Why is this medication prescribed?
Cefuroxime is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, such as bronchitis(infection of the airway tubes leading to the lungs); gonorrhea (a sexually transmitted disease); Lyme disease (an infection that may develop after a person is bitten by a tick); and infections of the skin, ears, sinuses, throat, tonsils,, and urinary tract. Cefuroxime is in a class of medications called cephalosporin antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.
Antibiotics such as cefuroxime will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections. Using antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment.
How should this medicine be used?
Cefuroxime comes as a tablet and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken every 12 hours for 5-10 days, depending on the condition being treated. To treat gonorrhea, cefuroxime is taken as a single dose, and to treat Lyme disease, cefuroxime is taken every 12 hours for 20 days. Take the suspension with food; the tablet may be taken with or without food . Take cefuroxime at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take cefuroxime exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Different cefuroxime products are absorbed by the body in different ways and cannot be substituted for one another. If you need to switch from one cefuroxime product to another, your doctor may need to adjust your dose.
Shake the suspension well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
The tablets should be swallowed whole. Because the crushed tablet has a strong bitter taste, the tablet should not be crushed. Children who cannot swallow the tablet whole should take the liquid instead.
You should begin to feel better during the first few days of treatment with cefuroxime. If your symptoms do not improve or get worse, call your doctor.
Take cefuroxime until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. If you stop taking cefuroxime too soon or skip doses, your infection may not be completely treated, and the bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics.
Other uses for this medicine
Cefuroxime is also sometimes used to treat pneumonia. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking cefuroxime,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to cefuroxime; other cephalosporin antibiotics such as cefaclor , cefadroxil , , cefazolin (Ancef, Kefzol), cefdinir , cefditoren (Spectracef), cefepime (Maxipime), cefixime, , cefotaxime (Claforan), cefotetan, cefoxitin (Mefoxin), cefpodoxime , cefprozil , ceftaroline (Teflaro), ceftazidime ( Fortaz, Tazicef, in Avycaz), ceftibuten (Cedax), ceftriaxone (Rocephin), and cephalexin (Keflex); penicillin antibiotics; or any other medications. Also tell your doctor if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in cefuroxime tablets or suspension. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), cimetidine, diuretics ('water pills'), famotidine (Pepcid), nizatidine (Axid), omeprazole (Prilosec, in Zegerid), pantoprazole(Protonix), probenecid (Probalan) and ranitidine (Zantac). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- if you are taking antacids that contain magnesium or aluminum, take them at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after cefuroxime.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had gastrointestinal disease (GI; affecting the stomach or intestines), especially colitis (condition that causes swelling in the lining of the colon [large intestine]), or kidney or liver disease.
- you should know that cefuroxime decreases the effectiveness of some oral contraceptives ('birth control pills). You will need to use another form of birth control while taking this medication. Talk to your doctor about other ways to prevent pregnancy while you are taking this medication.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking cefuroxime, call your doctor.
- if you have phenylketonuria (PKU, an inherited condition in which a special diet must be followed to prevent mental retardation), you should know that cefuroxime suspension is sweetened with aspartame that forms phenylalanine.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Cefuroxime may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes
- watery or bloody stools, stomach cramps, or fever during treatment or for up to two or more months after stopping treatment
- a return of fever, sore throat, chills, or other signs of infection
Cefuroxime may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store the tablets at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Keep liquid medicine in the refrigerator, tightly closed, and dispose of any unused medication after 10 days.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to cefuroxime.
If you are diabetic and test your urine for sugar, use Clinistix or TesTape (not Clinitest) to test your urine while taking this medication. If you test your blood for sugar, check with your doctor or pharmacist to recommend the best product to use while taking this medication.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.