Cefalexin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which means it is active against a wide variety of bacteria. It treats infections by killing or stopping the growth of the bacteria that cause them.
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking cefalexin it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding. Cefalexin is not known to be harmful to unborn babies; however it is important that your doctor knows if you are expecting a baby.
- If you have kidney problems.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine. It is particularly important that you tell your doctor if you are allergic to any other antibiotics (such as penicillin).
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have porphyria (this is a rare inherited blood disorder).
- Before you start this antibiotic, read the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific brand of cefalexin you have been given, and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- As a guide, it is usual to take 2-4 doses of cefalexin daily for 5-7 days; however, your doctor will tell you what dose is right for you and your dose will also be on the label of the pack to remind you. Your course of treatment may be for longer or shorter periods of time than this, so it is important that you take cefalexin exactly as your doctor has told you. If you are taking cefalexin to prevent urinary tract infections from recurring, you are likely to be prescribed just one dose daily, which you should take each evening. If you have been given cefalexin liquid medicine to give to your child, read the directions carefully to make sure you give the correct amount.
- You can take cefalexin before, during or after your meals.
- Space the doses evenly throughout the day. Keep taking this medicine until the course is finished unless you are told to stop. It is important to take the full course (even if you feel your infection has cleared up) in order to prevent the infection from coming back.
- If you forget to take a dose, take one as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose. If it is almost time to take your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
- Some people develop thrush (redness and itching in the mouth or vagina) after taking a course of antibiotics. If you think you have thrush speak with your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
- If you are using oral combined hormonal contraception (the ‘pill’), additional contraceptive precautions such as condoms are not required during a course of this antibiotic unless you are sick or have diarrhoea. If you need further advice about this, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking an antibiotic. This is because cefalexin may interfere with the results of some medical tests.
- Cefalexin may stop the oral typhoid vaccine from working. If you are having any vaccinations, make sure the person treating you knows that you are taking this medicine.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take with cefalexin.
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Cefalexin side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids.
If the diarrhoea is severe or lasts for more than 24 hours,
you should contact your doctor for further advice
|Indigestion, stomach ache, feeling sick||Stick to simple foods. Try taking your doses after meals|
|Thrush||Speak with your doctor or pharmacist for advice|
Important: if you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor for advice straightaway:
- A severe skin rash.
- Jaundice (yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes), fever, and pain in your joints.
- Swelling of your tongue, mouth, or face.
- Severe diarrhoea.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
Cefalexin is an antibiotic that was introduced by the Eli Lilly and Company in 1967. It is currently one of the most popular cephalosporin antibiotics in the United States along with azithromycin and amoxicillin.
Cefalexin is manufactured under several brand names including Cefanox, Cephalexin, Lalex, Keflet, Ospexin, Rancef and Ulexin.
Cefalexin is in a class of drugs known as cephalosporin antibiotics and works by fighting certain bacterial infections. It works by interfering with forming of the bacteria’s cell wall, which causes it to rupture and that in turn kills the bacteria. The medication is used to kill certain bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections, upper respiratory infections, skin infections and ear infections.
Before you start taking Cefalexin, your doctor should know about any allergies you may have to certain antibiotics such as Ceclor, Duricef, Onmicef, Spectracef, Suprax, Cefzil, Ceftin or Fortax.
Also, your doctor should be aware of certain medical conditions you have including kidney and liver disease, diabetes, malnourishment, stomach conditions or intestinal disorders.
Cefalexin should be taken as it is directed by your doctor. You should not take more or less than what has been prescribed and you should not take the medication for a longer period than what your doctor has prescribed to you. Cefalexin should be taken with a glass of water. The tablets are designed to dissolved in water and are not made to be swallowed, chewed, split or crushed. This medication is also available in capsule form as well. Capsules need to be take whole with water and should not be split open.
This medication also comes in a liquid form. The bottle of liquid should be shaken well before dispensing. It is important that you get the precise dosage of the medication by measuring with a medicine cup or special spoon used for measuring medication in liquid form.
Cefalexin should not be taken if you have allergies against other antibiotics that are similar to cephalosporin or if you have an allergy to antibiotics that are similar to penicillin. It should be used with caution if you have kidney problems.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should notify your doctor before taking Cefalexin. It has not been known to be a problem with women who are pregnant but as with any medication, you do need to consult with your doctor first. Also, this medication does pass through breast milk so caution should be used.
Side effects of this medication include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, pain the abdomen area, headache, indigestion, dizziness, rash, itchiness, bowel infections, liver problems, kidney problems, confusion, agitation and joint pain.
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store cefalexin tablets and capsules in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- Store cefalexin liquid medicine in a refrigerator and do not use it after the expiry date shown on the label.