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Generic Name: nafcillin (naf SIL in)
Brand Names: Unipen

What is Unipen (nafcillin)?

Nafcillin is an antibiotic in the penicillin group of drugs. It fights bacteria in your body.

Nafcillin is used to treat many different types of infections, especially those caused by staphylococcus bacteria ("staph" infections).

Nafcillin may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Unipen (nafcillin)?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to nafcillin or to any other penicillin antibiotic, such as amoxicillin (Amoxil), ampicillin (Omnipen, Principen), oxacillin (Bactocill), penicillin (Beepen-VK, Ledercillin VK, Pen-V, Pen-Vee K, Pfizerpen, V-Cillin K, Veetids), and others.

Before using nafcillin, tell your doctor if you are allergic to cephalosporins such as Ceclor, Ceftin, Duricef, Keflex, and others, or if you have asthma, liver or kidney disease, or a history of any type of allergy.

Nafcillin can make birth control pills less effective, which may result in pregnancy. Before taking nafcillin, tell your doctor if you use birth control pills. Take this medication for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor. Your symptoms may get better before the infection is completely treated. Nafcillin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu. Do not give this medication to another person, even if they have the same symptoms you do.

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or has blood in it, call your doctor. Do not use any medicine to stop the diarrhea unless your doctor has told you to.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Unipen (nafcillin)?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to nafcillin or to any other penicillin antibiotic, such as:
  • amoxicillin (Amoxil, Amoxicot, Biomox, Dispermox, Trimox);

  • ampicillin (Omnipen, Principen);

  • carbenicillin (Geocillin);

  • cloxacillin (Cloxapen);

  • dicloxacillin (Dycill, Dynapen);

  • oxacillin (Bactocill); or

  • penicillin (Beepen-VK, Ledercillin VK, Pen-V, Pen-Vee K, Pfizerpen, V-Cillin K, Veetids, and others).

Before using nafcillin, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs (especially cephalosporins such as Ceclor, Ceftin, Duricef, Keflex, and others), or if you have:

  • asthma;

  • liver disease;

  • kidney disease; or

  • a history of any type of allergy.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use nafcillin, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Nafcillin can make birth control pills less effective, which may result in pregnancy. Before taking nafcillin, tell your doctor if you use birth control pills. Nafcillin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take Unipen (nafcillin)?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take the nafcillin capsule with a full glass of water.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your kidney or liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Take this medication for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor. Your symptoms may get better before the infection is completely treated. Nafcillin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu. Do not give this medication to another person, even if they have the same symptoms you do.

This medication can cause you to have unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using nafcillin.

Store the capsules at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of a nafcillin overdose may include muscle spasms or weakness, muscle pain or twitching, numbness or tingly feeling, confusion, feeling light-headed, fainting, and seizure (black-out or convulsions).

What should I avoid while taking Unipen (nafcillin)?

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase stomach irritation caused by nafcillin.

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or has blood in it, call your doctor. Do not use any medicine to stop the diarrhea unless your doctor has told you to.

Unipen (nafcillin) side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. A delayed allergic reaction to nafcillin can occur as few as 2 days to as many as 4 weeks after you use the medication. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • feeling light-headed, fainting;

  • fever, weakness, muscle or joint pain, stomach pain;

  • diarrhea that is watery or bloody;

  • feeling short of breath;

  • urinating more or less than usual;

  • swelling, rapid weight gain; or

  • severe skin rash, itching, or peeling.

Less serious side effects are more likely to occur, such as:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;

  • vaginal itching or discharge;

  • headache; or

  • thrush (white patches or inside your mouth or throat).

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Unipen (nafcillin)?

Before taking nafcillin, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune);

  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin); or

  • a tetracycline antibiotic such as demeclocycline (Declomycin), doxycycline (Adoxa, Doryx, Oracea, Vibramycin), minocycline (Dynacin, Minocin, Solodyn, Vectrin), or tetracycline (Brodspec, Panmycin, Sumycin, Tetracap).

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to use nafcillin, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect nafcillin. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has information about nafcillin written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Nafcillin is available with a prescription under the brand name Unipen. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Unipen 250 mg--green and yellow capsules

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.04. Revision Date: 11/1/06 3:47:48 PM.
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