Monday, April 16, 2012

My Reaction to Cephalexin

It all started with a germ that was being passed from one person to the next. My turn had come but, this germ refused to leave me. It dug in for the long haul. Then one day I woke up with the feeling of heaviness on my chest. My lungs were full of something because there wasn't enough room for oxygen. This was not an emergency situation, just uncomfortable and tiring. Fortunately I was able to get right into my doctor's office. The PA diagnosed me with bronchitis and prescribed Keflex.

Cephalexin a cephalosporin antibiotic has many names: Keftab, Biocef, Cefanex, Ceporex, Keflect, Keflex, Novolexin, and Zartan. Apparently it is related to Penicillin, only stronger. (Side note: my dad is allergic to penicillin, but I have never had any problems taking it.)

Take one capsule by mouth three times daily.

The headache was the first side effect to appear. It was quickly followed by tiredness and the awful dizzies. A couple of days passed and I felt like I was getting better, except the headache, tiredness and the increasing dizziness.

Got the medication on Monday. Thursday night I was in the ER.

I had been spending most of my day in bed so there wasn't anything unusual about the way I fell asleep early that night. When my husband went to bed I got up to go to the bathroom, so I wouldn't have to get up in the middle of the night to empty my bladder.

OK here is the embarrassing part.

Things aren't as pretty in real life as they are in the movies.

I barely made it into the bathroom when I felt things were very wrong. My head was spinning and I  called out for my husband. He must have made it to me before I fell. All I know is his account. He says I just fell backward like I died. (he showed me, I had to come up with those words) He said I was out for 1 to 2 minutes. In which time I started twitching and then moaned and woke up. I know nothing until I moaned. I was aware for that. It was like I was pushing through a wall, fighting to get that moan out. I say I passed out, but my mom is convinced by the description of how I woke up, that it was a seizure. She has epilepsy. She says that makes her an expert. I kind of agree with her because I have seen people wake up from passing out. This wasn't like that at all.

Next, all I can manage to get out is "bed". I was really weak. I couldn't stand up, walk, or even hold my head up. My husband amazingly got me to the bed. I laid there in a cold sweat unable to move much for awhile.

Then the nausea hit. Hubby ran for a bucket. Still in a cold sweat, up everything came. And then it came again.

The cold sweat and nausea were over just in time. Still very weak, I needed hubby to help me back to the bathroom.

Somewhere in all that, hubby shared with me that he is thinking of calling an ambulance. I am stubborn. I didn't want an ambulance, but I agreed that I needed to go to the hospital. I was very bad off. At this point, I was seriously afraid that if I just waited it out and went to sleep, then I wasn't going to wake up. He was concerned that I was too bad off to make it to the car. He was leaning toward the ambulance.

I made it to the car. I almost gave in to the ambulance idea, but I was thinking that there was no way I was going to make it to the hospital if they made me lay down again. That's when the dizzies are at their worst.

Made it to the ER, with bucket in hand. I was in bad shape. They put me in a wheel chair and got me in pretty quickly. I rode in the wheel chair with my eyes closed because the dizziness was so bad. I was in tears and I have to admit not very cooperative by the time we reached the triage room. Even the slightest movement sent my head spinning uncontrollably.

So in the ER they gave me an IV with some anti-nausea medicine in it. It worked. It even dramatically reduced the dizziness. They did an X ray of my chest and an EKG.

I have no official diagnosis. Doctors don't seem to want to volunteer that information anymore. You have to ask them and I really wasn't in any mood for that. I know what was wrong.

The doctor did take me off the antibiotics. He told me it would take 5 to 7 days to get it all out of my system. In the mean time he advised me to take some motion sickness tablets.

It is day 4 and I still have the dizziness, however; no where near as extreme as it was Thursday night. I do have one new side effect. When I relax, my body has small little twitches. All other side effects have gone away. I take the motion sickness tablets when I get tired of feeling like my brain is swimming. But then I can do nothing else but sleep. 

I have always avoided antibiotics as much as possible. I believe it is better for our own bodies to fight and develop antibodies. This time I gave in because everyone around me was getting better and I wasn't. I really don't know why this is. I can only guess that it has something to do with having an autoimmune disease. I don't know, it's a guess.

I fully expect to have this drug and all it's nasty effects out of my body by day 7.

I wasn't going to tell you this part, but I decided to just in case someone else has a similar situation. My hubby told me it was making me crazy. While reading through the Possible side effects on the sheet from the pharmacy, it says one of the side effects was mood or mental changes. He says that was a yes on that one. Unfortunately, I think he is right.
Another listed side effect is sore throat. My throat isn't sore, but there is something wrong with it. I sound hoarse. I haven't determined if this is a result of the antibiotics or the bronchitis. I imagine I never will for sure.

So for those of you who want to know what happened to me. Here is your answer. And for those of you who do a google search for side effects of this stuff. I hope you find this information useful.

Take care of yourselves and wash your hands often. 


I have been off the medication for 8 days now. I still have the occasional dizzy spell. I have only noticed it when I move my head while I am laying down. The frequency is decreasing. 

It also seems that hiccups seem to be a part of this madness. I rarely get the hiccups and when I do I usually can link it to eating too fast or something extra salty. McDonalds french fries always give me the hiccups. Well I got some major hiccups for no apparent reason one time before I went to the ER, so I didn't really think anything of it. But, I have been getting hiccups a lot this last week. There seems to be no reason for these things, so I did a google search. Turns out the vagus or phrenic nerve when damaged can have a link to hiccups. So here is my theory: All my symptoms are nervous system issues. It is not hard to take a leap and come up with the idea that these hiccups are connected to my reaction to Cephalexin.


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