CEPHALEXIN (sometimes called Keflex)

Main uses in hair loss: folliculitis, scalp infections and folliculitis decalvans

Other names: Keflex (trade name)

What is Cephalexin?

  • Cephalexin is an antibiotic which is effective in treating certain bacteria. It is sometimes used to treat hair loss conditions such as folliculitis decalvans

How is Cephalexin prescribed?

  • Your doctor will describe how he would like you to use this medication for your hair loss. It is very important that the instructions are followed.  In adults, cephalexin is normally taken as 500 mg four times per day.  You should take it on an empty stomach.  Do not take with fruit juice or carbonated drinks.
  • For children older than 1 year the dose is according to weight. 
  • It is important to take  for the full period it is prescribed.  Take it for the full period (unless you feel unwell, in which case you should stop and immediately tell your prescribing physician )

Can I use Cephalexin with other treatments? 

  • It is sometimes recommended that those women on an oral contraceptive use a back-up method of protection while on this medication
  • Tell your doctor if you are on these medications:  blood thinners, probenecid
  • Drugs other than those listed above may also interact with this drug. Talk to your doctor as well as your pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines

Who should not use Cephalexin?

  • Do not take cephalexin if you are allergic to Keflex or Penicillin or Cephalosporin type antibiotics. Sometimes individuals with penicillin allergy are allowed to take cephalexin but this must be reviewed by your physician. 
  • Tell your physician if you have ever had asthma, colitis, diabetes, or kidney or liver disease before taking cephalexin.
  • All women must inform their doctors if they are pregnant or breast feeding before using cephalexin.
  • Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, stomach or intestinal disease, or infectious mononucleosis. You may not be able to take this medication  because of an increased risk of side effects.

What side effects are possible with Cephalexin?

The following is a partial list of side effects. Your prescribing physician will tell you the side effects. Be sure to read all of the information in the information leaflets you are given at the drug store and ask your pharmacist and doctor if you have questions. 

  • Upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, colitis, confusion, convulsions, dizziness, hives, liver problems and jaundice, fungal infections, rash,
  • Appetite loss.
  • White patches on the tongue (thrush/yeast infection);
  • Itching or discharge of the vagina (vaginal yeast infection); or
  • Black, "hairy" tongue or sore mouth or tongue.
  • Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Be sure to let your doctor know  about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.
  • Rare irritation of liver (hepatitis)
  • Rare drop in blood counts (with long term users)
  • Rare infectious diarrhea called pseudomembranous colitis

What side effects should prompt me to STOP cephalexin and get medical help?

  • Stop taking cephalexin immediately and seek medical attention if you experience reactions such as rash, fever, itching, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and or sores on the genitals.
  • Stop taking cephalexin if an allergic reaction develops (shortness of breath; closing of your throat; hives; swelling of your lips, face, or tongue; rash; or fainting); get medical help right away
  • Stop taking cephalexin if you get seizures and get medical help right away
  • Stop taking cephalexin if you develop severe watery diarrhea and abdominal cramps and get medical attention
  • Stop taking cephalexin if you develop unusual bleeding or bruising and get medical attention


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