Reviewed on 5/16/2023

What Is Cefoxitin and How Does It Work?

Cefoxitin is a prescription medication used to treat uncomplicated infections, moderate-severe Infections, gas gangrene, and surgery prophylaxis.

  • Cefoxitin is available under the following different brand names: Mefoxin

What Are Dosages of Cefoxitin?

Dosages of Cefoxitin:

Adult and pediatric dosage

Powder for injection

  • 1g
  • 2g
  • 10g

Uncomplicated Injections

Adult dosage

  • 1 g IV every 6-8 hours; 3-4 g/day maximum

Pediatric dosage

  • Children younger than 3 months of age: Safety and efficacy not established
  • Children older than 3 months of age: 80-160 mg/kg/day IV divided every 4-6 hours; higher dosages should be used for more severe or serious infections

Moderate-Severe Infections

Adult dosage

  • 1 g IV every 4 hours or 2 g IV every 6-8 hours; 6-8 g/day maximum

Gas Gangrene

Adult dosage

  • 2 g IV every 4 hours or 3 g IV every 6 hours; 12 g/day maximum

Surgery Prophylaxis

Adult dosage

  • Prevention of infection
  • Colorectal, non-perforated appendectomy, hysterectomy: 1-2 g IV
  • Ruptured viscus: 1-2 g IV every 6 hours

Pediatric dosage

  • 30-40 mg/kg 30-60 minutes before surgery
  • 30-40 mg/kg every 6 hours for 24 hours afterward

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows: 

See “Dosages”.

What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Cefoxitin?

Common side effects of Cefoxitin include:

  • pain, bruising, swelling, or other irritation where the injection was given, 
  • diarrhea, 
  • fever, 
  • rash, and 
  • itching 

Serious side effects of Cefoxitin include:

  • hives, 
  • difficult breathing, 
  • swelling in the face or throat, 
  • fever, 
  • sore throat
  • burning in the eyes, 
  • skin pain, 
  • red or purple skin rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling, 
  • severe stomach pain, 
  • watery or bloody diarrhea (even if it occurs months after your last dose), 
  • lightheadedness
  • little or no urination, 
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice), 
  • seizure
  • fever, 
  • chills, 
  • tiredness, 
  • easy bruising, 
  • unusual bleeding, 
  • pale skin, and
  • cold hands and feet

Rare side effects of Cefoxitin include:

  • none 
This is not a complete list of side effects and other serious side effects or health problems may occur as a result of the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may report side effects or health problems to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What Other Drugs Interact With Cefoxitin?

If your medical doctor is using this medicine to treat your pain, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor, health care provider, or pharmacist first

This information does not contain all possible interactions or adverse effects. Visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker for any drug interactions. Therefore, before using this drug, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist. Check with your physician if you have health questions or concerns.

What Are Warnings And Precautions for Cefoxitin?


  • Documented hypersensitivity 
  • Neonate (younger than 3 months)

Effects of drug abuse

  • None

Short-Term Effects

  • See “What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Cefoxitin?”

Long-Term Effects

  • See “What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Cefoxitin?”
  • Cautions
  • Adjust dose in severe renal insufficiency (high doses may cause CNS toxicity); superinfections and promotion of non-susceptible organisms may occur with prolonged use or repeated therapy. 

Pregnancy and Lactation

  • Available data from published prospective cohort studies, case series, and case reports with cephalosporin use in pregnant women have not established drug-associated risks of major birth defects, miscarriage, or adverse maternal or fetal outcomes
  • Maternal gonorrhea may be associated with preterm birth, low neonatal birth weight, chorioamnionitis, intrauterine growth restriction, small for gestational age, and premature rupture of membranes; perinatal transmission of gonorrhea to offspring can result in infant blindness, joint infections, and bloodstream infections. 
  • Limited data from published literature report presence of the drug in human milk
  • For an infant fed exclusively with human milk, the estimated infant daily dose through breastfeeding is less than 0.1% of the maternal daily IV dose
  • Minimal data is available on the effects of the drug on the breastfed infant; none of these reports suggest serious safety concerns
  • No data are available on the effects of drugs on milk production; developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for cefoxitin and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from the drug or underlying maternal condition

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