Cefixime (Oral)

Used to treat bacterial infections, Cefixime can be given to patients suffering from various different ailments.

Overview

As a cephalosporin antibiotic, Cefixime can be used to treat infections in various parts of the body. It is most typically used to rsolve infections of the respiratory system, such as bronchitis, infections of the ears and urinary tract, as well as sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea. In some instances, Cefixime may also be given to treat patients with Lyme disease.

Once the medication has been absorbed, it begins to break down the cell walls of bacteria. By attaching to the penicillin binding proteins, Cefixime damages the bacterial cells and prevents them from dividing and replicating. By killing the bacteria which is present, Cefixime resolves the infection and the patient's symptoms are reduced.

Patients regularly experience bacterial infections, such as tonsillitis or otitis media, so treatment with Cefixime is not uncommon. Although these infections can cause unpleasant and painful symptoms, they do not normally cause any permanent damage. Providing treatment is provided quickly, the infection should be resolved within a matter of days and patients should notice their symptoms reducing fairly quickly.

Immunocompromised patients should be treated quickly in the presence of infection, as it is likely to spread far more quickly when compared to otherwise healthy patients. If physicians are able to diagnose a bacterial infection soon after it has developed, treatment with oral antibiotics, such as Cefixime, is normally sufficient.

Conditions Treated

  • Bacterial Infections

Type of Medicine

  • Cephalosporin Antibiotic

Side Effects

When taking antibiotics, it's not uncommon for patients to experience some side effects. Although Cefixime must affect the bacteria cells in order to be effective, it can also temporarily affect healthy cells within the body. Due to this, patients may experience some side effects when taking the medication. These may include:

  • Acid or sour stomach
  • Belching
  • Heartburn
  • Bloated
  • Excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
  • Full feeling
  • Itching of the vagina or genital area itching or pain of the genital area
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • Indigestion
  • Passing gas
  • Stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
  • Redness of the skin
  • White patches with diaper rash
  • Thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor
  • White patches in the mouth or throat or on the tongue

In most circumstances, these side effects will diminish once the patient's body has adjusted to the medication. Although medical intervention is not normally required, patients should seek advice from a physician if they are concerned about the presence of these side effects.

When taking Cefixime, patients are at risk of experiencing other side effects as well. Although they are normally relatively mild, these side effects may require medical intervention:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal and stomach pain
  • Loose or frequent stools
  • Agitation
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Chest pain
  • Bleeding or irritated gums
  • Chills
  • Blood in urine or stools
  • Clay or light-colored stools
  • Confusion
  • Coma
  • Blistering, loosening and/or peeling of skin
  • Cough
  • Reduced urine output
  • Dark urine
  • Feeling of discomfort
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Tiredness and/or weakness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Hives, itching, or skin rash
  • Irritability
  • Joint inflammation
  • Joint and/or muscle pain
  • Hostility
  • Large swellings, similar to hives, on the face, lips, throat, tongue, eyelids, hands, feet, legs, or sex organs
  • Pale skin
  • Reduced appetite
  • Lower back and/or side pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle twitching
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Lethargy
  • Red pinpoint spots on the skin
  • Swelling or puffiness around the eyes, or on the eyelids, lips, face or tongue
  • Red, irritated eyes
  • Red lesions on the skin, sometimes with a purple center
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Seizures
  • Painful or uncomfortable urination
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing up blood
  • White spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • Stupor
  • Cough
  • Facial swelling
  • Swollen glands
  • Swelling of the hands and/or feet
  • Hoarseness
  • Swollen or enlarged lymph glands
  • Chest tightness
  • Increased thirst
  • Unpleasant or unusual breath odor
  • Nosebleeds
  • Yellowing of the skin and/or eyes
  • Unusual bruising and/or bleeding
  • General body swelling
  • Stomach discomfort and/or pain
  • Pain in the upper right of the abdomen
  • Pain paralysis
  • Abdominal tenderness and/or stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea, severe and may contain blood
  • Increased vaginal bleeding and/or heavy menstrual flow
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Prolonged bleeding if cuts or lacerations occur
  • Dark and/or red urine
  • Unusual loss of weight

If patients are experiencing severe side effects, they should seek medical attention as quickly as possible. In some instances, the presence of side effects can cause subsequent medical problems. If patients experience severe diarrhea when taking Cefixime, for example, they may become dehydrated. Physicians may recommend additional treatment, such as rehydration salts, or they may alter the dose of Cefixime in order to reduce the side-effects.

