Sunday, February 24, 2013

A prescriber's guide to cephalosporins

Antibiotics - they're confusing.  Especially the cephalosporins (Greek for "mushroom-head", or maybe not) which all have very similar names but quite different properties.  I keep having to look them up to make sure I get it right, so I decided to put together this quick guide to the main cephalosporins in use today in Australia's public hospitals.

Cefazolin - a first generation cephalosporin.  Acts by disrupting synthesis of the cell-wall of Gram positive bacteria.  Limited efficacy against Gram negative bacteria.

Ceftriaxone - a third generation cephalosporin.  Like other 3rd gens, has narrowed efficacy against Gram positive species, broader spectrum activity against Gram negatives, and has hi-speed Wi-Fi, BlueTooth, and data network connectivity.

Cefameme - protoypical Gen Y cephalosporin.  Has little activity or efficacy against, like, anything.  Known to be useless but still frequently indulged due to its vocal complaints of unfairness.

Cefalopithecus - the original ancestral cephalosporin, known only by recovery of several fragmented tablets in the Rift Valley, Kenya.  Acts by carrying a pointed stick and a flat rock.  Known to be effective against nuts, grubs, and berries but with little action against cave bears and hence seldom used.

Cefapene - only prescribed by dickheads.

Cefexazaxxayaxx - a potent 9th generation cephalosporin, with both broad and narrow-spectrum activity against Gram positive, Gram negative, anaerobes, fungi, cave bears, and students, depending on which magic words you speak as you take it.  Versatile, powerful, safe, and packaged in an attractive tangerine box of 13, its only side effect is to cause the patient to excrete delicious creamy chocolate instead of stool.  Never yet successfully prescribed in Australia due to the overly fashionable and difficult-to-spell name chosen by the marketing department of Pharma-Jim, the company that discovered it.

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