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a β-lactamase–resistant second-generation cephalosporinantibiotic effective against a wide range of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, used as the disodium salt.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


(sef-oh-tee-tan) ,


(trade name)


Therapeutic: anti infectives
Pharmacologic: second generation cephalosporins
Pregnancy Category: B


Treatment of the following infections caused by susceptible organisms:
  • Lower respiratory tract infections,
  • Skin and skin structure infections,
  • Bone and joint infections,
  • Urinary tract infections,
  • Gynecological infections,
  • Intra-abdominal infections.
Perioperative prophylaxis.


Binds to bacterial cell wall membrane, causing cell death.

Therapeutic effects

Bactericidal action against susceptible bacteria.
Similar to that of first-generation cephalosporins but has increased activity against several other gram-negative pathogens including:
  • Haemophilus influenzae(including β-lactamase-producing strains),
  • Escherichia coli,
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae,
  • Morganella morganii,
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae,
  • Proteus,
  • Providencia,
  • Serratia marcescens,
  • Moraxella catarrhalis.
Also has activity against Bacteroides fragilis.Not active against methicillin-resistant staphylococci or enterococci.


Absorption: Well absorbed following IM administration; IV administration results in complete bioavailability.
Distribution: Widely distributed. Penetration into CSF is poor. Crosses the placenta and enters breast milk in low concentrations.
Metabolism and Excretion: Excreted primarily unchanged by the kidneys.
Protein Binding: 88%.
Half-life: 3–4.6 hr.

Time/action profile

IMrapid1–3 hr12 hr
IVrapidend of infusion12 hr


Contraindicated in: Hypersensitivity to cephalosporins; Serious hypersensitivity to penicillins.
Use Cautiously in: Renal impairment (dosage ↓/↑ dosing interval recommended if CCr ≤30 mL/min); History of GI disease, especially colitis; Patients with hepatic dysfunction, poor nutritional state, or cancer (may be at ↑ risk of bleeding); Geriatric: Dosage adjustment due to age-related ↓ in renal function may be necessary; also may be at ↑ risk of bleeding; Obstetric / Lactation: Has been used safely.

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Central nervous system

  • seizures (high doses) (life-threatening)


  • pseudomembranous colitis (life-threatening)
  • diarrhea
  • nausea


  • rashes
  • urticaria


  • bleeding
  • eosinophilia
  • hemolytic anemia
  • leukopenia
  • thrombocytopenia


  • pain at IM site (most frequent)
  • phlebitis at IV site (most frequent)


  • allergic reactions including anaphylaxis (life-threatening)
  • superinfection


Drug-Drug interaction

Probenecid ↓ excretion and ↑ blood levels.If alcohol is ingested within 48–72 hr of cefotetan, a disulfiram-like reaction may occur.May potentiate the effects of anticoagulants and ↑ the risk of bleeding.Concurrent use of aminoglycosides may ↑ the risk of nephrotoxicity.


Intramuscular Intravenous (Adults) Most infections—1–2 g every 12 hr. Severe/life-threatening infections—2–3 g every 12 hr. Urinary tract infections—500 mg–2 g every 12 hr or 1–2 g every 24 hr. Perioperative prophylaxis—1–2 g 30–60 min before initial incision (one-time dose).

Renal Impairment

Intramuscular Intravenous (Adults) CCr 10–30 mL/min—Usual adult dose every 24 hr or ½ usual adult dose every 12 hr;<CCr 10 mL/min— Usual adult dose every 48 hr or 1/4 usual adult dose every 12 hr.

