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Following an intravenous dose of 1 gram, serum concentrations were 110 mcg/mL at 5 minutes, declining to less than 1 mcg/mL at 4 hours. The half-life after an intravenous dose is 41 to 59 minutes. Approximately 85 percent of cefoxitin is excreted unchanged by the kidneys over a 6 hour period, resulting in high urinary concentrations. Probenecid slows tubular excretion and produces higher serum levels and increases the duration of measurable serum concentrations.
In a published study of geriatric patients ranging in age from 64 to 88 years with normal renal function for their age (creatinine clearance ranging from 31.5 to 174.0 mL/min), the half-life for cefoxitin ranged from 51 to 90 minutes, resulting in higher plasma concentrations than in younger adults. These changes were attributed to decreased renal function associated with the aging process.
Mechanism Of Action
Cefoxitin is a bactericidal agent that acts by inhibition of bacterial cell wall synthesis. Cefoxitin has activity in the presence of some betalactamases, both penicillinases and cephalosporinases, of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria.
Mechanism Of Resistance
Resistance to cefoxitin is primarily through hydrolysis by betalactamase, alteration of penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs), and decreased permeability.
Cefoxitin has been shown to be active against most isolates of the following bacteria, both in vitro and in clinical infections as described in the INDICATIONS AND USAGE section:
Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-susceptible isolates only)
Staphylococcus epidermidis (methicillin-susceptible isolates only)
The following in vitro data are available, but their clinical significance is unknown. At least 90 percent of the following microorganisms exhibit an in vitro minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) less than or equal to the susceptible breakpoint for cefoxitin. However, the efficacy of cefoxitin in treating clinical infections due to these microorganisms has not been established in adequate and well-controlled clinical trials.
Eikenella corrodens (non-β-lactamase producers)
Susceptibility Test Methods
When available, the clinical microbiology laboratory should provide the results of in vitro susceptibility test results for antimicrobial drug products used in resident hospitals to the physician as periodic reports that describe the susceptibility profile of nosocomial and community-acquired pathogens. These reports should aid the physician in selecting an antibacterial drug product for treatment.
Quantitative methods are used to determine antimicrobial minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs). These MICs provide estimates of the susceptibility of bacteria to antimicrobial compounds. The MICs should be determined using a standardized test method1,3. The MIC values should be interpreted according to the criteria provided in Table 1.
Quantitative methods that require measurement of zone diameters also provide reproducible estimates of the susceptibility of bacteria to antimicrobial compounds. The zone size provides an estimate of the susceptibility of bacteria to antimicrobial compounds. The zone size should be determined using a standardized test method2,3. This procedure uses paper disks impregnated with 30 mcg cefoxitin to test the susceptibility of microorganisms to cefoxitin. The disk diffusion interpretive criteria are provided in Table 1.
Table 1. Susceptibility Test Interpretive Criteria for Cefoxitin2,4
|Minimum Inhibitory Concentrations
|Disc Diffusion Diameters
|Neisseria gonorrhoeaea||≤2||4||≥8||≥28||24 to 27||≤23|
|anaerobic bacteriab||≤4||8||≥16||Not applicable|
Based on a dosing regimen of 2 g every 6 hours
a The clinical effectiveness of cefoxitin for treating organisms that produce intermediate results is unknown2.
b Values derived using either Brucella blood or Wilkins Chalgren agar are considered equivalent. Values for agar and broth microdilution are considered equivalent4.
A report of Susceptible indicates that the antimicrobial is likely to inhibit growth of the pathogen if the antimicrobial compound reaches the concentration at the infection site necessary to inhibit growth of the pathogen. A report of Intermediate indicates that the result should be considered equivocal, and if the microorganism is not fully susceptible to alternative, clinically feasible drugs, the test should be repeated. This category implies possible clinical applicability in body sites where the drug is physiologically concentrated or in situations where high dosage of drug can be used. This category also provides a buffer zone which prevents small uncontrolled technical factors from causing major discrepancies in interpretation. A report of Resistant indicates that the antimicrobial is not likely to inhibit growth of the pathogen if the antimicrobial compound reaches the concentrations usually achievable at the infection site; other therapy should be selected.
