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Cephalexin is used to treat infections, caused by bacteria that are susceptible to the effects of cephalexin. Common infections that are treated with cephalexin include infections of the middle ear, tonsils, throat, larynx (laryngitis), bronchi (bronchitis) and pneumonia. It also is used for treating urinary tract, skin and bone infections.
The dose of cephalexin for adults is 1 to 4 grams in divided doses. Children are treated with 25-100 mg/kg/day in divided doses.
Drug Class and Mechanism
Cephalexin belongs to a class of antibiotics, called cephalosporins. They are similar to penicillin in action and side effects. They 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. Bacteria that are susceptible to cephalexin include Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, E. coli and several others.
Do not miss any doses. If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Tablets and capsules should be stored at room temperature. Suspensions should be refrigerated and discarded after 14 days.
Possible Side Effects
Side effects that may occur while taking this medicine include dizziness, tiredness, headache, mild diarrhea, or stomach upset. If they continue or are bothersome, check with your doctor. Check with your doctor as soon as possible if you experience vaginal irritation or discharge, mood or mental changes, or joint pain. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience seizures; yellowing of the eyes or skin; red, blistered, swollen or peeling skin; unusual bruising or bleeding; decreased urination; severe stomach pain or cramps; confusion; or bloody or severe diarrhea. An allergic reaction to this medicine is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor. Do not share this medicine with others for whom it was not prescribed. Do not use this medicine for other health conditions. Keep this medicine out of the reach of children.