Generic Name: Cephalexin Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is cephalexin used for?

Cephalexin is commonly used to treat infections caused by bacteria, such as upper respiratory infections, ear infections, skin infections, and urinary tract infections.

Cephalexin may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should I take cephalexin?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Take cephalexin exactly as directed by your doctor.

Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Cephalexin comes as a capsule, tablet, and suspension (liquid) to take by mouth.

Liquid: Shake the liquid well before each use to mix the medication evenly.

Capsule or tablet: Drink it whole with a full glass of water. Do not crush or chew.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use this medication.

How do I store cephalexin?

Cephalexin is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store cephalexin in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of cephalexin that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush cephalexin down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using cephalexin?

Consult with your doctor or pharmacist, if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of the products of cephalexin or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication is pregnancy risk category B, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from cephalexin?

Cephalexin may cause following side effects, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Rectal or genital itching
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Joint pain

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with cephalexin?

Cephalexin may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Some products that may interact with this drug include:

  • Anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
  • Diabetes medicines: metformin (Fortamet, Glucophage, Glumetza, Riomet, in Glucovance, Invokamet, others)
  • probenecid (Probalan)

Does food or alcohol interact with cephalexin?

Cephalexin may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with cephalexin?

Cephalexin may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Especially if you have:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • A history of intestinal problems, such as colitis

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.

What is the dose of cephalexin for an adult?

Genitourinary Tract Infections:

The recommended dose is 250 mg every 6 hours; dosage range, 1-4 g/day in divided doses.

Bone Infections:

The recommended dose is 250 mg every 6 hours; dosage range, 1-4 g/day in divided doses.

Uncomplicated Cystitis:

The recommended dose is 250 mg every 6 hours or 500 mg every 12 hours; dosage range, 1-4 g/day in divided doses.

Otitis Media:

The recommended dose is 250 mg every 6 hours; dosage range, 1-4 g/day in divided doses

Skin/Skin Structure Infections:

The recommended dose is 250 mg every 6 hours or 500 mg every 12 hours; dosage range, 1-4 g/day in divided doses.

Respiratory Tract Infections:

The recommended dose is 250 mg every 6 hours; dosage range, 1-4 g/day in divided doses

Streptococcal Pharyngitis:

The recommended dose is 250 mg every 6 hours or 500 mg every 12 hours; dosage range, 1-4 g/day in divided doses.

Cellulitis and Mastitis:

The recommended dose is 500 mg every 6 hours; dosage range, 1-4 g/day in divided doses.

What is the dose of cephalexin for a child?

Uncomplicated Cystitis:

  • <15 years: The recommended dose is 25-50 mg/kg/day every 6-8 hours for 10 days; not to exceed 4 g/day.
  • >15 years: The recommended dose is 250 mg every 6 hours; dosage range, 1-4 g/day in divided doses.

Genitourinary Tract Infections:

The recommended dose is 25-50 mg/kg/day every 6-8 hours for 10 days; not to exceed 4 g/day.

Beta-Hemolytic Streptococcal Infections:

The recommended dose is 25-50 mg/kg/day every 6-8 hours for 10 days; not to exceed 4 g/day.

Bone Infections:

The recommended dose is 25-50 mg/kg/day every 6-8 hours for 10 days; not to exceed 4 g/day.

Otitis Media:

The recommended dose is 75-100 mg/kg/day every 6 hours for 10 days; not to exceed 4 g/day.

Skin/Skin Structure Infections:

The recommended dose is 25-50 mg/kg/day every 6-8 hours for 10 days; not to exceed 4 g/day.

Respiratory Tract Infections:

The recommended dose is 25-50 mg/kg/day every 6-8 hours for 10 days; not to exceed 4 g/day.

Streptococcal Pharyngitis:

The recommended dose is 25-50 mg/kg every 12 hours for 10 days; not to exceed 500 mg every 12 hours.

Cellulitis and Mastitis:

The recommended dose is 500 mg every hour; dosage range, 1-4 g/day in divided doses.

How is cephalexin available?

Cephalexin is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Capsule 250mg, 500mg, 750mg
  • Oral Suspension 125mg/5mL, 250mg/5mL
  • Tablet 250mg, 500mg

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of cephalexin, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: June 2, 2017 | Last Modified: June 2, 2017

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