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a group of natural and semisynthetic antibiotics with similar chemical structures and biological properties. Natural cephalosporins—cephalosporin C and cephalosporin N (penicillin N)—were isolated in 1945 by the Italian microbiologist G. Brotzu from a mold of the genus Cephalosporium. The molecules of all the cephalosporins except cephalosporin N contain 7-aminocephalosporanic acid, which consists of β-lactam (A) and dihydrothiazine (B) rings:

The structure of 7-aminocephalosporanic acid is similar to that of the penicillin nucleus, 6-aminopenicillanic acid, which also contains a β-lactam ring. Since two side chains can be substituted in 7-aminocephalosporanic acid but only one in 6-aminopenicillanic acid, many more semisynthetic derivatives can be obtained from 7-aminocephalosporanic acid.

The cephalosporins are broad-spectrum antimicrobials, proving effective against staphylococci, streptococci, pneumococci, gonococci, meningococci, clostridia, the influenza bacillus (Haemophilus influenzae), Klebsiella, the colon bacillus, and a number of other microorganisms. The antimicrobial action of the cephalosporins is due, as in the case of the penicillins, to their ability to block the formation of the microbial cell wall. Unlike the penicillins, the cephalosporins rarely provoke an allergic reaction, and they are resistant to bacterial enzymes (β-lactamases), which destroy antibiotics.

Physicians generally prescribe semisynthetic cephalosporins, since they are more active than the natural ones. Among the semisynthetic ones are cephaloridine (Ceporin), cephalothin, cefazolin, cephalexin, cephradine, and cephaloglycin, all of which are used in the treatment of infectious diseases caused by microorganisms sensitive to these antibiotics. Since their spectrum of action is very broad, their use is especially indicated in infections of unknown etiology, in mixed infections, and in cases when the causative agent is highly resistant to penicillin or the patient is highly sensitive to penicillin.


Klimov, A. N. Penitsilliny i tsefalosporiny. Leningrad, 1973.
Milevskaia, Iu. L. “Tsefalosporiny (ikh svoistva i preimushchestva): Obzor literatury.” Meditsinskii referativnyi zhurnal, 1975, no. 4, pp. 82–86.


References in periodicals archive ?
The antibiotics investigated in the study included penicillins (ampicillin, carbenicillin and piperacillin), 1st generation cephalosporins (cephalothin), 2nd generation cephalosporins (cefuroxime, cefoxitin and cefaclor), 3rd generation cephalosporins (ceftriaxone, cefotaxime and ceftazidime), 4th generation cephalosporins (cefepime) carbapenems (imipenem) and monocyclic lactams (aztreonam).
gonorrhoeae infection during pregnancy for a patient with severe cephalosporin allergy?
Cephalosporin C (CPC) was the second [beta]-lactam antibiotics to be discovered after penicillin from the fungus Cephalosporium acremonium by Giuseppe Brotzu (1,2).
Multidrug-resistance in Shigellae is a matter of growing concern all over the world, for which third-generation cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones are increasingly being used3.
The genes for the production of ESBLs are carried on plasmids or transposons and may be transferred to other members of the family, hence making them resistant to cephalosporins.
gonorrhoeae isolates with decreased susceptibility to cephalosporins decreased significantly.
If the isolate is confirmed ESBL positive, it should be reported resistant to all penicillins, cephalosporins (except for cephamycines) and monobactam irrespective of in vitro sensitivity.
In this report, Technavio covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global cephalosporin drugs market for 2015-2019.
Eligible patients were screened in the emergency service of our hospital and categorized into one of two groups: (i) cases, referring to those colonized or infected by Enterobacteriaceae resistant to third-generation cephalosporins and, (ii) controls, patients colonized or infected by Enterobacteriaceae susceptible to third-generation cephalosporins.
Cephalosporins are most commonly and effectively used to treat outpatient indications of pneumonia, skin and soft tissue infections, sinusitis, urinary tract infections, and ear infections.
Additionally, M100-S24 includes a definition of susceptible-dose dependent(SDD) with educational information explaining the introduction of SDD interpretive criteria; an example and explanation for antimicrobial agents having only susceptible interpretive criteria; information for reporting first- and second-generation cephalosporins and cephamycins for Salmonella spp.