonia, Hemophilus influenza and group A beta-hemolytic streptococci.
  • Septicemia: Septicemia, also known as sepsis, occurs when bacteria poisons the blood. (This poisoning can be due to lung infections, urinary tract infections, skin infections, or infections in the guts or intestines). According to John Hopkins hospital, sepsis has a 50% death rate if it is left untreated.
  • Endocarditis: This is the inflammation of the endocardium (the heart's inner chamber). It is usually caused by a bacteria or fungi infection. Ampiclox or other antibiotics works well for treating endocarditis.
  • Gastrointestinal infections: These infections are usually caused by Salmonella and Shigella species. Ampiclox is effective for treating such infections.
  • Genitourinary infection: Ampiclox also works well for infection of the genitourinary tract (composed of the genitals and urinary organs).

Final thoughts

Disregard any source that promotes using ampiclox as a contraceptive to prevent pregnancy. No research, clinical or drug agency has approved ampiclox as an emergency contraceptive. Also, no reliable evidence suggests the medication can be used to flush out sperm.

If you are sexually active and don't want to get pregnant, speak with your doctor about using a contraceptive.

The primary use of ampiclox and other antibiotics is for the treatment of bacterial infections, and it should be used solely for that purpose. It is also wrong to self-medicate with ampiclox. It is best to get a prescription and dosage from a medical provider before taking the medication.