Ciprofloxacin – Uses, Side effects, dosage and warnings

This post was most recently updated on July 5th, 2020

Understanding of Ciprofloxacin

Ciprofloxacin is a quinolone antibiotic, and it is most commonly used to prevent bacterial infection. It comes under the drug class of Fluoroquinolone. It takes action against bacteria by entering into the cells of bacteria and it also stops the bacterial enzyme to function within a body called DNA gyrase. The enzyme, DNA gyrase is directly involved in duplicating and repairing the material of gene of the bacteria. If this enzyme doesn’t work, the bacteria can’t reproduce or repair themselves and ultimately kills bacteria.

Ciprofloxacin tablet is also known by the brand name Cetraxal, Cipro or Cipro XR, Otiprio, while it’s liquid formulation, is known as Citric sol or siloxane. It comes in the tablet or suspension dosage form to be taken by mouth, and it also comes in a solution or suspension dosage to be applied into the ear.

Uses of ciprofloxacin

Ciprofloxacin uses

It is an antibiotic that treats bacterial infection. That’s why it will be neutral for virus infection during medication. In simple words, virus infection can’t be prevented by using ciprofloxacin. Some uses of this antibiotic are as given below:-

  1. Generally, it is used as medicine for bone infection. If the bones/joints of a person get fractured or broke, this antibiotic helps to re-connect and provide better relief.
  2. Some common bacterial infections like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting can be treated by ciprofloxacin.
  3. The people suffering from an ear infection or swelling of the ear can get relief by using this drug. It also helps to prevent the patient who has a problem with less hearing as an antibiotic.
  4. Some seasonable and occasional bacterial infections of respiratory system like Pneumonia, Tonsillitis, Pharyngitis can also be cured or prevented by using ciprofloxacin.
  5. Infection on the reproductive system such as the urinary bladder, kidney, the rectum can also be prevented by this antibiotic.
  6. A prostate gland of some men may get swollen due to the bacterial infection with much pain, and that can be prevented by ciprofloxacin.
  7. People having an infection or swelling on the skin with excessive pain and red spots(commonly called cellulitis) are being treated with ciprofloxacin.
  8. It is used to treat a disease caused by a bacterial infection called typhoid fever, too.
  9. Anthrax having a symptom of black blister over the swollen skin is also a bacterial infection and can be treated by ciprofloxacin.


  • Dosage may vary according to the situation of the patient. Weight, immunity, power, etc. are the main factors that alter the dosage.
  • You need to take ciprofloxacin twice in a day after having a meal.
  • Medications may be five, seven, or fourteen days longer.
  • For the tablet dosage form, do not take this drug with dairy products like milk or yogurt or calcium-rich juices.
  • You need to take ciprofloxacin at least two hours before or six hours after antacids, multivitamins, or any other product that contains Magnesium, Calcium, Aluminum, Iron or Zinc.
  • If you miss a regular dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember about it. But, if it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule.
  • Do not use twice the prescribed doses at the same time or extra doses.
  • It is essential to follow the prescribed medication until and unless the full amount of prescribed medication is finished even if symptoms disappear.

What is the dose of ciprofloxacin for adults?

The usual dose for adults to prevent anthrax:

Prophylaxis for adults exposed to anthrax by inhaling bacillus anthracis bacilli.

  • Intravenous injection: 400 mg every 12 hours.
  • Oral: 500 mg every 12 hours.

Treatment should start as quickly as time permits after a suspected exposure or exposure has been identified. The total duration of treatment (combined with intravenous administration and medication) is 60 days.

Ciprofloxacin Tablets

The usual dose for people with sepsis:

Secondary sepsis is related to urinary tract infections caused by Escherichia coli: intravenous 400 mg every 12 hours.

Treatment should be continued for 7-14 days, depending on the nature and severity of the infection.

The usual dose for people with bronchitis:

Exacerbation for chronic bronchitis patient:

  • Mild / moderate: intravenous: 400 mg at regular intervals i.e. 8 hours. Oral: 500 mg every 12 hours.
  • Severe/complicated: intravenous: 400 mg at regular intervals, i.e., every 8 hours. Oral: 750 mg every 12 hours.

Duration of treatment: 7-14 days.

Hill with Ciprofloxacin 0.3%


Acute infection: Start small 1-2 drops every 15-30 minutes, gradually reduce the number of eye drops if the disease has relieved.
Other infections: 1-2 drops, 2-6 times/day or more if needed.
Chronic and acute trachoma: 2 drops per eye, 2-4 times per day. Continue treatment for 1-2 months or longer.


Start small 2- 3 drops every 2 to 3 hours, gradually reduce the number of short times when the disease has subsided.

What is the dose of ciprofloxacin for children?

The usual dose for children to prevent anthrax:

Preventive doses for children have been exposed by inhalation of Bacillus anthracis bacilli.

