Clavulanic acid enhances the antibacterial spectrum of amoxicillin by rendering most beta-lactamase-producing isolates susceptible to the drug. In clinical trials amoxicillin/clavulanic acid is clinically and bacteriologically superior to amoxicillin alone and at least as effective as numerous other comparative agents, such as orally administered cephalosporins, cotrimoxazole, doxycycline and bacampicillin, in the treatment of adults and children with the most common forms of infection encountered in general practice, i.e. urinary tract infections, upper and lower respiratory tract infections, otorhinolaryngological infections, and skin and soft tissue infections. It may also provide effective treatment for uncomplicated gonorrhoea, chancroid and gynaecological infections as well as acting as a prophylactic agent against surgical infection. Thus, in general practice environments where beta-lactamase production has restricted the effectiveness of amoxicillin, the combination of clavulanic acid with amoxicillin has clearly extended the usefulness of a tried and proven first-line antibacterial agent.