Easy-to-read medicine information about ceftriaxone – what is it, how is ceftriaxone given and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Antibiotic
  • Belongs to a group of antibiotics known as cephalosporins
  • Rocephin®
  • Ceftriaxone-AFT®

What is ceftriaxone?

  • Ceftriaxone is an antibiotic that is used to treat a wide variety of infections caused by bacteria. 
  • It works by killing or stopping the growth of the bugs that cause the infection.
  • Ceftriaxone may also be given around the time of surgical operations to help prevent infection happening afterwards.
  • Ceftriaxone is available as an injection that is given in the vein or the muscle.


  • The dose of ceftriaxone will be different for different people depending on the type of infection, how bad your infection is, the type of bacteria causing the infection and how healthy you are.
  • Your doctor will also decide how long you need to take ceftriaxone for.
  • For some infections, a single injection is adequate while other infections may need repeated injections for a few days.  

How is ceftriaxone given?

  • A doctor or a nurse will usually give you this medicine.
  • Ceftriaxone may be injected into your vein, as a slow injection over 2 to 4 minutes or by a continuous infusion over a longer time. Your doctor or nurse may call this an “IV” or “intravenous infusion” or “drip”.
  • Sometimes, your doctor or nurse will give you ceftriaxone by injecting it into the large muscles in your leg or bottom. You may also receive a local anaesthetic in this case.
  • If you are giving ceftriaxone to yourself at home, it may already be prepared by the Hospital Pharmacy or will be prepared by a District Nurse. The injection is contained in a bag and is designed to drip slowly into your catheter (this is called an infusion) or as a syringe. This should be administered exactly as you have been instructed at the hospital or clinic. This infusion should be given over at least 30 minutes. The syringe should be given over at least five minutes.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, ceftriaxone can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Pain, redness, swelling or soreness at the injection site 
  • Feeling sick, (nausea)
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Diarrhoea (runny stools)
  • Headache
  • This should settle after a few days
  • Tell your doctor if ongoing and troublesome
  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as skin rash, itching, swelling of the lips, face, and mouth or difficulty breathing
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 
    0800 611 116
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist.