Home » Ciprofloxacin: Uses, Direction, Side effects and Warnings

Ciprofloxacin: Uses, Direction, Side effects and Warnings

Disclaimer: the following information is not meant to replace consultation with your physician or pharmacist. You can also find more information about your medication by reading the patient information leaflet. The mention of any brand is not meant to mention superiority over others.

What is Ciprofloxacin?

Ciprofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic. It works by stopping the growth of the bacteria.

What is ciprofloxacin used for?

It is used to treat bacterial infections such as oneumonia, typhoid fever, gonorrhea (sexually transmitted infection), infectious diarrhea, infections of the eye, abdomen, skin, bone, joint and prostate.

It is not effective against viral infections such as common cold.


  • 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg and 1 g tablets
  • 250 mg/5ml granules and solvent for oral suspension
  • An ointment (for the eye)
  • An eye drop
  • An ear drop
  • An infusion

It is sometimes combined with other active ingredients like tinidazole (Cifran CT, Cipromed TZ, Ciprozole) or fluocinilone acetonide (Cetraxal Otico ear drops) or dexamethasone (ceprolen-D)

Brand names

You can find it in generic presentation. Common brand names (in Cameroon) include: Bactiflox, Boncipro, Cetraxal, Cifran, Ciplox, Cipro-Denk, Coflox, Fluoxine, Gebecip, Zoflox

Before you take Ciprofloxacin

Let your doctor know

  • If you allergic to ciprofloxacin or other fluoroquinolones like ofloxacin, levofloxacin
  • All the medicines and supplements you take.
  • If you have liver or kidney disease
  • If suffering from epilepsy (seizures) or hypertension
  • If having a muscle or nerve disorder like myasthenia gravis
  • If you have low levels of potassium
  • If you have ever had tendon problems (swelling, tearing) or other joint problems, especially in children.
  • If you are pregnant, plan to be or breastfeeding.

Who should not use ciprofloxacin?

Do not use if allergic to ciprofloxacin

Where can I get ciprofloxacin?

Ciprofloxacin is a prescription drug. This means it will be prescribed to you by your doctor.

Best to buy your local pharmacy and not from street vendors. Prices will differ from one pharmacy to another. Tips on how to save money on your medicines, read here. How to reduce your wait time in a pharmacies, read here.

How should I take ciprofloxacin?

Take as directed by your doctor. Your dosage and duration of treatment will depend on your condition, age and weight (for children). Follow directions on the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication.

Can be taken with or without food. Take at the same time each day (unless it is a one time dose treatment). Complete treatment even if you feel better to avoid antibiotic resistance (the bacteria continues to grow despite use of antibiotic).

Drink a lot of liquid through out your treatment.

  • Drink tablets and capsules with a glass of water. Swallow tablets and capsules whole. Do not crush, chew or split.
  • For suspensions: mix powder with filtered water till the mark as indicated on the bottle of your medication. Always shake for 15s before each use. Use the measuring instrument that came with your medication. Do not use kitchen spoons. They are not accurate.

What are the possible side effects of ciprofloxacin?

Like all drugs, use of ciprofloxacin may come with side effects. They range from mild to severe. Not everyone will experience a side effect.

The most common side effects of ciprofloxacin are gastro-intestinal disturbances like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. It may also cause vaginal itches, heartburn.

When used as and eye drop, ear drop or ointment, you will most likely not experience the gastro-intestinal side effects. For the eye drops and ointment you may experience a stinging or burning sensation in your eyes.

In the case of an severe allergic, stop medication immediately.

See doctor if

  • Tendon rupture (swelling, movement problems around the joints)
  • Neurological problems (irritability, headache, confusion, dizziness, seizures)
  • Joint and muscle pain

You may be experiencing a severe side effect or an overdose.

What should I do in case of an overdose?

Seek medical attention immediately.

What if I miss a dose?

  • As much as possible try not to miss a dose. This could make your infection grow worse and develop resistance (becoming unresponsive to antibiotic).
  • If you however miss a dose, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose. Do not double up your next time.
  • For tips on how to remember to take your medicines, read here
  • If you vomit your medication within 30 minutes of taking, take another dose. If after 30 minutes, you do not need to take another dose.

What could affect my medication?

Let your doctor know all medications and supplements (including herbal products) you take.

– Avoid combination with drugs that prolong the QT interval (amiodarone, chloroquine, co-artemether, fluconazole, haloperidol, mefloquine, ondansetron, pentamidine, quinine, etc.).
– Monitoring needed if taking glibenclamide (risk of hypoglycaemia).
– Do not administer simultaneously with:
• corticosteriods
• antacids (aluminium or magnesium hydroxide, etc.): take ciprofloxacin 2 hours before or 4 hours after antacids;
• iron salts, calcium, zinc sulfate: take 2 hours apart.

(source: msf)

How do I store ciprofloxacin at home?

  • Keep out of reach of children. Store in a cool, dry place. Away from heat, light, moisture and rodents.
  • Do not use expired drugs. For tips on how to get rid of your expired or damaged drugs, read here.
  • For suspensions, do not use after 10 days of opening and mixing.

Medication Safety tips

  • Do not share your medications even if the other person has similar symptoms.
  • Do not use if not prescribed to you even if you are experiencing same symptoms like last time.
  • Complete your treatment even if you feel better.
  • Avoid misuse of antibiotics
  • Always read the patient information leaflet that came with your medication .
Ekwoge Hilda

Dr. Ekwoge Hilda is a trained pharmacist from Cameroon and Co-founder of HILPharma. When she is not busy creating content, she slings pills to pay the bills.

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