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Cefixime (Suprax)

​​Cefixime and Suprax are both brand names for a type of antibiotic medicine that belongs to the cephalosporin group of antibiotics.  ​These types of antibiotics are broad-spectrum antibiotics that are similar to penicillin and they are used to treat a wide range of different infections. The benefit of a broad-spectrum antibiotic is that you don’t need to know the exact bacteria that is causing the problem in order to be able to treat it, though specific antibiotics do work better for certain infections. You may be prescribed a broad-spectrum antibiotic to start fighting the infection while tests are being carried to figure out the exact bacteria affecting you, though sometimes this type of antibiotic will cure the infection on its own.  ​Antibiotics work by slowing down the growth of the bacteria or killing it by breaking down the protein walls that surround it.​ 

​​​Infections attack our bodies in all sorts of ways and can cause pain and fever and general suffering. Infections are caused by bacteria living and growing within our bodies. A few examples of infections that occur quite commonly within the human body are tonsillitis, bronchitis, urinary tract infection and pneumonia. Infections are generally treated with some kind of antibiotic, which helps to weaken or kill the bacteria giving your body a chance to recover. Antibiotics are only used when an infection is confirmed as sometimes a viral illness can give very similar symptoms to an infection, but viral illnesses cannot be treated with antibiotics and if you take them unnecessarily you may damage the chances of them working when you do need them.​​ 

What is ​Cefixime-Suprax​? 

​​Cefixime and Suprax are both brand names for a type of antibiotic medicine that belongs to the cephalosporin group of antibiotics. 

​These types of antibiotics are broad-spectrum antibiotics that are similar to penicillin and they are used to treat a wide range of different infections. The benefit of a broad-spectrum antibiotic is that you don’t need to know the exact bacteria that is causing the problem in order to be able to treat it, though specific antibiotics do work better for certain infections. You may be prescribed a broad-spectrum antibiotic to start fighting the infection while tests are being carried to figure out the exact bacteria affecting you, though sometimes this type of antibiotic will cure the infection on its own. 

​Antibiotics work by slowing down the growth of the bacteria or killing it by breaking down the protein walls that surround it.​ 

When is Cefixime-Suprax used? 

Cefixime and Suprax are used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections including: 

  • Tonsillitis; 
  • Laryngitis; 
  • Pneumonia; 
  • Bronchitis; 
  • Urinary tract infections; 
  • Other infections that affect the ears, nose, throat and chest. 

They can also be used the treat the following in patients who are allergic to penicillin: 

  • Sinus infections; 
  • Salmonella; 
  • Typhoid fever; 
  • Shigella. 

How do you use Cefixime-Suprax? 

Cefixime comes as a tablet, chewable tablet, capsule and liquid suspension – all of which are taken orally (by mouth). As with all medication, you must follow the advice given to you by your doctor or pharmacist when it comes to taking it correctly. 

For the tablets and capsules: 

  • Swallow the tablet or capsule whole with water; 
  • The tablets have a marked line so they can be broken in half if you have been instructed to take a half dose. 

For the Chewable tablets: 

  • Chew the tablet completely before swallowing; 
  • Do not swallow them whole, crush them before swallowing if you find that you cannot chew them. 

For the suspension:  

  • Shake the suspension well before use to ensure it is evenly mixed; 
  • Make sure you take the correct amount using a measuring device, not a kitchen spoon. 

What dosages are there? 

Different people with different conditions will need specific amounts of medicine that meet their needs. This is why you should always follow the instructions given to you by your doctor when it comes to how much medicine to take and for how long. 

Cefixime and Suprax come in the following sizes: 

  • 400mg tablet or capsule; 
  • 200 mg, 150mg or 100 mg chewable tablet; 
  • 500mg, 200mg or 100mg oral suspension. 

When it comes to doses the following is a good guideline: 

  • Cefixime is usually taken once every 12 or 24 hours; 
  • Take your medication at the same time every day; 
  • The dose for adults is 400mg every 24 hours; 
  • You can take this either as a single dose of 400mg every 24 hours or two separate doses of 200mg every 12 hours. 
  • For children the dose is worked out by weight, 
  • This can be taken either as one single dose every 24 hours or split into 2 separate, doses of the same amount and taken at 12 -hour intervals; 
  • Children will usually take the suspension rather than the tablets or capsules; 
  • If you are sensitive to sugars you should not take the chewable tablet; 
  • Always take the full course of any antibiotic treatment (take this medicine until your doctor tells you to stop taking it) as while you may experience quick results and feel better, the bacteria will still be living inside of you and if you do not complete the course you are more likely to get a recurrence of the condition which will then be harder to treat; 
  • For the same reason, you must take your medication on time and try not to miss a dose – setting an alarm can help you to remember; 
  • If you do miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time to take your next dose – in this case, skip the dose you forgot; 
  • If you forget a dose you are giving the bacteria the chance to fight back and continue growing; 
  • Never take a double dose to make up for a missed dose; 
  • If you accidentally take too much Cefixime or Suprax talk to your doctor right away. 

