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Cefuroxime, Oral Tablet

Highlights for cefuroxime

  1. Cefuroxime oral tablet is available as both a generic drug and a brand-name drug. Brand name: Ceftin.
  2. Cefuroxime also comes as a liquid suspension. You take the tablet or suspension by mouth.
  3. Cefuroxime oral tablet is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria. These infections include pharyngitis, otitis media, sinusitis, and bronchitis.
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Important warnings

Important warnings

  • Allergy to medications similar to cefuroxime: If you’re allergic to medications that are similar to cefuroxime, you should not take cefuroxime. An allergic reaction can be serious, and in some cases, it can be fatal (cause death). Talk with your doctor to find out if you’re at risk of an allergic reaction.
  • Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea: Use of high doses of cefuroxime, or use of this drug for longer than 14 days, can lead to diarrhea. This diarrhea is caused by the organism Clostridium difficile. Most often, the diarrhea is mild to moderate. In rare cases, it can lead to fatal inflammation of the colon (large intestine). 
  • Phenylketonuria: The oral suspension form of cefuroxime contains phenylalanine. This is an amino acid that occurs naturally in many foods, such as eggs and meat. You should avoid this medication if you have phenylketonuria. With this condition, the body can’t break down phenylalanine.  

About

What is cefuroxime?

Cefuroxime oral tablet is a prescription drug that’s available as the brand-name drug Ceftin. It’s also available in generic form. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.

Cefuroxime also comes as a liquid suspension. Both forms are taken by mouth.

Why it's used

Cefuroxime is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria. These include pharyngitis, otitis media, sinusitis, and bronchitis. They also include urinary tract infections, gonorrhea, Lyme disease, and impetigo.

How it works

Cefuroxime belongs to a class of drugs called cephalosporins. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Cefuroxime works by interfering with the forming of the bacteria’s cell walls. This causes the cell walls to rupture (break). This results in the death of the bacteria.

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Side effects

Cefuroxime side effects

Cefuroxime oral tablet doesn’t cause drowsiness but it can cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects that can occur with use of cefuroxime oral tablet include:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • Jarisch/Herxheimer reaction. This is a short-term reaction seen after antibiotic treatment for certain diseases. Symptoms can include fever, chills, or muscle pain.

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Allergic reactions. Symptoms can include:
    • hives
    • trouble breathing
    • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.

Interactions

Cefuroxime may interact with other medications

Cefuroxime oral tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with cefuroxime are listed below.

Oral contraceptives

When taken with cefuroxime, oral contraceptives (birth control pills) may not be absorbed well by the body. This means they may not work as well. Your doctor may suggest that you use a different birth control method during your treatment with cefuroxime. Examples of these drugs include:

  • drospirenone/ethyinyl estradiol
  • levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol
  • norethindrone acetate/ethinyl estradiol
  • desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol
  • norgestrel/ethinyl estradiol

Stomach acid drugs

When taken with certain drugs that reduce stomach acid, cefuroxime may not be absorbed well by the body. This means it may not work as well. Examples of these drugs include:

  • antacids, such as:
    • calcium carbonate
    • magnesium hydroxide
    • aluminum hydroxide
  • H2-antagonists, such as:
    • famotidine
    • cimetidine
    • ranitidine
  • proton pump inhibitors, such as:
    • lansoprazole
    • omeprazole
    • pantoprazole

Cefuroxime should be taken at least 1 hour before antacids are taken, or 2 hours afterward. H2-antagonists and proton pump inhibitors should be avoided during treatment with cefuroxime.

Other drugs

Probenecid is used to treat several conditions, including gout and kidney stones. Taking probenecid with cefuroxime increases the amount of cefuroxime in your body. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor will likely monitor you for side effects of cefuroxime if you take these drugs together.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

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Other warnings

Cefuroxime warnings

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergy warning

Cefuroxime can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • hives
  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it before. Taking it again could be fatal.

Warnings for certain groups

For people with kidney problems: Cefuroxime is removed from your body by your kidneys. If your kidneys don’t work well, high levels of cefuroxime may build up in your body. To prevent this, your doctor may prescribe cefuroxime to be taken less often than normal.

For pregnant women: Cefuroxime is a pregnancy category B drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has not shown a risk to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There aren’t enough studies done in humans to show if the drug poses a risk to the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Animal studies do not always predict the way humans would respond. Therefore, this drug should only be used in pregnancy if clearly needed.

Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

For women who are breastfeeding: Cefuroxime passes into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Tell your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

For seniors: The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

For children: Cefuroxime should not be used in children younger than 3 months of age.

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Dosage

How to take cefuroxime

This dosage information is for cefuroxime oral tablet. All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

Forms and strengths

Generic: Cefuroxime

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 125 mg, 250 mg, 500 mg

Brand: Ceftin

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg

Dosage for pharyngitis/tonsillitis (mild to moderate)

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older):

The typical dosage is 250 mg every 12 hours for 10 days.

Child dosage (ages 13–17 years):

The typical dosage is 250 mg every 12 hours for 10 days.

Child dosage (ages 3 months–12 years who can swallow tablets whole):

The typical dosage is 250 mg every 12 hours for 10 days.

Child dosage (ages 0–2 months):

Cefuroxime should not be used in children younger than 3 months of age.

Special considerations

  • For people with kidney disease: Your dosage of cefuroxime may need to be adjusted if you have a creatinine clearance of less than 30 mL/min. Creatinine clearance is a measure of how well your kidneys are working. A lower number suggests reduced kidney function.
  • For seniors (ages 65 years and older): The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause the body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may start you on a lower dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Warnings

  • Cefuroxime tablets and suspension cannot be interchanged on a milligram-per-milligram basis. (This means you can’t substitute equal doses of one for the other.)
  • Children who can’t swallow cefuroxime tablets should be given the suspension instead. Don’t give them a crushed tablet. The tablet has a strong, long-lasting bitter taste when crushed.

Dosage for acute otitis media

Child dosage (ages 14–17 years):

The typical dosage is 250 mg every 12 hours for 10 days.

Child dosage (ages 3 months–13 years who can swallow tablets whole):

The typical dosage is 250 mg every 12 hours for 10 days.

Child dosage (ages 0–2 months):

Cefuroxime should not be used in children younger than 3 months of age.

Special considerations

  • For people with kidney disease: Your dosage of cefuroxime may need to be adjusted if you have a creatinine clearance of less than 30 mL/min. Creatinine clearance is a measure of how well your kidneys are working. A lower number suggests reduced kidney function.
  • For people on hemodialysis: A single additional standard dose should be given at the end of each dialysis session.

Warnings

  • Cefuroxime tablets and suspension cannot be interchanged on a milligram-per-milligram basis. (This means you can’t substitute equal doses of one for the other.)
  • Children who can’t swallow cefuroxime tablets should be given the suspension instead. Don’t give them a crushed tablet. The tablet has a strong, long-lasting bitter taste when crushed.

Dosage for acute sinusitis (mild to moderate)

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older):

The typical dosage is 250 mg every 12 hours for 10 days.

Child dosage (ages 13–17 years of age):

The typical dosage is 250 mg every 12 hours for 10 days.

Child dosage (ages 3 months–12 years who can swallow tablets whole):

The typical dosage is 250 mg every 12 hours for 10 days.

Child dosage (ages 0–2 months):

Cefuroxime should not be used in children younger than 3 months of age.

Special considerations

  • For people with kidney disease: Your dosage of cefuroxime may need to be adjusted if you have a creatinine clearance of less than 30 mL/min. Creatinine clearance is a measure of how well your kidneys are working. A lower number suggests reduced kidney function.

Warnings

  • Cefuroxime tablets and suspension cannot be interchanged on a milligram-per-milligram basis. (This means you can’t substitute equal doses of one for the other.)
  • Children who can’t swallow cefuroxime tablets should be given the suspension instead. Don’t give them a crushed tablet. The tablet has a strong, long-lasting bitter taste when crushed.

Dosage for acute bronchitis (mild to moderate)

  • Acute bronchitis (mild to moderate):
    • Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older): The typical dosage is 250 or 500 mg every 12 hours for 10 days.
    • Child dosage (ages 13–17 years of age): The typical dosage is 250 or 500 mg every 12 hours for 10 days.
    • Child dosage (ages 0–12 years who can swallow tablets whole): This medication should not be used in children younger than 13 years for this condition.
  • Secondary infection of acute bronchitis (mild to moderate):
    • Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older): The typical dosage is 250 or 500 mg every 12 hours for 5–10 days.
    • Child dosage (ages 13–17 years of age): The typical dosage is 250 or 500 mg every 12 hours for 5–10 days.
    • Child dosage (ages 3 months–12 years who can swallow tablets whole): The typical dosage is 250 mg twice daily for 10 days.
    • Child dosage (ages 0–2 months): Cefuroxime should not be used in children younger than 3 months of age.

