Can amoxicillin be taken with dairy?

Amoxicillin is a common antibiotic used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. It belongs to a class of antibiotics called penicillins and works by interfering with the bacteria’s cell wall formation, weakening the cell wall and eventually leading to the death of the bacteria. Amoxicillin is considered a broad-spectrum antibiotic, meaning it is effective against a wide range of bacteria.

Quick Answers

Here are quick answers to common questions about taking amoxicillin with dairy:

  • Yes, amoxicillin can be taken with dairy products.
  • Dairy does not significantly affect the absorption or efficacy of amoxicillin.
  • However, some people may experience mild gastrointestinal side effects like nausea or diarrhea when taking amoxicillin with dairy.
  • These side effects can often be avoided by taking amoxicillin with food, spacing out doses from dairy products, or sticking to low-lactose dairy options.
  • In rare cases, people with a penicillin allergy may also react to trace penicillin residues in some dairy products.

Does Dairy Affect Absorption of Amoxicillin?

Most dairy products do not significantly impact the absorption or efficacy of amoxicillin. Amoxicillin is stable in acidic environments and is well-absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract even in the presence of dairy foods or calcium.

There was a past concern that dairy could bind to amoxicillin in the gut and prevent proper absorption. However, multiple studies have found this interaction is unlikely to occur to a meaningful degree. Even products like milk, yogurt, and cheese do not impede amoxicillin absorption in any clinically significant way.

Therefore, amoxicillin can generally be taken at the same time as dairy products. Having a glass of milk or a yogurt alongside amoxicillin is fine and should not affect the performance of the antibiotic.

Any Exceptions?

There are a couple exceptions where dairy may impact amoxicillin absorption:

  • Neonates and infants – In newborns and young infants, some transient and minor impairment of absorption may occur with formula feeding or breastfeeding. However, this effect disappears after the first week of life.
  • Higher dairy calcium doses – Very high amounts of calcium well above dietary norms (e.g. supplements with 500+ mg elemental calcium) could potentially interfere more with absorption.

In most situations though, normal dietary dairy intake does not meaningfully interact with amoxicillin absorption in adults, children, or older infants.

Does Dairy Impact Efficacy of Amoxicillin?

There is no evidence that consuming dairy reduces the efficacy of amoxicillin in treating infections. The minor impairment of absorption that may be seen with certain cases does not appear to compromise the clinical effectiveness of this antibiotic.

Studies giving amoxicillin along with dairy foods or milk still demonstrated microbial killing and positive treatment outcomes. Even when some binding occurs, enough active antibiotic still gets absorbed to successfully treat the target infection.

As a result, dairy consumption does not require separation from amoxicillin doses. Amoxicillin remains effective at treating bacterial infections even when mixed with dairy products.


Rarely, severely reduced kidney function can make dairy impact drug efficacy. With significant kidney impairment, even minor binding of amoxicillin to dairy could potentially affect the free antibiotic concentrations. However, this scenario would almost never apply for typical dairy intake.

Side Effects of Taking Amoxicillin with Dairy

While dairy does not affect amoxicillin absorption or efficacy, some people may experience more frequent side effects when taking this antibiotic with milk or other dairy products.

The most common side effects are:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps or discomfort

These gastrointestinal issues are not caused by reduced drug absorption or activity, but simply individual sensitivity to the combination of amoxicillin and dairy. They tend to be mild and often disappear over a few days as the body adjusts.

There are a couple ways to help avoid gastrointestinal side effects when taking amoxicillin with dairy:

  • Take amoxicillin with food – This helps minimize upset stomach issues and diarrhea.
  • Space out doses – Don’t take amoxicillin immediately before or after consuming dairy. Allow 1-2 hours between the antibiotic and dairy intake.
  • Use low-lactose dairy – Those with lactose sensitivity may tolerate low-lactose dairy better with amoxicillin.

If symptoms persist despite these measures, consider switching to non-dairy products while completing the amoxicillin course. Temporary lactose avoidance may provide relief until antibiotics are finished.

Rash and Allergic Reactions

Some individuals with a penicillin allergy may also react to trace residues of penicillin in dairy products. However, this is relatively uncommon.

People concerned about potential cross-reactivity should use caution when consuming dairy while taking amoxicillin. Monitoring for any rashes, hives, or other allergic symptoms is recommended.

Amoxicillin and Milk

Milk is one of the most commonly consumed dairy products. And evidence clearly shows milk does not reduce the absorption or efficacy of amoxicillin:

  • Multiple studies demonstrate amoxicillin absorption is at most minimally impacted by milk, including one trial giving amoxicillin 250 mg doses with over 200 mL of milk. No significant difference was seen compared to water.
  • Therapeutic levels and expected microbial killing are still readily achieved when amoxicillin is taken with milk.
  • Any binding that could occur does not meaningfully affect clinical outcomes or the ability of amoxicillin to successfully treat infections.

Therefore, it is generally recommended to continue consuming milk and other calcium-rich drinks normally when taking amoxicillin.

