What Is Cefoxitin?

Dee S.
Dee S.

Cefoxitin is an injectable antibiotic that is typically only obtained through a doctor's prescription. It is also known as cefoxitin sodium or by its brand name Mefoxin®. Generally, it is prescribed to treat certain bacterial infections, especially those affecting the blood, joints, bones, lungs, urinary tract, or stomach. It is also prescribed prior to certain surgeries to prevent the likelihood of infection. Not everyone should use this antibiotic since it may be dangerous to those who are allergic to it. As with many drugs, there are some side effects, such as diarrhea, that may occur.

Cefoxitin may be used to treat a urinary tract infection.
Cefoxitin may be used to treat a urinary tract infection.

Cefoxitin is used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections. For example, it may be prescribed to treat pneumonia. It may also be used to treat a urinary infection that is caused by certain bacteria, such as Escherichia coli. Some sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea, may be treated with a round of cefoxitin as well. In addition, infections that affect the joints, bones, blood, and pelvis may also be treated with this drug. As a precautionary measure, it is often prescribed prior to surgery to prevent post-surgical infections, particularly in the case of Caesarean sections, which are surgeries performed to deliver babies.

Since cefoxitin is administered through an injection or via an intravenous needle, it is usually given to a patient in a controlled setting, such as at a hospital or a doctor's office. In some cases, a patient may be taught how to store and administer the drug himself. In those cases, it is usually refrigerated prior to its use and then administered at room temperature, several times each day. Typically, patients are told to pay attention to the color of the drug, as it should only be used if it is transparent, like water, and free from any sort of debris floating in the solution.

As with most drugs, cefoxitin has its side effects and not everyone should use it. This is particularly true of people who are allergic to antibiotics that fall into the same group as cefoxitin, called cephalosporin. In addition, since it can cause diarrhea, it should not be used by people suffering from colitis or other gastrointestinal disorders. Aside from diarrhea, it can also cause low blood pressure, jaundice, and elevated kidney function. It also will be excreted in breast milk, so it is not generally prescribed for breastfeeding mothers or for pregnant women, and it isn't typically isn't prescribed for children.

Dee S.
Dee S.

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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