Ceftin Side Effects

Generic Name: cefuroxime

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of cefuroxime. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name Ceftin.

Not all side effects for Ceftin may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

For the Consumer

Applies to cefuroxime: oral powder for suspension, oral tablet

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by cefuroxime (the active ingredient contained in Ceftin). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking cefuroxime:

More common
  • Chills
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • general feeling of illness or discomfort
  • headache
  • itching of the vagina or genital area
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • rigidity
  • sweating
  • thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor
Less common
  • Black, tarry stools
  • chest pain
  • cough
  • loose stools
  • painful or difficult urination
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • swollen glands
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Back, leg, or stomach pains
  • bladder pain
  • bleeding gums
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • body aches or pain
  • burning while urinating
  • dark urine
  • difficulty with breathing
  • ear congestion
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • general body swelling
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of voice
  • lower back or side pain
  • nasal congestion
  • nausea or vomiting
  • nosebleeds
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • pale skin
  • pink or red urine
  • sneezing
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • swelling of the joints
  • swollen glands
  • tightness of chest or wheezing
  • white or brownish vaginal discharge
  • white patches in the mouth or throat or on the tongue
  • white patches with diaper rash
  • yellowing of the eyes or skin
Incidence not known
  • Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • bloody, black, or tarry stools
  • clay-colored stools
  • cough or hoarseness
  • coughing up blood
  • decrease in urine output or decrease in urine-concentrating ability
  • feeling of discomfort
  • fever with or without chills
  • general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • high fever
  • hives
  • increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding
  • joint or muscle pain
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • light-colored stools
  • paralysis
  • prolonged bleeding from cuts
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • red or black, tarry stools
  • red or dark brown urine
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • red, irritated eyes
  • seizures
  • swollen lymph glands
  • swollen or painful glands
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • upper right abdominal or stomach pain
  • vomiting of blood

Some of the side effects that can occur with cefuroxime may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

Less common
  • Bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
  • change in taste
  • diaper rash
  • Abdominal or stomach cramps
  • acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • bloated
  • difficulty with moving
  • excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
  • flushing or redness of the skin
  • full feeling
  • gas in the stomach
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • irritability
  • irritation or soreness of the mouth
  • itching skin
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • muscle spasm of the neck
  • passing gas
  • restlessness
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
  • swelling of the tongue
  • thirst
  • trouble sitting still
  • unusually warm skin
  • watering of the mouth and drooling
  • weight loss
Incidence not known
  • Hives or welts
  • redness of the skin

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to cefuroxime: injectable powder for injection, intravenous solution, oral powder for reconstitution, oral tablet


Cefuroxime (the active ingredient contained in Ceftin) is generally well-tolerated.

Side effects may be more likely and more severe in patients with liver disease and/or renal dysfunction.


Pseudomembranous colitis has been reported in patients treated with cephalosporins, including cefuroxime (the active ingredient contained in Ceftin) and may occur during or after treatment. If diarrhea occurs and it is unresponsive to discontinuation of the drug and/or standard therapy, pseudomembranous colitis should be considered.

Gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea and vomiting (1% to 3%), diarrhea/loose stools (1% to 8.6%), abdominal pain, abdominal cramps, flatulence, indigestion, mouth ulcers, and anorexia, dyspepsia, excess salivation, and pseudomembranous colitis.


Hepatic side effects have included transient elevations of AST (2% to 4%), ALT (1.6% to 4%), and LDH (1%), alkaline phosphatase (2%, IV route), elevated bilirubin, hepatitis, cholestasis, and jaundice.

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included headache, sleepiness, dizziness, somnolence, lockjaw-type reaction (less than 1%), and seizures. Cephalosporin class antibiotics, including cefuroxime (the active ingredient contained in Ceftin) have been associated with seizures, especially in renally impaired patients.


Hypersensitivity reactions have included anaphylaxis, angioedema, rash, pruritus, serum sickness-like reaction, urticaria, drug fever, interstitial nephritis, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome. At least one case of Kounis syndrome type I variant has been reported.

Rare cases of erythema multiforme and Stevens-Johnson syndrome have been reported. There is a 10% to 20% incidence of allergy to cefuroxime in patients allergic to penicillin.

A case of occupational contact dermatitis due to cephalosporin allergy has been reported in a nurse who prepared cephalosporin solutions for administration to patients. The dermatitis resolved after the nurse stopped preparing the solutions.

A 90-year-old man, with no history of coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia, was administered 750 mg cefuroxime axetil intramuscularly for urinary tract infection. About 10 minutes after the injection, the patient developed chest pain and pruritic skin rashes. Kounis syndrome type I variant was diagnosed secondary to cefuroxime axetil. Five days after stopping cefuroxime axetil, the patient's symptoms had resolved.


Rare cases of eosinophilia and positive direct Coombs' tests have been reported without other evidence of hypersensitivity.

Immune hemolytic anemia has been reported in a pediatric patient.

Hematologic side effects have included eosinophilia (1.1%), positive Coombs' test (less than 1%), decreased hemoglobin and hematocrit (10%, IV route), transient neutropenia (less than 1%), leukopenia (0.1%), hemolytic anemia, pancytopenia, increased prothrombin time, thrombocytopenia, and autoimmune granulocytopenia. Cephalosporin class antibiotics have been associated with aplastic anemia, hemorrhage, neutropenia, and agranulocytosis.


Acute renal failure has been reported in a patient treated with cefuroxime (the active ingredient contained in Ceftin) Renal function improved after cefuroxime was stopped, and deteriorated upon rechallenge.

Renal side effects have included renal dysfunction (less than 1%) and acute renal failure. Cephalosporin class antibiotics have been associated with toxic nephropathy, increased BUN, increased creatinine, and interstitial nephritis. Reversible fever, azotemia, pyuria, and eosinophilia are the hallmarks of cephalosporin-induced interstitial nephritis.


Genitourinary side effects have included vaginitis, vaginal candidiasis, vaginal discharge, vaginal itch, vulvar itch, dysuria, urethral pain and/or bleeding, and kidney pain in less than 1% of patients, and urinary tract infection (less than 1% of pediatric patients). Cephalosporin class antibiotics have been associated with false positive tests for urinary glucose.


Dermatologic side effects have included rash, hives, pruritus, urticaria, and erythema in less than 1% of patients, diaper rash (3.4% of pediatric patients), acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis, erythema multiforme, and toxic epidermal necrolysis.


Metabolic side effects have included thirst (less than 1%).


Other side effects have included chest pain or tightness, chills, viral illness, gastrointestinal infection, swollen tongue, candidiasis, and fever in less than 1% of patients. At least one case of disulfiram reaction has been reported with cefuroxime (the active ingredient contained in Ceftin) axetil. Complaints about taste were reported in 5% of pediatric patients, leading to discontinuation in 1.4%.

The Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction has been reported in 5.6% of Lyme Disease patients.


Respiratory side effects have included shortness of breath (less than 1%), and sinusitis, cough, and upper respiratory infection in less than 1% of pediatric patients.


Musculoskeletal side effects have included muscle cramps, muscle stiffness, and muscle spasm of the neck in less than 1% of patients, and joint swelling and arthralgia in less than 1% of pediatric patients.


Cardiovascular side effects have included tachycardia (less than 1%).


Local side effects have included thrombophlebitis with intravenous administration (1.7%).


Immunologic side effects have included cutaneous vasculitis (postmarketing experience).

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