Contains the active ingredient cefalexin monohydrate
Consumer Medicine Information
What is in this leaflet
This leaflet answers some common questions about this medicine. It does not contain
all the available information. It does not take the place of talking to your doctor
All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you taking
this medicine against the benefits they expect it will have for you.
If you have any concerns about taking this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Keep this leaflet with the medicine.
You may need to read it again.
What this medicine is used for
The name of your medicine is APO-Cephalexin. It contains the active ingredient cefalexin
It is used to treat infections in different parts of the body caused by bacteria,
respiratory tract (chest, lungs, tonsils or throat)
ears (middle ear infection)
genitourinary tract (kidney, bladder or prostate).
Cefalexin belongs to a group of antibiotics called cephalosporins that are closely
related to penicillins.
It works by killing the bacteria causing your infection or by stopping its growth.
Cefalexin will not work against infections caused by viruses such as colds or the
Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why this medicine has been prescribed
Your doctor may have prescribed cefalexin for another reason.
This medicine is available only with a doctor's prescription.
There is no evidence that this medicine is addictive.
Before you take this medicine
When you must not take it
Do not take this medicine if you have an allergy to:
any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet.
Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:
shortness of breath
wheezing or difficulty breathing
swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body
rash, itching or hives on the skin
Do not take this medicine if you have had a serious allergic reaction to penicillins.
Do not take this medicine if you are intolerant or allergic to lactose.
Cefalexin capsules contain lactose.
Do not take this medicine after the expiry date printed on the pack or if the packaging
is torn or shows signs of tampering.
If it has expired or is damaged, return it to your pharmacist for disposal.
If you are not sure whether you should start taking this medicine, talk to your doctor.
Before you start to take it
Tell your doctor if you have allergies to any other medicines, foods, preservatives
Tell your doctor if you have allergies to cephalosporins, penicillins or any other
You may have an increased chance of being allergic to cefalexin if you are allergic
to any of these medicines.
Tell your doctor if you have or have had any of the following medical conditions:
intolerant or allergic to lactose
severe bowel conditions/disease
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.
Cefalexin passes into breast milk.
Your doctor can discuss with you the risks and benefits involved.
If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell them before you start
taking this medicine.
Taking other medicines
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including any
that you buy without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food
Some medicines and cefalexin may interfere with each other. These include:
probenecid, used to treat gout or to prolong the action of certain antibiotics
metformin, used to treat diabetes
These medicines may be affected by cefalexin or may affect how well it works. You
may need different amounts of your medicines, or you may need to take different medicines.
Talk to your doctor about whether you need additional contraception while taking cefalexin.
Some antibiotics decrease the effectiveness of some birth control pills, although
this has not been shown with cefalexin.
Your doctor and pharmacist can tell you if you are taking any of these medicines.
They may also have more information on medicines to be careful with or avoid while
Other interactions not listed above may also occur.
How to take this medicine
Follow all directions given to you by your doctor or pharmacist carefully.
They may be different to the information in this leaflet.
If you do not understand any written instructions, ask your doctor or pharmacist for
How much to take
Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how many capsules you will need to take. This
depends on your infection, your condition and whether or not you are taking any other
The usual adult dose is one 250mg capsule taken every six hours.
Your doctor may recommend a different dose depending on your condition.
Your child's doctor will tell you how much cefalexin your child should take.
This will depend on your child's age, weight and the type of infection.
How to take it
Swallow the capsules with a glass of water.
When to take it
Take it at about the same times each day, spaced evenly apart.
Taking your medicine at the same times each day will have the best effect. It will
also help you remember when to take it.
It does not matter if you take it before, with or after food.
How long to take it for
Keep taking this medicine for the full time of treatment, even if you begin to feel
better after a few days, unless told otherwise by your doctor.
If you stop taking this medicine too soon, the infection may not clear completely,
or your symptoms may return.
If you forget to take it
If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take your next
dose when you are meant to.
Otherwise, take it as soon as you remember, and then go back to taking your medicine
as you would normally.
Do not take a double dose to make up for the dose that you missed.
This may increase the chance of you getting an unwanted side effect.
If you are not sure what to do, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
If you have trouble remembering to take your medicine, ask your pharmacist for some
If you take too much (overdose)
Immediately telephone your doctor or the Poisons Information Centre (Tel: 13 11 26
for Australia) for advice, or go to the Accident and Emergency Department at the nearest
hospital, if you think that you or anyone else may have taken too much cefalexin.
Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning.
You may need urgent medical attention.
If you take too much cefalexin, you may have diarrhoea or feel sick.
While you are taking this medicine
Things you must do
Tell any other doctors, dentists, and pharmacists who are treating you that you are
taking this medicine.
If you are going to have surgery, tell the surgeon or anaesthetist that you are taking
It may affect other medicines used during surgery.
If you become pregnant or start to breastfeed while taking this medicine, tell your
If you are about to have any blood tests, tell your doctor that you are taking this
It may interfere with the results of some tests.
If you are diabetic, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using urine sugar
Cefalexin may affect the results of some of these tests.
Keep all your doctor's appointments so that your progress can be checked.
If the symptoms of your infection do not improve within a few days, or if they become
worse, tell your doctor.
