A Brief History of Amoxil and Penicillin

Amoxil is a Penicillin antibiotic. Its history stems back to the discovery of the Penicillin mold; the first true antibiotic. Without this groundbreaking discovery, there is no telling what modern medicine would be today. Penicillin's discovery may have been one of the most important finds in medicinal history.

Penicillin was discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming at the St Mary's Hospital in London in 1928. After returning from a vacation, he saw that a contaminated culture dish had developed a blue-green mold, which was killing off surrounding bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus. This "mold" was later named Penicillin. Fleming noticed the vast importance of the anti-bacterial substance right away and dedicated the next few years to the research and purification of the Penicillin mold. Though the importance of his discovery was not known at the time, the acceptance of Penicillin later lead to modern medicines that could be released inside the body to kill certain types of disease-causing bacteria! Needless to say, medicine has come a long way since 1928!

It was not until Howard Florey and Ernst Chain joined the research in 1939 when Penicillin was finally being produced enough to show its obvious ability to treat and cure infections. But Penicillin was not to be publicly used until the 1940s when Howard Florey and Ernst Chain isolated the active ingredient and developed a Penicillin medicine in powder form. The Nobel Prize was awarded to these three men for their contribution to medicinal discovery.

As this brand new antibiotic caught on, the new problem was how to produce it! After extensive research and experimentation, Andrew J. Moyer found a way to increase the yields of the Penicillin mold by about 10 times faster than normal. He later patented this method of mass production, and Penicillin was named "the most effective antibacterial agent to date". With Penicillin now being produced in large quantities, it became accessible to military medics to treat Allied soldiers wounded on D-Day. This mass production dropped the price of Penicillin from a nearly priceless dose in 1940, to $20 each dose by 1943 and only $0.55 per dose by 1946. Talk about a supply and demand example!

The concept of a naturally-occurring antibacterial substance sparked the engagement of more research for different kinds of antibiotics. The cure for tuberculosis (Streptomycin) was discovered shortly afterwards in 1947. Then Tetracycline, Chloramphenicol, and many more were discovered as a result of the Penicillin precedent.

However, this push for newly discovered antibiotics was then forced into revision of existing forms; instead of further exploration. Some strains of staphylococci, a common cause of skin and wound infections, had started to build resistance to Penicillin. The drug was not responding as well as it had done originally. This called for further exploration and development of the Penicillin drug. We began to modify the chemical structure of Penicillin and in this process, also reduced its toxic effects.

As further research and development went on, other versions were created for different medicinal purposes. Ampicillin was designed to fight many bacteria that cause urinary infections, Methicillin was created to resist penicillinase, and many more! Over the years, loads of new brand names sprung from Penicillin. One of these versions was Amoxicillin; patented by SmithKline Beecham in 1998. The trade (brand) names for Amoxicillin are Trimox, Amoxicillin, and Amoxil. Amoxil is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. It is prescribed every day as treatment for a wide variety of infections including tonsillitis, pneumonia, bronchitis, and strep throat.