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Drug Profile

The information on this site is intended to supplement and enhance, not replace, the advice of a physician who is familiar with your medical history. Decisions about your health should always be made ONLY after detailed conversation with your doctor.

Generic drug name: cefaclor (SEF a klor)
Brand name(s): CECLOR
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Cephalosporins
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Generic drug name: cefadroxil (sef a DROX il)
Brand name(s): DURICEF
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Cephalosporins
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Generic drug name: cefditoren (sef da TOR en)
Brand name(s): SPECTRACEF
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Cephalosporins
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Generic drug name: cefixime (sef IX eem)
Brand name(s): SUPRAX
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Cephalosporins
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Generic drug name: cefpodoxime (sef pode OX eem)
Brand name(s): VANTIN
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Cephalosporins
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Generic drug name: cefprozil (cef PROE zil)
Brand name(s): CEFZIL
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Cephalosporins
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Generic drug name: cefuroxime axetil (sef fyoor OX emm AX i til)
Brand name(s): CEFTIN
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Cephalosporins
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Generic drug name: cephalexin (sef a LEX in)
Brand name(s): KEFLEX
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Cephalosporins
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Generic drug name: cephradine (SEF ra dine)
Brand name(s): VELOSEF
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Cephalosporins
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Generic drug name: loracarbef (loe ra KAR bef)
Brand name(s): LORABID
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Cephalosporins
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Pregnancy and Breast-feeding Warnings [top]

Pregnancy Warning

No valid data are available for these drugs, as they were not tested properly in animal studies. Use during pregnancy only for clear medical reasons. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant before you take these drugs.

Breast-feeding Warning

These drugs are excreted in human milk. Because of the potential for serious adverse effects in nursing infants, you should consult with your doctor if you are planning to nurse.

Safety Warnings For This Drug [top]

Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea

Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) is quite common and its incidence varies from 5% to 20% of patients depending on which antibiotic they are taking, although practically all antibiotics have been associated with AAD. Fortunately, most cases are mild and self-limited, ending with the cessation of use of the offending antibiotic. The antibiotics most commonly associated with this mild form of AAD include ampicillin, amoxicillin, cephalosporins and clindamycin.[1] There have been studies in children or adults in which the use of prophylactic yogurt in people using antibiotics has significantly reduced the occurrence or severity of AAD.[2],[3] However, 10% to 20% of all patients who get AAD (0.5% to 4% of patients using antibiotics) will get the more severe form of AAD known as pseudomembranous colitis (see below). If you are taking any antibiotic and develop diarrhea after starting to use the drug, call your physician to discuss whether another antibiotic should be used and to discuss the need for rehydration due to the fluid loss from the diarrhea.

Pseudomembranous colitis has been reported with nearly all antibacterial agents and may range in severity from mild to life-threatening. Therefore, it is important to consider this diagnosis in patients who present with diarrhea subsequent to the administration of antibacterial agents.

Because antibiotic therapy has been associated with severe colitis, which may end fatally, it should be reserved for serious infections where less toxic antimicrobial agents are inappropriate, as described in the INDICATIONS AND USAGE section. It should not be used in patients with nonbacterial infections such as most upper respiratory tract infections. Treatment with antibacterial agents alters the normal flora of the colon and may permit over-growth of clostridia. Studies indicate that a toxin produced by Clostridium difficile is one primary cause of "antibiotic-associated colitis."

After the diagnosis of pseudomembranous colitis has been established, therapeutic measures should be initiated. Mild cases of pseudomembranous colitis usually respond to drug discontinuation alone. In moderate to severe cases, consideration should be given to management with fluids and electrolytes, protein supplementation, and treatment with an antibacterial drug that is clinically effective against C. difficile colitis.

Diarrhea, colitis, and pseudomembranous colitis have been observed to begin up to several weeks following cessation of therapy.

Facts About This Drug [top]

Cephalosporin antibiotics are used in the treatment of infections caused by bacteria. They work by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. These drugs are used to treat infections in many different parts of the body. They are sometimes given with other antibiotics. Some cephalosporins given by injection are also used to prevent infections before, during and after surgery. However, cephalosporins will not work for colds, flu or other virus infections.[4]

Before beginning therapy with a...

