Active Ingredients

Cefazolin – Effect, Application & Risks


Cefazolin is a semi-synthetic antibiotic that belongs to the cephalosporin group . The drug belongs to first-generation cephalosporins. Cefazolin is distinguished by its bactericidal properties. The effect of the drug is primarily based on the fact that the active ingredient impairs the formation of cell walls in bacteria .

What is cefazolin?

Basically, the active ingredient cefazolin belongs to the group of so-called beta-lactam antibiotics , which in turn belong to the cephalosporins. As a rule, the active ingredient is used to treat infectious diseases that are both acute and chronic.

It is possible to administer the drug cefazolin parenterally. For this purpose, the medicine is used in powder form to make up a suitable solution for injection or infection. The plasma half-life is usually around two hours. Most of the drug is excreted through the kidneys .

In some cases, the synonyms cefazolinum , cefazolin sodium or cefazolinum natricum are used for the active ingredient cefazolin. On the market, the drug is available exclusively in the form of solutions to be used as injections and infusions . The drug has been approved in Switzerland since 1974.

In pharmacy, cefazolin is used in the form of cefazolin sodium. This substance is usually a white powder with low solubility in water. Basically, the drug is administered either intramuscularly or intravenously.

Use only makes sense in cases where the presence of sensitive pathogens is certain. Cefazolin is sometimes associated with some undesirable side effects .

Pharmacological action

Cefazolin is characterized by a characteristic mode of action, so that the drug is suitable for the therapy of specific infectious diseases . In principle, cefalozin has a bactericidal effect, i.e. it kills bacteria. The reason for this bactericidal effect is that the active ingredient interferes with the bacterial synthesis of the cell wall. As a result, the germs die because undisturbed reproduction is no longer possible. In addition, the active ingredient has a relatively short half-life, which is around 1.4 hours when administered intravenously.However, cefazolin is only effective against specific bacteria. These include, for example , staphylococci , Streptococcus pneumoniae and Escherichia coli . Numerous other germs, such as Proteus vulgaris, various strains of streptococci and Enterobacter cloacae mostly show resistance to the drug cefazolin.

When a patient’s kidneys are functioning properly, the dominant elimination half-life is approximately two hours.

Medical Application & Use

Cefazolin is suitable for the therapy of numerous infections . The medicinal product must always be dosed in accordance with the information for healthcare professionals. In most cases, cefazolin is used either intravenously or intramuscularly. The main area of ​​​​application of the drug is infectious diseases of the skin caused by sensitive pathogens.

In addition, the drug is also suitable for the treatment of moderately severe infections affecting the lungs , joints , bones , stomach , blood , urinary tract or heart valves .

Thus, for example, administration of cefazolin is recommended for bronchitis or pneumonia . The drug can also be used for infections in the renal pelvis , the ureter , the urinary bladder and the prostate .

In some cases, cefazolin is also used for prophylaxis, in particular to prevent infections that occur during surgical procedures. This is the case, for example, with open surgeries on the heart , joints and bones. Cefazolin is also given for bile duct infections , soft tissue infections, or sepsis .

Risks & side effects

In the context of therapy with the drug cefazolin, a large number of undesirable side effects and symptoms are possible, which vary depending on the individual case. For example, after the administration of cefazolin, hypersensitivity reactions and complaints of the gastro-intestinal tract have been reported. These include vomiting , diarrhea and nausea .In some cases, allergic reactions in the form of rashes , pruritus or urticaria appear, particularly on the skin near the injection or infusion site . In addition, some patients complain of loss of appetite or abdominal pain during therapy with cefazolin .

Hypersensitivity reactions sometimes include fever , angioedema or, in the worst case, anaphylactic shock . Other possible side effects of the drug include, for example, hemolytic anemia , eosinophilia, leucopenia , neutropenia and thrombocytopenia .

Cefazolin must never be used if the affected patient is already known to have an intolerance or hypersensitivity to the drug or other antibiotics from the beta-lactam group.

In addition, the drug should not be administered while breastfeeding , as the active ingredient passes into breast milk . Premature babies and infants in the first month after birth should also not be treated with cefazolin.

It should also be noted that a cross-allergy can occur in some cases with an existing allergy to penicillin . If side effects occur during treatment with the active ingredient cefazolin, a doctor must be consulted immediately.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.