Cephalexin: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & Dosage Guide

Cephalexin: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & Dosage Guide

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Cephalexin is prescribed for the treatment of a variety of bacterial infections, including pneumonia and other infections of the respiratory tract; infections of the bone, skin, ears, genital, and urinary tract; and infections in the urinary tract. Cephalexin is considered to be a member of the class of antibiotics known as cephalosporins. It achieves its effect by eliminating germs.

Antibiotics such as cephalexin will not be effective against viral infections such as the common cold or the flu. When antibiotics are used when they are not required, the risk of developing an infection in the future that is resistant to treatment with antibiotics is increased.

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How should you take this medication exactly?

Cephalexin can be taken orally in the form of a capsule, tablet, or solution (liquid), depending on your preference. Depending on the ailment that is being treated, it is often taken either with or without food once every six or twelve hours for a period of seven to fourteen days. Take cephalexin on a daily basis, preferably at the same time each day. Carefully follow the advice on the label of your medication, and if there is anything on the label that you do not understand, ask your physician or pharmacist to clarify it to you. Follow the dosing instructions for cephalexin to the letter. You should not take more or less of it, and you should not take it more frequently than your doctor has recommended.

Before each usage, give the bottle a good shake to ensure that the medication is thoroughly mixed.

During the first few days of your therapy with cephalexin, you should start to experience an improvement in how you are feeling. If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, you should make an appointment with your doctor.

Even if you start to feel better, you should keep taking the cephalexin as directed until the entire course of treatment is over. It is possible that your illness may not be entirely treated with cephalexin and that the germs will become resistant to antibiotics if you stop taking the medication too soon or skip doses.

Other use for this drug also exist.

In addition, certain penicillin-allergic patients undergoing dental or upper respiratory tract (nose, mouth, throat, voice box) procedures are sometimes given cephalexin to prevent them from developing an infection in their heart valves. These patients have heart conditions and are undergoing procedures.

It is possible that your doctor will prescribe this medicine for a purpose other than what is described here; please consult with them for further information.

What specific safety measures am I expected to take?

Before beginning treatment with cephalexin,

tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to cephalexin; other cephalosporin antibiotics such as cefaclor, cefadroxil cefazolin (Ancef, Kefzol), cefdinir, cefditoren (Spectracef), cefepime (Maxipime), cefixime (Suprax), cefotaxime (Claforan), cefotetan, cefoxitin (Mefoxin), cefpodoxime, cefprozil, ceftaroline (Teflaro), ceftazidime (Fortaz, Tazicef, in Avycaz), ceftibuten (Cedax), ceftriaxone (Rocephin), and cefuroxime (Zinacef); penicillin antibiotics; or any o You should also inform your physician if you have an allergy to any of the components of cephalexin capsules, tablets, or suspension. You should ask your pharmacist for a list of the components.

Inform both your doctor and your pharmacist about the prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products that you are currently taking or intend to take in the future. Include any of the following in your discussion: anticoagulants (also known as “blood thinners”) such warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven); metformin (Fortamet, Glucophage, Glumetza, Riomet, in Glucovance, Invokamet, and others; and probenecid (Probalan). It’s possible that your doctor will need to adjust the dosages of your drugs or keep a close eye on you to check for any unwanted effects.

Inform your primary care physician if you currently suffer from or have ever suffered from any type of allergy, gastrointestinal disease (affecting the stomach or intestines), especially colitis (a condition that causes swelling in the lining of the colon [large intestine]), or kidney or liver disease.

You should let your doctor know if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or planning to become pregnant in the near future. While taking cephalexin, you should contact your healthcare provider if you become pregnant.

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What specific dietary recommendations do you have for me to follow?

Keep eating the same things you normally do, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

What should I do if I realise that I have forgotten a dose?

If you forget to take a dose, make sure to take it as soon as you realise it. If, on the other hand, it is almost time for the next dose, you should omit the dose you missed and carry on with your regular dosing plan. If you forget to take a dose, you shouldn’t take two at once to make up for it.

What potential adverse effects could be brought on by taking this medication?

It’s possible that cephalexin will induce certain adverse effects. Inform your physician if any of the following symptoms persist for an extended period of time or are particularly severe:





stomach discomfort

Itching in the rectal or genital region


extreme weariness




joint discomfort

Some of the adverse effects may be rather serious. If you encounter any of the following symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention by calling your primary care physician or going to an emergency room:

diarrhoea that is watery or bloody, cramping in the stomach, or fever during therapy or for up to two or more months after treatment has been discontinued




symptoms including puffiness in the eyes, face, throat, and tongue

affliction in the ability to breathe or swallow


a return of symptoms of infection, such as fever, sore throat, chills, or other symptoms,

hallucinations (Scottish) (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)

You can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone if you or your doctor experience a major adverse impact while taking a medication that is regulated by the FDA (1-800-332-1088).

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What information should I be aware of regarding the proper storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, make sure the lid is on tightly, and store it somewhere that children cannot get it. Keep the pills and capsules at room temperature, away from extreme heat and moisture, and out of direct sunlight (not in the bathroom). Keep liquid medications in the refrigerator with the lid securely on, and throw away any medication that has been unused after a period of 14 days. Medications that are no longer required should be disposed of in a certain manner so that animals, children, and other people cannot accidentally consume them. You should not, however, dispose of this drug by flushing it down the toilet. Instead, you should consider participating in a programme that offers a take-back service for unused or expired medications. You can discover about take-back initiatives in your neighbourhood by speaking with your community’s pharmacist or getting in touch with the local garbage and recycling department. If you are unable to participate in a take-back programme, you can obtain additional information by visiting the website for the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines.

It is essential to store all medications somewhere that children cannot access or see because many containers, including those used for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers, are not designed to be child-resistant. This means that even young children may readily open these containers. Locking the safety caps and storing the medication in a secure area as soon as possible is the best approach to prevent young children from accidentally ingesting poison. This location should be out of their sight and out of their reach. http://www.upandaway.org

In the event of a crisis or an overdose

Call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222 if you or someone you know has experienced an overdose. In addition, information can be found at the following website: https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. In the event that the sufferer has passed out, experienced a seizure, is having problems breathing, or cannot be roused from their slumber, dial 911 as soon as possible.

Some of the following may be symptoms of an overdose:




urine that is pink, red, or dark brown in colour

stomach discomfort

What other information is important for me to have?

Maintain all of your scheduled appointments with both your primary care physician and the laboratory. In order to evaluate how well cephalexin is working for you, your physician may decide to conduct specific laboratory tests.

Inform both your primary care physician and the people working in the laboratory that you will be undergoing testing and that you are currently taking cephalexin.

If you have diabetes and need to check the sugar level in your urine while taking this medication, you should use Clinistix or TesTape rather than Clinitest. Clinitest is not recommended.

You should not give anyone else permission to take your medication. There is a good chance that your prescription cannot be refilled.

It is essential for you to maintain a written record of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medications, as well as any other items, including vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements, that you are currently taking. It is highly recommended that you take this list with you if you go to the hospital or see a doctor for any reason. You should also remember to bring this information with you at all times in case of an emergency.

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