Patients should always seek medical advice before taking additional medication to reduce side-effects. In rare cases, serious side-effects may indicate the medication is unsuitable for the patient. By seeking help from a medical professional, rather than trying to treat side effects at home, patients can be sure that the medication is appropriate for them and that it is having the desired effect.

Dosage

Cefixime is available in various different formats and the dose may be dependent on the type of medication the patient is given. Available as tablets, capsules, chewable tablets and powder for suspension, the strength of these medications can differ, depending on what type of Cefixime the patient is prescribed.

In addition to this, the appropriate dose of medication is likely to depend on the type of infection the patient has and the severity of the infection. Similarly, the patient's age, medical history and their current weight may affect the dose they're prescribed.

For adults and children over the age of 12, a standard dose of Cefixime is likely to be 400mg once per day or 200mg every 12 hours. For younger children, the appropriate dose of Cefixime will be determined by their weight. Typically, Cefixime is prescribed as 8mg per kg of bodyweight per day. This dose may be taken just once per day or the dose can be halved and taken every 12 hours.

If the patient is prescribed Cefixime in capsule form, the capsule should not be broken, halved or chewed. Instead, it should be swallowed whole with water. A standard Cefixime tablet can be cut or split in half before being swallowed, whilst the chewable Cefixime tablets should be chewed or crushed before they are swallowed.

If the patient is given Cefixime in liquid form, it should be measured using a specific medical spoon, medicine cup or syringe. Standard household tablespoons or teaspoons should not be used to measure Cefixime liquid as they may be inaccurate.

In many cases, patients will be advised to take the medication for a number of days. This enables Cefixime to kill the bacteria and resolve the infection. If patients begin to feel better before they finish the course of treatment, they should still take the medication as advised. If the discard tablets or capsules simply because they feel better, patients may find that the infection returns or that they develop a resistance to antibiotics.

Although most patients will need to take Cefixime for a number of days, some infections may warrant a shorter course of treatment. Patients receiving treatment for gonorrhea, for example, may only need one dose of medication in order to kill the infection.

When a physician prescribes Cefixime, or any medication, they will give the patient tailored dosage instructions. Although the above examples set out the standard dosing regime for treatment with Cefixime, patients should always follow the dosage instructions given to them by their doctor.

If patients miss a dose of Cefixime, they should take it as soon as they remember to do so. If the next dose of Cefixime is almost due, however, they may need to skip the dose completely. Patients should not take a double dose of this medication. If patients have missed a dose of Cefixime and are unsure how to proceed with treatment, they should seek advice from their physician and/or pharmacist.

Potential Drug Interactions

In some cases, Cefixime can interact with other medications the patient is taking. If the patient is taking the following medications, or has taken them recently, doctors may decide not to treat them with Cefixime or to alter the dose to prevent interactions from occurring:

  • Cholera vaccine
  • Anisindione
  • Ethinyl estradiol
  • Levonorgestrel
  • Norethindrone
  • Pemetrexed
  • Ampicillin
  • Probenecid
  • Desogestrel
  • Amikacin
  • Indium oxyquinoline in-111
  • Entecavir
  • Tobramycin
  • Drospirenone
  • Levomefolate calcium
  • Bumetanide
  • Mycophenolate Mofetil
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Gentamicin
  • Warfarin
  • Torsemide
  • Furosemide
  • Dicumarol
  • Ethacrynic acid
  • Typhoid vaccine
  • Folic acid
  • Kanamycin
  • Netilmycin
  • Colchicine
  • Streptomycin
  • Mycophenolic acid
  • Neomycin
  • Nimodipine

Even though the presence of interactions is possible when taking the above medications with Cefixime, this doesn't always mean that they can't be prescribed together. If physicians feel that the benefits of taking Cefixime alongside the above medications outweigh the risks, they are likely to prescribe it anyway. In some cases, simply changing the dose or altering the time at which patients take the medication is enough to prevent a potential interaction from happening.