Standardized susceptibility test procedures require the use of laboratory controls to monitor and ensure the accuracy and precision of the supplies and reagents used in the assay, and the techniques of the individual performing the test1,2,3,4. Standard cefoxitin powder should provide the following range of MIC values noted in Table 2. For the diffusion technique using the 30 mcg disk, the criteria in Table 7 should be achieved.
Table 2. Acceptable Quality Control Ranges for Cefoxitin/
|QC Strain||Minimum Inhibitory Concentrations
|Disk Diffusion Zone Diameters
|Escherichia coli ATCC 25922||2 to 8||23 to 29|
|Neisseria gonorrhoeae ATCC 49226||0.5 to 2||33 to 41|
|Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923||-||23 to 29|
|Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 29213||1 to 4||-|
|Bacteroides fragilis ATCC 25285 (agar method)||4 to 16||-|
|Bacteroides fragilis ATCC 25285 (broth method)||2 to 8||-|
|Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron ATCC 29741 (agar method)||8 to 32||-|
|Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron ATCC 29741 (broth method)||8 to 64||-|
|Eubacterium lentum ATCC 43055 (agar method)||4 to 16||-|
|Eubacterium lentum ATCC 43055 (broth method)||2 to 16||-|
A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted to determine the efficacy of short-term prophylaxis with MEFOXIN in patients undergoing cesarean section who were at high risk for subsequent endometritis because of ruptured membranes. Patients were randomized to receive either three doses of placebo (n = 58), a single dose of MEFOXIN (2 g) followed by two doses of placebo (n = 64), or a three-dose regimen of MEFOXIN (each dose consisting of 2 g) (n = 60), given intravenously, usually beginning at the time of clamping of the umbilical cord, with the second and third doses given 4 and 8 hours post-operatively. Endometritis occurred in 16/58 (27.6%) patients given placebo, 5/63 (7.9%) patients given a single dose of MEFOXIN, and 3/58 (5.2%) patients given three doses of MEFOXIN. The differences between the two groups treated with MEFOXIN and placebo with respect to endometritis were statistically significant (p < 0.01) in favor of MEFOXIN. The differences between the one-dose and three-dose regimens of MEFOXIN were not statistically significant.
Two double-blind, randomized studies compared the efficacy of a single 2 gram intravenous dose of MEFOXIN to a single 2 gram intravenous dose of cefotetan in the prevention of surgical site-related infection (major morbidity) and non-site-related infections (minor morbidity) in patients following cesarean section. In the first study, 82/98 (83.7%) patients treated with MEFOXIN and 71/95 (74.7%) patients treated with cefotetan experienced no major or minor morbidity. The difference in the outcomes in this study (95% CI: –0.03, +0.21) was not statistically significant. In the second study, 65/75 (86.7%) patients treated with MEFOXIN and 62/76 (81.6%) patients treated with cefotetan experienced no major or minor morbidity. The difference in the outcomes in this study (95% CI: –0.08, +0.18) was not statistically significant.
In clinical trials of patients with intra-abdominal infections due to Bacteroides fragilis group microorganisms, eradication rates at 1 to 2 weeks posttreatment for isolates were in the range of 70% to 80%. Eradication rates for individual species are listed below:
1. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). Methods for Dilution Antimicrobial Susceptibility Tests for Bacteria that Grow Aerobically; Approved Standard - Tenth Edition, CLSI Document M07-A10, Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, 950 West Valley Road, Suite 2500, Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087, USA, 2015.
2. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). Performance Standards for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing; Twenty-seventh Informational Supplement, CLSI document M100-S27, Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, 950 West Valley Road, Suite 2500, Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087, USA, 2017.
3. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). Performance Standards for Antimicrobial Disk Diffusion Susceptibility Tests; Approved Standard -Twelfth Edition, CLSI Document M02-A12, Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, 950 West Valley Road, Suite 2500, Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087, USA, 2015.
4. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). Methods for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing of Anaerobic Bacteria; Approved Standard - Eighth Edition, CLSI document M11-A8. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, 950 West Valley Road, Suite 2500, Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087, USA, 2012.
5. Carver PL, Nightingale CH and Quintiliani R. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of total and unbound cefoxitin and cefotetan in healthy volunteers. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (1989) 23, 99-106
6. CLSI 8 – 11 January 2005 Report (e 284) [Dudley, Jones, Craig and Ambrose]
Last reviewed on RxList: 3/24/2017
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Mefoxin Information
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