Ciprofloxacin is a prescription medication used to treat a variety of bacterial infections including urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and sinus infections. Ciprofloxacin belongs to a group of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones, which work by killing the bacteria that cause infections.
This medication comes as a tablet, an oral suspension (liquid), and an intravenous (IV) solution. The tablet and suspension are usually taken twice daily, in the morning and evening, with or without food. Ciprofloxacin also comes as an extended-release tablet that is taken once a day, with or without food. Swallow ciprofloxacin tablets whole. Do not split, crush, or chew tablets.
What side effects can Ciprofloxacin cause?
Ciprofloxacin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- stomach pain
- vaginal itching and/or discharge
- pale skin
- unusual tiredness
If you experience any of the following symptoms, or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, stop taking ciprofloxacin and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical help:
- severe diarrhea (watery or bloody stools) that may occur with or without fever and stomach cramps (may occur up to 2 months or more after your treatment)
- peeling or blistering of the skin
- swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, lips, tongue, throat, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs
- hoarseness or throat tightness
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- ongoing or worsening cough
- yellowing of the skin or eyes; pale skin; dark urine; or light colored stool
- extreme thirst or hunger; pale skin; feeling shaky or trembling; fast or fluttering heartbeat; sweating; frequent urination; trembling; blurred vision; or unusual anxiety
- fainting or loss of consciousness
- decreased urination
- sudden pain in the chest, stomach, or back
Ciprofloxacin may cause problems with bones, joints, and tissues around joints in children. Ciprofloxacin should not normally be given to children younger than 18 years of age unless they have certain serious infections that cannot be treated with other antibiotics or they have been exposed to plague or anthrax in the air. If your doctor prescribes ciprofloxacin for your child, be sure to tell the doctor if your child has or has ever had joint-related problems. Call your doctor if your child develops joint problems such as pain or swelling while taking ciprofloxacin or after treatment with ciprofloxacin.
Is Ciprofloxacin Safe During Breastfeeding?
According to a study published in the NIH Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) the use of ciprofloxacin is acceptable in nursing mothers with monitoring of the infant for possible effects on the gastrointestinal flora, such as diarrhea or candidiasis (thrush, diaper rash). Avoiding breastfeeding for 3 to 4 hours after a dose should decrease the exposure of the infant to ciprofloxacin in breastmilk.
Ciprofloxacin is excreted into breast milk but is considered as “usually compatible with breastfeeding” by the American Academy of Pediatrics.