What is cefuroxime for?

Your health professional may prescribe cefuroxime if you have an infection caused by bacteria, you are at risk of the complications of the infection and you cannot take amoxycillin (or another antibiotic from the penicillin family).

Cefuroxime can be used to treat the respiratory tract infections (RTIs):

Antibiotics are only recommended for children with a middle ear infection who:

  • are younger than 6 months
  • are younger than 2 years with an infection in both ears or fluid leaking out of their ear (otorrhoea)
  • have a fever (a temperature of 38.5°C or higher) and are vomiting
  • are from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community.

People who are generally unwell, or have an ongoing health condition such as those listed below, are at greater risk of complications. They are more likely to benefit from antibiotics than other people.

If your symptoms don’t improve after a few days of taking cefuroxime, or your symptoms get worse, see your doctor.

Find out more about who can take cefuroxime, how to take it, and the side effects and interactions of cefuroxime.

People at risk of the complications of RTIs include:

  • children younger than 5 years old, especially those born with heart or circulatory problems
  • people aged 65 years or older, especially those living in a nursing home
  • people with long-term health problems such as diabetes, heart, liver or kidney disease
  • pregnant women
  • people who are very obese (body mass index [BMI] of 35 or higher)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • people with breathing problems due to asthma, cystic fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • people with conditions that affect breathing, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries and seizure disorders
  • people with weakened immune systems (e.g. due to HIV infection, cancer and some medicines)
  • homeless people
  • people who smoke.
  • Rossi S, ed. Australian Medicines Handbook [online]. Adelaide: AMH, July 2012.
  • Sweetman S, ed. Martindale: The complete drug reference [online]. London: Pharmaceutical Press (accessed 18 October 2011).
  • Antibiotic Expert Group. Therapeutic Guidelines: Cefuroxime. Melbourne: Therapeutic Guidelines Limited, 2012 (accessed 27 March 2012).