Master Cephalosporins with Picmonic for Nursing RN

With Picmonic, facts become pictures. We've taken what the science shows - image mnemonics work - but we've boosted the effectiveness by building and associating memorable characters, interesting audio stories, and built-in quizzing.

Cephalosporins

Chef-spore-head
Picmonic
Cephalosporins are beta-lactam antibiotics with similar action to penicillin and are a widely used group of antibiotics. They often begin with “cef-” and are bactericidal through their effects on the cell wall. Cephalosporins are effective against gram positive and negative infections. There are five generations of these drugs, which successively lead to increased gram negative activity, as well as improved ability to reach CSF. Cephalosporins are primarily administered IV due to poor GI absorption. Common side effects include allergic reactions such as rash or anaphylaxis, and thrombophlebitis. Cefotetan, a second generation antibiotic, can also cause excess bleeding which should be monitored for. Cephalosporins are cleared renally, and so should be used carefully in patients with renal impairment. Other considerations are to avoid IV calcium when giving ceftriaxone, and avoid alcohol use when on cefotetan.
9 KEY FACTS
Starts with "Cef-"
Chef Contestants

Most of the drugs in this class start with “cef-,” except for a few such as the first one on the market known as cephalexin (Keflex).

MECHANISM OF ACTION
Bactericidal
Bacteria-sliders

Unlike bacteriostatic agents, which simply stop bacteria from reproducing, bactericidal agents actually cause bacterial cell death. They disrupt cell wall synthesis leading to cell wall damage, causing lysis and death.

INDICATIONS
Gram-Positive and Gram-Negative Infections
Graham-cracker Positive-angel and Graham-cracker Negative-devil

First-generation cephalosporins are primarily used to fight against gram positive infections, while successive generations have enhanced activity in treating gram negative infections.

SIDE EFFECTS
Allergic Reactions
Allergy-alligator Reaction

Allergic reactions are the most frequent adverse events occurring with the use of cephalosporins. The most common symptom is a maculopapular rash that develops several days after the onset of use. If signs of allergy appear such as a rash, hypotension, urticaria, or difficulty breathing, the use of cephalosporins should be discontinued.

Thrombophlebitis
Trombone-flamingo

Thrombophlebitis can occur during IV infusion. Minimize its occurrence by rotating the infusion site and administering the IV medication slowly.

Bleeding
Bleeding

The cephalosporin, cefotetan, may cause bleeding tendencies due to reduction of prothrombin levels. Implement caution when using concurrently with anticoagulants or thrombolytic agents and monitor for signs of bleeding.

CONTRAINDICATIONS
Renal Impairment
Dead Kidney

Cephalosporins are eliminated by the kidneys; therefore, individuals with preexisting renal impairment should not be given this drug or dosages must be reduced in order to prevent accumulation of toxic levels.

CONSIDERATIONS
Avoid IV Calcium with Ceftriaxone
Calcium-cow with IV and Chef-tri-axes

The combination of calcium with the cephalosporin ceftriaxone can form potentially fatal precipitates; therefore, the two should never be given together by the same route and should not be reconstituted with solutions containing one or the other. In neonates, the combination has caused death from depositing precipitates in the lungs and kidneys.

No Alcohol
No Alcohol Sign

The cephalosporin cefotetan can induce a state of alcohol intolerance. The patient should be instructed to not have any form of alcohol when taking this medication as their concurrent use could cause a disulfiram-like reaction (flushing of the face, headache, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, weakness, blurred vision, mental confusion, sweating, choking, breathing difficulty, low blood pressure, and anxiety).

Unlock all 9 facts & definitions with Picmonic Free!

JOIN FREE

Take the Cephalosporins Quiz

Picmonic's rapid review multiple-choice quiz allows you to assess your knowledge.

START QUIZ NOW

It's worth every penny

Our Story Mnemonics Increase Mastery and Retention

Memorize facts with phonetic mnemonics

Unforgettable characters with concise but impactful videos (2-4 min each)

Ace Your Nursing (RN) Classes & Exams with Picmonic:

Over 900,000 students use Picmonic’s picture mnemonics to improve knowledge, retention, and exam performance.

Choose the #1 Nursing (RN) student study app.

Picmonic for Nursing (RN) covers information that is relevant to your entire Nursing (RN) education. Whether you’re studying for your classes or getting ready to conquer your NCLEX®-RN, Hesi, ATI, TEAS test, Kaplan exams, we’re here to help.

Works better than traditional Nursing (RN) flashcards.

Research shows that students who use Picmonic see a 331% improvement in memory retention and a 50% improvement in test scores.