Three times in my life, I’ve had the misfortune of acquiring infections severe enough to require treatment with Rocephin, a powerful antibiotic that is either injected into muscle tissue or given as an IV. Rocephin injections are unlikely to cause serious or life-threatening side effects, but they can– and often do– cause side effects that are very uncomfortable. The most common side effect of Rocephin injection is severe pain at the site of the injection. Rocephin is so notoriously painful that I’ve heard two nurses and one doctor describe it as “the most painful shot we give.”
Although some practices add a 1% solution of licodaine– a local anesthetic– to Rocephin shots to make it less painful, the injection still tends to cause intense pain. The second time I had a Rocephin shot, I experienced intense, sharp pain at the time of the injection, and it persisted as a dull ache for more than two months. Although this isn’t a common experience, it’s far from unheard-of.
According to Mayo Clinic, other common side effects of Rocephin injection include general “sick”-like symptoms. Swollen glands, fever, fatigue, weakness, cough, and chills are among the most common reactions. Since people taking Rocephin may already be experiencing these symptoms as a result of whatever infection the Rocephin is intended to treat, so they may not be readily identified as side effects. It is common to feel somewhat sicker in the twelve hours following a Rocephin injection, but your symptoms should improve after this period.
Other common side effects of Rocephin can be more worrisome. Chest pain and shortness of breath frequently follow a Rocephin shot, and may be initially mistaken for an allergic reaction or cardiovascular event. However, these effects pass quickly and without a need for treatment. Black, tarry stools– usually regarded as a sign of a serious digestive disease– are also a common side effect associated with Rocephin shots. Although these effects can be frightening, they aren’t serious.
Some people taking Rocephin will also develop common side effects that are uncomfortable, but not especially serious. For example, Rocephin can cause painful urination (dysuria), or difficulty with urination. Some patient also report sore throat or a tendency to bruise more easily in the time following a Rocephin injection. Sores and white spots in the mouth are also common complications associated with the drug.
Rocephin shots can also cause other, more rare side effects– such as the complication I experienced, in which it triggered lasting pain at the injections site. If you are allergic or hypersensitive to Rocephin, you may even experience side effects that are life-threatening. If you have concerns about the safety of Rocephin, talk to your health care provider about the benefits and risks associated with the injection. You may be able to determine a course of treatment with fewer risks, or your doctor may reassure you that the benefits of treatment outweigh the most common side effects associated with the drug.