Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013


Ciprofloxacin is one of the most widely used antibiotics currently available and has a broad spectrum of activity.


Ciprofloxacin is the active ingredient of Adco-Ciprin, Aspen Ciprofloxacin, Austell-Ciprofloxacin, Cifloc, Cifran, Ciloxan, Ciploxx, Cipro-Hexal, Ciprobay, Ciprogen, Ciprol, CPL Alliance Ciprofloxacin, Dynafloc, Orpic, Sabax Ciprofloxacin, Sandoz-Ciprofloxacin and Spec-Topistin.

Ciprofloxacin is also one of multiple active ingredients found in Ciprobay HC (Ciprofloxacin + and Hydrocortisone).

General Information

Ciprofloxacin is one of the most widely used antibiotics currently available and has a broad spectrum of activity. It is effective in the treatment of lower respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, skin and soft tissue infections, gastro-intestinal infections, bone infections, and gonorrhoea. It is also used as preventative treatment for those who came in contact with patients with meningococcal meningitis.

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 - when bacteria develop the ability to defend themselves against the effect of an antibiotic - occurs frequently with many antibiotics. This mostly happens when patients do not complete the prescribed course in full, allowing bacteria to recover from treatment, and by using antibiotics for non-bacterial infections such as cold and flu.

How does ciprofloxacin work?

Ciprofloxacin interferes with the reproduction of bacterial DNA.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 4

Available as: Ciprofloxacin is available as tablets, eye ointment, eye drops, ear drops, slow release tablets and injection.

What does it do? Ciprofloxacin has an anti-biotic effect.

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Is ciprofloxacin available as a generic? Yes

Is ciprofloxacin 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 ciprofloxacin you should consume plenty of fluids.

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: Ciprofloxacin 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 are younger than 18 years old
  • you are allergic to ciprofloxacin or any other quinolone antibiotic.
  • you are epileptic
  • 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 unknown 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 tendonitis.

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

Possible side effects

Side effect


Consult your doctor



Only if severe

In all cases




Stomach cramps



Nausea and vomiting



Rash/ hives/ itchy skin



Dizziness/ headache



Joint pain



Sleep disturbance






Yellow tinge to eyes/ skin






Painful tendons




Drug interactions


Reduced antibiotic absorption. Take 2-6 hours apart


Possible kidney damage

Iron and Zinc supplements

Reduced antibiotic absorption

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Rare interactions, including skin allergy and convulsions

Oral antidiabetic drugs

Blood sugar may be lowered further.


Risk of increased bleeding


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 - 750 mg twice a day

Interesting fact

Ciprofloxacin and other similar antibiotics (fluoroquinolones) may block the neurotransmitter GABA, and this may cause confusion in the elderly. Many elderly patients have been found wandering around, confused, after being treated with fluoroquinolones.


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