What You Need to Know About Cephalexin

How Does It Work?

Cephalexin is part of a class of drugs called cephalosporins. It prevents bacteria from making and maintaining their cell wall. Without a cell wall, bacteria are vulnerable and ultimately perish.
Examples of other medicines in this class include Omnicef® (cefdinir) and Rocephin® (ceftriaxone).

Effects of Cephalexin

By affecting the cell wall of bacteria, cephalexin eventually causes the bacteria to die and stops the spread of infection in the body.

When and How Do I Take It?

General considerations for when and how to take the drug include the following:
  • The drug comes as a capsule or liquid suspension. It is usually taken two to four times a day, depending on your healthcare provider's instructions.


  • Cephalexin can be taken with or without food.


  • Drink a full glass of water with each dose.


  • It should be taken at the same time each day to maintain an even level of the medicine in your system.


  • For the drug to work properly, you have to take it as prescribed. Make sure that you complete your entire prescription, even if you start feeling better. This will ensure that the infection is completely treated.


  • Never take outdated cephalexin. Taking any outdated medication may cause serious problems because the intended effects often change after the medicine expires.

Dietary Considerations With Cephalexin

There are no dietary restrictions with this drug. If you have an upset stomach while taking it, however, try taking it with food or milk.
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