Cefadroxil – Oral

What Is Cefadroxil

Cefadroxil is an orally administered prescription medication used to treat certain bacterial infections, such as infections of the skin, urinary tract (UTIs), throat, and tonsils.

Cefadroxil is categorized as a cephalosporin antibiotic (a medication derived from the fungus Acremonium) and is approved for use in adults and children.

Cephalosporin antibiotics belong to a class known as beta-lactams, which are antibiotics that have a beta-lactam ring in their chemical makeup. These drugs are used to treat various bacterial infections, including skin infections, kidney infections, and ear infections.

Cefadroxil works by killing bacteria.

No brand-name version of cefadroxil exists. However, cefadroxil as a generic drug is available in tablet, liquid suspension, and capsule forms.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Cefadroxil
Brand Name: N/A
Drug Availability: Prescription
Administration Route: Oral
Therapeutic Classification: Cephalosporin
Available Generically: Yes
Controlled Substance: N/A
Active Ingredient: Cefadroxil hemihydrate
Dosage Form(s): Tablet, powder for liquid suspension, capsule

What Is Cefadroxil Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Cefadroxil to treat certain infections caused by bacteria. These include UTIs, as well as skin, throat, and tonsil infections.

Cefadroxil will only work for bacterial infections.

Bacterial infections can make an individual severely ill if not treated promptly. Some types of bacteria that cause infections include Staphylococcus (staph infection), Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Streptococcus.

Cefadroxil does not work for viral infections such as the common cold, flu, or COVID-19.

How to Take Cefadroxil

Before taking cefadroxil, read the information leaflet. Consult your healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have. You can take cefadroxil with or without food.

If cefadroxil bothers your stomach, take it with food.

Take cefadroxil as directed by your healthcare provider and for the entire length of time prescribed. Do not chew or crush the drug.

Stopping an antibiotic too soon can cause your infection to come back or cause antibiotic resistance, in which the antibiotic may not work the next time you need it. 

If your child is taking cefadroxil oral suspension, shake the bottle before you measure a dose. Ask the pharmacist for an oral syringe or another dosing device.

Do not use a kitchen spoon to measure the cefadroxil liquid suspension, because it is inaccurate for measuring.

Storage

Store cefadroxil capsules or tablets at room temperature. Keep away from direct light, heat, and moisture. Do not store in a bathroom.

Store cefadroxil liquid suspension in the refrigerator. Do not freeze it. If you have any cefadroxil suspension left over at the end of the prescribed length of treatment, throw it away.

How Long Does Cefadroxil Take to Work?

When you take cefadroxil, you may start to feel better within one to two days. Even if you feel better, continue to take the medication for the full course of treatment to ensure you recover fully and prevent any future antibiotic resistance.

What Are the Side Effects of Cefadroxil

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects of cefadroxil include:

Severe Side Effects

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Anaphylaxis (hypersensitivity reactions): Symptoms include rash, hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling around the lips, tongue, and face requiring emergency medical attention.
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis (life-threatening skin reactions): Symptoms can include fever, red or purple rash, and blistering or peeling skin.
  • Erythema multiforme (a skin disorder): Symptoms include bull's-eye-shaped lesions.
  • Serum sickness reaction: Symptoms include fever, rash, and pain.
  • Interstitial nephritis (kidney disorder): Symptoms include blood in the urine, fever, swelling of body parts, and rash.
  • Low red and/or white blood cells: Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, headaches, dizziness, and feeling cold.
  • Low platelet levels: Symptoms include excessive bruising, prolonged bleeding when cut, fatigue, and blood in the urine and stools.
  • Liver problems: Symptoms include tiredness, upper abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored stools, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of eyes).
  • Clostridioides difficile (C. diff)-associated diarrhea: Symptoms of severe diarrhea associated with antibiotics can occur during treatment or up to two months after treatment is complete.

Long-Term Side Effects

In rare cases, cefadroxil can cause long-term or delayed side effects. 

Moderately severe long-term side effects include the potential for a yeast infection, liver problems, or leukopenia (a low white blood cell count). 

Serious long-term side effects include the potential for kidney problems, liver failure, seizures, and life-threatening skin reactions.

Report Side Effects

Cefadroxil may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Cefadroxil Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage forms (capsules or suspension):
    • For infections:
      • Adults and teenagers—1000 to 2000 milligrams (mg) per day, taken as a single dose or divided and taken twice a day.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The dose is usually 30 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day, taken as a single dose or divided and taken every 12 hours.

Modifications

Certain factors or characteristics may require a treatment adjustment, including:

Children: Cefadroxil can be used in infants, children, and adolescents, and the dosage for children is based on weight. Usually, this medication is not prescribed to children under the age of 6.

Pregnancy: Cefadroxil may be used with caution in pregnancy if the healthcare provider determines that the benefits outweigh the risks. People who are pregnant, become pregnant, or plan to become pregnant should consult their healthcare provider. 

