Cefazolin

Cefazolin treats several types of bacterial infections. It is given by injection into a vein or muscle. Cefazolin is similar to penicillin, so tell your doctor if you are allergic to either drug.

Cefazolin Overview

Reviewed: July 17, 2013
Updated: 

Cefazolin is a prescription medication used to treat bacterial infections, including lung, skin, bone, joint, stomach, blood, heart valve, and urinary tract infections. It is also used to prevent infection before, during, and after surgery. Cefazolin belongs to a group of drugs called cephalosporin antibiotics. These work by stopping the growth of bacteria in the body.

This medication is available in an injectable form to be given directly into a vein (IV) or into a muscle (IM) by a healthcare professional.

Common side effects of cefazolin include diarrhea and upset stomach.

Patient Ratings for Cefazolin

How was your experience with Cefazolin?

First, a little about yourself

Tell us about yourself in a few words?

What tips would you provide a friend before taking Cefazolin?

What are you taking Cefazolin for?

Choose one
  • Other
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Bites, Human
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial
  • Escherichia Coli Infections
  • Klebsiella Infections
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial
  • Proteus Infections
  • Skin Diseases, Bacterial
  • Soft Tissue Infections
  • Staphylococcal Infections
  • Streptococcal Infections
  • Surgical Wound Infection
  • Urinary Tract Infections

How long have you been taking it?

Choose one
  • Less than a week
  • A couple weeks
  • A month or so
  • A few months
  • A year or so
  • Two years or more

How well did Cefazolin work for you?

Did you experience many side effects while taking this drug?

How likely would you be to recommend Cefazolin to a friend?

Uses of Cefazolin

Cefazolin is a prescription medication used to treat bacterial infections, including lung, skin, bone, joint, stomach, blood, heart valve, and urinary tract infections. It is also used to prevent infection before, during, and after surgery.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Cefazolin Brand Names

Cefazolin may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Cefazolin Drug Class

Cefazolin is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Cefazolin

Serious side effects have been reported with cefazolin. See the “Cefazolin Precautions” section.

Common side effects of cefazoline include the following:

  • diarrhea
  • oral candidiasis (oral thrush)
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • stomach cramps
  • loss of appetite
  • itching
  • skin rash
  • fever
  • pain at the site of injection

This is not a complete list of cefazolin side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Cefazolin Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take probenecid (Benemid, Probalan).

This is not a complete list of cefazolin drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Cefazolin Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with cefazolin including the following:

  • hypersensitivity (severe allergic reaction). An allergic reaction to cephalosporin antibiotics may occur in up to 10% of people with an allergy to penicillin. Tell your healthcare provider about any signs or symptoms of hypersensitivity, which include the following:
    • chest pain
    • swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, arms, or legs
    • difficulty breathing or swallowing
    • rash
  • diarrhea. Diarrhea is a common problem caused by antibiotics, and it usually ends when the antibacterial is discontinued. Sometimes after starting treatment with antibiotics, patients can develop watery and bloody stools (with or without stomach cramps and fever) even as late as 2 or more months after having taken their last dose of the antibacterial. If diarrhea is severe or lasts more than 2 or 3 days, contact your doctor, as this may be a sign of an infection of the bowels.
  • seizures. Seizures may occur with the use of cefazolin, especially in patients with kidney problems.

Do not take cefazolin if you are allergic to cefazolin or to any of its ingredients or are allergic to any other cephalosporin antibiotics or pencillins.

Cefazolin Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of cefazolin, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before taking cefazolin, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to cefazolin or to any of its ingredients
  • are allergic to penicillin or other cephalosporin antibiotics
  • have a history of other allergies
  • have or have had kidney disease
  • have or have had liver problems
  • have a history of seizures
  • have a history of gastrointestinal (stomach and bowel) problems, especially colitis
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Cefazolin and Pregnancy

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

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X - are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Cefazolin falls into category B. There are no well-done studies that have been done in humans with cefazolin. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication, and the babies did not show any medical issues related to this medication.

Cefazolin and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

Cefazolin has been detected in human breast milk. Because of the possibility for adverse reactions in nursing infants from cefazolin, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or to stop use of this medication. The importance of the drug to the mother should be considered.

Cefazolin Usage

Take cefazolin exactly as prescribed.

This medication is available in an injectable form to be given directly into a vein (IV) or muscle (IM) by a healthcare professional.

If you miss a dose, schedule a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Cefazolin Dosage

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • the condition being treated
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you respond to this medication
  • your weight

The recommended dose cefazolin for the treatment of infections in adults is 250 mg to 1500 mg given every 6 to 12 hours, depending on the severity, site, and type of infection. In children, the recommended dose of cefazolin is 20 to 50 mg per kg per day, divided into 3 to 4 equal doses.

The recommended dose cefazolin for the prevention of infections before, during, and after surgery is 1000 mg given every 30 to 60 minutes before surgery and 500 mg to 1000 mg every 6 to 8 hours for 24 hours after surgery.

The dose of cefazolin in adults and children should be decreased if the patient has poor kidney function.

Cefazolin Overdose

If you take too much cefazolin, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

If cefazolin is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Forms of Medication


Other Requirements

  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.

Cefazolin FDA Warning