Cefotetan (Injection)

Cefotetan injection is used to treat bacterial infections, especially post-surgery.


Cefotetan injection is often given prior to surgery in order to prevent bacterial infections in many different parts of the body. The medication is also used to treat infections that occur following surgery.

Cefotetan is given as an injection and is only available on prescription from your doctor. This medication falls into the category of drugs known as cephalosporin antibiotics. The drug works by effectively killing active bacteria or preventing them from proliferating and spreading. It should be noted that cefotetan is not effective in treating viral infections, common colds, or influenza.

In the US, cefotetan is sold under the brand name, Cefotan and comes in powder for solution form.

Conditions treated

  • bacterial infections

Type of medicine

  • powder for solution
  • intravenous
  • cephalosporin antibiotic


Although cefotetan is very effective in preventing and treating bacterial infections, it can cause some unwanted side-effects in patients who are using it. Before you are treated with this medication, you must tell your doctor if you have allergies to any other form of medication. You must also mention any unwanted side-effects that you have suffered as a result of taking other medicines, including non-prescription products, herbal preparations, and vitamin supplements.

Some medicines may contain preservatives, animal products, or dyes. Be sure to tell your treating physician if you are allergic to any of these.

The side-effects mentioned below have been reported by patients being treated with cefotetan. Tell your doctor if you begin to experience any of the following side effects:

  • wheezing
  • unusual weakness or tiredness
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unexpected weight loss
  • uncontrolled bleeding from cuts
  • ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • tightness in the chest
  • thick, white vaginal discharge, sometimes with a mild odor
  • swollen or painful glands
  • swollen glands
  • swelling or puffiness of the eyelids, face, lips, or tongue
  • swelling of the lower legs or feet
  • stomach cramps or tender abdomen
  • sore throat
  • skin blistering, loosening or peeling
  • seizures
  • red, irritated eyes
  • red skin lesions with a purple center
  • red pinpoint spots on the skin
  • rash
  • poor appetite
  • paralysis
  • pale skin
  • painful sexual intercourse
  • painful or difficult urination
  • nosebleeds
  • nosebleeds
  • nausea or vomiting
  • joint or muscle pain
  • jaundice
  • itching of the vagina or genitals
  • itching
  • increased vaginal bleeding or menstrual flow
  • hoarseness
  • headache
  • general body swelling
  • fever
  • fever
  • fast heartbeat
  • excessive thirst
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • difficulty swallowing
  • difficulty breathing, or feeling short of breath
  • diarrhea, watery, severe, or bloody
  • dark urine
  • dark brown or red urine
  • cyanosis
  • coughing up blood
  • coughing
  • chills
  • chest pains
  • changes in skin color
  • changes in frequency and amount of urine
  • blood in the urine
  • bloating
  • bleeding gums
  • black, tarry stools
  • black, or red tarry stools
  • back, leg, or stomach pain

This list should not be viewed as all-inclusive or exhaustive. If you notice any other unwanted effects or if you begin to feel at all unwell while being treated with this medication, you must tell your doctor straight away.


You will only be given cefotetan by a trained medical professional in a clinic or hospital. The medication may be administered intravenously via a tube or cannula that is inserted into one of your veins. The location of the cannula will depend on the nature of your condition, as will the dose administered. Alternatively, your nurse or doctor may give you cefotetan via an injection into a muscle.

If your condition does not show signs of improvement within a few days of starting your course of treatment with cefotetan, you should tell your doctor, as the dose may need adjusting. If you begin to feel worse after being given the medication, tell your nurse or doctor straight away.

If the person receiving treatment with cefotetan suddenly develops serious side-effects, especially losing consciousness, swelling around the mouth or throat, or develops severe breathing difficulties, you should call 911. These symptoms could mean that the patient has anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition.

Major drug interactions

Although there are some drugs that should never be used at the same time, in some cases it is appropriate to use two or more, even though an interaction will probably occur. In such cases it is not uncommon for the doctor to change the dose of one or more of the medications or perhaps suggest other precautions that could be taken by the patient in order to mitigate the effect of any interactions.

