What is Cephalexin?


Cephalexin is a prescription medication that belongs to the class of antibiotics known as cephalosporins. It is commonly used to treat various bacterial infections, such as skin infections, respiratory tract infections, and urinary tract infections.

How Does Cephalexin Work?

Cephalexin works by interfering with the formation of the bacterial cell wall, ultimately leading to the death of the bacteria. It targets and inhibits the activity of enzymes involved in cell wall synthesis, weakening the bacteria and making it easier for the immune system to clear the infection.

Indications for Cephalexin

Cephalexin is prescribed for a wide range of bacterial infections, including:

  • Skin and soft tissue infections
  • Respiratory tract infections (such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinusitis)
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Ear infections
  • Bone and joint infections
  • Strep throat

Administration and Dosage

Cephalexin is typically available in the form of capsules or tablets, which should be taken orally with or without food. The dosage and duration of treatment may vary depending on the type and severity of the infection, as well as the patient’s age and overall health.

It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and complete the full course of treatment, even if the symptoms improve before the medication is finished. This helps to ensure the complete eradication of the infection and prevent the development of antibiotic resistance.

Possible Side Effects

Like any medication, cephalexin can cause side effects. Common side effects may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach upset
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Skin rash

If any of these side effects persist or worsen, it is important to contact a healthcare professional. In rare cases, cephalexin can cause more serious side effects, such as severe allergic reactions or liver problems. If you experience any unusual symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Precautions and Interactions

Before taking cephalexin, it is important to inform your healthcare provider about any existing medical conditions or allergies you may have. It is also essential to disclose all other medications, supplements, or herbal products you are currently taking, as they may interact with cephalexin.

Cephalexin may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners, oral contraceptives, and probenecid. These interactions can affect the effectiveness of cephalexin or increase the risk of side effects. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting cephalexin or making any changes to your current medication regimen.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can cephalexin be used to treat viral infections?

No, cephalexin is an antibiotic and is only effective against bacterial infections. It should not be used to treat viral infections, such as the common cold or flu.

2. Can cephalexin be used during pregnancy?

Cephalexin is generally considered safe to use during pregnancy. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any medication during pregnancy to ensure the potential benefits outweigh the risks.

3. Can cephalexin be used in children?

Yes, cephalexin can be used in children. However, the dosage may vary based on the child’s weight and age. It is important to follow the pediatrician’s instructions and guidelines for proper administration.

4. Can alcohol be consumed while taking cephalexin?

It is generally recommended to avoid alcohol while taking any antibiotic, including cephalexin. Alcohol consumption may increase the risk of certain side effects and decrease the effectiveness of the medication.

5. What should I do if I miss a dose of cephalexin?

If you miss a dose of cephalexin, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

6. Can cephalexin cause allergic reactions?

Yes, cephalexin can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. If you experience symptoms such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, seek immediate medical attention as it may be a sign of a severe allergic reaction.

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Cephalexin is a commonly prescribed antibiotic used to treat various bacterial infections. It works by inhibiting the synthesis of the bacterial cell wall, leading to the death of the bacteria. It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and complete the full course of treatment to ensure the successful eradication of the infection. While cephalexin is generally well-tolerated, it is important to be aware of potential side effects and consult with a healthcare provider before starting the medication. By taking cephalexin as directed and following proper precautions, it can effectively help in the treatment of bacterial infections.

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