If your doctor has diagnosed you with a throat, ear, bladder, sinus, or skin infection that is strongly suspected to be caused by bacteria, you may be started on Keflex while waiting for test result to show if your infection is bacterial or viral. Should testing show that a virus is to blame, you will simply stop taking Keflex and let your immune system work it out. This antibiotic treats many bacterial infections caused by Streptococcus, Hemophilus Influenza, Proteus Bacteria, and Escherichia coli (E. coli).
When taken as directed, Keflex or generic Cephalexin will block the action of enzymes that produce peptidoglycan, a vital component the bacteria need to keep the shape and integrity of their cell walls. Without the right components, the cell walls will begin to break down which allows the contents to leak out while other substances can seep in and eventually the cell will burst, killing the bacteria. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Keflex is a bactericidal drug, meaning that it kills the bacteria and not just render the bacteria unable to replicate or grow, which is known as bacteriostatic. You can take Keflex for treating infections caused by gram-positive bacteria and for some gram-negative bacteria. The difference between the positive and negative has to do with the outer part of the bacterial cell. Gram-positive bacteria depend on peptidoglycan to keep them safe from the osmotic pressure that surrounds them in your body. Gram-negative bacteria have a tougher outer membrane that makes it difficult for many medications to break through the membrane.
Ask your doctor if Keflex is safe to take while you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or are breast feeding. Your doctor should be aware of other medical conditions or allergies you have that may interfere with taking Keflex. Supply a list of any OTC or Rx drugs you currently take or use, including herbal and vitamin supplements so your doctor can determine if Keflex is right for you.
If you have had a negative reaction to any penicillin drugs, most cephalosporins should be okay for you but you should make your doctor aware of that. Never share this or other drugs with anyone else and keep them out of children’s reach. If Keflex causes upset stomach, try taking it with food.
Continue to take Keflex for the time period prescribed by your doctor, even if you are feeling better. This is important because this is how some bacteria become resistant to medications when drugs are not taken for the time specified and not all bacteria have been affected so a reinfection can occur.