Ceftriaxone and cefotaxime are appealing options for the treatment of neonatal infections. Guidelines recommend cefotaxime as the cephalosporin of choice in neonates because of ceftriaxone's potential to cause hyperbilirubinemia. Unfortunately, due to cefotaxime discontinuation, providers must choose between alternative antibiotics. Clinicians at our institution adopted a protocol allowing for the utilization of cefepime and ceftriaxone for the management of neonatal sepsis. The objective of this study was to compare the incidence of hyperbilirubinemia between ceftriaxone and cefotaxime in the treatment of neonatal infections beyond the first 14 days of life.


This was a retrospective chart review of patients receiving ceftriaxone or cefotaxime for the treatment of neonatal infections. Patients were 15 to 30 days old at the time of antimicrobial administration and received at least 1 dose of ceftriaxone or cefotaxime during hospital admission. Patient characteristics and bilirubin levels were compared between ceftriaxone and cefotaxime.


The analysis included 88 patients. There was no statistically significant difference between groups in age, gestational age, weight, and baseline total calcium and bilirubin levels. Normal baseline bilirubin levels increased to an abnormal level after antibiotic administration in 2 patients in the cefotaxime group and 1 patient in the ceftriaxone group. The median number of doses of cefotaxime and ceftriaxone were 3 and 2, respectively.


Patients who received a short-term course of ceftriaxone did not have a higher likelihood of developing hyperbilirubinemia compared with those who received a short-term course of cefotaxime during their hospital stay.

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