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Cephalosporins

Cephalosporins

Definition

Cephalosporins are a type of antibiotic, or medicines that kill bacteria or prevent their growth.


Purpose

Cephalosporins are used to treat infections in different parts of the bodythe ears, nose, throat, lungs, sinuses, and skin, for example. Physicians may prescribe these drugs to treat pneumonia, strep throat, staph infections, tonsillitis, bronchitis, and gonorrhea. These drugs will not work for colds, flu, and other infections caused by viruses.

Cephalosporins are also commonly used for surgical prophylaxisprevention of bacterial infection during or immediately after surgery. For this purpose, a single injection may be given during the surgical procedure. In some cases, the cephalosporin may be continued for 24 to 48 hours after surgery. If, in spite of all precautions, an infection develops, the antibiotics may be continued until the infection has resolved.


Description

Examples of cephalosporins are cefaclor (Ceclor), cefadroxil (Duricef), cefazolin (Ancef, Kefzol, Zolicef), cefixime, (Suprax), cefoxitin (Mefoxin), cefprozil (Cefzil), ceftazidime (Ceptaz, Fortaz, Tazicef, Tazideme), cefuroxime (Ceftin) and cephalexin (Keflex). These medicines are available only with a physician's prescription. They are sold in tablet, capsule, liquid, and injectable forms.

Cephalosporins are sometimes referred to as first, second, and third generation. Each "generation" is effective against more types of bacteria than the one before it. In addition, each subsequent generation is better at getting into the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).

Cephalosporins are chemically similar to penicillins, and to other types of antibiotics called cephamycins.


Recommended dosage

The recommended dosage depends on the type of cephalosporin. The physician who prescribed the drug or the pharmacist who filled the prescription should be consulted for the correct dosage.

The following recommendations do not apply when cephalosporins are given as a single intravenous dose prior to or during surgery. The recommendations should be considered if the drugs are used afterwards to treat a surgical infection, particularly if the cephalosporins are given by mouth.

Cephalosporins should be taken exactly as directed by the physician. The patient should never take larger, smaller, more frequent, or less frequent doses than prescribed. The drug should be taken for exactly as long as directed. No doses of the drug should be saved to take for future infections, because the medicine may not be right for other kinds of infections, even if the symptoms are the same. In addition, all of the medicine should be taken to treat the infection for which it was prescribed. The infection may not clear up completely if too little medicine is taken. Taking this medicine for too long, on the other hand, may open the door to new infections that do not respond to the drug.

Some cephalosporins work best when taken on an empty stomach. Others should be taken after meals. The physician who prescribed the medicine or the pharmacist who filled the prescription should give instructions as to how to take the medicine.

When given for surgical prophylaxis, it used to be common practice to give a dose of a cephalosporin as soon as the patient has been called to the operating room . More recently, the practice has been to give a single dose during the surgical procedure. This works just as well as the "on call" dose, and lowers the amount of antibiotic that the patient must take.



Precautions

The following recommendations do not apply when cephalosporins are given as a single intravenous dose prior to or during surgery. They should be considered if the drugs are used afterwards to treat a surgical infection, particularly if the cephalosporins are given by mouth.

Certain cephalosporins should not be combined with alcohol or with medicines that contain alcohol. Abdominal or stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, facial flushing, and other symptoms may result within 1530 minutes and may last for several hours. Alcoholic beverages as well as other medicines that contain alcohol should be avoided while being treated with cephalosporins and for several days after treatment ends.


Special conditions

People with certain medical conditions or who are taking certain other medicines can have problems if they take cephalosporins. Before taking these drugs, be sure to let the physician know about any of these conditions:


allergies. Severe allergic reactions to this medicine may occur. Anyone who is allergic to cephalosporins of any kind should not take other cephalosporins. Anyone who is allergic to penicillin should check with a physician before taking any cephalosporin. The physician should also be told about any allergies to foods, dyes, preservatives, or other substances. The type of allergic reaction should be discussed in detail, since some people have reactions to a drug that are not truly allergies. These people may be able to take cephalosporins safely.


