Beta-lactam antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed drugs, grouped together based upon a shared structural feature, the beta-lactam ring. Cephalosporins cover a broad range of organisms, are generally well-tolerated, and are easy to administer; thus, these agents are frequently used beta-lactam drugs.
The classification, spectrum of activity, and pharmacology of the cephalosporins will be reviewed here. The mechanisms of action and resistance and major adverse reactions of the beta-lactam antibiotics, and the penicillins and other beta-lactam drugs are discussed separately. (See "Beta-lactam antibiotics: Mechanisms of action and resistance and adverse effects" and "Penicillins" and "Extended-spectrum beta-lactamases".)
CLASSIFICATION OF CEPHALOSPORINS
Cephalosporins include the closely related cephamycin compounds. The parenteral agents are commonly classified into the following categories:
●First generation (cefazolin)