Why is it prescribed?
Cefuroxime is used to treat infections caused by various bacteria. This material will be limited to infections of the respiratory tract (e.g. pharyngitis, tonsilitis, bronchitis, sinusitis) and the middle ear.
Along with its needed effects, cefuroxime may cause some unwanted or undesirable effects. Generally, cefuroxime is well tolerated and many people will not experience unwanted effects. The frequency and severity of these effects is dependant on many factors including dose, duration of therapy and individual susceptibility. Possible unwanted effects include:
- diaper rash in children
- allergic reaction (hives, itching, rash, difficulty breathing)
- pseudomembranous colitis (inflammation of the colon caused by the overgrowth and toxin production of bacteria that are not killed by the antibiotic)
Cefuroxime is an antibiotic medication that kills various bacteria. It works by inhibiting the synthesis of one of the building blocks needed for the bacteria to make its cell wall. This results in a cell wall that is defective and more likely to rupture. The effectiveness of cefuroxime depends on factors such as dose, concentration in the blood as well as other body fluids and tissue, and the susceptibility of the bacteria. Cefuroxime does not kill all types of bacteria, but only those that have a sensitivity to this antibiotic. Infections caused by bacteria that are not sensitive to cefuroxime will not show improvement after taking this medication.
Taking the antibiotic repeatedly or for prolonged periods may result in bacterial or fungal overgrowth which can lead to a second infection. When this occurs, the cefuroxime may need to be stopped and another antibiotic prescribed to treat the new infection.
Diarrhea often develops while taking cefuroxime. This is sometimes caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the gut that are not killed by the antibiotic. In severe cases, this may be life threatening and would require treatment with other antibiotics. In mild cases, symptoms disappear shortly after the drug is discontinued.
There is some evidence to show that people who are allergic to penicillin may also be allergic to cefuroxime and vice versa. Be sure to inform your doctor and pharmacist of any antibiotic allergy or suspected allergy that you may have had in the past.
Drug Interactions: It is important to tell your doctor and pharmacist of any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking. In some cases, the dose of one or both drugs may need to be altered or another drug may be prescribed. The following drugs or drug classes have been known to interact with cefuroxime:
- probenecid (e.g. Benemid®)
- diuretics or water pills (e.g. furosemide)
Use is not recommended in the following situations:
- allergy to cephalosporins (e.g. cephalexin)
Caution is recommended in the following situations:
- kidney disease
- allergy to penicillin
- stomach or intestinal disease (e.g. colitis)
- prolonged, repeated therapy
False positive direct Coombs' tests (test used in detecting a type of blood disorder) may be caused by cefuroxime. Cefuroxime may cause false urine test results for glucose.
Use in pregnancy: Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you suspect you are pregnant.
Use while breastfeeding: Cefuroxime does appear in breast-milk. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before you use this medication while breastfeeding.