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What is Ancef®?

By D. Jeffress
Updated May 17, 2024
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Ancef® is a prescription medication used to treat certain types of bacterial infections, including severe skin and respiratory tract infections caused by Streptococcus and Staphylococcus. It may be supplied through an intramuscular injection or a slow-release intravenous (IV) drip. Ancef® is generally considered safe, and there are few risks of major side effects. Most people who use the drug daily as instructed by their doctors see symptom improvement in about one week.

The main active ingredient in Ancef® is cefazolin, an antibiotic that is utilized in many different medications. Cefazolin works by penetrating bacterial cells and interfering with their ability to create specific proteins. Without the proteins, bacteria are unable to synthesize their protective cell walls. They then become susceptible to natural immune system defenses and are quickly killed.

Ancef® is effective against many of the most common types of skin, urinary tract, respiratory, and gastrointestinal tract infections. It may also be used in combination with other drugs to combat severe heart or blood bacterial complications. In addition, a doctor may begin an IV drip of the drug for a patient before he or she undergoes a surgical procedure to help reduce the risk of postoperative infections.

Dosage amounts, frequencies, and routes of administration are determined based on a patient's age and specific condition. Most patients with relatively uncomplicated skin or respiratory tract infections are given intramuscular doses of about 500 milligrams. Patients with more serious problems may need larger doses delivered through an IV. Ancef® is usually taken two to three times a day for one to two weeks, though a doctor may increase or decrease the frequency based on the patient's response. If the drug is to be used outside of a hospital setting, a physician or pharmacist can explain how to safely administer it at home.

The most common side effects when taking Ancef® are stomach upset, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Nausea and vomiting may be induced by the IV form of the drug. There are also slight risks of experiencing an allergic reaction that causes an itchy skin rash, breathing difficulties, and swelling in the lips and mouth. It is important to report any side effects to the prescribing doctor so he or she can determine the best course of action. The physician may adjust dosage amounts or try a different type of antibiotic therapy to see if the results are any better.

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