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Questions & Answers
Side Effects & Adverse Reactions
BEFORE THERAPY WITH CEPHALEXIN IS INSTITUTED, CAREFUL INQUIRY SHOULD BE MADE TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE PATIENT HAS HAD PREVIOUS HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTIONS TO CEPHALEXIN, CEPHALOSPORINS, PENICILLINS, OR OTHER DRUGS. IF THIS PRODUCT IS TO BE GIVEN TO PENICILLIN-SENSITIVE PATIENTS, CAUTION SHOULD BE EXERCISED BECAUSE CROSS-HYPERSENSITIVITY AMONG BETA-LACTAM ANTIBIOTICS HAS BEEN CLEARLY DOCUMENTED AND MAY OCCUR IN UP TO 10% OF PATIENTS WITH A HISTORY OF PENICILLIN ALLERGY. IF AN ALLERGIC REACTION TO CEPHALEXIN OCCURS, DISCONTINUE THE DRUG. SERIOUS ACUTE HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTIONS MAY REQUIRE TREATMENT WITH EPINEPHRINE AND OTHER EMERGENCY MEASURES, INCLUDING OXYGEN, INTRAVENOUS FLUIDS, INTRAVENOUS ANTIHISTAMINES, CORTICOSTEROIDS, PRESSOR AMINES AND AIRWAY MANAGEMENT, AS CLINICALLY INDICATED.
There is some clinical and laboratory evidence of partial cross-allergenicity of the penicillins and the cephalosporins. Patients have been reported to have had severe reactions (including anaphylaxis) to both drugs.
Any patient who has demonstrated some form of allergy, particularly to drugs, should receive antibiotics cautiously. No exception should be made with regard to cephalexin capsules.
Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea (CDAD) has been reported with use of nearly all antibacterial agents, including cephalexin, and may range in severity from mild diarrhea to fatal colitis. Treatment with antibacterial agents alters the normal flora of the colon leading to overgrowth of C. difficile.
C. difficile produces toxins A and B which contribute to the development of CDAD. Hypertoxin producing strains of C. difficile cause increased morbidity and mortality, as these infections can be refractory to antimicrobial therapy and may require colectomy. CDAD must be considered in all patients who present with diarrhea following antibiotic use. Careful medical history is necessary since CDAD has been reported to occur over two months after the administration of antibacterial agents.
If CDAD is suspected or confirmed, ongoing antibiotic use not directed against C. difficile may need to be discontinued. Appropriate fluid and electrolyte management, protein supplementation, antibiotic treatment of C. difficile, and surgical evaluation should be instituted as clinically indicated.
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FDA Safety Alerts
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FDA Labeling Changes
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Cephalexin capsules are indicated for the treatment of the following infections when caused by susceptible strains of the designated microorganisms:
Respiratory tract infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus pyogenes (Penicillin is the usual drug of choice in the treatment and prevention of streptococcal infections, including the prophylaxis of rheumatic fever. Cephalexin is generally effective in the eradication of streptococci from the nasopharynx; however, substantial data establishing the efficacy of cephalexin in the subsequent prevention of rheumatic fever are not available at present.)
Otitis media due to Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Moraxella catarrhalis
Skin and skin structure infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus and/or Streptococcus pyogenes
Bone infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus and/or Proteus mirabilis
Genitourinary tract infections, including acute prostatitis, caused by Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, and Klebsiella pneumonia
Note: Culture and susceptibility tests should be initiated prior to and during therapy. Renal function studies should be performed when indicated.
To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of cephalexin and other antibacterial drugs, cephalexin capsules should be used only to treat or prevent infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by susceptible bacteria. When culture and susceptibility information are available, they should be considered in selecting or modifying antibacterial therapy. In the absence of such data, local epidemiology and susceptibility patterns may contribute to the empiric selection of therapy.
There is currently no drug history available for this drug.
Cephalexin capsules, USP is a semisynthetic cephalosporin antibiotic intended for oral administration. It is 7-(D-α-Amino-α-phenylacetamido)-3-methyl-3-cephem-4- carboxylic acid monohydrate. Cephalexin has the molecular formula C16H17N3O4S∙H2O and the molecular weight is 365.41.
Cephalexin has the following structural formula:
The nucleus of cephalexin is related to that of other cephalosporin antibiotics. The compound is a zwitterion; i.e., the molecule contains both a basic and an acidic group. The isoelectric point of cephalexin in water is approximately 4.5 to 5. The crystalline form of cephalexin which is available is a monohydrate. It is a white crystalline solid having a bitter taste. Solubility in water is low at room temperature; 1 or 2 mg/mL may be dissolved readily, but higher concentrations are obtained with increasing difficulty.
The cephalosporins differ from penicillins in the structure of the bicyclic ring system. Cephalexin has a D-phenylglycyl group as substituent at the 7-amino position and an unsubstituted methyl group at the 3-position.
Each capsule contains cephalexin monohydrate equivalent to 250 mg or 500 mg of cephalexin. The capsules also contain anhydrous lactose, gelatin, magnesium stearate, talc and titanium dioxide. The capsules are imprinted with edible ink containing black iron oxide.