Cephalexin (By mouth)

Introduction

Cephalexin (sef-a-LEX-in)

Treats bacterial infections. Belongs to a class of drugs called cephalosporin antibiotics.

Brand Name(s)

Keflex, Bio-Cef

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to cephalosporin medicine such as Ceclor®, Velosef®, or Suprax®.

How to Use This Medicine

Capsule, Tablet, Tablet for Suspension, Liquid

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • You may take your medicine with food or milk to avoid stomach upset.
  • Shake the oral liquid well each time you use it.
  • Measure your oral liquid dose carefully with a measuring spoon or a medicine cup.
  • Keep using this medicine for the full treatment time, even if you feel better after the first few doses. Your infection may not clear up if you stop using the medicine too soon.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store capsules and tablets at room temperature away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • You may keep the oral liquid in the refrigerator for 14 days. After that, throw away any unused liquid. Do not freeze.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are taking birth control pills or probenecid (Benemid®, ColBENEMID®) while taking cephalexin.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Before taking this medicine, let your doctor know if you have ever had an allergic reaction to penicillin medicines.
  • If you have severe diarrhea while taking cephalexin, check with your doctor before taking medicine to stop the diarrhea.
  • Cephalexin may cause incorrect results with some urine sugar tests used by patients with diabetes.
  • If you are pregnant or breast feeding, talk to your doctor before taking this medicine.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Rash or hives
  • Swelling of the face, throat, or lips
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Severe diarrhea (watery or bloody)
  • Severe stomach pain or vomiting
  • Blistering or peeling skin

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Mild diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Sore mouth or tongue
  • Vaginal itching or discharge
  • Joint aches and pains

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013

         
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