Keflex

Keflex (cephalexin) is a broad-spectrum antibiotic used to treat a wide variety of infections caused by bacteria. It is available in generic and brand form.

Keflex is part of a group of drugs called cephalosporins. Cephalosporins are similar to penicillin in their structure and function.

Keflex is used to treat infections caused by bacteria. It is most often used to treat skin infections, urinary tract infections, and respiratory infections.

Keflex may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not use Keflex if you are allergic to cephalexin or to any other cephalosporin antibiotic (such as Ceftin, Cefzil, Omnicef, Suprax, and others).

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Keflex if you are allergic to cephalexin or to any other cephalosporin antibiotic (such as Ceftin, Cefzil, Omnicef, Suprax, and others).

To make sure Keflex is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • kidney disease; or
  • a stomach or intestinal disorder such as colitis.

Taking Keflex during pregnancy could harm the unborn baby.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Cephalexin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using Keflex.

Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice.

How should I take Keflex?

Take Keflex exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets.

Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared.

Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics.

Keflex will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.

Shake the oral suspension (liquid) before you measure a dose. Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup.

If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

You may take Keflex with or without food.

Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time, even if your symptoms quickly improve.

Skipping doses can increase your risk of infection that is resistant to medication. Keflex will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using Keflex.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Do not use a Keflex oral suspension that has been frozen.

Call your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in treating your symptoms.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking Keflex?

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Keflex side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
  • kidney problems--little or no urination, painful or difficult urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath;
  • liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain (that may spread to your back), fatigue, loss of appetite, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • pancreas problems--severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting;
  • low blood cell counts--fever, chills, night sweats, mouth sores, pale skin, unusual weakness;
  • signs of a new infection--fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums), loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting; or
  • severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Common Keflex side effects may include:

  • mild diarrhea;
  • upset stomach; or
  • vaginal itching or discharge.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also:

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