Availability (generic available)

Powder for injection: 1 g/vial, 2 g/vial, 10 g/vial
Premixed containers: 1 g/50 mL, 2 g/50 mL

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess for infection (vital signs; appearance of wound, sputum, urine, and stool; WBC) at beginning of and throughout therapy.
  • Before initiating therapy, obtain a history to determine previous use of and reactions to penicillins or cephalosporins. Persons with a negative history of penicillin sensitivity may still have an allergic response.
  • Obtain specimens for culture and sensitivity before initiating therapy. First dose may be given before receiving results.
  • Observe patient for signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis (rash, pruritus, laryngeal edema, wheezing). Discontinue the drug and notify health care professional immediately if these symptoms occur. Keep epinephrine, an antihistamine, and resuscitation equipment close by in the event of an anaphylactic reaction.
  • Monitor bowel function. Diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fever, and bloody stools should be reported to health care professional promptly as a sign of pseudomembranous colitis. May begin up to several weeks following cessation of therapy.
  • Lab Test Considerations: May cause positive results for Coombs' test.
    • Monitor prothrombin time and assess patient for bleeding (guaiac stools; check for hematuria, bleeding gums, ecchymosis) daily in high-risk patients; may cause hypoprothrombinemia.
    • May cause ↑ serum AST, ALT, alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin, LDH, BUN, and creatinine.
    • May rarely cause leukopenia, neutropenia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia, and eosinophilia.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Risk for infection (Indications,  Side Effects)
Diarrhea (Adverse Reactions)
Deficient knowledge, related to medication regimen (Patient/Family Teaching)


  • Do not confuse cefotetan with cefazolin, cefoxitin, ceftazidime, or ceftriaxone.
  • Intramuscular: Reconstitute IM doses with sterile or bacteriostatic water for injection or 0.9% NaCl for injection. May be diluted with lidocaine to minimize injection discomfort.
    • Inject deep into a well-developed muscle mass; massage well.
  • Intravenous Administration
  • pH: 4.5–6.5.
  • Intravenous: Change sites every 48–72 hr to prevent phlebitis. Monitor site frequently for thrombophlebitis (pain, redness, swelling).
    • If aminoglycosides are administered concurrently, administer in separate sites if possible, at least 1 hr apart. If second site is unavailable, flush line between medications.
  • Diluent: Reconstitute each gram with at least 10 mL of sterile water for injection. Do not use preparations containing benzyl alcohol for neonates. Concentration: ≤10 mg/mL.
  • Rate: Administer slowly over 3–5 min.
  • Intermittent Infusion: Diluent: Reconstituted solution may be further diluted in 50–100 mL of D5W or 0.9% NaCl. Solution is stable for 24 hr at room temperature or 96 hr if refrigerated. Concentration: ≤200 mg/mL.
  • Rate: Administer over 30–60 min.
  • Y-Site Compatibility: acyclovir, alfentanil, allopurinol, amifostine, aminocaproic acid, aminophylline, amphotericin B lipid complex, anidulafungin, argatroban, ascorbic acid, atropine, aztreonam, benztropine, bivalirudin, bumetanide, buprenorphine, butorphanol, calcium chloride, calcium gluconate, carboplatin, carmustine, cefazolin, cefoperazone, cefotaxime, cefoxitin, ceftriaxone, cefuroxime, chloramphenicol, cisplatin, clindamycin, cyanocobalamin, cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, cytarabine, dactinomycin, daptomycin, dexamethasone, dexmedetomidate, digoxin, diltiazem, docetaxel, dopamine, doxacurium, enalaprilat, ephedrine, epinephrine, epoetin alfa, eptifibatide, etoposide, etoposide phosphate, fenoldopam, fentanyl, filgrastim, fluconazole, fludarabine, fluorouracil, folic acid, furosemide, gemcitabine, glycopyrrolate, granisetron, heparin, hetastarch, hydrocortisone, hydromorphone, ifosfamide, imipenem/cilastatin, irinotecan, isoproterenol, ketorolac, levofloxacin, lidocaine, linezolid, lorazepam, magnesium sulfate, mannitol, mechlorethamine, melphalan, metaraminol, methotrexate, methoxamine, methyldopate, methylprednisolone, metoclopramide, metoprolol, metronidazole, milrinone, mitoxantrone, morphine, multivitamins, nafcillin, nalbuphine, naloxone, nesiritide, nitroglycerin, nitroprusside, norepinephrine, octreotide, oxacillin, oxaliplatin, oxytocin, paclitaxel, palonosetron, pamidronate, pancuronium, penicillin G, phenylephrine, phytonadione, potassium acetate, potassium chloride, procainamide, propofol, propranolol, pyridoxime, ranitidine, remifentanil, rituximab, rocuronium, sargramostim, sodium acetate, streptokinase, succinylcholine, sufentanil, tacrolimus, teniposide, theophylline, thiamine, thiotepa, ticarcillin/clavulanate, tigecycline, tirofiban, trimetaphan, vasopressin, vecuronium, verapamil, vincristine, voriconazole
  • Y-Site Incompatibility: alemtuzumab, amphotericin B colloidal, amphotericin B liposome, azathioprine, caspofungin, chlorpromazine, dantrolene, diazepam, diazoxide, diphenhydramine, dobutamine, doxorubicin hydrochloride, doxycycline, epirubicin, erythromycin, esmolol, ganciclovir, gentamicin, haloperidol, hydralazine, hydroxyzine, indomethacin, labetalol, mycophenolate, pantoprazole, papaverine, pemetrexed, pentamidine, pentazocine, pentobarbital, phenobarbital, phentolamine, phenytoin, prochlorperazine, promethazine, protamine, quinupristin/dalfopristin, sodium bicarbonate, tobramycin, trastuzumab, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, vinorelbine

