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Penicillin VK

Penicillin-vk 500 mg
  • Generic name: Penicillin V potassium
  • Trade names: Beepen-VK, Betapen-VK, Ledercillin VK, Pen-Vee K, Robicillin VK, V-Cillin K, Veetids
  • Drug class: Penicillin antibiotic
  • Dosages: 250 mg, 500 mg tablets
  • Pregnancy category: B

Penicillin VK is the potassium salt of penicillin V (known as phenoxymethylpenicillin). It is indicated for the treatment of the following infections:

  • Mild to moderate upper respiratory tract infections: strep throat, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis
  • Scarlet fever, Rat-bite fever
  • Tooth abscess, gums inflammation, Vincent's gingivitis
  • Infection prevention after dental procedures such as tooth extraction or root canal

Dietary considerations

Take preferably on an empty stomach 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. Penicillin VK may be taken with meals, however food generally delays its absorption.


Usual dosage range of penicillin VK:

  • Children <12 years: 25-50 mg/kg/day in divided doses every 6-8 hours for 10 days. Maximum dose: 3 g/day.
  • Adults and children >12 years of age: 250 mg - 500 mg every 6 hours for at least 10 days.

Drug interactions

  • Tetracycline antibiotics, chloramphenicol, fusidic acid: can antagonise the bacteriocidal activity of penicillins. Concomitant use is not recommended.
  • Typhoid vaccine: diminished effectiveness of typhoid vaccine.

High urinary concentrations of penicillin may produce false positive or elevated test results with copper sulfate tests (Benedict’s, Clinitest or Fehling’s).

Side effects

The most common side effects:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Epigastric distress

Hypersensitivity reactions:

  • Allergic skin reactions (maculopapular rash to exfoliative dermatitis)
  • Fever
  • Pruritus
  • Uticaria
  • Serum sickness-like reactions
  • Laryngeal oedema
  • Eosinophilia
  • Anaphylaxis

Mechanism of Action

Penicillin V potassium is bactericidal against penicillin-susceptible microorganisms during the stage of active multiplication. It produces its effect by inhibiting biosynthesis of cell-wall mucopeptide. It is not active against the penicillinase-producing bacteria, which include many strains of staphylococci.

Penicillin V potassium has the distinct advantage over penicillin G (benzylpenicillin) in being resistant to inactivation by gastric acid. It may be given with meals; however, blood levels are slightly higher when the drug is given on an empty stomach.


  • Allergy to penicillin or other penicillin antibiotics


Last Updated: September, 2013

Interesting facts
  • Penicillin represents one of the most important drugs ever developed. Its discovery in 1946 permanently changed medicine and set the stage for man's ability to overcome what had previously been life-threatening infections.

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