Cephalexin - Benefits, dosage and side effects

Cephalexin is an antibiotic drug to treat infectious diseases caused by bacterial infections, such as: Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, or Escherichia coli.

Some infectious diseases that can be treated by this drug are respiratory tract infections, bone infections, skin infections, ear infections, or urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Cephalexin belongs to the class I cephalosporin antibiotics. This drug will stop or slow down the growth of bacteria by preventing the formation of bacterial cell walls, so that bacteria cannot survive. This medicine is not effective at treating viral infections, such as the flu.

Cephalexin trademark: Cefabiotic, Cefalexin Monohydrate, Lexipron, Madlexin

What is Cephalexin

groupPrescription drugs
CategoryCephalosporin antibiotics
BenefitTreating bacterial infections
Consumed byAdults and children
Cephalexin for pregnant and lactating womenCategory B: Animal studies have not shown any risk to the fetus, but there are no controlled studies in pregnant women.

However, it is suspected that this drug can increase the risk of newborns experiencing diarrhea and canker sores.

Cephalexin can be absorbed into breast milk. Do not use this medication without consulting your doctor if you are breastfeeding.

Drug formCapsules and dry syrup

Precautions Before Taking Cephalexin

Cephalexin can only be used as prescribed by a doctor. Note the following points before using cephalexin:

  • Do not use this medicine if you are allergic to cephalexin. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to penicillins or cephalosporins.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking certain medications, supplements, or herbal products.
  • Tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, diabetes, or ulcerative colitis.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy.
  • Tell your doctor if you plan to vaccinate with live vaccines while you are taking cephalexin, as these drugs can reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine.
  • Tell your doctor that you are taking cephalexin, if you are going to have any surgery, including dental surgery.
  • See your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction, serious side effects, or overdose after taking cephalexin.

Dosage and Instructions for Use of Cephalexin

Below is a breakdown of the dosage of cephalexin based on the patient's condition and age:

Condition: Uncomplicated urinary tract infections or skin and soft tissue infections

  • Mature: 250 mg every 6 hours or 500 mg every 12 hours. The maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day in 2–4 divided doses.
  • Children: 25–50 mg/kg per day given every 12 hours.

Condition: Dental infections, acute prostatitis, bone and joint infections, respiratory infections, or urinary and genital tract infections

  • Mature: 1000–4,000 mg per day, divided into several doses. The usual dose is 500 mg every 8 hours.
  • Children 5 years old: 250 mg every 8 hours. For severe infections, the dose may be increased or doubled.
  • Children aged <5 years: 125 mg every 8 hours. For severe infections, the dose may be increased or doubled.

Condition: Otitis media

  • Children: 75–100 mg/kg per day in 4 divided doses.

Condition: Pharyngitis due to bacterial infection Streptococcus

  • Mature: 250 mg every 6 hours or 500 mg, every 12 hours, for at least 10 days. The maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day given in separate doses.
  • Children: 25–50 mg/kg per day every 12 hours, for 10 days.

How to Take Cephalexincorrectly

Follow the doctor's recommendations and read the instructions for use listed on the drug packaging before consuming it. This medicine can be taken before or after meals. To avoid stomach ulcers, cephalexin should be taken with food.

Make sure that there is sufficient time between one dose and the next. Try to take cephalexin at the same time each day to maximize the effect of the drug.

Cephalexin capsules need to be swallowed whole with the help of water. Meanwhile, cephalexin syrup needs to be shaken before use so that the drug is well mixed. Use the measuring spoon contained in the package so that the dose consumed is correct.

If you forget to take cephalexin, take it immediately if the next dose schedule is not too close. If it is close, ignore the dose and do not double the dose of cephalexin on the next schedule.

Do not stop taking cephalexin before the prescribed time even if your condition improves. This is done to prevent recurrence of infection.

Store the medicine in its package in a cool and dry place. If the medicine is in syrup form, store it in the refrigerator. Keep this medicine away from direct sunlight and out of reach of children.

Cephalexin Interactions with Other Drugs

The effects of drug interactions that can occur when cephalexin is used together with other drugs are:

  • Increased levels of metformin in the blood
  • Increased blood levels of cephalexin when used with probenecid
  • Increased risk of kidney damage if used with amphotericin, loop diuretics, aminoglycosides, capreomycin, or vancomycin
  • Increased risk of developing hypokalemia when used with gentamicin
  • Decreased effectiveness of birth control pills containing estrogen

Cephalexin Side Effects and Dangers

Some side effects that may occur due to the use of cephalexin are:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach pain or heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Ulcer
  • Joint pain
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Confused

Check with your doctor if the side effects above do not improve or are getting worse. Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to the drug or a more serious side effect, such as bloody diarrhea, severe stomach pain or cramps, or a fever.