MSD Manual

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Cephalosporins

Cephalosporins

Drug

Common Uses

Some Side Effects

1st generation

Cefadroxil

Cefazolin

Cephalexin

Given before surgical procedures to prevent infections

Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea*

Nausea

Allergic reactions (more likely in people allergic to penicillin)

2nd generation

Cefaclor

Cefotetan

Cefoxitin

Cefprozil

Cefuroxime

Some respiratory infections

For cefoxitin: Abdominal infections

Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea*

Nausea

Allergic reactions (more likely in people allergic to penicillin)

3rd generation

Cefdinir

Cefditoren

Cefixime

Cefotaxime

Cefpodoxime

Ceftazidime

Ceftibuten

Ceftriaxone

Given by mouth: Broad coverage of many bacteria for people with mild-to-moderate infections, including skin and soft-tissue infections

Given by injection: Serious infections (such as meningitis or infections acquired in a hospital)

Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea*

Nausea

Allergic reactions (more likely in people allergic to penicillin)

4th generation

Cefepime

Serious infections (including Pseudomonas infections), particularly in people with a weakened immune system, and infections due to susceptible bacteria that are resistant to other antibiotics

Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea*

Nausea

Allergic reactions (more likely in people allergic to penicillin)

5th generation

Ceftaroline

Infections due to susceptible bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Enterococcus faecalis

Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea*

Nausea

Allergic reactions (more likely in people allergic to penicillin)

Ceftobiprole

Infections due to susceptible bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Enterococcus faecalis

Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea*

Nausea

Allergic reactions (more likely in people allergic to penicillin)

Novel cephalosporins

Cefiderocol

Urinary tract infections due to susceptible bacteria, such as Escherichia coliKlebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter, in people over 18 years of age who have limited or no alternative treatment options

Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea*

Nausea

Allergic reactions (more likely in people allergic to penicillin)

Ceftolozane plus tazobactam

Complicated urinary tract or abdominal infections, or hospital-acquired pneumonia or ventilator-associated pneumonia due to sensitive organisms

Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea*

Nausea

Allergic reactions (more likely in people allergic to penicillin)

Kidney and liver problems

* Almost any antibiotic can cause Clostridioides difficile–induced diarrhea and inflammation of the colon (colitis), but clindamycin, penicillins, cephalosporins, and fluoroquinolones are the most common causes.

Ceftobiprole is not available in the United States.