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Cefadroxil (no longer available by brand name) belongs to a class of potent antibiotics called cephalosporins. This drug works against a wide variety of germs, including staphylococcus and Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus. It is used to treat infections of the urinary tract, skin, throat and tonsils.

Cephalosporins are broad spectrum medicines that were originally discovered in one of the world's most unlikely locations.

A fungus found close to a sewer outlet along the coast of Sardinia turned out to cure a number of nasty infections. From this chance observation many extraordinary antibiotics have been developed.

Side Effects and Interactions

Side effects from cephalosporin-type antibiotics are generally mild. Nevertheless, cefadroxil can cause digestive tract discomfort, with diarrhea, nausea or vomiting. If you develop diarrhea contact your physician, as it may be a warning of drug-induced colitis (frequently caused by a disruption in the intestinal flora by Clostridium difficile).

Other common reactions include rash and itching. This should not be ignored, as it may be the first sign of a rare but very serious skin reaction [Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis]. Swelling of the face and throat [angioedema or anaphylaxis] requires emergency attention.

Cefadroxil may raise liver enzymes and impede the flow of bile. It may also affect the blood and can trigger dangerous anemias. This medication has been known to cause seizures in some individuals.

Remember to report any symptoms or suspected side effects of cephalexin to your physician promptly.

Special Precautions

If you are allergic to penicillin-type antibiotics, alert your physician immediately. Some people who are sensitive to penicillin may also react to cephalosporins.

Symptoms such as breathing difficulty, wheezing, sneezing, hives, itching, and skin rash require immediate emergency treatment.

Life-threatening anaphylactic shock may produce an inability to breathe and cardiovascular collapse and can occur within minutes of exposure.

If you have reacted to another cephalosporin, such as Keflex, you should avoid cefadroxil.

People with kidney problems should receive cefadroxil only under strict medical supervision, as the dosage will most likely have to be modified to prevent toxicity.

Taking the Medicine

Cefadroxil may be taken with or without food. It may cause less stomach upset if taken with meals.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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