diabetes. Some cephalosporins may cause false positive results on urine sugar tests for diabetes. People with diabetes should check with their physicians to see if they need to adjust their medication or their diets.


phenylketonuria. Oral suspensions of cefprozil contain phenylalanine. People with phenylketonuria (PKU) should consult a physician before taking this medicine.


pregnancy. Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should check with their physicians before using cephalosporins.

breastfeeding. Cephalosporins may pass into breast milk and may affect nursing babies. Women who are breast-feeding and who need to take this medicine should check with their physicians. They may need to stop breast-feeding until treatment is finished.

other medical conditions. Before using cephalosporins, people with any of these medical problems should make sure their physicians are aware of their conditions:

  • History of stomach or intestinal problems, especially colitis. Cephalosporins may cause colitis in some people.
  • Kidney problems. The dose of cephalosporin may need to be lower.
  • Bleeding problems. Cephalosporins may increase the chance of bleeding in people with a history of bleeding problems.
  • Liver disease. The dose of cephalosporin may need to be lower.

use of certain medicines. Taking cephalosporins with certain other drugs may affect the way the drugs work or may increase the chance of side effects.


Side effects

The patient should get medical attention immediately if any of these symptoms develop while taking cephalosporins:

  • shortness of breath
  • pounding heartbeat
  • skin rash or hives
  • severe cramps or pain in the stomach or abdomen
  • fever
  • severe watery or bloody diarrhea (may occur up to several weeks after stopping the drug)
  • unusual bleeding or bruising

Other rare side effects may occur. Anyone who has unusual symptoms during or after treatment with cephalosporins should contact his or her physician.


Interactions

Some cephalosporins cause diarrhea. Certain diarrhea medicines, such as diphenoxylate-atropine (Lomotil), may make the problem worse. Check with a physician before taking any medicine for diarrhea caused by taking cephalosporins.

Birth control pills may not work properly when taken at the same time as cephalosporins. To prevent pregnancy, other methods of birth control in addition to the pills are advised while taking cephalosporins.

Taking cephalosporins with certain other drugs may increase the risk of excess bleeding. Among the drugs that may have this effect when taken with cephalosporins are:

  • blood-thinning drugs (anticoagulants) such as warfarin (Coumadin)
  • blood viscosity-reducing medicines such as pentoxifylline (Trental)
  • the antiseizure medicines divalproex (Depakote) and valproic acid (Depakene)

Cephalosporins may also interact with other medicines. When this happens, the effects of one or both of the drugs may change or the risk of side effects may be greater. Anyone who takes cephalosporins should let the physician know all other medicines he or she is taking.

Resources

books

AHFS: Drug Information. Washington, DC: American Society of Healthsystems Pharmaceuticals, 2003.

Reynolds, J. E. F. (ed). Martindale The Extra Pharmacopoeia 31st Edition. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1993.

Schwartz, S., G. T. Shires, and others (editors). Principles of Surgery. New York: McGraw Hill, 1999.

periodicals

Barie, P. S. "Modern surgical antibiotic prophylaxis and therapyless is more." Surgical Infections 1, no. 1 (2000): 2329.

Cosgrove, S. E., K. S. Kaye, G. M. Eliopoulous, and Y. Carmeli. "Health and economic outcomes of the emergence of third-generation cephalosporin resistance in Enterobacter species." Archives of Internal Medicine. 162, no. 2 (January 28, 2002): 185190.

other

Blondel-Hill, Edith, Susan Fryters, and others. "Recommended Drug Regimes for Surgical Prophylaxis," in Bugs and Drugs Antimicrobial Pocket Reference 2001. Capital Health, 2000. [cited June 30, 2003]. <http://www.dobugsneeddrugs.org/healthcare/antimicrobial/RecommendedDrugRegimensfor-SurgicalProphylaxis.pdf>.


Nancy Ross-Flanigan Sam Uretsky

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"Cephalosporins." Gale Encyclopedia of Surgery: A Guide for Patients and Caregivers. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Cephalosporins." Gale Encyclopedia of Surgery: A Guide for Patients and Caregivers. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cephalosporins-0

Cephalosporins

Cephalosporins

Definition

Cephalosporins are medicines that kill bacteria or prevent their growth.

