Cefradine for infection - Nicef

Before you take cefradine, make sure your doctor knows if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any other antibiotic.

Space your doses out evenly over the day and complete the full course of the antibiotic, even if you feel your infection has cleared up.

The most common side-effect is diarrhoea, which is usually mild and soon passes. If it becomes severe or lasts for more than 24 hours, you should speak with your doctor.
Type of medicine A cephalosporin antibiotic
Used for Infections
Also called Nicef®
Available as Capsules

Cefradine is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which means that it is active against a wide variety of bacteria. It is used to treat bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections, skin infections, chest and throat infections, ear infections and sinusitis. It is suitable for adults and older children, and can be taken during pregnancy. Some people who are allergic to penicillin antibiotics may not be able to take cefradine, so make sure your doctor knows if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any other antibiotic.

Cefradine treats an infection by killing the bacteria that are causing it.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking cefradine it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine. It is particularly important that you tell your doctor if you have had a bad reaction to a penicillin or cephalosporin antibiotic.
  • If you have any problems with the way your kidneys work.
  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding. (Although cefradine is not known to be harmful to babies, it is still important that you tell your doctor if you are expecting or breast-feeding a baby.)
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • Before you start taking cefradine, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The manufacturer's leaflet will give you more information about the antibiotic and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • There are two strengths of cefradine capsules available: 250 mg and 500 mg. It is usual to be prescribed either 250-500 mg to be taken four times a day, or 500 mg-1 g to be taken twice a day. Your doctor will tell you which dose is right for you, and this information will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you. Take the capsules exactly as your doctor tells you to. Your doctor will also tell you how long your course of treatment will last - this is commonly about five days.
  • Cefradine capsules can be taken either before or after food, although they may start to work a little sooner if they are taken before food.
  • Space your doses out evenly throughout the day. Keep taking the antibiotic until the course is finished unless you are told to stop. Taking the full course is important (even if you feel your infection has cleared up) in order to prevent the infection from coming back.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take one as soon as you remember. Try to take the correct number of doses each day, but do not take two doses at the same time to make up.
  • Some people develop thrush (redness and itching in the mouth or vagina) after taking a course of antibiotics. If you think you have thrush speak with your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
  • If you are using oral combined hormonal contraception (the 'pill'), additional contraceptive precautions such as condoms are recommended for a time if you have vomiting or diarrhoea which lasts for more than 24 hours. If you need further advice about this, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • If you are having an operation or any other medical treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking an antibiotic. This is because cefradine may interfere with the results of some tests to check for sugar in your urine.
  • Cefradine may stop the oral typhoid vaccine from working. If you are having any vaccinations, make sure the person treating you knows that you are taking this antibiotic.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with cefradine. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common cefradine side-effects What can I do if I experience this?
Diarrhoea Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids. If the diarrhoea continues for longer than 24 hours, becomes severe, or contains blood, let your doctor know straightaway
Feeling or being sick, abdominal discomfort Stick to simple foods. If you are not already doing so, try taking your doses after meals
Skin rash, and other allergic-type reactions Let your doctor know as soon as possible, as your treatment may need to be changed

Important: if you develop an itchy rash, swollen face or mouth, or have difficulty breathing, these can be signs that you are allergic to the antibiotic. Do not take any more cefradine and speak with your doctor or go to your local accident and emergency department straightaway.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.

If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • Manufacturer's PIL, Cefradine 250 mg-500 mg Capsules; Kent Pharmaceuticals Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated September 2012.
  • British National Formulary; 66th Edition (September 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr John Cox
Document ID:
3612 (v26)
Last Checked:
28/01/2014
Next Review:
27/01/2017
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