Cefalexin is an antibiotic. It is used to treat certain bacterial infections of the nose, throat, lungs, teeth, ears, bones, joints, skin, kidneys, bladder, and genitals.
This medicine may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
Take Cefalexin exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instruction on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. To reduce any stomach discomfort, you may take Cefalexin with food.
Try to take it at the same time each day.
Cefalexin is available as a capsule, tablet, or as powder or granules for oral suspension.
If you are taking the oral suspension, shake the bottle well before you take the medicine to ensure that the liquid is evenly mixed. Use the measuring spoon or cup provided to measure your dose.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on the type and severity of your infection.
Take Cefalexin at regular intervals. Do not skip any doses. You must complete the entire course of this medicine. If you don't, the infection will not be properly controlled.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Do not take Cefalexin if you ever had an allergic reaction (e.g. rashes, breathlessness, swollen eyes) to this medicine or similar antibiotics such as cefaclor, cefixime, or cefuroxime.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- history of allergy to penicillin (antibiotic)
- history of stomach or bowel disorders, particularly colitis (inflammation of the lining of the colon, also known as large intestine)
- poor nutritional state
- history of seizures
- kidney disease
- liver disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving Cefalexin to a child. Children may be more sensitive to the side effects.
If you are going to have certain laboratory tests (e.g. presence of glucose in the urine), inform your doctor that you are taking this medicine.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Routine tests (e.g. liver and kidney functions) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
- Regular monitoring of signs and symptoms of serious allergic reactions (e.g. rash, breathlessness, hives) at the first dose may also be needed.
Cefalexin may cause any of the following side effects: diarrhoea, indigestion, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, tiredness, confusion, vaginal itching or discharge, and joint pain.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes, breathlessness, swelling of the face, eyes, or mouth
- rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth, or eyes accompanied by fever
- severe or bloody diarrhoea or diarrhoea with severe stomach cramps
This medicine may cause the level of your red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets to drop.
Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds, and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Inform your doctor if you have a fever, cough, or flu that does not go away.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Inform your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other antibiotics e.g. capreomycin, gentamicin, vancomycin
- water pills or medicines for water retention e.g. furosemide
- probenecid (medicine for gout [high uric acid level in the blood])
- metformin (medicine for diabetes)
- birth control pills containing estrogen
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Cefalexin.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements, and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Refrigerate the oral suspension (between 2-8°C) once you have mixed the powder or granules with water. Do not freeze it otherwise, it will become less effective. Throw away any unused portion after 14 days.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.