Special considerations

  • For people with kidney disease: Your dosage of cefuroxime may need to be adjusted if you have a creatinine clearance of less than 30 mL/min. Creatinine clearance is a measure of how well your kidneys are working. A lower number suggests reduced kidney function.
  • For seniors (ages 65 years and older): The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause the body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may start you on a lower dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Dosage for uncomplicated infections of the skin or below the skin

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older):

The typical dosage is 250 or 500 mg every 12 hours for 10 days.

Child dosage (ages 13–17 years of age):

The typical dosage is 250 or 500 mg every 12 hours for 10 days.

Child dosage (ages 3 months–12 years who can swallow tablets whole):

This medication shouldn’t be used in children younger than 13 years for this condition.

Child dosage (ages 0–2 months):

Cefuroxime should not be used in children younger than 3 months of age.

Special considerations

  • For people with kidney disease: Your dosage of cefuroxime may need to be adjusted if you have a creatinine clearance of less than 30 mL/min. Creatinine clearance is a measure of how well your kidneys are working. A lower number suggests reduced kidney function.
  • For seniors (ages 65 years and older): The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause the body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may start you on a lower dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Dosage for uncomplicated urinary tract infections

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older):

The typical dosage is 250 mg every 12 hours for 7–10 days.

Child dosage (ages 13–17 years of age):

The typical dosage is 250 mg every 12 hours for 7–10 days.

Child dosage (ages 3 months–12 years who can swallow tablets whole):

No dosage information is available. This condition is not typical in children of this age range.

Child dosage (ages 0–2 months):

Cefuroxime should not be used in children younger than 3 months of age.

Special considerations

  • For people with kidney disease: Your dosage of cefuroxime may need to be adjusted if you have a creatinine clearance of less than 30 mL/min. Creatinine clearance is a measure of how well your kidneys are working. A lower number suggests reduced kidney function.
  • For seniors (ages 65 years and older): The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause the body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may start you on a lower dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

For uncomplicated gonorrhea

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older):

The typical dosage is 1,000 mg as a single dose.

Child dosage (ages 13–17 years):

The typical dosage is 1,000 mg as a single dose.

Child dosage (ages 3 months–12 years who can swallow tablets whole):

No dosage information is available. This condition is not typical in children of this age range.

Child dosage (ages 0–2 months):

Cefuroxime should not be used in children younger than 3 months of age.

Special considerations

  • For people with kidney disease: Your dosage of cefuroxime may need to be adjusted if you have a creatinine clearance of less than 30 mL/min. Creatinine clearance is a measure of how well your kidneys are working. A lower number suggests reduced kidney function.
  • For seniors (ages 65 years and older): The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause the body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may start you on a lower dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

For early Lyme disease

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older):

The typical dosage is 500 mg every 12 hours for 20 days.

Child dosage (ages 13–17 years):

The typical dosage is 500 mg every 12 hours for 20 days.

Child dosage (ages 3 months–12 years who can swallow tablets whole):

This medication shouldn’t be used in children younger than 13 years for this condition.

Child dosage (ages 0–2 months):

Cefuroxime should not be used in children younger than 3 months of age.

Special considerations

  • For people with kidney disease: Your dosage of cefuroxime may need to be adjusted if you have a creatinine clearance of less than 30 mL/min. Creatinine clearance is a measure of how well your kidneys are working. A lower number suggests reduced kidney function.
  • For seniors (ages 65 years and older): The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause the body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may start you on a lower dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

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Take as directed

Take as directed

Cefuroxime oral tablet is used for short-term treatment. It should only be used to treat bacterial infections. It should not be used for viruses such as the common cold. Cefuroxime comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all: Your infection may continue or get worse.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule: Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much: You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include sudden, irregular movements of any limb or part of the body. If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose: Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working: You should notice a decrease in your symptoms. Your infection should heal.

Important considerations

Important considerations for taking cefuroxime

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes cefuroxime oral tablet for you.

General

  • Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor.
  • Cefuroxime oral tablet may be taken with or without food.
  • Cefuroxime oral tablet should not be cut or crushed.

Storage

  • Store cefuroxime tablets at a temperature between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Refills

A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor may do blood tests to check your kidney function before prescribing cefuroxime and during your treatment with this drug. If your kidneys aren’t working well, your doctor may recommend that you take cefuroxime less often.

Hidden costs

You may need to have blood tests during your treatment with cefuroxime. The cost of these tests will depend on your insurance coverage.

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Alternatives

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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