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Cephalosporin antibiotics (IV or IM)

Generic name Brand name
___ cefuroxime Ceftin®
___ cefotetan Cefotan®
___ cefoxitin Mefoxin®
___ cefotaxime Claforan®
___ ceftriaxone Rocephin®
___ ceftazidime Fortaz®

How does this medicine work?

Cephalosporins (seh-fah-low-spor-ins) are antibiotic medicines used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections, such as skin, respiratory tract, and urinary tract infections.

Antibiotics work best when the amount is kept at a constant level in the body, so the medicine is given on a set schedule every day.

How is it given?

These medicines are given into a vein (IV) in the hospital or clinic.

Ceftriaxone (sef-try-ax-own) can also be given as a shot in the muscle (IM) in the clinic. If it is given IM, a medicine called lidocaine (ly-doe-cane) is mixed with it to help lessen the pain of the injection.

Note: Has your child ever had an immediate allergic reaction to penicillin or to any cephalosporin, such as those listed above? If so, please let us know. Your child will be watched for 20 to 30 minutes after receiving the medicine for signs of an allergic reaction.

If your child needs more doses, you may be asked to come to the clinic every day or you may be taught how to give the medicine to your child at home. See the other written materials given to you for instructions.

Use this medicine exactly as prescribed, even if your child feels better, to be sure all the infection is gone.

Extra monitoring of your child's dose or condition may be needed if he or she is also taking warfarin (Coumadin®).

Check with the doctor or pharmacist before giving any other prescription or non-prescription medicines, vitamins, or herbs.

Avoid alcohol-containing foods, beverages, or non-prescription medicines (such as cough syrup) while taking this medicine.

What should I do if a dose is missed?

If one dose is missed, give it as soon as you remember. Never give a double dose. If your child misses 2 doses, please call the clinic or home care nurse for instructions.

What are the side effects?


  • vein irritation
  • soreness or redness at the injection site


  • nausea (upset stomach)
  • vomiting (throwing up)
  • diarrhea
  • rash
  • gas


  • decreased blood counts
  • headache
  • changes in liver or kidney function

When should I call the doctor?

  • nausea or vomiting
  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • unusual weakness
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • yellow skin or eyes
  • signs of infection do not improve within a few days, or become worse
  • signs of allergic reaction:
    • rash or hives
    • wheezing
    • trouble breathing - call 911

What else do I need to know?

Before using this medicine, tell your health care providers about any allergies your child may have.

Blood samples may be needed to check liver or kidney function if your child will receive cephalosporins for longer than 10 to 14 days.

You and your child should know the names of all the medicines he or she is taking. It is important to share this information with anyone involved in your child's care. Please remember to bring your child's medicine list or containers when your child comes to the clinic or Emergency Department.

Make sure needles, tubing, and supplies are stored safely and disposed of properly. Use a sharps container for the needles, such as:

  • 2-liter plastic bottle with a lid
  • coffee can with a cover
  • plastic detergent bottle with a lid
  • a special container for this purpose

Store this medicine in the refrigerator, unless you are given other instructions.

___ other storage instructions:


Check expiration date and time before using each dose. Throw outdated medicines into the sharps container with the needles, instead of putting them in the garbage.

If too much or the wrong kind of medicine is taken, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Other instructions:






If you have any questions, please call the clinic or: ________________________________________

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Patient/Family Education
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Last reviewed 8/2015 ©Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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