- Stephen B Calderwood, MD
Stephen B Calderwood, MD
- Editor-in-Chief — Infectious Diseases
- Section Editor — Bacterial Infections
- Professor of Medicine (Microbiology and Immunobiology)
- Harvard Medical School
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 spectrum of activity of cephalosporins combined with beta-lactamase inhibitors are discussed separately. (See "Combination beta-lactamase inhibitors, carbapenems, and monobactams".)
The mechanisms of action and resistance and major adverse reactions of the beta-lactam antibiotics, and the penicillins and other beta-lactam drugs are also 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:
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- CLASSIFICATION OF CEPHALOSPORINS
- SPECTRUM OF ACTIVITY AND CLINICAL USE
- Parenteral agents
- - First generation
- - Second generation
- Activity against Haemophilus influenzae
- Cephamycin subgroup (active against Bacteroides)
- - Third generation
- Poor activity against Pseudomonas
- Activity against Pseudomonas
- - Fourth generation
- - Fifth generation
- Oral agents