Generic name: cefotaxime (sef-oh-TAX-eem)
Drug class: Third generation cephalosporins
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jun 24, 2021.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
- Powder for Solution
Therapeutic Class: Antibiotic
Pharmacologic Class: 3rd Generation Cephalosporin
Uses for cefotaxime
Cefotaxime injection is used to treat bacterial infections in many different parts of the body. Cefotaxime is also given before, during, and after certain types of surgery to prevent infections.
Cefotaxime injection belongs to the class of medicines known as cephalosporin antibiotics. It works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. However, cefotaxime will not work for colds, flu, or other virus infections.
Cefotaxime is to be given only by or under the supervision of your doctor.
Before using cefotaxime
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 cefotaxime, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to cefotaxime 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 cefotaxime injection in children.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of cefotaxime injection 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 cefotaxime injection.
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 cefotaxime, 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 cefotaxime 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 cefotaxime 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 cefotaxime. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Blood or bone marrow problems (eg, agranulocytosis, bone marrow failure, granulocytopenia, leukopenia, neutropenia, pancytopenia) or
- Colitis (inflammation in gut), history of or
- Diarrhea, severe, history of or
- Heart rhythm problems (eg, arrhythmia)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Kidney disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
Proper use of cefotaxime
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you or your child cefotaxime. Cefotaxime is given as a shot into a muscle or a vein.
Precautions while using cefotaxime
Your doctor will check your or your child's progress closely while you are receiving cefotaxime. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to receive it. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
If your or your child's symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
Cefotaxime injection may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. Do not take any medicine or give medicine to your child 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.
Cefotaxime injection can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:
- If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
- Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine or stools, or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
- Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
- Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
- Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
- Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.
Before you or your child have any medical tests, tell the medical doctor in charge that you are receiving cefotaxime. The results of some tests may be affected by cefotaxime.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Cefotaxime 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:
- Abdominal or stomach cramps or tenderness
- black, tarry stools
- chest pain
- diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
- difficulty with breathing
- difficulty with swallowing
- fast heartbeat
- hives, itching, or skin rash
- increased thirst
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- nausea or vomiting
- noisy breathing
- painful or difficult urination
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- sore throat
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- swollen glands
- tightness in the chest
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- unusual weight loss
- back, leg, or stomach pains
- bleeding gums
- blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
- blood in the urine or stools
- bloody or cloudy urine
- blurred vision
- cough or hoarseness
- cracks in the skin at the corners of the mouth
- dark urine
- fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
- fever with or without chills
- general body swelling
- general feeling of tiredness or weakness
- greatly decreased frequency of urination or amount of urine
- itching of the vagina or genital area
- joint or muscle pain
- loss of appetite
- lower back or side pain
- pain during sexual intercourse
- pale skin
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- red skin lesions, often with a purple center
- red, irritated eyes
- soreness or redness around the fingernails and toenails
- stiff neck
- swelling of the feet or lower legs
- thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor
- yellow eyes or skin
Incidence not known
- Clay-colored stools
- unpleasant breath odor
- vomiting of blood
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:
- Red streaks on the skin
- swelling, tenderness, or pain at the injection site
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 cefotaxime
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- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
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- Drug class: third generation cephalosporins
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