Hopkins ABX Guide

Cefazolin Antibiotic

What is Cefazolin and Why It is Used?

Cefazolin is an antibiotic from the class of the so-called cephalosporin antibiotics which in turn are classified as beta-lactam antibiotics. Cefazolin is the first generation of cephalosporins used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections. They work by preventing the production of the cell wall and belong to a group of antibiotics known as bactericidal. These kill the disease causing bacteria as opposed to bacteriostatic antibiotics which work by preventing growth of the infection-causing bacteria.

Cefazolin is most often used to treat skin infections, especially those caused by bacteria from the genera of Staphylococcus and Streptococcus but it doesn’t work best against MRSA. The antibiotic can also be used to treat bacterial infections involving the respiratory tract, urinary tract, bones, joints, stomach and more. It is used primarily against Gram-positive bacteria but has also been shown to be effective against some Gram-negative species including Escherichia coli. Sometimes Cefazolin is also prescribed to prevent bacterial infection, usually before going through certain surgical procedures.

How is Cefazolin Taken/Administered?

The antibiotic is administered in the form of injection or intravenous infusion. It is typically received in a hospital or clinic, while the dosage and duration of the therapy depend on the severity of infection and some other factors such as overall health, weight and other medications taken/received.

Possible Side Effects of Cefazolin

Cefazolin is well tolerated but just like any other medication, it can cause side effects too. The most common side effects include pain and redness at the site of the injection, stomach upset, stomach pain and diarrhoea. Patients who receive the antibiotic over a longer period of time may develop thrush or vaginal yeast infection.

Severe side effects are rare but it is possible to develop a serious intestinal infection resulting in a severe diarrhoea which can occur during or after Cefazolin therapy. Sometimes the infection occurs months after completing the treatment.

Allergic reactions are rare but it is highly important to seek medical help right away if developing any of the following symptoms: rash, difficulty breathing, swelling in the face or mount.

Cefazolin is generally safe both during pregnancy and breast-feeding but it is crucial to discuss potential risks and drawbacks with a doctor.