You must tell your doctor straight away if you are already taking any other drugs, including over-the-counter medicines, herbal remedies, or vitamin supplements. Some types of foods should also be avoided, as should consuming alcohol and using tobacco, as interactions may sometimes occur. You should ask your treating specialist for more advice on these issues if you think that they may affect you. This advice applies specifically and particularly too patients who consume or use ethanol or products containing ethanol.

It is not generally recommended that cefotetan is given to people who have recently been treated with live cholera vaccine. However, if your doctor decides that the treatment is the best option for your condition, they may alter the dose or adjust the frequency with which cefotetan is used.


Before commencing treatment with cefotetan, you must be sure to tell your doctor if you have ever suffered from an allergic reaction to this drug or to any other form of prescription medication. In addition, you should tell your health care worker if you have any other allergies, especially to dyes, preservatives, animal derivatives, or certain foods.

If you suffer from certain medical problems, using cefotetan could adversely affect your health. You must make sure that you appraise your medical team of your full medical history, especially if you have every suffered from any of the following health conditions.

Cefotetan should be used with extreme caution in patients who have a history of inflammation of the gut, or colitis. If you have a tendency to suffer from diarrhea, have a history of hemolytic anemia, or suffer from seizures you should not use this medication, as it could make all these conditions worse.

Cefotetan must be used with caution when treating patients who have a history of renal (kidney) disease or kidney failure. Kidney conditions can cause drugs to be removed from the body more slowly than in patients without these problems, potentially leading to an overdose.

At the present time, there is no evidence to suggest that using cefotetan during pregnancy can cause damage to the fetus. However, it is still very important that you let your doctor know if you are pregnant or if you are planning to get pregnant during your course of treatment with this drug. You will then be able to discuss with your treating physician the risks versus the benefits of treatment, before making a decision on whether to continue with it.

It is not known whether cefotetan can pass into breast milk. However, it is advisable that you mention to your midwife or doctor if you are breastfeeding, as it may be advisable to find an alternative method of feeding your infant until your treatment with this medication has finished. Do not express breast milk for later use. You should wait until at least two weeks following the conclusion of your treatment before resuming breastfeeding, in order to allow sufficient time for your body to remove all traces of the drug.

Some patients develop hemolytic anemia during treatment with cefotetan. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should stop taking the medication immediately and alert your doctor or nurse:

  • stomach, leg, or back pain
  • bleeding gums
  • dark urine
  • chills or fever
  • breathing difficulties
  • headaches
  • general swelling of the body
  • poor appetite
  • vomiting or feeling nauseous
  • nosebleeds
  • sore throat
  • very pale skin
  • jaundice
  • feeling unusually weak or tire

Cefotetan can sometimes cause severe diarrhea in patients. Before you take any anti-diarrhea medication, you must check with your treating physician that it is safe to do so. Some anti-diarrhea medicines can actually make the diarrhea much worse or cause the attack to last longer. If your diarrhea does not resolve itself within a couple of hours, or if initially mild diarrhea starts to become worse, you should check with your doctor.

It is important that you do not drink alcohol during the course of your treatment with cefotetan and for three days subsequently. Consuming alcohol during this time can cause headaches, sweating, hot flushes, and a pounding, rapid, or irregular heartbeat.

If you are due to undergo any medical tests, be sure to tell your medical attendant that you are receiving cefotetan, as some test results can be affected by this drug.


Cefotetan will not be dispensed directly to patients. Practitioners should ensure that the medication not be refrigerated or placed in a freezer.

The medication should not be exposed to direct sunlight, heat or moisture.

Do not use cefotetan that has passed its use-by date or if the packaging appears to be damaged or opened. Do not store unused solution for future use.


Cefotetan injection is used to prevent and treat bacterial infections in many different parts of the body, especially following surgery

Cefotetan is given as an intramuscular injection or intravenously and is only available on prescription from your doctor. This medication is a cephalosporin antibiotic. The drug works by killing active bacteria and preventing them from growing and spreading. However, cefotetan is not effective in treating viral infections, common colds, or influenza.

There are a few medical conditions, including kidney disease that can affect how cefotetan works. It is therefore important that you give a fully medical history to your doctor and communicate fully with them during the course of your treatment. To achieve the best results, you must work closely with your doctor, including attending regular check-up appointments throughout the course of your treatment with this drug.

Last Reviewed:
December 25, 2017
Last Updated:
April 04, 2018