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Cephapirin Side Effects

Applies to cephapirin: injectable powder for injection


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.[Ref]

Hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis, are unusual. There is approximately a 10% to 15% chance of allergic cross reactivity in patients who are allergic to penicillin.[Ref]


Because neutropenia is often accompanied by rash and fever, it is believed to be a result of a hypersensitivity reaction.[Ref]

Hematologic abnormalities have included neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and eosinophilia. Drug discontinuation may be necessary depending on these changes and the condition of the patient.[Ref]


Renal adverse effects include at least one case of acute interstitial nephritis that was attributed to cephapirin.[Ref]

One patient developed a rash after 15 days on cephapirin. On day 56 of therapy, the patient had an increase in serum creatinine to 9.3 mg/dL, an increase in blood urea nitrogen to 109 mg/dL, 2+ protein in the urine, and eosinophilia. Laboratory and physical findings suggested acute interstitial nephritis. After stopping cephapirin, the serum creatinine decreased to a pretreatment value of 1.4 mg/dL within nine months.[Ref]


Phlebitis is more common when the drug is administered for longer than two days. Careful monitoring of the infusion site and regular rotation of infusion sites should significantly decrease the risk of phlebitis.[Ref]

Local reactions include phlebitis in up to 50% of patients who receive the drug by intravenous administration. Intramuscular administration may result in pain and induration at the injection site, but does not usually require drug discontinuation.[Ref]


Women may experience an increased incidence of vaginal yeast infections while receiving cephapirin.[Ref]


1. Filipe P, Almeida RSLS, Rodrigo FG "Occupational allergic contact dermatitis from cephalosporins." Contact Dermatitis 34 (1996): 226

2. Barnett AS, Hirshman CA "Anaphylactic reaction to cephapirin during spinal anesthesia." Anesth Analg 58 (1979): 337-8

3. "Product Information. Cefadyl (cephapirin)." Apothecon Inc, Plainsboro, NJ.

4. Natelson EA, Brown CH, 3d Bradshaw MW, Alfrey CP, Jr Williams TW, Jr "Influence of cephalosporin antibiotics on blood coagulation and platelet function." Antimicrob Agents Chemother 9 (1976): 91-3

5. Levison ME, Bran JL, Jepson JH, Kaye D "Neutropenia associated with cephapirin therapy." Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1 (1972): 174-6

6. Pan CV, Quintela GA, Garcia JR, Millan I, Martin FM, Mir MM "Cephapirin-induced neutropenia." Chemotherapy 35 (1989): 449-53

7. Lewis JA, Rindone JP "Acute interstitial nephritis associated with cephapirin." Drug Intell Clin Pharm 21 (1987): 380-1

8. Wiesner P, MacGregor R, Bear D, Berman S, Holmes K, Turck M "Evaluation of a new cephalosporin antibiotic, cephapirin." Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1 (1972): 303-9

9. Moellering RC Jr, Swartz MN "The newer cephalosporins." N Engl J Med 294 (1976): 24-8

10. Carrizosa J, Levison ME, Kaye D "Double-blind controlled comparison of phlebitis produced by cephapirin and cephalothin." Antimicrob Agents Chemother 3 (1973): 306-7

11. Sorrentino AP, Haughey EJ, JR, Cronin DW, Bohen LN "Phlebitis associated with the intravenous use of cephalothin and cephapirin." Am J Hosp Pharm 33 (1976): 642-4

12. Cross AS, Tramont EC "Comparison of phlebitis produced by cephapirin and cephalothin." Antimicrob Agents Chemother 9 (1976): 722-4

13. Siebert WT, Westerman EL, Smilack JD, Bradshaw MW, Williams TW, Jr "Comparison of thrombophlebitis associated with three cephalosporin antibiotics." Antimicrob Agents Chemother 10 (1976): 467-9

14. Bodner SJ, Koenig MG "Clinical and in vitro evaluation of cephapirin: a new parenteral cephalosporin." Am J Med Sci 263 (1972): 43-51

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.