Cephalothin: Uses, Precautions, Side Effects, Contraindications and Interactions

It is an antibiotic used to treat and prevent a wide variety of bacterial infections.

Cefalotin is a first-generation beta-lactam semisynthetic cephalosporin antibiotic with bactericidal activity.

Inactivates penicillin-binding proteins located in the inner membrane of the bacterial cell wall. Penicillin-binding proteins participate in the terminal stages of assembly of the bacterial cell wall and in the restructuring of the cell wall during cell division.

The inactivation of penicillin-binding proteins interferes with the cross-linking of the peptidoglycan chains necessary for the resistance and rigidity of the bacterial cell wall. This results in the weakening of the bacterial cell wall and causes cell lysis.


Cefalotin is indicated in joint and bone infections because of:

  • Respiratory tract infections caused by streptococci. 
  • Meningitis.
  • Staphylococcus
  • Infections of the skin and soft tissues.
  • Gastrointestinal infections, particularly those caused by  Salmonella  and  Shigella.

Likewise, cephalothin has been used in prophylaxis for orthopedic, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, gynecological, thoracic and vascular interventions and urinary tract infections.


Depending on your specific product, this medicine is given by injection into a vein or into a muscle as directed by your doctor. The indicated dose is based on the medical condition and the response to treatment .


In patients with renal impairment it may be necessary to adjust the dose.

Your doctor may order the suspension of treatment with cephalothin if there are changes in the frequency of bowel movements as it is likely that cefalotin will trigger infections caused by non-sensitive organisms. Given the risk of inducing pseudomembranous colitis.

There are no studies that show that Cefalotine has teratogenic effects or that it causes adverse effects during pregnancy. However, Cefalotin should not be administered in pregnant women or with suspected pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risks, as there are not enough studies available.

Side effects

Some side effects include:

  • Pain at the site of the injection.
  • Fever.
  • Tachycardia.
  • Allergic reactions.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Nausea and / or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain.

In patients with a history of allergy to penicillin, there is a possibility of cross-reactions.

Likewise, effects related to secondary hematological reactions,  related to the cardiovascular system and astrointestinal  related to the kidney and genitourinary system have been reported.

Likewise, agranulocytosis, granulocytopenia and hemolytic anemia have been reported in some patients treated with this drug.


In patients with a history or history of allergic reactions to penicillins, cephalothin or other cephalosporins, this medication is absolutely contraindicated. 

Your doctor may discontinue treatment with cellophane if changes in the frequency of bowel movements are observed, since  cephalothin is likely to trigger infections by non-sensitive organisms and carries the risk of inducing colitis.


The effects of aminoglycosides can be exacerbated by treatment with cellophatine. 

Probenecid decreases the elimination of cellophane, for this reason the half-life can be extended.

When combined with other nephrotoxic agents, cephalothin may trigger or aggravate renal failure.