Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Levofloxacin

Levofloxacin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

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Levofloxacin is the active ingredient of Tavanic and Sandoz Levofloxacin.

General information

Levofloxacin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic. It is effective in the treatment of upper and lower respiratory tract infections, skin and soft tissue infections, gastrointestinal infections and urinary tract infections caused by organisms that are sensitive to levofloxacin.

It is important to note that this medication is only effective against bacterial infections - if your infection is the result of a viral or fungal infection, it will be ineffective.

Antibiotic resistance (that is, when bacteria develop the ability to defend themselves against the effect of an antibiotic) occurs frequently with many antibiotics. This most often occurs when patients do not complete the prescribed course in full or when antibiotics are used for non-bacterial infections such as cold and flu.

An increased incidence of an abnormal sunburn reaction in people taking levofloxacin has also been noted.

How does levofloxacin work?

Levofloxacin interferes with the reproduction of bacterial DNA.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 4

Available as: levofloxacin is available as tablets and as an injection

What does it do? levofloxacin has an anti-bacterial effect

Overdose risk: medium

Dependence risk: low

Is levofloxacin available as a generic? yes

Is levofloxacin available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect : it may take a few days for the full beneficial effect to be reached

Duration of action: up to 12 hours

Dietary advice: while being treated with levofloxacin, you should consume plenty of fluid

Stopping this medicine: do not stop taking this medication until you have finished the course as prescribed by your doctor - infection may recur with premature discontinuation

Prolonged use: levofloxacin is usually given only for short courses of treatment; if prescribed for long-term use, your doctor may request periodic blood tests to monitor liver and kidney function

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have kidney or liver disease
  • you are younger than 18
  • you are allergic to this, or any other, quinolone antibiotic
  • you are epileptic
  • you have tendon damage from prior antibiotic use
  • you are taking other medication

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: avoid. It is not known how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children younger than 18.

Elderly: caution is advised in the elderly as they may be more susceptible to adverse effects.

Driving and hazardous work: caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.

Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication as it may increase the antibiotic's sedative effects.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

diarrhoea

X

X

stomach cramps

X

X

nausea and vomiting

X

X

rash/ hives/ itchy skin

X

X

dizziness/ headache

X

X

joint pain

X

X

sleep disturbance

X

X

photosensitivity

X

X

yellow tinge to eyes/ skin

X

X

confusion/convulsions

X

X

taste disturbance

X

X

painful tendons

X

X

Interactions

Drug interactions

antacids

reduced antibiotic absorption - take 2-6 hours apart

ciclosporin

possible kidney damage

iron and zinc supplements

reduced antibiotic absorption

non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

rare interactions including skin allergy and convulsions

oral anti-diabetic drugs

blood sugar may be lowered further

warfarin

risk of increased bleeding

theophylline

increased theophylline toxicity

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention. Symptoms may include mental disturbance and convulsions.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 250-500mg once to twice daily for 3-14 days

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

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