Keflex (cephalexin) is an antibiotic that can be used for the treatment of acute bacterial or chronic bacterial prostatitis due to certain gram-positive bacteria. These bacteria are not common causes of prostatitis.
When you take Keflex for prostatitis there are several important warnings and precautions you should be aware of. Black box warnings are used by the FDA to communicate important prescribing information to you and your healthcare provider. The FDA considers this essential information to know before taking Keflex. There are no current black box warnings for Keflex included in the package insert or noted on the FDA website. However, patients taking Keflex need to be aware of the potential severe allergic reactions. You should not take Keflex if you have had allergic reactions to other cephalosporins or penicillins. Ten percent of patients with a penicillin allergy will also have a severe reaction to Keflex.
Besides allergy information, there is an important warning you need to be cognizant of when taking Keflex for prostatitis. Patients taking Keflex are at risk of Clostridium difficile colitis. This side effect has been reported with a number of different antibiotics. Keflex kills not only bacteria causing problems but also good bacteria that protect your gut. This allows Clostridium difficile to grow in your intestine and produce harmful toxins.
Why Is Keflex Prescribed for Prostatitis?
Keflex is an antibiotic in the cephalosporin class. It is used to treat less-common infections causing prostatitis such as:
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Coagulase-negative staphylococci
Keflex is not a good treatment for the more common causes of prostatitis such as:
- Escherichia Coli
- Other Enterobacteriaceae spp. such as Klebsiella pneumonia, Enterobacter cloacae, and Serratia marcenscens
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
How Should Keflex Be Used?
Keflex comes in the following formulations:
- Tablet usually taken two or four times per day and should be swallowed whole
- Capsule, which is taken the same as a tablet
- Liquid, which needs to shaken well before use so that you receive uniform distribution of medication.
Other Uses For Keflex
In addition to taking Keflex for prostatitis, Keflex is also used to treat the following conditions:
- Cellulitus or skin infections
- Skin abscesses
- Joint infections
- Bladder infections
- Strep throat when a patient is allergic to other antibiotics
Do I Need to Follow Special Precautions?
Patients with an allergy or previous reaction to Keflex or other cephalosporin drugs should not take Keflex. If you have ever had a reaction to another cephalosporin drug or a penicillin, you need to let your doctor know. Examples of other cephalosporin drugs include:
- Duricef (cefadroxil)
- Ceclor (cefaclor)
- Omnicef (cefdinir)
- Maxipime (cefepime)
Make sure that you tell your doctor about any other medications you may be taking. Keflex is not a good choice for the treatment of prostatitis if you are taking certain drugs such as metformin or Coumadin (warfarin). Combining metformin with Keflex decreases the excretion of metformin and requires close monitoring of renal function. Combining anticoagulants like Coumadin with Keflex may increase the anticoagulant effect of Coumadin and increase risk of bleeding.
Do I Need to Follow a Special Diet When Taking Keflex?
Keflex can cause an upset stomach, so it should be taken with food and a glass of water.
What If I Forget a Dose?
If you forget a dose when taking Keflex, take the missed dose as soon as possible. If you are close to the next dose do not double the dose and continue on the regular dosing schedule until the entire antibiotic is gone.
Are There Side Effects When Taking Keflex ?
All drugs have side effects. In general Keflex is well tolerated by most patients, and serious side effects are not common. You should tell your doctor if any of the following side effects last more than a couple of days:
- Mild skin rash
- Upset stomach
If you experience any of the following when taking Keflex for prostatitis, stop Keflex immediately and talk with your doctor immediately:
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Painful mouth sores
- Severe skin rash
- Sore throat
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Vaginal infection
Does Keflex Have Special Storage Instructions?
Tablets and capsules should not be stored in extremes of heat or cold, and they do fine at room temperature. The liquid formulation should be stored in the refrigerator, but make sure it does not freeze. When you complete treatment, any leftover liquid Keflex should be thrown away.
What Do I Do in the Case of an Accidental Overdose?
If you take too many Keflex pills call your local poison control center. If someone has taken an overdose and is not breathing or responding, call 911.
What Else Should I Know About Keflex?
Make sure that you follow any instructions given to you by your doctor. Do not share your antibiotics with others, and be sure to complete the entire course even if you feel dramatically better.