Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 11, 2022.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
- Powder for Solution
Therapeutic Class: Antibiotic
Pharmacologic Class: 1st Generation Cephalosporin
Uses for cefazolin
Cefazolin is used to treat bacterial infections in many different parts of the body. Cefazolin is also given before certain types of surgery to prevent infections.
Cefazolin belongs to the class of medicines known as cephalosporin antibiotics. It works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. However, cefazolin will not work for colds, flu, or other virus infections.
Cefazolin is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using cefazolin
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For cefazolin, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to cefazolin or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of cefazolin in children.
Because of cefazolin's toxicity, use in newborn and premature babies is not recommended.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of cefazolin in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving cefazolin.
Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving cefazolin, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using cefazolin with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Cholera Vaccine, Live
Using cefazolin with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of cefazolin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Kidney disease—Use with caution. Effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
- Kidney disease, severe or
- Liver disease, severe or
- Undernourished condition—May be worsened by cefazolin and you may need to take Vitamin K.
- Stomach or bowel disease (e.g., colitis or severe diarrhea), history of or
- Seizures—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
Proper use of cefazolin
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you cefazolin. Cefazolin is given as a shot into one of your muscles or through a needle placed in one of your veins.
Precautions while using cefazolin
If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
Cefazolin may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. Do not take any medicine to treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. Diarrhea medicines may make the diarrhea worse or make it last longer. If you have any questions about this or if mild diarrhea continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.
Before you have any medical tests, tell the medical doctor in charge that you are using cefazolin. The results of some tests may be affected by cefazolin.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes calcium-containing solutions for injection, prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Cefazolin side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Bluish color
- changes in skin color
- swelling of the foot or leg
Incidence not known
- Abdominal or stomach cramps or tenderness
- back, leg, or stomach pains
- black, tarry stools
- bleeding gums
- blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
- blood in the urine or stools
- bloody or cloudy urine
- chest pain
- clay-colored stools
- cloudy urine
- coughing up blood
- dark urine
- decrease in urine output or decrease in urine-concentrating ability
- decreased frequency or amount of urine
- diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
- difficult or painful urination
- difficulty with breathing or swallowing
- excessive muscle tone
- fast heartbeat
- feeling of discomfort
- general body swelling
- general tiredness and weakness
- increased blood pressure
- increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding
- increased thirst
- inflammation of the joints
- itching of the vagina or genital area
- joint or muscle pain
- light-colored stools
- loss of appetite
- lower back or side pain
- muscle aches or stiffness
- muscle tension or tightness
- nausea or vomiting
- pain during sexual intercourse
- pain, warmth, or burning in the fingers, toes, and legs
- pale skin
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- problems with vision or hearing
- prolonged bleeding from cuts
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- red irritated eyes
- red or black, tarry stools
- red or dark brown urine
- red skin lesions, often with a purple center
- red, irritated eyes
- skin rash
- sore throat
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- stomach cramps
- sudden decrease in the amount of urine
- swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs
- swollen lymph glands
- swollen or painful glands
- thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor
- tightness in the chest
- trouble sitting still
- troubled breathing
- unpleasant breath odor
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- unusual weight loss
- upper right abdominal pain
- vomiting of blood
- weight gain
- yellowing of the eyes or skin
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Incidence not known
- Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site
- hives or welts
- redness of the skin
- sore mouth or tongue
- weight loss
- white patches in the mouth, tongue, or throat
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More about cefazolin
- Side effects
- Drug interactions
- Dosage information
- During pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Reviews (4)
- Pricing & coupons
- En español
- Drug class: first generation cephalosporins
- Latest FDA Alerts (2)
- Other brands
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.