Description and Brand Names

Drug information provided by: Merative, Micromedex®

US Brand Name

  1. Ancef


Cefazolin is used to treat bacterial infections in many different parts of the body. This medicine is also given before certain types of surgery to prevent infections.

Cefazolin 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:

  • Powder for Solution

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:


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.


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

Because of cefazolin's toxicity, use in newborn and premature babies is not recommended.


Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of cefazolin 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 cefazolin.


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 receiving 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.

  • Cholera Vaccine, Live

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.

  • Warfarin

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:

  • Kidney disease—Use with caution. Effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
  • Kidney disease, severe or
  • Liver disease, severe or
  • Undernourished condition—May be worsened by cefazolin and you may need to take Vitamin K.
  • Stomach or bowel disease (e.g., colitis or severe diarrhea), history of or
  • Seizures—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.

Proper Use

A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine. This medicine is given as a shot into one of your muscles or through a needle placed in one of your veins.


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

Cefazolin may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. Do not take any medicine 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 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.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes calcium-containing solutions for injection, prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

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 or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:


  1. Bluish color
  2. changes in skin color
  3. pain
  4. swelling of the foot or leg
  5. tenderness

Incidence not known

  1. Abdominal or stomach cramps or tenderness
  2. back, leg, or stomach pains
  3. black, tarry stools
  4. bleeding gums
  5. blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  6. bloating
  7. blood in the urine or stools
  8. bloody or cloudy urine
  9. chest pain
  10. chills
  11. clay-colored stools
  12. cloudy urine
  13. cough
  14. coughing up blood
  15. dark urine
  16. decrease in urine output or decrease in urine-concentrating ability
  17. decreased frequency or amount of urine
  18. diarrhea
  19. diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
  20. difficult or painful urination
  21. difficulty with breathing or swallowing
  22. dizziness
  23. excessive muscle tone
  24. fast heartbeat
  25. feeling of discomfort
  26. fever
  27. general body swelling
  28. general tiredness and weakness
  29. headache
  30. hives
  31. increased blood pressure
  32. increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding
  33. increased thirst
  34. inflammation of the joints
  35. itching
  36. itching of the vagina or genital area
  37. joint or muscle pain
  38. light-colored stools
  39. loss of appetite
  40. lower back or side pain
  41. muscle aches or stiffness
  42. muscle tension or tightness
  43. nausea or vomiting
  44. nosebleeds
  45. pain during sexual intercourse
  46. pain, warmth, or burning in the fingers, toes, and legs
  47. pale skin
  48. paralysis
  49. pinpoint red spots on the skin
  50. problems with vision or hearing
  51. prolonged bleeding from cuts
  52. puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  53. rash
  54. red irritated eyes
  55. red or black, tarry stools
  56. red or dark brown urine
  57. red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  58. red, irritated eyes
  59. restlessness
  60. seizures
  61. skin rash
  62. sore throat
  63. sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  64. stomach cramps
  65. sudden decrease in the amount of urine
  66. swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs
  67. swollen lymph glands
  68. swollen or painful glands
  69. thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor
  70. tightness in the chest
  71. trouble sitting still
  72. troubled breathing
  73. unpleasant breath odor
  74. unusual bleeding or bruising
  75. unusual tiredness or weakness
  76. unusual weight loss
  77. upper right abdominal pain
  78. vomiting
  79. vomiting of blood
  80. weight gain
  81. wheezing
  82. yellowing of the eyes or skin

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. Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site
  2. hives or welts
  3. redness of the skin
  4. sore mouth or tongue
  5. weight loss
  6. white patches in the mouth, tongue, or throat

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.