Breastfeeding: Cefadroxil is generally safe to take while nursing, as long as your or the infant's healthcare provider determines it is an appropriate treatment. 

Adults 65 and older: Older adults are more likely to have health problems, such as kidney damage, and may require a lower dose.

People with kidney problems: Patients with kidney problems may need a dosage adjustment, based on the creatinine clearance rate.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of cefadroxil, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together. 

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Cefadroxil?

Clinical information about overdosing on cefadroxil is limited, but the signs and symptoms of a potential overdose, while rare, may include:

What Happens If I Overdose on Cefadroxil?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Cefadroxil, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Zelapar, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

If your symptoms or your child's symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

Cefadroxil may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. Do not take any medicine or give medicine to your child to treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. Diarrhea medicines may make the diarrhea worse or make it last longer. If you have any questions about this or if mild diarrhea continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.

Before you or your child have any medical tests, tell the medical doctor in charge that you are using this medicine. The results of some tests may be affected by this medicine.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn't Take Cefadroxil?

Cefadroxil is not appropriate for everyone. Some people should not take cefadroxil.

People who are allergic to cefadroxil or any other cephalosporins, such as cephalexin or cefdinir, should not take cefadroxil.

Tell your healthcare provider if you are allergic to penicillin antibiotics such as penicillin, Amoxil (amoxicillin), or Augmentin (amoxicillin and clavulanate). If you are allergic to a penicillin antibiotic, you may also be allergic to a cephalosporin such as cefadroxil. 

Cefadroxil should be used with caution in people with kidney problems or people with recent antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

What Other Medications Interact With Cefadroxil

Some drugs may interact with cefadroxil. Before taking cefadroxil, tell your healthcare provider about all of the medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, vitamins, and supplements. 

Drugs that thin the blood, such as Eliquis (apixaban), Lovenox, heparin, Xarelto (rivaroxaban), and Coumadin or Jantoven (warfarin), may interact with cefadroxil. This interaction may increase the risk of bleeding, which could be life-threatening. 

If you use hormonal birth control, ask your healthcare provider if you should use a backup method of birth control while taking cefadroxil.

What Medications Are Similar?

Cefadroxil is a cephalosporin antibiotic.

Examples of other cephalosporin antibiotics include cefuroxime, cephalexin, and cefdinir.

There are many other classes of antibiotics, which can be used for various bacterial infections.

Some classes of antibiotics and examples of drugs in each class include:

The antibiotic prescribed by your healthcare provider is expected to work against the bacterium causing your infection. 

The above is a list of drugs also prescribed for bacterial infections. It is not a list of drugs recommended to take with cefadroxil. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Cefadroxil used for?

    Cefadroxil is a cephalosporin antibiotic. It is available by prescription. Cefadroxil can be used to treat certain bacterial infections, such as infections of the skin, urinary tract, throat, and tonsils.

  • How does Cefadroxil work?

    Cefadroxil works by killing bacteria.

  • What drugs should not be taken with Cefadroxil?

    Blood-thinning medications, such as Eliquis (apixaban), Lovenox, heparin, Xarelto (rivaroxaban), and Coumadin or Jantoven (warfarin) can interact with cefadroxil and increase the risk of bleeding, which can be life-threatening.

    Also, if you use hormonal birth control, ask your healthcare provider about using a backup method of birth control while taking cefadroxil. 

  • How long does it take for Cefadroxil to work?

    You may start to feel better within a day or two after starting on cefadroxil. However, it is important to finish the full course of treatment to make sure the bacteria does not return and to avoid antibiotic resistance.

  • How do I stop taking Cefadroxil?

    Your healthcare provider will advise you on how long to take cefadroxil. When you are finished with the full course of treatment, you can stop taking cefadroxil.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Cefadroxil

Before taking cefadroxil, discuss all medical conditions and your medical history with your healthcare provider. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medications you take.

This helps ensure that cefadroxil will be prescribed safely and that your healthcare provider can monitor you appropriately while taking cefadroxil.

Take cefadroxil at regularly spaced intervals. For example, if you take cefadroxil twice a day, take it every 12 hours. Finish the full course of treatment as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

Ask your healthcare provider about other measures you can take in addition to taking the antibiotic. For example, for a throat infection, it may help to use cough drops and a humidifier and to drink plenty of liquids to help your symptoms until your infection clears up.

Some people get a yeast infection when taking an antibiotic.

If this is a concern, talk to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider may recommend you take a probiotic along with the antibiotic, to help prevent a yeast infection. If you do develop a fungal infection, contact your healthcare provider, because you may need an antifungal medication. 

In rare cases, antibiotic-associated diarrhea may occur, even up to two months after you finish the antibiotic. If you have severe diarrhea, especially if it is watery or bloody, consult your healthcare provider or get emergency medical help, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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By Karen Berger, PharmD
Karen Berger, PharmD, is a community pharmacist and medical writer/reviewer.