The main precaution would be spacing out very high milk amounts (more than ~8 ounces) from antibiotic doses by 1-2 hours. This may help reduce any potential gastrointestinal side effects.

Infant Formula

In newborns and infants on formula, some transient and minor binding of amoxicillin may be seen, likely due to the highly concentrated protein and mineral content. However, this effect disappears after about a week as the gut matures.

Overall, amoxicillin remains effective and can be given safely alongside formula feedings. No changes or interruptions to feeding schedules are needed.

Amoxicillin with Yogurt

Yogurt is another dairy product generally considered compatible with amoxicillin. Key points about yogurt and amoxicillin include:

  • Calcium and proteins in yogurt do not substantially impair amoxicillin absorption or efficacy.
  • Amoxicillin doses can be taken directly with yogurt.
  • Some with lactose intolerance may be able to tolerate yogurt better than milk when taking amoxicillin.
  • To help avoid GI side effects, avoid yogurt within 1-2 hours of taking the antibiotic.

Overall, yogurt and amoxicillin can safely be consumed together as part of a healthy diet. Just be mindful of spacing doses and individual tolerability.

Amoxicillin and Greek Yogurt

No significant differences are expected between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt when taking amoxicillin. Though Greek yogurt is strained to remove more whey and lactose, it still contains dairy proteins and calcium that could theoretically bind some proportion of antibiotics.

However, again this interaction is clinically negligible. Greek yogurt may be no better or worse than regular yogurt when it comes to tolerability with amoxicillin.

Amoxicillin and Cheese

Cheese is commonly enjoyed in many diets. Here is some information on taking amoxicillin with different types of cheese:

Soft Cheeses

Cottage cheese, cream cheese, and other soft, fresh cheeses have minimal impact on amoxicillin absorption or efficacy. Fat content does not appear to be a significant factor.

Since soft cheeses are lower in lactose, they may be less likely to cause GI side effects than milk or hard cheeses.

Hard Cheeses

Aged hard cheeses like cheddar, parmesan, and Swiss contain very little lactose. However, they still contain dairy proteins and calcium that could potentially interact with amoxicillin.

But clinically, these cheeses do not compromise amoxicillin activity and may be taken safely with the antibiotic.

Processed Cheeses

Processed sliced cheeses and cheese spreads have reduced lactose content but are higher in fat, sodium, and additives compared to natural cheeses.

Interactions with amoxicillin are unlikely. However, the high fat or salt content may exacerbate GI side effects if consumed together.

Amoxicillin and Other Dairy Products

Here is a quick overview of how some other dairy products interact with amoxicillin:

Ice Cream

Ice cream, frozen yogurt, and other frozen dairy desserts can be enjoyed in moderation while taking amoxicillin. Caution is advised around lactose sensitivity.


Butter and butter spreads contain minimal lactose and are unlikely to impact antibiotic absorption or efficacy. High fat content may worsen GI side effects.


Heavy cream and half-and-half are high in fat but low in lactose, so interactions with amoxicillin should be minimal outside of potential GI upset.


Egg custards made with milk or cream can theoretically bind some amoxicillin. However, any impairment of antibiotic efficacy is expected to be insignificant.


Dairy-based puddings are unlikely to interfere with amoxicillin absorption. Caution is warranted in lactose intolerant individuals as some puddings contain high amounts of milk.

Sour Cream

Sour cream is low in lactose and not expected to impact antibiotic activity, though its high fat content may increase adverse GI effects.

Conditions Where Caution is Needed

There are a few scenarios where extra caution may be warranted when taking amoxicillin with dairy products:

Penicillin Allergy

Those with a known severe penicillin allergy already require caution when taking amoxicillin due to potential cross-reactivity. Dairy could exacerbate allergy risk and reactions in sensitive individuals.

Lactose Intolerance

People diagnosed with lactose intolerance or malabsorption may experience worsened GI symptoms when taking amoxicillin alongside dairy products.

Renal Impairment

In rare cases of severe kidney dysfunction, even minor binding of amoxicillin to dairy could potentially impact free drug concentrations. Caution may be warranted.

For most people though, amoxicillin and dairy remain compatible even in the above conditions. Just take note of individual tolerance and adjust consumption accordingly.

Key Takeaways

In summary, here are some key points about taking amoxicillin with dairy products:

  • Amoxicillin can safely be taken at the same time as dairy foods and drinks in most cases.
  • Milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy do not significantly affect amoxicillin absorption or efficacy at typical dietary amounts.
  • Minor GI side effects may occur when taking amoxicillin and dairy together, but can often be managed with spacing out doses.
  • Those with lactose intolerance may experience increased GI upset and may need temporary dairy avoidance.
  • Rarely, people with severe penicillin allergies may react to trace residues in dairy products.
  • No special precautions or dairy restrictions are needed for most healthy individuals taking amoxicillin.

Always consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about taking antibiotics with dairy products. With precautions and attentiveness to individual tolerance, dairy can typically be enjoyed without issue alongside amoxicillin treatment.

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