Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Cefuroxime

Cefuroxime is a broad spectrum antibiotic, effective in treating a variety of bacterial infections.

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Cefuroxime is the active ingredient of Zinnat, Betaroxime, Cefasyn, Cefu-hexal, Ceroxim, Curoax, Medaxime, Pharmacare Cefuroxime, Sabax Cefuroxime, Sandoz Cefuroxime, Zefroxe and Zinacef.

General Information

Cefuroxime is a broad spectrum antibiotic, effective in treating a variety of bacterial infections. It is frequently prescribed to treat pharyngitis and tonsillitis, middle-ear infection, sinusitis, acute and chronic bronchitis, urinary tract infections and Lyme disease caused by organisms that are susceptible to cefuroxime.

It is important to note that this medication is only effective against bacterial infections. If your infection is the result of a viral or fungal infection, it will be ineffective.

Antibiotic resistance - when bacteria develop the ability to defend themselves against the effect of an antibiotic - occurs frequently with many antibiotics. This mostly happens when patients do not complete the prescribed course, allowing bacteria to recover from treatment, and by using antibiotics for non-bacterial infections such as cold and flu.

Persons who are allergic to penicillin should take cefuroxime with caution. Although it is not penicillin, cross-sensitivity - meaning that you may also be allergic to this drug - may occur.

How does cefuroxime work?

Cefuroxime weakens the bacterial cell wall and allows water to enter the cell, causing cells to burst.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 4

Available as: Cefuroxime is available as tablets, suspension and as an injection.

What does it do? Cefuroxime has an antibiotic action.

Overdose risk: Low

Dependence risk: Low

Is cefuroxime available as a generic? Yes

Is cefuroxime available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Dietary advice: This medication may be taken with or without food.

Stopping this medicine: Do not stop taking this medication until you have finished the course as prescribed by your doctor - infection may recur with premature discontinuation.

Prolonged use: Cefuroxime is usually given only for short courses of treatment.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • You have a kidney disease
  • You allergic other cephalosporins or penicillin
  • You are taking other medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before using this drug, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: This medication is safe for use in children at the recommended dose.

Elderly: Caution is advised in the elderly as adverse effects may be more severe.

Driving and hazardous work: Caution is advised, as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.

Alcohol: Avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Diarrhoea

x

x

Stomach cramps

x

x

Nausea and vomiting

x

x

Rash/ hives/ itchy skin

x

x

Confusion/light-headedness

x

x

Breathing difficulties

x

x

Swelling of face/ throat

x

x

Fever/ sweating

x

x

Bloody diarrhoea

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

Warfarin

Increased risk of warfarin toxicity

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Increased risk of bleeding

Chloramphenicol

Drugs may counteract each other.

Vancomycin/ aminoglycoside antibiotics

Increased risk of kidney toxicity

Oral contraceptives

Risk of contraceptive failure

Probenecid

Increased levels of antibiotic in body

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention. Symptoms may include seizures, severe abdominal pain and vomiting.

Recommended dosage

Adult, oral: 125-500 mg twice daily

Children, oral: 10-15 mg/kg/dose (max 250 mg) twice daily.

 

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