- 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
- Alyssa R Letourneau, MD
Alyssa R Letourneau, MD
- Instructor of Medicine
- 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 "Penicillin, antistaphylococcal penicillins, and broad-spectrum 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:To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information on subscription options, click below on the option that best describes you:
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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