Warnings

Normally, Cefixime will begin to work fairly quickly and most patients will notice a reduction in their symptoms within a few days. If the patient's condition does not begin to improve within this time, they should seek further advice from their doctor.

If the patient is due to undergo any medical tests or procedures, they should inform the physician that they are taking Cefixime. This medication could affect test results and this may need to be taken into account when the tests are carried out.

Cefixime can often cause patients to experience diarrhea. Although this is a common side-effect, patients should not typically attempt to treat it with over-the-counter medication. Instead, they should seek medical advice before taking any additional medications.

Although Cefixime can be prescribed for children and infants, the medication has not been tested on infants under the age of 6 months. Due to this, physicians will not normally prescribe Cefixime to children of this age, unless the potential benefits clearly outweigh any possible risks.

Cefixime is not thought to present a risk to unborn babies or pregnant patients but studies have yet to conclude this. As a category B medication, Cefixime has not been shown to present a significant risk to an unborn fetus but physicians may be reluctant to prescribe the medication to pregnant patients.

If pregnant, patients should inform their physician before taking Cefixime. Similarly, if patients become pregnant while taking Cefixime, they should contact their doctor for advice.

Currently, studies have not shown whether Cefixime can be transferred to an infant via breastfeeding. Due to this, patients may choose not to breastfeed whilst taking Cefixime or while the drug remains in their system. Patients should seek medical advice before breastfeeding whilst taking Cefixime.

If patients have been diagnosed with other medical conditions, it may affect the use of Cefixime as an antibiotic treatment. Patients with the following conditions may be unable to take this medication:

  • Bleeding problems
  • Allergy to Penicillin
  • Phenylketonuria (Cefixime in chewable tablet form contains
  • Kidney problems

Although patients with the above conditions may not be able to take Cefixime, they may be prescribed the medication in some circumstances. Kidney problems can mean that the drug remains in the system for longer, for example, so patients may simply be given a lower dose of Cefixime to reflect this. Similarly, patients with phenylketonuria may not be given Cefixime in chewable tablet form as it contains phenylalanine which could worsen their condition. As other forms of Cefixime do not usually contain phenylalanine, they may be prescribed a tablet, capsule or liquid instead.

In some cases, patients may experience an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis when taking Cefixime. This constitutes a medical emergency and medical treatment is required immediately. Patients should call 911 or access their nearest medical facility if symptoms of an allergy begin to occur.

Storage

As patients are normally advised to take Cefixime on a daily basis, they will need to store the medication at home. When doing so, patients should ensure that no-one else can access the medication and that it is kept away from children and/or pets.

In addition to this, the medication should be stored according to the instructions on the packaging. The liquid form of Cefixime may need to be kept in the refrigerator or at room temperature, for example, so patients will need to consult the packaging for exact storage instructions.

Cefixime should not be frozen and patients will need to store it in a location which is free from excess heat and moisture, as well as being out of direct sunlight.

If the medication becomes out-of-date or if patients are advised to discontinue treatment, they should seek medical advice regarding the disposal of Cefixime.

Summary

As numerous people suffer from bacterial infections each year, Cefixime is prescribed by physicians regularly. Similarly, it's suitability for both adult and child patients means that it is a widely-used medicine.

As Cefixime normally works quickly, patients should experience relief from symptoms within a relatively short time and the infection should be completely resolved once they have completed the prescribed course of treatment.

Resources
Last Reviewed:
December 24, 2017
Last Updated:
April 04, 2018