Cephalexin

Generic Name (active ingredient): Cephalexin
Brand Name: Cephalexin, Keflex

Cephalexin is a bactericidal antibiotic from the group of cephalosporins of I generation.

How does the medication work?
Cephalexin violates the synthesis of cell walls of microorganisms. It is quite resistant to penicillinases of gram-positive microorganisms, and is destroyed by beta-lactamases of gram-negative microorganisms. Cephalexin has a broad spectrum of action: active against gram-positive microorganisms: Staphylococcus spp., Staphylococcus epidermidis (penicillin-resistant strains); Streptococcus spp. (including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes), Corynebacterium diphtheriae; Clostridium spp., Bacillus anthracis, Actinomyces israelii; gram-negative microorganisms: Escherichia coli, Klebsiella spp. (including Klebsiella pneumoniae), Moraxella catarrhalis (Branhamella), Proteus mirabilis, Neisseria meningitidis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Shigella spp., Salmonella spp., Treponema spp. No effect on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas species, etc., Proteus spp. (indolpositive strains), Mycobacterium tuberculosis, anaerobic bacteria, Enterococcus faecalis, Haemophilus spp., Enterobacter spp., Serratia spp., Aeromonas spp., Acinetobacter spp., methicillin-resistant strains of staphylococci.

When Cephalexin is prescribed?

  • Infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract:
    • bronchitis
    • acute pneumonia and exacerbation of chronic pneumonia
    • empyema
    • lung abscess
  • Infections of urogenital system:
    • pyelonephritis
    • cystitis
    • urethritis
    • prostatitis
    • epididymitis
    • endometritis
    • gonorrhea
    • vulvovaginitis, etc.
  • Infections of ENT organs:
    • pharyngitis
    • otitis media
    • sinusitis
    • tonsillitis
  • Infections of the skin and soft tissues:
    • furunculosis
    • abscess
    • phlegmon
    • lymphadenitis, etc.
  • Infections of bones and joints (including osteomyelitis)

What should I know before taking Cephalexin?
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to Cephalexin or to any other medicines such as:

  • cephalosporins
  • penicillins
  • carbapenems

Do not take Cephalexin if any of the below conditions apply to you:

  • breastfeeding

Before taking Cephalexin, tell your health care provider about any other medicines you take or if you have any of the following disorders:

  • renal failure
  • pseudomembranous colitis (in a history)
  • infants

If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or breastfeed, you should take Cephalexin only under a strict control of your doctor. Cephalexin belongs to a pregnancy category B meaning that it is not know to be harmful to the fetus, however it can pass into the breast milk.

How to take Cephalexin:
Cephalexin is available in the forms of granules for suspension for oral administration, capsules, powder for solution for intravenous and intramuscular injection, powder for suspension for oral administration.

Dosage of Cephalexin is prescribed individually by physician.

Take the entire amount of Cephalexin prescribed by your doctor, even if you feel better before the end of the treatment. If you stop taking medication too early, symptoms may return.
If you missed the scheduled dose, take the medication as soon as you remember, but skip the dose if it is almost the time for the following dose. Do not take two doses at once.

What are the side effects of Cephalexin?
Cephalexin may cause the following side effects:

  • allergic reactions: urticaria, angioedema, erythematous rash, malignant exudative erythema (Stevens-Johnson syndrome), toxic epidermal necrolysis (Lyell's syndrome), anaphylaxis, arthralgia, arthritis, eosinophilia, itching of genitals and anus
  • nervous system: dizziness, weakness, headache, agitation, hallucinations, convulsions
  • urogenital and urinary system: vaginitis, vaginal discharge, genital candidiasis, interstitial nephritis
  • digestive system: abdominal pain, dry mouth, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, dyspepsia, diarrhea, toxic hepatitis, cholestatic jaundice, intestinal candidiasis, oral cavity candidiasis
  • hematopoiesis: neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia

If you experience any side effect that last long or becomes bothersome, please inform your doctor as dose adjustment or treatment discontinuation may be required.

Which are Cephalexin overdose symptoms?
If you overdose Cephalexin, seek immediate medical attention. Overdose symptoms include: vomiting, nausea, epigastric pain, diarrhea, hematuria

Which other medicines may affect Cephalexin?
Cephalexin may interact with the following groups of drugs:

  • indirect anticoagulants
  • aminoglycosides
  • polymyxins
  • NSAIDs
  • diuretics
  • salicylates
  • drugs that reduce tubular secretion

For a complete list of possible interactions ask your doctor or pharmacist. Before taking Cephalexin, let your doctor know what other medicines, including OTC, you currently take.

How should I store Cephalexin?
Store the tablets and capsules at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Store suspensions and solutions in the refrigerator.

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