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What is Ceftriaxone?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Ceftriaxone is an antibiotic used in the treatment of a wide variety of medical conditions. This cephalosporin drug may not be as well known as some of its close relatives like cephalexin (Keflex®), or cefixime (Suprax), because it is usually administered by injection or intravenously (IV). It is possible for some people to use ceftriaxone injections at home, but they are more used in doctor’s offices or other health facilities, while most IV medicines are more commonly prescribed in hospitals or health clinics.

One of the most important observations about ceftriaxone is because it is a cephalosporin, people with an allergy to penicillin may also develop an allergy to it. All of the cephalosporin antibiotics carry this warning, and sensitivity to one cephalosporin may mean greater sensitivity to others. People should definitely discuss with their doctors if they’ve had an allergic reaction to penicillin or another cephalosporin in the past. Symptoms of severe allergy include hives, rash, difficulty breathing, asthmatic symptoms, and swelling of the face, lips, and tongue.

Along with medication sensitivities, a few medical conditions or problems may make ceftriaxone not the best choice for everyone. This drug is not recommended for people with liver, gallbladder or kidney disease. It may risk serious stomach side effects if a person has ongoing intestinal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease. Breastfeeding women are also advised against taking this medication.

Where indicated, ceftriaxone can prove highly beneficial. It is one of the first drugs considered to treat certain forms of bacterial meningitis. Several injections of it can effectively cure gonorrhea. It can also be useful in treating bacterial inflammation of the heart, addressing Lyme disease, or alleviating typhoid. The medicine has numerous other uses and is effective against a variety of bacterial types.

When given by injection, people may receive one or two injections a day. Indications for total amount and days of use depend on the disease being treated. If the medicine is being used at home, people should remember that it generally has to be used with an additional liquid solution. People should be well trained on how to inject this medication if they will do it without medical assistance.

Like most medications, ceftriaxone has some side effects. Many of these are mild and include sweating or flushing, pain at the injection site, diarrhea, or headache. More severe side effects should be reported right away to doctors and can include stomach cramping, bloating, vomiting, chest discomfort, acid indigestion, fever, severe or bloody diarrhea, and rash. Use of antibiotics can also cause greater risk for oral or genital yeast infections; many physicians recommend adding yogurt with live active cultures to the daily diet to reduce this risk slightly.

Since ceftriaxone may be administered for only a day or two, people may forget the importance of finishing all doses of this medicine if it’s taken for several weeks’ time. It’s exceptionally important to fully complete a prescribed course of antibiotics or infection may rebound and become much harder to defeat.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
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Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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