Suprax (cefixime) vs. cefuroxime

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Suprax (cefixime) vs. cefuroxime: What's the difference?

What are Suprax and cefuroxime?

Suprax is a cephalosporin antibiotic used to treat infections of the middle ear (otitis media), tonsillitis, throat infections (pharyngitis), laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTIs), gonorrhea, and acute bacterial bronchitis in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Other cephalosporins include cephalexin (Keflex), cefaclor (Ceclor), cefuroxime (Zinacef), cefpodoxime (Vantin), cefprozil (Cefzil), and injectable forms. Like other cephalosporins, Suprax stops bacteria from multiplying by preventing bacteria from forming the walls that surround them. The walls are necessary to protect bacteria from their environment and to keep the contents of the bacterial cell together; most bacteria cannot survive without a cell wall. Suprax is active against bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes (causes strep throat), Streptococcus pneumoniae, Hemophilus influenzae, E. coli, Klebsiella, Moraxella catarrhalis, Proteus mirabilis, Salmonella, Shigella, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Cefuroxime is a cephalosporin antibiotic used to treat infections of the middle ear, sinuses, skin, tonsils, and throat, and to treat laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, gonorrhea, COPD, and early Lyme disease. 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.

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What are the side effects of Suprax and cefuroxime?

Suprax

Common side effects of Suprax include:

Other side effects include:

Cefuroxime

Cefuroxime is generally well tolerated, and side effects are usually transient. Commonly reported side effects are:

Other important side effects include:

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.

What is the dosage of Suprax vs. cefuroxime?

Suprax

The recommended adult dose for otitis media, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, and urinary tract infections is 400 mg once daily or divided and given as 200 mg every 12 hours. Pediatric patients (6 months and older) have a recommended dose of 8 mg/kg/day once daily or in two doses of 4/mg/kg every 12 hours.

Cefuroxime

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 be used for uncomplicated gonorrhea. The tablets and suspension are not interchangeable.

What drugs interact with Suprax and cefuroxime?

Suprax

Probenecid (Benemid) may increase the blood concentration of Suprax by decreasing removal of Suprax by the kidney. This interaction sometimes is used to enhance the effect of cephalosporins.

Combining Suprax with aminoglycosides -- for example, tobramycin (Tobradex) -- produces additive bacterial killing effects but also may increase the risk of harmful effects to the kidney.

Exenatide (Byetta) may delay or reduce the absorption of cephalosporins. Cephalosporins should be administered one hour before exenatide.

Suprax may cause a false positive urine ketone test.

Cefuroxime

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.

Are Suprax and cefuroxime safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Suprax

Safety in pregnancy has not been established for Suprax. There are no adequate studies in pregnant women; however, studies in animals suggest no important effects on the fetus.

Safety in nursing mothers has not been established. It is not known if Suprax is excreted in breast milk.

Cefuroxime

Cephalosporins are usually considered safe for use during pregnancy.

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

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Summary

Suprax and cefuroxime are cephalosporin antibiotics used to treat infections of the middle ear (otitis media), tonsillitis, throat infections (pharyngitis), laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTIs), gonorrhea, and acute bacterial bronchitis in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Cefuroxime is also used to treat early Lyme disease.

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Medically Reviewed on 7/19/2019
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