Ciprofloxacin is a prescription antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections. It is prescribed for urinary tract infections such as cystitis or pyelitis. Typical side effects of Ciprofloxacin include diarrhea, nausea and rash. Find out here which side effects can still occur and what you should consider when taking the antibiotic.
Bacteria, viruses and fungi are constantly trying to invade our bodies. If the immune system is intact, the pathogens are usually quickly rendered harmless. In a weakened immune system, however, they can multiply in the body and cause an infection. If the pathogens are bacteria, they can be treated with an antibiotic.
Ciprofloxacin is a prescription antibiotic from the group of fluoroquinolones - also called gyrase inhibitors. This name is derived from the mode of action of the substance: Ciprofloxacin blocks in the body the protein gyrase, which bacteria need to multiply. If the bacteria can no longer multiply, the inflammation heals.
Ciprofloxacin as a reserve antibiotic
Due to some significant side effects, ciprofloxacin today serves as a so-called reserve antibiotic. Such antibiotics are used only in infections where no other antibiotic has worked. In such cases, it is then an infection with resistant pathogens.
In the treatment of a simple infection reserve antibiotics are usually avoided in order to avoid a development of resistance. Often reserve antibiotics are associated with serious side effects.
When is ciprofloxacin used?
Ciprofloxacin can be used to treat the following bacterial infections:
- the respiratory tract
- in the ear, nose and throat area
- the eyes
- the genitals
- of the gastrointestinal tract
- the bile
- the kidney and the urinary tract
- of the skin
- of bones and joints
In addition, ciprofloxacin is also used in blood poisoning, cystic fibrosis and anthrax.
Side effects of Ciprofloxacin
The most common side effects with Ciprofloxacin include gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, indigestion, nausea and vomiting, and rash.
Occasionally In addition, the following side effects may occur:
- a headache
- Nerve damage such as odor and taste disorders
- Blood disorders
- Pain, swelling or tears in the tendons, muscles or joints
- low blood pressure
- Increase in liver enzymes
Rare and very rare side effects
In rare cases the following side effects may occur when taking ciprofloxacin:
- allergic reactions
- sensory disturbances
- hardness of hearing
- Restrictions on kidney function
- shortness of breath
Very rare is that side effects such as anemia, liver failure, tendonitis, skin bleeding, psychotic reactions and increased intracranial pressure occur.
Other side effects
Will ciprofloxacin externally When applied to the ear, itching often occurs. Severe side effects such as tinnitus or dermatitis are rare. Itching may also occur in the treatment of ophthalmia.
Eyelash swelling, a foreign body sensation in the eye, photosensitivity, red eyes, lid edge encrustation, changes in the cornea, and vision loss are among the possible side effects of ciprofloxacin.
Dosage of Ciprofloxacin
The dose level of ciprofloxacin depends on the infection and its severity. Unless otherwise prescribed by the doctor, adults may twice a day between 500 and 700 milligrams taking. For mild urinary tract infections, a lower dose is sufficient.
The antibiotic is usually taken orally in the form of tablets However, it is also called a suspension, in the form of solutions for intravenous administration and in the form of Eye and ear drops available for local use.
Duration of application
The treatment usually lasts between five and 21 days. For particularly severe infections, the antibiotic can also be used over a longer period of time.
If there is only a simple infection, such as a mild urinary tract infection, it may be sufficient to take Ciprofloxacin over a period of one to three days.
Instructions for taking ciprofloxacin
- Ingestion may affect the responsiveness and thus the ability to drive and the ability to operate machinery. This is especially true in connection with alcohol.
- Ciprofloxacin must be taken exactly as directed by the attending physician and may not be sold independently. Otherwise it can happen that the disease does not heal completely or resistance to ciprofloxacin develops.
- Taking the antibiotic can lower the number of white blood cells and make the body more susceptible to infections. If you experience symptoms of infection, contact your doctor. This is also true if there are signs that indicate tendon rupture or tendinitis.
- During the intake of the antibiotic you should refrain from the visit of solariums as well as extensive sun baths.
- Be sure to consume enough liquid.
Contraindications of Ciprofloxacin
In certain circumstances, ciprofloxacin should not be taken or should only be taken after a careful risk-benefit assessment. Caution is advised in patients with the following conditions: impaired liver or kidney function, myasthenia gravis, disturbed salt balance and special cardiac arrhythmias or other heart problems. The same applies to patients who have already suffered seizures and to children and adolescents of growing age.
Ciprofloxacin should not be used:
- in a hypersensitivity to the drug. If an allergic reaction occurs, the treating physician must be contacted immediately.
- in patients prone to seizures.
- with concomitant use of tizanidine.
- in the case of deficiency of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, since otherwise blood formation disorders can occur.
Ciprofloxacin during pregnancy
Ciprofloxacin should not be taken during pregnancy as there is currently insufficient evidence on the effects of the use. In animal experiments, however, cartilage damage was detected in newborn animals. In case of topical use of ciprofloxacin - for example for the treatment of infections of the eyes or ears - a cost-benefit-evaluation has to be done by the doctor.
If ciprofloxacin is used internally, the active substance passes into the breast milk and can harm the baby. If the antibiotic is taken while breastfeeding, it must therefore be weaned beforehand. In a local application, a cost-benefit balance is necessary during lactation.
Interactions of ciprofloxacin
If ciprofloxacin is taken simultaneously with certain other active substances, interactions may occur. Used internally, for example, the antibiotic inhibits the Degradation of active ingredients such as clozapine, ropinirole, tizanidine, methotrexate, pentoxifylline and theophylline. This enhances the effect and side effects of the substances. For most medicines, it is sufficient to have the dosage adjusted by a doctor. Only tizanidine must not be taken at all.
In addition, there are also agents that increase the concentration of ciprofloxacin in the body. These include, for example, the ointment Probenecid. The simultaneous use of phenytoin can both increase and decrease the level of ciprofloxacin in the body.
The drugs that reduce the effects of ciprofloxacin in the body include antacids, sucralfate and sevelamer, as well as calcium, magnesium, iron or aluminum. If any of these medicines are to be taken, ciprofloxacin should be given at least two hours before or four hours later. Incidentally, this also applies to milk and yoghurt.
Interactions with food
In addition to milk and yoghurt, coffee, caffeinated analgesics and cold remedies - which also often contain caffeine - should be avoided during treatment. Because taking ciprofloxacin inhibits the breakdown of caffeine in the body. This limitation applies in particular to persons who have problems with seizures or cardiac arrhythmias.
The pill and ciprofloxacin
By taking antibiotics, the intestinal flora is damaged and certain drugs are less likely to be absorbed into the body. Thus, among other things, the effectiveness of the pill may subside.
For ciprofloxacin, however, it has not yet been demonstrated that the protective effect of the pill is reduced. Studies seem to indicate that the effect of the antibiotic is not compromised. However, to be safe from pregnancy, you should still use additional contraceptives.
Criticism of ciprofloxacin
Antibiotics from the group of fluoroquinolones such as ciprofloxacin have been strongly criticized for some time due to serious and serious side effects. Sometimes permanent damage is the result of taking ciprofloxacin.
Thus, the drug can cause tendon damage such as inflammation or cracks of the tendons. Especially often a tear of the Achilles tendon occurs. The risk for this is especially high in older people over the age of 60 years.
Also, mental disorders such as depression and anxiety and nerve damage are among the long-lasting side effects. The cause of these undesirable effects is the possible damage of mitochondrial DNA by ciprofloxacin. Mitochondria are responsible for energy production in human cells.
Critics call for a more restrictive handling of fluoroquinolones such as ciprofloxacin due to the described severe side effects.