Description and Brand Names

Drug information provided by: Micromedex

US Brand Name

  1. Bio-Cef
  2. Keflex
  3. Panixine DisperDose

Canadian Brand Name

  1. Novo-Lexin

Descriptions


Cephalexin is used to treat bacterial infections in many different parts of the body. It belongs to the class of medicines known as cephalosporin antibiotics. It works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. However, this medicine will not work for colds, flu, or other virus infections.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Tablet
  • Capsule
  • Tablet for Suspension
  • Powder for Suspension

Before Using

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of cephalexin in children.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of cephalexin in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving cephalexin.

Pregnancy

Information about this cephalexin-oral-route
Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters B Animal studies have revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus, however, there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR animal studies have shown an adverse effect, but adequate studies in pregnant women have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus.

Breastfeeding

Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Warfarin

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Cholestyramine
  • Metformin

Other Interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Colitis (inflammation in gut), history of or
  • Diarrhea, severe, history of—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Kidney disease—Use with caution. Effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.

Proper Use

Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered.

Shake the oral liquid well before each use. Measure the medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup. The average household teaspoon may not hold the right amount of liquid.

Keep using this medicine for the full treatment time, even if you feel better after the first few doses. Your infection may not clear up if you stop using the medicine too soon.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage forms (capsules or suspension):
    • For infections:
      • Adults and teenagers—The dose is 1000 to 4000 milligrams (mg) per day, taken in divided doses.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor. Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The dose is usually 25 to 100 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) per day, taken in divided doses.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Store the capsules in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Store the oral liquid in the refrigerator. Throw away any unused medicine after 14 days.

Precautions

If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

Cephalexin may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. Do not take any medicine or give medicine to your child to treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. Diarrhea medicines may make the diarrhea worse or make it last longer. If you have any questions about this or if mild diarrhea continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.

Before you or your child have any medical tests, tell the medical doctor in charge that you are using this medicine. The results of some tests may be affected by this medicine.

Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

  1. Diarrhea

Rare

  1. Abdominal or stomach pain
  2. blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  3. chills
  4. clay-colored stools
  5. cough
  6. dark urine
  7. diarrhea
  8. dizziness
  9. fever
  10. general tiredness and weakness
  11. headache
  12. itching
  13. joint or muscle pain
  14. light-colored stools
  15. loss of appetite
  16. nausea and vomiting
  17. rash
  18. red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  19. red, irritated eyes
  20. sore throat
  21. sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  22. unpleasant breath odor
  23. unusual tiredness or weakness
  24. upper right abdominal or stomach pain
  25. vomiting of blood
  26. yellow eyes or skin

Incidence not known

  1. Abdominal or stomach cramps or tenderness
  2. back or leg pains
  3. black, tarry stools
  4. bleeding gums
  5. bloating
  6. blood in the urine or stools
  7. chest pain
  8. coughing up blood
  9. diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
  10. difficulty with breathing or swallowing
  11. fast heartbeat
  12. general body swelling
  13. hives
  14. increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding
  15. increased thirst
  16. large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  17. loss of appetite
  18. nosebleeds
  19. pain
  20. painful or difficult urination
  21. pale skin
  22. paralysis
  23. pinpoint red spots on the skin
  24. prolonged bleeding from cuts
  25. puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  26. red or black, tarry stools
  27. red or dark brown urine
  28. shortness of breath
  29. swollen or painful glands
  30. tightness in the chest
  31. unusual bleeding or bruising
  32. unusual weight loss
  33. watery or bloody diarrhea
  34. wheezing

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Incidence not known

  1. Acid or sour stomach
  2. anxiety
  3. belching
  4. burning feeling in the chest or stomach
  5. difficulty with moving
  6. dry mouth
  7. heartburn
  8. hives or welts
  9. hyperventilation
  10. indigestion
  11. irregular heartbeats
  12. irritability
  13. itching of the vagina or genital area
  14. muscle pain or stiffness
  15. nervousness
  16. pain during sexual intercourse
  17. pain, swelling, or redness in the joints
  18. redness of the skin
  19. restlessness
  20. seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  21. shaking
  22. stomach upset
  23. trouble with sleeping
  24. white or brownish vaginal discharge

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.