Meds and you

27 September 2013


Cefoxitin is a cephalosporin antibiotic.


Cefoxitin is the active ingredient of Mefoxin (Nappi Code: 741191-008), Pharmacare-Cefoxitin (Nappi Code: 894026-004).

General information
Cefoxitin is a cephalosporin antibiotic.

Cephalosporin antibiotics are a class of antibiotics with a broad spectrum of action. It is similar to penicillin in both its chemical structure and mode of action.

Due to the similarity between cephalosporins and penicillin, cross-sensitivity is possible and a small percentage of those allergic to penicillin may also develop an allergic reaction to cephalosporins.

Cefoxitin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic effective in treating a variety of bacterial infections including infections of the respiratory, urinary and gastro-intestinal tract, as well as certain skin, soft tissue, bone and joint infections. Cefoxitin is also used in treating gonorrhoea, septicaemia, an invasion of the bloodstream by micro-organisms, and endocarditis, an infection of the membrane lining the heart. Cefoxitin is generally used to treat severe infections, or before an operation to prevent infection after surgery.

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 occurs when a bacterium develops the ability to defend itself against the effect of an antibiotic. It may also occur with cephalosporins. The most common causes for resistance are patients not completing prescribed antibiotic courses allowing the bacteria to recover from treatment, and the use of antibiotics for non-bacterial infections, such as cold and flu.

How does Cefoxitin work?
Cefoxitin weakens the bacterial cell wall and allows water to enter the cell, causing cells to burst.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 4
Available as: cefoxitin is available as only available as injection
What does it do? cefoxitin has an antibiotic action
Overdose risk: low
Dependence risk: low
Is cefoxitin available as a generic? yes
Is cefoxitin available on prescription only? yes

User information

Special precautions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have a kidney or liver disease

  • you are allergic to other cephalosporin antibiotics or penicillin

  • you have pseudo membrane colitis

  • you are taking other medication

  • you have porhyria

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. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.
Infants and children: this medication is safe for use in children at the recommended dose.
The elderly: caution is advised in the elderly as adverse effects may be more severe.
Driving and hazardous work: no special precautions need to be taken.
Alcohol: no special precautions need to be taken.

Possible side effects

Side Effect
Consult your doctor

Only if severe
In all cases


stomach cramps




nausea and vomiting


rash/hives/itchy skin






breathing difficulties


swelling of face/throat




bloody diarrhoea




warfarin increased risk of warfarin toxicity
non-steriodal 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

Disease interactions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have a kidney or liver disease, are allergic to other cephalosporin antibiotics or penicillin, have pseudomembrane colitis, if you are taking other medication or if you have porhyria.

Overdose action
A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage
Adults: 1 - 2 g every 8 hours, up to a maximum of 12g per day.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

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