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Cephalosporins

By

Brian J. Werth

, PharmD, University of Washington School of Pharmacy

Last full review/revision Jul 2020| Content last modified Jul 2020
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Topic Resources

There are five main classifications or generations of cephalosporins. The different generations are effective against different types of bacteria.

Most bacteria have an outer covering (cell wall) that protects them. Like the other beta-lactam antibiotics, cephalosporins work by preventing bacteria from forming this cell wall, resulting in death of the bacteria.

Because cephalosporins are structurally similar to the penicillins, some people who have an allergic reaction Allergies to Drugs People sometimes mistake many adverse drug reactions for allergies. For example, people who experience stomach discomfort after taking aspirin (a common adverse reaction) often say they are... read more to penicillins may have an allergic reaction to certain cephalosporins. A health care practitioner can help assess the risk of allergic cross-reactivity between specific antibiotics in people who believe they have had an allergic reaction.

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Use of Cephalosporins During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
Ceftobiprole
ROCEPHIN
No US brand name
FORTAZ, TAZICEF
CLEOCIN
KEFLEX
CLAFORAN
SPECTRACEF
CEFTIN, ZINACEF
CEDAX
MEFOXIN
ANCEF, KEFZOL
SUPRAX
MAXIPIME
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