Purpose

Cephalosporins are used to treat infections in different parts of the bodythe ears, nose, throat, lungs, sinuses, and skin, for example. Physicians may prescribe these drugs to treat pneumonia, strep throat, staph infections, tonsillitis, bronchitis, and gonorrhea. These drugs will not work for colds, flu, and other infections caused by viruses.

Cephalosporins are a newer class of antibiotics and often are seen as an alternative to penicillin for many patients. Clinical studies continue to compare this class of antibiotics to penicillin in combating various infections. For example, a 2004 study showed that cephalosporins are three times more effective than penicillin for treating bacterial throat infections, such as strep throat, in children. The authors recommended cephalosporin drugs as the first choices for pediatricians.

Description

Examples of cephalosporins are cefaclor (Ceclor), cefadroxil (Duricef), cefazolin (Ancef, Kefzol, Zolicef), cefixime, (Suprax), cefoxitin (Mefoxin), cefprozil (Cefzil), ceftazidime (Ceptaz, Fortaz, Tazicef, Tazideme), cefuroxime (Ceftin) and cephalexin (Keflex). These medicines are available only with a physician's prescription. They are sold in tablet, capsule, liquid, and injectable forms.

Recommended dosage

The recommended dosage depends on the type of cephalosporin. The physician who prescribed the drug or the pharmacist who filled the prescription can recommend the correct dosage.

Cephalosporins always should be taken exactly as directed by the physician. Patients never should take larger, smaller, more frequent, or less frequent doses. The drug should be taken for exactly as long as directed, no more and no less. Patients should not save some doses of the drug to take for future infections. The medicine may not be right for other kinds of infections, even if the symptoms are the same. In addition, patients should take all of the medicine to treat the infection for which it was prescribed. The infection may not clear up completely if too little medicine is taken. Taking this medicine for too long, on the other hand, may open the door to new infections that do not respond to the drug.

Some cephalosporins work best when taken on an empty stomach. Others should be taken after meals. The physician who prescribed the medicine or the pharmacist who filled the prescription can provide instructions on how to take the medicine.

Precautions

Certain cephalosporins should not be combined with alcohol or with medicines that contain alcohol. Abdominal or stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, facial flushing, and other symptoms may result within 15-30 minutes and may last for several hours. Alcoholic beverages or other medicines that contain alcohol should not be used while being treated with cephalosporins and for several days after treatment ends.

Special conditions

People with certain medical conditions or who are taking certain other medicines can have problems if they take cephalosporins. Before taking these drugs, the physician should be told about any of these conditions:

ALLERGIES. Severe allergic reactions to this medicine may occur. Anyone who is allergic to cephalosporins of any kind should not take other cephalosporins. Anyone who is allergic to penicillin should check with a physician before taking any cephalosporin. The physician should also be told about allergies to foods, dyes, preservatives, or other substances.

DIABETES. Some cephalosporins may cause false positive results on urine sugar tests for diabetes. People with diabetes should check with their physicians to see if they need to adjust their medication or their diets.

PHENYLKETONURIA. Oral suspensions of cefprozil contain phenylalanine. People with phenylketonuria (PKU) should consult a physician before taking this medicine.

PREGNANCY. Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should check with their physicians before using cephalosporins.

BREASTFEEDING. Cephalosporins may pass into breast milk and may affect nursing babies. Women who are breastfeeding and who need to take this medicine should check with their physicians. They may need to stop breastfeeding until treatment is finished.

OTHER MEDICAL CONDITIONS. Before using cephalosporins, people with any of these medical problems should make sure their physicians are aware of their conditions:

  • History of stomach or intestinal problems, especially colitis. Cephalosporins may cause colitis in some people.
  • Kidney problems. The dose of cephalosporin may need to be lowered.
  • Bleeding problems. Cephalosporins may increase the chance of bleeding in people with a history of bleeding problems.
  • Liver disease. The dose of cephalosporin may need to be lowered.

