Cefotaxime is an antibiotic that belongs to the third generation group of cephalosporins. More specifically, Cefotaxime is the first third-generation cephalosporin to be provided. Its antimicrobial action is similar to that of Cefamandole; however, its spectrum is broader. It has a higher activity against Gram-negative bacteria and it is very resistant to bacterial beta-lactamase. It is, however, less active towards Gram-positive bacteria and anaerobes.


From a molecular point of view, Cefotaxime acts by inhibiting the synthesis of bacterial wall. Similar to that of other cephalosporins, this antibiotic has the ability to bind to the transpeptidase enzymes that serve to create the bonds between the peptidoglycan chains (the polymers essential for the formation of bacterial cell wall). In turn, the transpeptidase activity inhibits the stability of the bacterial cell wall, resulting in the death of the growing bacterial cells.


What is Cefotaxime?

Cefotaxime is used in the form of injections for the treatment of meningitis, septicemia, peritonitis as well as infections of the genitourinary tract and respiratory tract, infections of the skin and soft tissue, infections of the bones and joints and prophylaxis of surgical infections.


How should Cefotaxime be taken?

Cefotaxime is administered via injection (in the form of powder and solvent solution to be administered intramuscularly or intravenously or by infusion).


Side effects associated with Cefotaxime

The basic treatment of Cefotaxime is generally well tolerated. The most common side effects seen especially in susceptible or sensitive individuals include the following:

  • Gastrointestinal disorders: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, heartburn, glossitis;
  • Kidney function abnormalities: increased blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine;
  • Liver function abnormalities: elevated serum transaminases (SGOT, SGPT); increased bilirubin, and increased alkaline phosphatase;
  • Hematologic abnormalities: hemolytic anemia, granulocytopenia, eosinofilia, agranulocytosis (very rare);
  • Neurological symptoms: headache, dizziness, agitation, confusion, weakness;
  • Allergic reactions: itching , hives , anaphylactic reactions, arthralgia, fever medications;
  • Local reactions: phlebitis, thrombophlebitis, pain, hardening and brittleness at the injection site.


Contraindications and warnings associated with Cefotaxime

Particular attention should be paid in the administration of this drug in children younger than 30 months; in patients that are hypersensitive to Cefotaxime, cephalosporins, penicillins or other antibiotics; as well as in patients with heart rhythm disturbances and in patients with severe heart failure.


During pregnancy and early childhood, the use of this drug is not recommended. Only in cases of urgency or real need may the drug be taken, but only under strict medical supervision. Since Cefotaxime tends to accumulate in breast milk, you may need to decide whether you wish to discontinue breast-feeding or treatment with medicines, taking into consideration the importance of the drug to the mother's health.