If you get severe diarrhoea tell your doctor, pharmacist or nurse immediately. Do
this even if it occurs several weeks after cefalexin has been stopped.
Diarrhoea may mean that you have a serious condition affecting your bowel. You may
need urgent medical care.
Do not take any medicine for diarrhoea without first checking with your doctor or
If you get a sore white mouth or tongue while taking or soon after stopping cephalexin,
tell your doctor. Also tell your doctor if you get vaginal itching or discharge.
This may mean you have fungal infection called thrush. Sometimes the use of cefalexin
allows fungi to grow and the above symptoms occur. Cefalexin does not work against
Things you must not do
Do not stop taking your medicine because you are feeling better, unless advised by
If you do not complete the full course prescribed by your doctor, all the bacteria
causing your infection may not be killed. These bacteria may continue to grow and
multiply so that your infection may not clear completely, or it may return.
Do not give your medicine to anyone else, even if they have the same condition as
Do not take your medicine to treat any other complaints unless your doctor or pharmacist
tells you to.
Things to be careful of
Be careful while driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine affects
Cefalexin generally does not cause any problems with your ability to drive a car or
operate machinery. However, as with many other medicines, cefalexin may cause dizziness
or tiredness in some people.
Children may also be affected so they should be carefully watched if riding bikes
Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you
are taking this medicine.
All medicines may have some unwanted side effects. Sometimes they are serious, but
most of the time, they are not. Your doctor has weighed the risks of using this medicine
against the benefits they expect it will have for you.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.
Do not be alarmed by the following lists of side effects. You may not experience any
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any of the following and they worry you:
oral thrush - white, furry, sore tongue and mouth
vaginal thrush - sore and itchy vagina and/or discharge
itching in the genital or anal areas
mild stomach upsets, such as indigestion, feeling sick and/or being sick (nausea or
dizziness, tiredness, weakness or headache
The above list includes the more common side effects of your medicine. They are usually
mild and short-lived.
Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following:
itching or any type of skin rash or blistering, peeling or flaking skin
aching or swollen muscles, joints or joint pain.
severe vomiting and/or diarrhoea, stomach pain
yellowing of the skin or eyes, and/or pale stools, dark urine (jaundice)
bleeding or bruising more easily than normal, frequent infections such as fever, severe
chills, sore throat or mouth ulcers
feeling agitated, confused or seeing or hearing things that are not there.
The above list includes serious side effects that may require medical attention. Serious
side effects are rare.
If any of the following happen, stop taking your medicine and either tell your doctor
immediately or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital:
skin rash with joint pain and fever
severe blisters and bleeding in mucosal sites (such as lips, eyes, mouth, nose, genitals)
that may cause the skin to peel, sometimes occurring with fever and flu-like symptoms
symptoms of an allergic reaction including cough, shortness of breath, wheezing or
difficulty breathing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat or other parts of
the body; rash, itching or hives on the skin
The above list includes very serious side effects. You may need urgent medical attention
or hospitalisation. These side effects are very rare.
Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following side effects, particularly
if they occur several weeks after stopping treatment with cefalexin:
severe abdominal cramps or stomach cramps
watery and severe diarrhoea, which may also be bloody
fever, in combination with one or both of the above.
These are rare but serious side effects and may mean that you have a serious condition
affecting your bowel. Cefalexin can cause bacteria, which is normally present in the
bowel and normally harmless, to multiply and cause the above symptoms. You may need
urgent medical attention.
Do not take any medicine for diarrhoea without first checking with your doctor or
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice anything that is making you feel unwell.
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some people.
Storage and disposal
Keep your medicine in its original packaging until it is time to take it.
If you take your medicine out of its original packaging it may not keep well.
Keep your medicine in a cool dry place, protected from light and moisture, where the
temperature will stay below 25°C.
Do not store your medicine, or any other medicine, in the bathroom or near a sink.
Do not leave it on a windowsill or in the car.
Heat and dampness can destroy some medicines.
Keep it where children cannot reach it.
A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place
to store medicines.
If your doctor or pharmacist tells you to stop taking this medicine or it has passed
its expiry date, ask your pharmacist what to do with any medicine that is left over.
What APO-Cephalexin Capsules look like
250 mg capsules
Dark green and white, self-locked hard gelatin capsules of size 2, imprinted with
RX656 in black ink, containing white to off-white granular powder/pellets. AUST R
Blister packs of 20 capsules.
500 mg capsules
Dark green and light green, self-locked hard gelatin capsules of size 0, imprinted
with RX657 in black ink, containing white to off-white granular powder/pellets. AUST
Blister packs of 20 capsules.
Each capsule contains cefalexin monohydrate equivalent to 250mg or 500mg of cefalexin
as the active ingredient.
It also contains the following inactive ingredients:
iron oxide yellow
brilliant blue FCF
sunset yellow FCF
TekPrint SW-9008 black ink
This medicine is gluten-free, sucrose-free, tartrazine-free and free of other azo
Apotex Pty Ltd
16 Giffnock Avenue
Macquarie Park, NSW 2113
APO is the registered trademark of Apotex Inc.
This leaflet was last updated in June 2020.