According to MedlinePlus, cephalexin is typically used to treat pneumonia and bacterial infections of the bone, ear, skin, and urinary tract. WebMD reports that it is also used to treat throat, joint, breast, foot and prostate infections as well as to prevent heart valve infections.
WebMD notes that cephalexin works by stopping or suppressing the growth of the bacteria that causes infection. It is taken orally and is available in tablet, capsule and liquid forms. Both MedlinePlus and WebMD report that it is typically prescribed in two daily doses taken six to 12 hours apart. In adults, the dosage varies depending on the individual's condition and response to the medication. Weight is also considered when this drug is prescribed for children.
Diarrhea is the most common side effect. In addition, rare side effects include but are not limited to abdominal pain, headache, dizziness, vomiting and skin lesions. Cephalexin is prescribed for patients of all ages, although kidney problems sometimes appear in senior citizens. The drug is also given to women who are pregnant or nursing.