How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Cefuroxime is an antibiotic that belongs to the family of medications known as cephalosporins. It is used to treat infections caused by bacteria. It is most often used to treat infections of the ear, throat, sinus, lung, and skin.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each white, capsule-shaped, biconvex, film-coated tablet engraved "C250" on one side, contains cefuroxime axetil equivalent to 250 mg of cefuroxime base. Nonmedicinal ingredients: sorbitol, zinc chloride, crospovidone, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium stearate, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, polyethylene glycol, and titanium dioxide.
Each white, capsule-shaped, biconvex, film-coated tablet engraved "C500" on one side, contains cefuroxime axetil equivalent to 500 mg of cefuroxime base. Nonmedicinal ingredients: sorbitol, zinc chloride, crospovidone, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium stearate, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, polyethylene glycol, and titanium dioxide.
How should I use this medication?
Adults and children 12 years of age and older: The recommended dose of cefuroxime ranges from 250 mg twice daily to 500 mg twice daily for 7 to 10 days. Taking cefuroxime with food helps the medication to be better absorbed into the bloodstream. Swallow the medication whole with a glass of water; do not chew, divide, or crush the tablets.
Children less than 12 years of age: The recommended children's dose of cefuroxime ranges from 10 mg to 15 mg per kg of body weight twice daily for 7 to 10 days. The medication should be taken with food. The exact dose depends on the condition being treated. Children less than 12 years of age should take the oral suspension (not the tablets). Use an oral syringe to measure each dose of the liquid, as it gives a more accurate measurement than household teaspoons.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Finish all of this medication, even if you start to feel better. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store the tablets at room temperature, protect them from light and moisture, and keep out of the reach of children.
Store the oral suspension in the refrigerator, and keep it out of the reach of children. Discard any medication that remains after 10 days.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take this medication if you:
- are allergic to cefuroxime or any ingredients of this medication
- are allergic to any of the cephalosporin antibiotics
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- abdominal pain (mild)
- diarrhea (mild)
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- diaper rash
- diarrhea (watery and severe; may also be bloody)
- severe abdominal pain or stomach cramps and pain
- signs of liver problems (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools)
- skin rash, itching, or hives
- vaginal itching or discharge
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of a severe skin reaction such as blistering, peeling, a rash covering a large area of the body, a rash that spreads quickly, or a rash combined with fever or discomfort
- symptoms of an allergic reaction, (e.g., swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, face, lips, mouth, or throat; difficulty breathing or swallowing)
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Allergy: Before taking cefuroxime, inform your doctor about any adverse reactions you have had to medications, especially cefuroxime, cephalosporins, and penicillins. Some people who are allergic to penicillin may also be allergic to cephalosporins such as cefuroxime. If you have an allergic reaction, contact a doctor immediately.
Blood cells: Rarely, cefuroxime may cause a faster breakdown of red blood cells, leading to a form of anemia (hemolytic anemia). If you experience symptoms of anemia such as fatigue or lack of energy, pale skin, dizziness, or weakness, contact your doctor as soon as possible. If you are taking a blood test, let your doctor know that you are taking cefuroxime. This medication may affect the result of blood tests.
If you have a history of anemia caused by cephalosporin antibiotics, this anemia can be much more severe. Discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Diarrhea: People taking this medication may develop diarrhea caused by an infection with the bacteria C. difficile. If you have loose, watery, and bloody bowel movements, with or without fever, or stomach cramps after taking cefuroxime, get medical attention as soon as possible. Diarrhea caused by C. difficile infection can lead to serious health problems if it is not properly treated.
Kidney function: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Other infections: Use of cefuroxime for a long time may result in the overgrowth of organisms not affected by the medication, such as yeast, which can lead to other infections.
Stomach and bowel problems: If you have had stomach or bowel problems (especially colitis), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking cefuroxime, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between cefuroxime axetil and any of the following:
- aminoglycoside antibiotics (e.g., amikacin, gentamicin, tobramycin)
- antacids (e.g., aluminum hydroxide, calcium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide)
- H2 antagonists (e.g., famotidine, ranitidine)
- BCG vaccine
- birth control pills
- sodium picosulfate
- typhoid vaccine
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.