Cefoxitin (Intravenous)

Cefoxitin is a well-known antibiotic and is routinely used to treat infections which are bacterial in nature.


As well as being used to treat established infections, Cefoxitin can also be used as a prophylaxis. If patients are due to undergo surgery, they may be given Cefoxitin in order to reduce the risk of an infection occurring.

Unlike many antibiotics, Cefoxitin is given via injection or intravenously. Delivering the medication in this manner means that it begins to work more quickly and should kill the bacteria causing the infection at a faster rate than other medications.

Although Cefoxitin can be used to treat numerous types of bacterial infections, it is often prescribed if patients are suffering from E.coli, bacterial pneumonia, Enterobacter, Clostridium spp., Bacteroides spp. and/or Klebsiella spp. It can also be used to treat Peptococcus spp., Peptostreptococcus spp., H. Influenza and/or group A beta-hemolytic Streptococcus.

Once the medication begins to take effect, it kills the bacteria which is present and reduces the chances of bacteria being able to spread. As a result, any infection which is present will be killed and the chance of an infection recurring or developing is greatly reduced.

Although Cefoxitin is extremely effective in treating bacterial infections, it will not minimize or treat viral and/or fungal infections. Due to this, patients will only be treated with Cefoxitin once it has been established that they are suffering from a bacterial infection, as opposed to another condition or type of infection.

Conditions Treated:

  • Bacterial Infections

Type of Medicine:

  • Cephalosporin Antibiotic

Side Effects:

When patients are treated with Cefoxitin, they may experience side-effects. Although there are various side-effects which can occur, not every patient will develop side-effects and, those that do, are not likely to experience all possible side-effects. Following treatment with Cefoxitin, the following side-effects are fairly common:

  • Red streaks on the skin
  • Swelling, tenderness, or pain at the injection site
  • Redness of the skin

In most instances, the above side-effects are not considered to be a cause for concern. If patients are worried about these side-effects, they should always seek advice from a medical professional.

If patients develop the following side-effects after Cefoxitin has been administered, they should seek medical help:

  • Abdominal or stomach cramps or tenderness
  • Bloating
  • Back, leg, or stomach pains
  • Bleeding and bruising
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • Bloody, black, or tarry stools
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Cracks in the skin
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Coughing up blood
  • Chills
  • Dark urine
  • Decrease in urine output or decrease in urine-concentrating ability
  • Diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
  • Difficult or labored breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Difficulty with breathing, chewing, swallowing, or talking
  • General body swelling
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Double vision
  • Feeling of discomfort
  • Fever
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Greatly decreased frequency of urination or amount of urine
  • Headache
  • Increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding
  • Increased thirst
  • High fever
  • Inflammation of the joints
  • Itching
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Itching of the vagina or genital area
  • Large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • Loss of heat from the body
  • Muscle aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pale skin
  • Nosebleeds
  • Paralysis
  • Prolonged bleeding from cuts
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • Rash
  • Red or dark brown urine
  • Red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • Scaly skin
  • Red, swollen skin
  • Sore throat
  • Severe tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden decrease in amount of urine
  • Sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • Swelling of the feet or lower legs
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Wheezing
  • Swollen or painful glands
  • Thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor
  • Vomiting
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Troubled breathing with exertion
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • Unpleasant breath odor
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin
  • Agitation
  • Coma
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Hostility
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle twitching
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Seizures
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Swelling of the face, ankles, or hands
  • Stupor
  • Changes in skin color
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling of the foot or leg

Although these side-effects will not necessarily require medical interventions, patients should inform their physician if they develop them. As Cefoxitin is normally administered in a clinical setting, such as in a hospital, patients should be monitored regularly and the presence of any side-effects will be noted by medical personnel.


When Cefoxitin is prescribed, physicians will determine what the appropriate dose is. Available in powder form and as a pre-prepared solution, doctors will either prepare the solution before administering it or simply open a vial of pre-prepared solution.

As Cefoxitin is given in a clinical setting, a nurse or alternative medical professional will administer the drug. Patients will not, therefore, need to learn how to administer, handle or prepare Cefoxitin.

Although every patient's dose will be determined based on their clinical presentation, there are standard dosing regimes for treatment with Cefoxitin.

Adult patients with an existing infection may receive 1g of Cefoxitin intravenously every 6-8 hours, for example. If the infection is moderate or serious, however, a dose of 1g every 4 hours or 2g every 6-8 hours may be given. In cases where the infection is severe or life-threatening, patients may be treated with 2g of Cefoxitin every 4 hours or 3g every 6 hours.

