Generic name: ceftriaxone (sef-trye-AX-one)
Drug class: Third generation cephalosporins
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 25, 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 ceftriaxone
Ceftriaxone is used to treat bacterial infections in many different parts of the body. Ceftriaxone is also given before certain types of surgery to prevent infections.
Ceftriaxone belongs to the class of medicines known as cephalosporin antibiotics. It works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. However, ceftriaxone will not work for colds, flu, or other virus infections.
Ceftriaxone is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using ceftriaxone
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 ceftriaxone, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to ceftriaxone 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 ceftriaxone in children. Because of ceftriaxone'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 ceftriaxone in the elderly.
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 ceftriaxone, 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 ceftriaxone with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Calcium Acetate
- Calcium Chloride
- Calcium Gluceptate
- Calcium Gluconate
- Lactated Ringer's Solution
- Ringer's Solution
Using ceftriaxone 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 ceftriaxone 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 ceftriaxone. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Anemia or
- Diarrhea or
- Gallbladder disease or
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) or
- Stomach or bowel disease (e.g., colitis), history of—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Hyperbilirubinemia (high bilirubin in the blood)—Should not be used in newborn (less than 28 days of age) and premature infants with this condition.
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Use with caution. Effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
- Liver disease, severe or
- Undernourished condition—May be worsened by ceftriaxone and you may need to take Vitamin K.
Proper use of ceftriaxone
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you ceftriaxone. Ceftriaxone is given as a shot into one of your muscles or through a needle placed in one of your veins.
Precautions while using ceftriaxone
If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
Ceftriaxone may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have itching; hives; hoarseness; shortness of breath; trouble breathing; trouble swallowing; or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth after you receive ceftriaxone.
Ceftriaxone 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.
Pancreatitis may occur while you are using ceftriaxone. Tell your doctor right away if you have sudden and severe stomach pain, chills, constipation, nausea, vomiting, fever, or lightheadedness.
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.
Ceftriaxone 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:
- Black, tarry stools
- chest pain
- 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
- Abdominal or stomach cramps or tenderness
- back, leg, or stomach pains
- bleeding gums
- blood in the urine or stools
- bloody nose
- bluish color
- changes in skin color
- clay-colored stools
- cough or hoarseness
- dark urine
- diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
- difficulty with breathing
- difficulty with swallowing
- fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
- feeling of discomfort
- feeling of warmth
- fever with or without chills
- general body swelling
- general feeling of tiredness or weakness
- increased sweating
- increased thirst
- inflammation of the joints
- loss of appetite
- lower back or side pain
- muscle aches
- nausea or vomiting
- noisy breathing
- pale skin
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
- shortness of breath
- skin rash
- swelling of the foot or leg
- swollen lymph glands
- tightness in the chest
- troubled breathing with exertion
- unpleasant breath odor
- unusual weight loss
- vomiting of blood
- watery or bloody diarrhea
- yellowing of the eyes or skin
Incidence not known
- Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
- chest pain
- coughing up blood
- decrease in the amount of urine
- excessive muscle tone
- increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding
- muscle stiffness, tension, or tightness
- prolonged bleeding from cuts
- red irritated eyes
- red or black, tarry stools
- red or dark brown urine
- red skin lesions, often with a purple center
- skin rash with a general disease
- trouble sitting still
- unpleasant breath odor
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:
- Acid or sour stomach
- change in taste
- excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
- full feeling
- itching of the vagina or genital area
- loss of taste
- pain during sexual intercourse
- passing gas
- stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
- thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor
Incidence not known
- Hives or welts
- redness, swelling, or soreness of the tongue
- swelling or inflammation of the mouth
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.
Frequently asked questions
More about ceftriaxone
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- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
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- 139 Reviews
- Drug class: third generation cephalosporins
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