Master 1st Generation Cephalosporin with Picmonic for Medicine

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1st Generation Cephalosporin

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Cephalosporins are beta-lactam antibiotics that are derived from Acremonium fungus. Like other beta-lactams, these antibiotics work by inhibiting bacterial cell wall synthesis. However, they are not as susceptible to penicillinases. There are traditionally five generations of cephalosporins classified based on their antimicrobial characteristics. Each new generation provides a more extended spectrum and has greater gram negative bactericidal properties than the previous generation. First generation cephalosporins such as cefazolin and cephalexin are effective against proteus mirabilis, E coli, Klebsiella pneumonia and gram-positive cocci. 

This first generation cephalosporin antibiotic (Trade names include Ancef and Kefzol) can be given via an intramuscular injection or IV infusion. It is commonly used for gram positive bacterial infections of the skin, but can also be used for more severe infections involving bone, lungs, GI and urinary tract. It is frequently used as pre-operative prophylaxis.


This popular first generation cephalosporin antibiotic (Trade name Keflex) is given orally. It has the same antimicrobial coverage as cefazolin. It is one of the most popular antibiotics in the United States. It is commonly used to treat gram positive infections in the middle ear, bone, lungs and skin. It is also used for endocarditis prophylaxis.

Proteus mirabilis

Proteus mirabilis is a gram negative bacillus that is facultative anaerobic with swarming motility and urease presence. It cannot metabolize lactose on MacConkey agar. It is most commonly known for causing nosocomial infections. It can alkalinize urine and lead to struvite crystal formation in the urine and lead to large kidney stones. It can also cause other infections of the skin and lungs.

E. coli

Escherichia coli, commonly abbreviated E. coli, is a gram negative bacillus often found as normal flora in the intestines. Most E. coli strains are harmless but pathogenic strains can cause disease including food poisoning, neonatal pneumonia and meningitis, septic shock, and UTIs.


Klebsiella is a gram negative, oxidase negative bacillus with a prominent polysaccharide capsule. Infections can lead to a wide range of diseases including pneumonia and nosocomial urinary tract infections.

Gram-Positive Cocci
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Gram positive cocci are classified by a violet gram stain, due to high amounts of peptidoglycan in their cell wall, as well as the coccus or spherical shape. Gram positive cocci include the staphylococcus genus and streptococcus genus. These bacteria can cause infection of various organs, skin and tissue.

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