When children are treated with Cefoxitin, they are typically given 80-160mg per kg of body weight per day. The maximum dose of 12g per day should not be exceeded.

Although the above information is an example of a standard dose of Cefoxitin, every patient will be assessed individually and doctors will provide a unique treatment plan for them. Whilst many patients will benefit from the standard dosage strategy, there are various factors which may cause doctors to deviate from the standard starting doses.

Potential Drug Interactions:

When patients receive more than one medication, there is a chance that the medicines will interact with one another. In some cases, this could cause adverse effects or the medications may simply cancel each other out. Alternatively, an interaction between medications may increase the risk of the patient suffering from side-effects.

Due to the possibility of interactions occurring, patients on the following medications may not be treated with Cefoxitin:

  • Warfarin
  • Argatroban
  • Tinzaparin
  • BCG vaccine, live
  • Lepirudin
  • Bivalirudin
  • Heparin
  • Cholera vaccine
  • Fondaparinux
  • Dalteparin
  • Enoxaparin

Although the following medications may interact with Cefoxitin, this interaction does not normally present significant problems. Due to this, patients on the following medications may be treated with Cefoxitin but, if physicians proceed with this treatment, the patient should be monitored regularly:

  • Minocycline
  • Azithromycin
  • Erythromycin Stearate
  • Aztreonam
  • Erythromycin Lactobionate
  • Bazedoxifene / Conjugated estrogens
  • Erythromycin Ethylsuccinate
  • Clarithromycin
  • Erythromycin base
  • Demeclocycline
  • Doxycycline
  • Dienogest / Estradiol Valerate
  • Tetracycline
  • Sodium Picosulfate
  • Magnesium Oxide
  • Anhydrous citric acid
  • Probenecid
  • Choline magnesium trisalicylate
  • Furosemide

Patients should also be aware that over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements can interact with prescribed medication, such as Cefoxitin. Rose hips, in particular, are known to interact with Cefoxitin and patients may require extra monitoring or an alternative treatment if they have recently used or ingested rose hips.

Patients should inform their physician if they are taking any other medication, vitamins or supplements before receiving treatment with Cefoxitin.


If patients have existing medical problems or established conditions, it could affect the use of Cefoxitin as a treatment. Patients with the following conditions may be unable to tolerate Cefoxitin:

  • Kidney disease
  • Colitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures

Doctors will examine the patient and take their medical history into before determining whether Cefoxitin is an appropriate medication for them. If they have a kidney problem, for example, they may receive a lower dose of Cefoxitin as the medication is likely to be retained in their body for longer. Alternatively, if they suffer from seizures, doctors may choose not to prescribe Cefoxitin as it could worsen their condition.

The safety of Cefoxitin during pregnancy has not yet been confirmed. Although the medication is not thought to present a serious risk to the unborn fetus, patients should discuss this with their doctor if they are pregnant.

If a patient becomes pregnant soon after being treated with Cefoxitin, they should seek medical advice from their doctor.

As Cefoxitin could be passed to an infant via breastfeeding, mothers may wish to refrain from breastfeeding while they are being treated with Cefoxitin. Similarly, they may need to avoid breastfeeding for a certain period of time after they've been treated with Cefoxitin, as the drug may still remain in their system. Although Cefoxitin is thought to present a minimal risk to infants when it is transferred via breastfeeding, mothers should be aware that the drug can be transferred to the infant when nursing.

Breastfeeding mothers should seek medical advice before receiving treatment with Cefoxitin and/or before breastfeeding after they have been treated with Cefoxitin.

Although children can be treated with Cefoxitin, this medication should not typically be given to infants under the age of 3 months.


As Cefoxitin is administered in a hospital or a medical clinic, patients will not have to store this medication at home.

Cefoxitin powder should be stored at 36°-77°F.


Although bacterial infections are fairly common medical complaints, they can be life-threatening in certain situations. If a mild or moderate infection is left untreated, it can rapidly become more serious. Similarly, if the infection is close to vital organs, it can affect their functioning and lead to a life-threatening medical emergency.

When patients are suffering from a serious bacterial infection, it's vital that they are treated quickly. Cefoxitin effectively kills bacteria and can be administered intravenously. This is generally the quickest way to deliver medicines and ensures that the drug will take effect as quickly as possible. Due to this, Cefoxitin is a popular form of treatment for patients with bacterial infections.

Last Reviewed:
December 23, 2017
Last Updated:
April 04, 2018