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Advise patient to report signs of superinfection (furry overgrowth on the tongue, vaginal itching or discharge, loose or foul-smelling stools) and allergy.
  • Caution patients that concurrent use of alcohol and cefotetan may cause a disulfiram-like reaction (abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, hypotension, palpitations, dyspnea, tachycardia, sweating, flushing). Alcohol and alcohol-containing medications should be avoided during and for several days after therapy.
  • Instruct patient to notify health care professional if fever and diarrhea develop, especially if stool contains blood, pus, or mucus. Advise patient not to treat diarrhea without consulting health care professional.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Resolution of signs and symptoms of infection. Length of time for complete resolution depends on the organism and site of infection.
  • Decreased incidence of infection when used for prophylaxis.
Drug Guide, © 2015 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
They are not active against cefotetan, cefoxitin and cephamycins but are susceptible to clavulanic acid.
ESBLs are plasmid mediated enzymes that hydrolyze the oxyimino p lactams and the monobactams (aztreonam) but have no effect on the cephamycins (cefoxitin, cefotetan) and the carbapenems (imipenem).
and Nalidixic acid Cefotetan 2 Gram-positive strains 10 Acriflavine 5 Listeria monocytogenes Fosfomycin 10 400 (CH) Moxalactam 15 Listeria spp.
Tobramycin was the most effective drug (97%) for the treatment of Escherichia coli, followed by ertapenem (96.4%), imipenem (93.5%), and cefotetan (90%), but Escherichia coli had poor susceptibility to amikacin, gentamicin, and levofloxacin (all <50%).
reported 100% susceptibility to penicillins (amoxicillin/clavulanic acid and piperacillin-tazobactam), cephalosporins (cefoxitin, cefotetan, and ceftriaxone), clindamycin, carbapenems (imipenem and meropenem), and metronidazole [10].
For example, if the wound of a DFI patient was graded as Wagner-Meggit grade 2 and IWGDF/IDSA grade 3 and was diagnosed as an ischemic foot ulcer (IFU), combined with the bacterial profile and antibiotic resistance, the clinician can try cefotetan, [beta]-L-ase, carbapenem, fluoroquinolone, or aminoglycosides as the empirical antibiotics to cover the main possible pathogens and avoid penicillin, ampicillin, the first to third generation cephalosporin and tetracycline in order to prevent the infective treatment and MDR bacteria due to antibiotic abuse.
The antibiotic sensitivity tests at least included imipenem, cefazolin, cefotetan, ceftriaxone, gentamycin, amikacin, ampicillin, levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, and piperacillin/tazobactam.
All eight patients received at least 2-week conservative management (from 2 to 4 weeks), including consistent wound drainage, systemic antibiotic therapy using cefotetan, and abscess puncture if necessary.