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Generic Name

ciprofloxacin (sip roh FLOX a sin)


Trade Name



What is ciprofloxacin?

This drug is an antibiotic which kills bacteria and clears up infection within the body.


What is it used for?

In gastroenterology the drug may be very helpful in controlling the bacterial infection that often is present in Crohn’s disease. It is also used to treat many other forms of infection in the body.


How do I take it?

Follow your physician’s instructions carefully. Ciprofloxacin may be taken with or without meals. The best time to take it is 2 hours after a meal. Drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication. Antibiotics work best when taken at the same time each day. Tablets may be crushed and sprinkled in soft food. Keep liquid cold or at room temperature-below 86°. Shake well before using. It is very important to avoid antacids for 2 hours before or after taking ciprofloxacin. Keep all medications away from children. Never share your medications with anyone else.


What do I do for a missed dose?

Ciprofloxacin, like other antibiotics, works best when there is a steady blood level. Therefore, try not to miss any doses and take them at evenly spaced intervals. If you do miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take 2 doses at the same time.


Are there interactions with food or beverages?

This drug may increase the effects of caffeine. Caffeine is found in many foods and beverages including coffee, tea, chocolate and soda.


Are there interactions with other drugs?

An interaction generally means that one drug may increase or decrease the effect of another drug. Also, the more medications a person takes, the more likely there will be a drug interaction.

Interactions with this drug may occur with the following:

  • theophylline (Theo-Dur)
  • cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral)
  • phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • blood thinners (Coumadin)
  • probenecid
  • sucralfate (Carafate)
  • glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase, Glynase)
  • cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • all antacids
  • iron medicines
  • multi-vitamins containing zinc


Is there a problem if I have another disorder or disease?

At times, a drug may have a different or enhanced effect when other diseases are present. At other times, the drug may worsen or effect another disease. Patients who have severe chronic kidney disease or who are on dialysis may need dosage adjustment. In addition, those patients who have had convulsions, seizures or a previous stroke should discuss its use with the physician.


What about allergies?

People who have known allergies or asthma may be at an increased risk for a reaction from any new medication. The physician should always know a patient’s allergy history. Signs of an allergic reaction are skin rash, hives and swelling. Of course, a person should not take ciprofloxacin if there has been a previous reaction to this or a similar drug.


What if I’m pregnant, considering pregnancy or breast-feeding?

Most females now know that, if possible, no drug, including alcohol, should be taken during pregnancy or lactation. The potential danger, of course, is an injury to the baby. However, some drugs are much safer than others in this regard. So, the FDA has a grading system for each drug which reflects what is known medically. It ranks drugs from A, where medical studies show no evidence for danger to the fetus or mother, to B, C, D and X, where the medical evidence indicates that the risk to the fetus outweighs any benefit to the mother. Ciprofloxacin is ranked C. Always consult your physician before taking any drug during or when planning pregnancy.


What are the effects on sexual function?

There are no known effects of ciprofloxacin on sexual function.


Are there other precautions?

  • Ciprofloxacin should not be used in infants or in children up to 18 years of age.
  • With prolonged use, crystals may form in the kidney. This may be prevented by maintaining a generous urine flow by drinking several quarts of liquid each day.
  • Continued or prolonged use of this as well as other antibiotics may result in a fungal infection. These usually occur in the mouth, rectum or vagina.
  • People taking ciprofloxacin may suffer torn tendons. The achilles tendon just above the heel on the back of the leg is a common site. If you feel any pain or inflammation in a tendon area, stop taking the medication, avoid exercise and contact your physician.
  • Ciprofloxacin may rarely cause photosensitivity. Limit your exposure to the sun or ultraviolet lights until this effect is known. Notify your physician if you experience a sunburn-like reaction.


How long is it safe to take ciprofloxacin?

This drug usually can be taken long-term. The length of treatment depends upon the severity of the infection. Generally, ciprofloxacin should be continued for at least 2 days after symptoms have disappeared.


How about side effects?

Adverse reactions can occur with any drug, even over-the-counter medications. Some of these are mild such as a stomach upset, which may be avoided by taking the medication with food. Minor reactions may go away on their own but if they persist, contact the physician. For major reactions, the patient should contact the physician immediately.

For ciprofloxacin, the following are the observed side effects:


  • nausea
  • headache
  • indigestion
  • rash
  • constipation
  • diarrhea


  • fever
  • sore throat
  • visual disturbances


A physician’s comment…

Most antibiotics taken by mouth are fairly safe. However, resistance to these drugs does occur when they are used too often. Therefore, antibiotics should only be used for specific purposes and for the length of time decided by the physician.