Cefuroxime is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, such as bronchitis (infection of the airway tubes leading to the lungs); gonorrhea (a sexually transmitted disease); Lyme disease (an infection that may develop after a person is bitten by a tick); and infections of the skin, ears, sinuses, throat, tonsils, and urinary tract. Cefuroxime is in a class of medications called cephalosporin antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.
Antibiotics such as cefuroxime will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections. Using antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment.
Side Effects Of Cefuroxime
Cefuroxime may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes
- watery or bloody stools, stomach cramps, or fever during treatment or for up to two or more months after stopping treatment
- a return of fever, sore throat, chills, or other signs of infection
Cefuroxime may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking cefuroxime:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to cefuroxime; other cephalosporin antibiotics such as cefaclor, cefadroxil, cefazolin (Ancef, Kefzol), cefdinir, cefditoren (Spectracef), cefepime (Maxipime), cefixime, cefotaxime (Claforan), cefotetan, cefoxitin (Mefoxin), cefpodoxime, cefprozil, ceftaroline (Teflaro), ceftazidime ( Fortaz, Tazicef, in Avycaz), ceftibuten (Cedax), ceftriaxone (Rocephin), and cephalexin (Keflex); penicillin antibiotics; or any other medications. Also, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in cefuroxime tablets or suspension. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), cimetidine, diuretics (‘water pills’), famotidine (Pepcid), nizatidine (Axid), omeprazole (Prilosec, in Zegerid), pantoprazole(Protonix), probenecid (Probalan) and ranitidine (Zantac). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- if you are taking antacids that contain magnesium or aluminum, take them at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after cefuroxime.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had gastrointestinal disease (GI; affecting the stomach or intestines), especially colitis (a condition that causes swelling in the lining of the colon [large intestine]), or kidney or liver disease.
- you should know that cefuroxime decreases the effectiveness of some oral contraceptives (‘birth control pills). You will need to use another form of birth control while taking this medication. Talk to your doctor about other ways to prevent pregnancy while you are taking this medication.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking cefuroxime, call your doctor.
- if you have phenylketonuria (PKU, an inherited condition in which a special diet must be followed to prevent mental retardation), you should know that cefuroxime suspension is sweetened with aspartame that forms phenylalanine.
Cefuroxime comes as a tablet and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken every 12 hours for 5-10 days, depending on the condition being treated. To treat gonorrhea, cefuroxime is taken as a single dose, and to treat Lyme disease, cefuroxime is taken every 12 hours for 20 days. Take the suspension with food; the tablet may be taken with or without food. Take cefuroxime at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take cefuroxime exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Different cefuroxime products are absorbed by the body in different ways and cannot be substituted for one another. If you need to switch from one cefuroxime product to another, your doctor may need to adjust your dose.
Shake the suspension well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
The tablets should be swallowed whole. Because the crushed tablet has a strong bitter taste, the tablet should not be crushed. Children who cannot swallow the tablet whole should take the liquid instead.
You should begin to feel better during the first few days of treatment with cefuroxime. If your symptoms do not improve or get worse, call your doctor.
Take cefuroxime until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. If you stop taking cefuroxime too soon or skip doses, your infection may not be completely treated, and the bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body’s response to cefuroxime.
If you are diabetic and test your urine for sugar, use Clinistix or TesTape (not Clinitest) to test your urine while taking this medication. If you test your blood for sugar, check with your doctor or pharmacist to recommend the best product to use while taking this medication.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.