USE OF CERTAIN MEDICINES. Taking cephalosporins with certain other drugs may affect the way the drugs work or may increase the chance of side effects.

Side effects

Medical attention should be sought immediately if any of these symptoms develop while taking cephalosporins:

  • shortness of breath
  • pounding heartbeat
  • skin rash or hives
  • severe cramps or pain in the stomach or abdomen
  • fever
  • Severe watery or bloody diarrhea (may occur up to several weeks after stopping the drug)
  • unusual bleeding or bruising.

Other rare side effects may occur. Anyone who has unusual symptoms during or after treatment with cephalosporins should get in touch with his or her physician

Interactions

Some cephalosporins cause diarrhea. Certain diarrhea medicines, such as diphenoxylate-atropine (Lomotil), may make the problem worse. A physician should be consulted before taking any medicine for diarrhea caused by taking cephalosporins.

Birth control pills may not work properly when taken at the same time as cephalosporins. To prevent pregnancy, other methods of birth control should be used in addition to the pills while taking cephalosporins.

Taking cephalosporins with certain other drugs may increase the risk of excess bleeding. Among the drugs that may have this effect when taken with cephalosporins are:

  • blood thinning drugs (anticoagulants) such as warfarin (Coumadin)
  • blood viscosity reducing medicines such as pentoxifylline (Trental)
  • the antiseizure medicines divalproex (Depakote) and valproic acid (Depakene)

Cephalosporins may also interact with other medicines. When this happens, the effects of one or both of the drugs may change or the risk of side effects may be greater. Anyone who takes cephalosporins should let the physician know all other medicines he or she is taking.

KEY TERMS

Bronchitis Inflammation of the air passages of the lungs.

Colitis Inflammation of the colon (large bowel).

Gonorrhea A sexually transmitted disease (STD) that causes infection in the genital organs and may cause disease in other parts of the body.

Inflammation Pain, redness, swelling, and heat that usually develop in response to injury or illness.

Phenylketonuria (PKU) A genetic disorder in which the body lacks an important enzyme. If untreated, the disorder can lead to brain damage and mental retardation.

Pneumonia A disease in which the lungs become inflamed. Pneumonia may be caused by bacteria, viruses, or other organisms, or by physical or chemical irritants.

Sexually transmitted disease A disease that is passed from one person to another through sexual intercourse or other intimate sexual contact. Also called STD.

Staph infection Infection with Staphylococcus bacteria. These bacteria can infect any part of the body.

Strep throat A sore throat caused by infection with Streptococcus bacteria. Symptoms include sore throat, chills, fever, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

Tonsillitis Inflammation of a tonsil, a small mass of tissue in the throat.

Resources

PERIODICALS

"Newer Antibiotics Better for Throats" Pulse April 12, 2004: 18.

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cephalosporin

cephalosporin (sĕf´əlōspôr´Ĭn), any of a group of more than 20 antibiotics derived from species of fungi of the genus Cephalosporium and closely related chemically to penicillin. Cephalosporins, e.g., cefaclor (Ceclor), act against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria (see Gram's stain) by inhibiting bacterial cell wall synthesis. They are widely used to treat gonorrhea, meningitis, and staphylococcal and streptococcal infections in patients who cannot use penicillin. Overuse of cephalosporins has led to increased bacterial resistance to the drugs (see drug resistance.)

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cephalosporin

cephalosporin (sef-ă-loh-spo-rin) n. any one of a group of semisynthetic antibiotics, derived from the mould Cephalosporium, which are effective against a wide range of microorganisms and are therefore used to treat a variety of infections. The older (first-generation) cephalosporins include cefadroxil and cefalexin; more recent (second-generation) drugs include cefaclor and cefuroxime; ceftazidime is a third-generation cephalosporin. Cross-sensitivity with penicillin may occur and the principal side-effects are allergic reactions and irritation of the digestive tract.

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"cephalosporin." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cephalosporin

cephalosporin

cephalosporin Class of antibiotic drugs derived from fungi of the genus Cephalosporium. Similar to penicillin, they are effective against a wide spectrum of bacteria, including some which have become resistant to penicillin.

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