What are the side effects of Cefixime-Suprax? 

As with all medicines, Cefixime or Suprax comes with a warning of some side effects, although not everyone who takes it will experience them. Some side effects are temporary and will subside after a few days of taking the medication, but if you are worried about any side effects always speak to your doctor for reassurance as they may be able to offer alternative treatments. 

Serious side effects that may require urgent medical treatment are: 

  • Blistering or bleeding skin around the lips, eyes, mouth, tongue and genitals; 
  • Skin rashes or lesions with a pale centre and pink or red ring around it, that may be itchy and filled with pus; 
  • Severe blistering rash where layers of the skin may peel off leaving raw areas underneath – accompanied by flu-like symptoms; 
  • You get infections more easily than usual; 
  • A child gets nose bleeds, tiredness, pale skin, shortness of breath and bleeding gums; 
  • Fits; 
  • An allergic reaction – look out for: 
    • Shortness of breath; 
    • Difficulty breathing; 
    • Rapid heartbeat; 
    • Swelling around the nose, lips, eyes and throat. 
  • Confusion, feeling less aware combined with muscle stiffness or difficulty moving; 
  • Changes to the way the kidneys work or blood in a child’s urine; 
  • Severe watery diarrhoea that won’t stop with a fever and feeling of weakness. 

If you experience any of the symptoms stop taking Cefixime/Suprax and seek immediate medical assistance. 

Other side effects include: 

  • Headaches; 
  • Stomach ache; 
  • Indigestion; 
  • Wind; 
  • Dizziness; 
  • Nausea; 
  • Vomiting; 
  • Itchy genitals. 

Speak to your doctor if you experience these side effects for more than a few consecutive days as there may be changes that can be made to help you. 

When shouldn’t you use Cefixime-Suprax? 

No medication is suitable for all people and you should always discuss any medical history or family history of illness with your doctor if they are not already aware of them. Do not take Cefixime or Suprax if any of the following apply: 

  • You are allergic to Cefixime or Suprax or any type of cephalosporin antibiotics; 
  • You are allergic to penicillin – unless you have discussed this with your doctor and it is being used in the place of penicillin; 
  • You are allergic to any of the other ingredients listed on the packet; 

Take special precautions if any of the following apply to you: 

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding – it should only be used if clearly needed; 
  • You have kidney problems – you will need to take a lower dose; 
  • You have ever had colitis, unless discussed with your doctor. 

Make sure your doctor is aware if any of these apply to you before Cefixime or Suprax are prescribed. 

Does Cefixime-Suprax interact with other medications? 

Always discuss any medication you are currently taking or have recently taken with your doctor before you start a new course of medication. Some drugs can interact with each other and either lessen the effectiveness of the treatment or cause problems. This includes herbal remedies and vitamins and supplements. 

Suprax and Cefixime should not be taken with: 

  • Medicines that thin the blood, like Warfarin; 

Where can you buy Cefixime-Suprax? 

You can buy Cefixime or Suprax from any reputable pharmacy. You will not be able to buy it in shops where there is no pharmacist present as they will need to approve the sale. 

Can I get Cefixime-Suprax without a prescription? 

No, you cannot buy Cefixime or Suprax without a prescription. Antibiotics are strictly controlled as they can only be used to treat bacterial infections, using them on a condition where they won’t work – like a viral infection – simply leads to your body becoming resistant to the antibiotics and them not working when needed.  

As the symptoms of bacterial and viral infections can be similar you will need a consultation with a doctor to confirm you have a bacterial infection before any type of antibiotics is prescribed. 

Once you have your prescription you will be able to buy Cefixime or Suprax from any pharmacy. 

Sources 

ASHP, 2016. Cefixime: Medlineplus Drug Information. Medlineplus.gov. Retrieved 9 April 2020 from <https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a690007.html

Cucic, A., 2017. Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics | Med Health Daily.  Medhealthdaily.com. Retrieved 9 April 2020 from <https://www.medhealthdaily.com/broad-spectrum-antibiotics/

NICE Excellence, 2020. Cephalosporins | Treatment Summary | BNF Content Published By NICE. Bnf.nice.org.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2020 from <https://bnf.nice.org.uk/treatment-summary/cephalosporins.html

Ogbru, O., 2016. Suprax (Cefixime) Antibiotic Side Effects, Dosage, Uses. MedicineNet. Retrieved 9 April 2020 from <https://www.medicinenet.com/cefixime/article.htm#what_is_cefixime_and_how_does_it_work_mechanism_of_action

Sanofi, 2019. Suprax Package Leaflet, Retrieved 9 April 2020 from <https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.5534.pdf>.