Ceftriaxone: A Powerful Broad Spectrum Antibiotic

In this article...
  • When afflicted with a bacterial infection, antibiotics are usually necessary. One of the most effective broad-spectrum antibiotics used is Ceftriaxone. Find out more.

Sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis are examples of bacterial infections that can occur in the human body at any stage of life. To combat them effectively, it’s necessary to use the right antibiotic. One of the best-known broad-spectrum antibiotics is Ceftriaxone, also known by its trade name Rocephin.

Ceftriaxone is an injectable that’s applied to a vein or muscle. It’s used to fend off excessive bacteria and prevent infections from proliferating. Ceftriaxone is effective for up to 6 weeks, depending on the type of infection. It’s often used to treat dozens of infections in various parts of the body, including:

  • Blood infections
  • Abdominal infections
  • Lung infections
  • Infections in the brain
  • Infections in the bone and joints

Ceftriaxone is also often effective against gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease, and infections that can occur after surgery.

Ceftriaxone Side Effects

In clinical studies done with Ceftriaxone, the most common side effects experienced by users of the drug were upset stomach and diarrhea. Some patients also experienced rashes at the injection site.

Other rare side effects include:

  • Increased liver enzymes, which may indicate liver damage
  • Reduction of platelets, which can compromise blood clotting
  • Reduction of white blood cells
  • Eosinophilia, which means an increase in a specific type of white blood cell that can indicate allergic reactions or the presence of worms

Other Rare Side Effects

Fever, nausea, vomiting, genital infection and headache are considered unusual reactions for this antibiotic but should be taken care of if they occur and should be reported to your doctor.

There are records of people who’ve experienced severe anemia, along with pallor, tiredness and shortness of breath, while using the drug. In this case, the use of Ceftriaxone should be ceased immediately and the anemia treated. Other rare side effects include pancreatitis of biliary origin, urticaria, inflammation of the intestine, presence of blood in the urine, chills and edema. If any of these side effects occur, you should consult your doctor immediately. 

Although diarrhea is considered a common side effect of the drug that can often be treated at home, it’s necessary to seek medical help if the condition is persistent or excessive.

How to Use Ceftriaxone

Ceftriaxone injections must be administered by a healthcare professional. The number of treatments and treatment durations are determined by the doctor and usually depend on how effective the antibiotic treats the specific infection.

It’s important to continue the full prescribed treatment when using Ceftriaxone and other antibiotics, even if symptoms dissipate. Discontinuing treatment can result in a resurgence of the infection with higher resistance to antibiotic treatments. 

If your infection worsens or doesn't improve, it’s crucial to inform your doctor immediately.

Other Considerations With Ceftriaxone

People with allergies to penicillin or other components present in Ceftriaxone should not use this antibiotic. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should also avoid it unless authorized by a doctor.

Is Ceftriaxone a Powerful Antibiotic?

Ceftriaxone is what’s known as a broad-spectrum antibiotic, indicating that it works against a large number of different bacteria. Other antibiotics can treat more serious infections, but Ceftriaxone works on many mild to moderate infections caused by a variety of bacteria.

Does Medicare Cover Ceftriaxone?

Many Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans cover the use of Ceftriaxone, though you’ll need to consult your specific plan to determine whether the drug is covered for you.

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