cefuroxime, Ceftin, Zinacef

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GENERIC NAME: cefuroxime

BRAND NAME: Ceftin, Zinacef

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Cefuroxime is a semisynthetic cephalosporin antibiotic, chemically similar to penicillin. Cephalosporins stop or slow the growth of bacterial cells by preventing bacteria from forming the cell wall that surrounds each cell. The cell wall protects bacteria from the external environment and keeps the contents of the cell together. Without a cell wall, bacteria are not able to survive. Cefuroxime is effective against a wide variety of bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, E. coli, N. gonorrhea, and many others. The FDA approved cefuroxime in December 1987.




  • Tablets: 125, 250 and 500 mg.
  • Powder for Oral Suspension: 125 or 250 mg per 5 ml (teaspoon).
  • Injection: 750 mg, 1.5 g and 7.5 g.


  • Tablets should be stored at room temperature between 15-30 C (59-86 F).
  • The oral suspension should be stored between 2-30 C (36-86F) prior to mixing and refrigerated between 2-8 C (3646 F) after mixing. The suspension should be discarded after 10 days.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Cefuroxime is effective against susceptible bacteria causing infections of the middle ear (otitis media), tonsillitis, throat infections, laryngitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia. It also is used for treating urinary tract infections, skin infections, and gonorrhea. Additionally, it is useful in treating acute bacterial bronchitis in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

DOSING: Typical adult oral doses are 250 or 500 mg twice daily for 7-20 days depending on the type and severity of the infection. A single 1000 mg dose may used for uncomplicated gonorrhea. The tablets and suspension are not interchangeable.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Probenecid increases the concentration of cefuroxime in the blood. Drugs that reduce acidity in the stomach (for example, antacids, H2-blockers, proton pump inhibitors) may reduce absorption of cefuroxime.

PREGNANCY: Cephalosporins are usually considered safe for use during pregnancy.

NURSING MOTHERS: Cefuroxime is excreted in breast milk and may cause adverse effects in the infant. Cefuroxime is approved for pediatric patients 3 months and older.

SIDE EFFECTS: Cefuroxime is generally well tolerated, and side effects are usually transient. Side effects include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, rash, hives, vaginitis, and mouth ulcers. Allergic reactions, severe skin reactions, anemia, and seizures also may occur. Since cefuroxime is chemically related to penicillin, patients allergic to penicillin may develop an allergic reaction (sometimes even anaphylaxis) to cefuroxime. Cefuroxime like other antibiotics can alter the colon's normal bacteria, leading to overgrowth of a bacterium called Clostridium difficile. Overgrowth of this bacterium leads to the release of toxins that contribute to the development of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, which may range in severity from mild diarrhea to fatal pseudomembranous colitis.

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

Last Editorial Review: 2/14/2012

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