Cephalosporin antibiotics are used in the treatment of infections caused by bacteria. They work by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. These drugs are used to treat infections in many different parts of the body. They are sometimes given with other antibiotics. Some cephalosporins given by injection are also used to prevent infections before, during and after surgery. However, cephalosporins will not work for colds, flu or other virus infections.[4]

Before beginning therapy with a cephalosporin antibiotic, careful inquiry should be made to determine whether the patient has had previous hypersensitivity reactions to cephalosporin, penicillin or other drugs.  This product should be given cautiously to penicillin-sensitive patients.[5]

These antibiotics may cause stomach or abdominal cramps and pain, abdominal tenderness, watery diarrhea that may also be bloody, and fever. These drugs may also cause skin reactions, seizures, decrease in urine output, joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, and a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia).[4]

Hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions (including shock and fatalities), angioedema (hive-like swelling beneath the skin, especially around the eyes and mouth) and facial edema (swelling) have been reported with the use of cefixime (SUPRAX).

Prescrire International published an article in 2010 relating to the occurrence of serum sickness associated with cefaclor use. According to the article, in 2009 the Australian pharmacovigilance network reported that it receives about a dozen reports per year of serum sickness in children associated with cefaclor use. Serum sickness is a disorder involving skin rash and joint inflammation and it can occur with or without fever.[6]

Before You Use This Drug [top]

Do not use if you have or have had:        

  • previous allergic reaction to penicillins or cephalosporins

Tell your doctor if you have or have had:

  • allergies to drugs
  • a reaction to any penicillin or cephalosporin (see Penicillins and Cephalosporins)
  • stomach or intestinal disease
  • kidney or liver disease
  • carnitine deficiency (cefditorin increases carnitine excretion)
  • history of bleeding disorder
  • phenylketonuria (when using cefprozil)
  • pregnancy or are breast-feeding

Tell your doctor about any other drugs you take, including aspirin, herbs, vitamins, and other nonprescription products.

When You Use This Drug [top]

  • Check with your doctor if there is no improvement of symptoms within a few days.
  • If you get severe diarrhea, check with your doctor before taking any antidiarrheals.
  • If you plan to have any surgery, including dental, tell your doctor that you take this drug.
  • Do not take antacids within one hour of taking cefaclor.
  • Take this drug for the prescribed length of time. If you stop too soon, your symptoms could come back.
  • Caution diabetics: These drugs can interfere with the glucose urine test.

How to Use This Drug [top]

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, but skip it if it is almost time for the next dose. Do not take double doses.
  • Do not share your medication with others.
  • Take the drug at the same time(s) each day. Take at evenly spaced times.
  • Take cefaclor extended-release tablets, cefditoren, and cefuroxime axetil oral suspension with food. Take loracarbef one hour before or two hours after food. Other cephalosporin tablets may be taken with or without food. Take with food if stomach irritation occurs.
  • Do not take oral suspensions after expiration date.
  • For tablets: Store at room temperature with lid on tightly. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not expose to heat, moisture, or strong light. Keep out of reach of children.

Interactions with Other Drugs [top]

The following drugs, biologics (e.g., vaccines, therapeutic antibodies), or foods are listed in Evaluations of Drug Interactions 2003 as causing “highly clinically significant” or “clinically significant” interactions when used together with any of the drugs in this section. In some sections with multiple drugs, the interaction may have been reported for one but not all drugs in this section, but we include the interaction because the drugs in this section are similar to one another. We have also included potentially serious interactions listed in the drug’s FDA-approved professional package insert or in published medical journal articles. There may be other drugs, especially those in the families of drugs listed below, that also will react with this drug to cause severe adverse effects. Make sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist the drugs you are taking and tell them if you are taking any of these interacting drugs:

alcohol, BENEMID, COUMADIN, GARAMYCIN, gentamicin, probenecid, warfarin.

Adverse Effects [top]

Call your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • severe asthma (wheezing)
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • abdominal pain
  • rash
  • pain, cramps, or bloating in the abdomen or stomach
  • severe, watery diarrhea (may contain blood)
  • fever
  • difficulty breathing
  • hearing loss
  • abnormal tiredness
  • dizziness or headache
  • joint pain
  • skin rash, hives, itching, blistering, peeling, or loosening
  • swelling at site of injection
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • seizures
  • decrease in amount of urine
  • yellowing of eyes and skin
  • dizziness, drowsiness, insomnia, nervousness (loracarbef)

Call your doctor if these symptoms continue:

  • mild diarrhea
  • abdominal cramps
  • nausea or vomiting
  • headache
  • sore mouth or tongue
  • mild stomach pain
  • vaginal itching and discharge

Call your doctor if these symptoms continue after you stop taking this drug:

  • severe abdominal cramps and pain
  • abdominal tenderness
  • watery and severe diarrhea (may be bloody)
  • fever

Periodic Tests[top]

Ask your doctor which of these tests should be done periodically while you are taking this drug:

  • bleeding time
  • prothrombin time
  • stool exam

last reviewed April 30, 2021