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What is Penicillin VK?

By Jennifer Long
Updated Jan 28, 2024
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Penicillin VK, also called Pen-Vee K and Penicillin V, is a form of antibiotics that can be used to treat bacterial illnesses such as upper respiratory infections and scarlet fever. This prescription antibiotic also goes by the name Penicillin V Potassium in generic form. It is most effective against bacteria that are susceptible to penicillin treatment.

Many infections can be treated with this medication. Streptococcal and pneumococcal infections, including respiratory infections and erysipelas, can be treated by penicillin V potassium oral solution and tablets. It can also be used to treat mild soft tissue and skin infections that are sensitive to penicillin-G. In some cases, strains of staphylococci bacteria are resilient to other types of penicillin, but respond well to Penicillin VK.

In some situations, treating or preventing oral infections can be done using Penicillin VK. Vincent’s Gingivitis and infections of the oropharynx region are treated by dentists. Prevention of bacterial infections following dental procedures, such as a root canal or dental surgery, can be accomplished as well.

Ongoing antibiotic therapy plays a large role in the treatment of many diseases and conditions that leave the immune system weak. Chorea and rheumatic fever outbreaks can be kept from occurring again by using a small dosage of Penicillin VK on a long term basis. As a preventative treatment, low dosages are ideal to avoid complications if an infection occurs and needs to be treated with antibiotics.

Common side effects include throat or mouth irritation, diarrhea, and nausea. These symptoms will usually subside within a few days. If these symptoms worsen or become too irritating, doctors can provide information on how to reduce the side effects. If a rash, hives, or swelling of the mouth or tongue occurs, immediate medical attention is necessary.

Similar to other antibiotics, Penicillin VK should be take as directed by the prescribing physician. Doctors will only prescribe antibiotics when a bacterial infection is certain, either through testing or known diagnosis. This is because antibiotics can cause bacteria to become drug resistant and if an infection occurs, it will not respond as well to the antibiotics.

Dosage levels will vary depending on the specific bacteria and the severity of the infection. Generally, dosages can be increased if sensitivity testing requires a higher dose to kill the bacteria. The severity of the infection and sensitivity to the penicillin will also influence the length of time the medicine must be taken, anywhere between two days and two weeks.

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Discussion Comments
By donasmrs — On Oct 15, 2013

My doctor put me on Penicillin V for tonsillitis. I hadn't taken Penicillin before so I was worried about allergic reactions and other Penicillin side effects. I also felt like I should have tried something else first. Thankfully, nothing bad happened and the medication cleared up my infection in a week.

I went in for another check up yesterday and my doctor said I'm fine now. He also told me that if he hadn't put me on Penicillin now, the infection would have spread because it was quite bad.

By fBoyle — On Oct 15, 2013

@fify-- Penicillin VK or V is a natural Penicillin. I'm not sure what you mean by regular Penicillin, but I think you're referring to Penicillin G which is also a natural Penicillin. Natural Penicillin types are effective against gram positive and gram negative bacteria. A doctor might select one over another based on the type of infection the patient has.

Penicillin VK is a wide spectrum antibiotic and can be prescribed for many different kinds of infections.

By fify — On Oct 14, 2013

What is the difference between Penicillin VK and regular Penicillin? Why would a doctor prescribe Penicillin VK rather than the regular one?

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