Medically reviewed on December 12, 2017
What is ceftriaxone?
Ceftriaxone is a cephalosporin (SEF a low spor in) antibiotic. It works by fighting bacteria in your body.
Ceftriaxone is used to treat many kinds of bacterial infections, including severe or life-threatening forms such as meningitis. Ceftriaxone is also used to prevent infection in people having certain types of surgery.
Ceftriaxone may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Do not use ceftriaxone in a child without a doctor's advice. Ceftriaxone should never be used in a premature baby, or in any newborn baby who has jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Before taking this medicine
Do not use ceftriaxone in a child without a doctor's advice, and never give more than the child's prescribed dose. Ceftriaxone injection can be dangerous when given to a newborn baby with any intravenous medicines that contain calcium, including total parental nutrition (TPN). Ceftriaxone should never be used in a premature baby, or in any newborn baby who has jaundice.
You should not use this medicine if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to ceftriaxone or any other cephalosporin antibiotic, such as:
cephalexin (Keflex), cephradine (Velosef).
To make sure ceftriaxone is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
an allergy to penicillin;
kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
a stomach or intestinal disorder such as colitis;
poor nutrition; or
Ceftriaxone is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Ceftriaxone can pass into breast milk, but effects on the nursing baby are not known. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.
How should I use ceftriaxone?
Ceftriaxone is injected into a muscle, or into a vein through an IV.
A healthcare provider will give you this injection when ceftriaxone is used to prevent infection from surgery.
You may be shown how to use an IV at home to treat an infection. Do not give yourself this medicine if you do not understand how to use the injection and properly dispose of needles, IV tubing, and other items used.
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
You may need to mix ceftriaxone with a liquid (diluent) before using it. If you are using the injections at home, be sure you understand how to properly mix and store the medication. Use only the diluent your doctor has recommended.
After mixing your medicine, you will need to use it within a certain number of hours or days. This will depend on the diluent and how you store the mixture (at room temperature, in a refrigerator, or frozen). Carefully follow the mixing and storage instructions provided with your medicine. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions.
If you use other injectable medications, be sure to flush your intravenous catheter between injections of each medication.
Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Ceftriaxone will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.
Ceftriaxone can cause unusual results with certain lab tests for glucose (sugar) in the urine. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using this medicine.
Store unmixed ceftriaxone powder at room temperature, away from moisture, heat, and light.
If your medicine was provided in a frozen form or was frozen after mixing, thaw it in a refrigerator or at room temperature. Do not warm in a microwave or boiling water. Use the medicine as soon as possible after thawing it. Do not refreeze.
Use a disposable needle and syringe only once. Follow any state or local laws about throwing away used needles and syringes. Use a puncture-proof "sharps" disposal container (ask your pharmacist where to get one and how to throw it away). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of ceftriaxone.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using ceftriaxone?
Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Ceftriaxone side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning in your eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling).
Call your doctor at once if you have:
a seizure (convulsions);
severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
sudden weakness or ill feeling, fever, chills, cold or flu symptoms, mouth sores;
pale or yellowed skin, dark colored urine;
severe pain in your upper stomach that comes and goes or spreads to your back;
a blood cell disorder--skin rash or tight feeling, severe tingling or numbness, pain, muscle weakness; or
kidney or bladder problems--pain in your side or lower back spreading to your groin, blood in your urine, painful or difficult urination, little or no urine.
Common side effects may include:
warmth, tight feeling, or a hard lump where the injection was given;
vaginal itching or discharge;
abnormal liver function tests.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect ceftriaxone?
Other drugs may interact with ceftriaxone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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More about ceftriaxone
- Ceftriaxone Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
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- Drug class: third generation cephalosporins
Other brands: Rocephin