Cefotaxime is an antibiotic that is administered intravenously. This means that it has to be given via a”drip” or “cannula”. In the UK, cefotaxime is used in children who have a serious infection or suspected infection. It is described as a third generation cephalosporin and has a broad range of activity against different bacteria. Because it is given intravenously, this antibiotic is only usually given in a hospital setting.

In children over 1 month of age it is usually given every 6 to 8 hours. The exact timing will be determined by your paediatrician. In babies under 1 month of age the dose and frequency of administration will vary depending on the exact age and weight of the baby.

Cefotaxime or a related antibiotic (ceftriaxone) are usually used if meningitis is suspected.This is when there is an infection of the central nervous system. Different combinations of antibiotics may be used particularly in babies under 1 month of age and also if the blood tests suggest a different antibiotic combination may be better for the child.

Side effects

The principle side effect of cephalosporins is allergy.

0.5% to 6.5% of patients who are penicillin allergic will also be allergic to cephalosporins.

Other recognised side effects include antibiotic induced colitis or inflammation of the bowel.

The full range of side effects and drug interactions can be seen on the summary of product characteristics.

Authored by: Dr Tim Ubhi

Published: 8th March 2019


The British National Formulary & the summary of product characteristics

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