  • Intravenous injection: 10 mg / kg every 12 hours (maximum dose: 400 mg / dose).
  • Oral: 15 mg / kg every 12 hours (maximum dose: 500 mg / dose).

Treatment should start as quick as time permits after a suspected exposure or exposure has been identified. The total duration of therapy (combined with intravenous and oral medication) is 60 days.


The usual dose for children with urinary tract infections

Complicated infections caused by Escherichia coli:

1-18 years:

  • Intravenous injection: 6-10 mg / kg every 8 hours (maximum dose: 400 mg / dose).
  • Oral: 10-20 mg / kg every 12 hours (maximum dose: 750 mg / dose).

The total duration of treatment (combined with intravenous and oral medication) is 10-21 days.

For children, ciprofloxacin is not the first drug chosen because of the high incidence of adverse reactions.

What types and levels of ciprofloxacin are available?
Ciprofloxacin has the following forms and contents:

  • Film-coated tablets, oral tablets: 250 mg, 500 mg.
  • Mixture, oral medicine: 5% (100 mL); 10% (100ml).
  • Ciprofloxacin ear or eye drops.

Side effects

Generally, this antibiotic does not create side effects, but some people may have got an allergy to this drug. That’s why you need to consult with your doctor on this matter and ask to prescribe alternative antibiotics. Some common side effects with ciprofloxacin include:-

  • Slight headache.
  • Some people may get suffer from continuous diarrhea at a certain interval of time.
  • Upset.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • The skin may be more sensitive to the sun.

Few less common side effects seen while using ciprofloxacin include:-

  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Tendon rupture.
  • Nerve problems, and
  • Nervous system problems.

While taking ciprofloxacin, always remember that it is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist-

  • If you experience pain, bruising, or swelling in the back of the ankle, shoulder hand, or other joints.
  • If you develop nerve issues, for example, not having the option to deal with warmth or cold changes in the feeling of touch, consuming, deadness, shivering, agony or shortcoming in the arms, hands, legs or feet.
  • If you develop sensory system problems such as terrible dreams, anxiety, trouble in sleeping, changes in eyesight, dizziness, feeling confused, worried, agitated, restlessness, or experience hallucinations.

If your symptoms do not beat better manifestations or if they get worse, call or visit with your doctor immediately as soon as possible.

Ciprofloxacin warnings

  • Ciprofloxacin liquid for oral use need to be stored in the refrigerator and shaken well before each dose is given.
  • Utilize the measuring device received from the pharmacist or doctor.
  • Any antibiotic liquid remaining after fourteen days needs to be disposed and thrown away.
  • All other forms of ciprofloxacin need to be kept at room temperature in a dry place.
  • Ciprofloxacin should be avoided in pregnancy.

What does ciprofloxacin do and where do I use it?

Ciprofloxacin is a quinolone antibiotic. Quinolone antibiotics work against bacterial infections.

Doctors prescribe it for infections with bacteria, such as:

  • Cystitis;
  • Infections on the respiratory tract such as pneumonia, acute bronchitis, sinusitis, tuberculosis, veteran disease, and cystic fibrosis respiratory tract infections.
  • Middle ear infection and ear canal infection;
  • Meningitis;
  • Bone marrow infection;
  • Skin infections;
  • Venereal diseases (STDs), such as gonorrhea;
  • Infections of the gastrointestinal tract, such as severe diarrhea and typhoid fever;
  • Q fever.

Watch the pharmacist review of Ciprofloxacin by #Drug Talk channel.

General FAQs

What type of disease does ciprofloxacin treat?

Ciprofloxacin is commonly used for bacterial infection such as STDs(gonorrhea), typhoid, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, pneumonia, infection on joints/bones, and skins.

How long does it take for ciprofloxacin to start working?

Normally, you should feel the difference between 2-3 days. It’s the average time, but if it takes more than that, you definitely need to make an appointment to your doctor.

Is ciprofloxacin a strong antibiotic?

Yes. But this is the optional antibiotic. This will help you to get relief at certain criteria. Of course, it cures some kinds of simple bacterial infection, but you always need to seek for the doctor’s prescription.

What bacteria does ciprofloxacin kill?

As ciprofloxacin is a quinolone antibiotic, it works against the gram-negative bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, salmonella, etc.

What foods should be avoided when taking ciprofloxacin?

You need to avoid dairy products such as milk, curds, butter, etc. when taking ciprofloxacin. This is because dairy products will react with ciprofloxacin and decrease the effectiveness of it’s ingredients to fight for your bacterial infection.

Can I drink alcohol on ciprofloxacin 500mg?

No. This will raise the severe side effects when you take alcohol on ciprofloxacin 500mg.

Can I take ciprofloxacin on empty stomach?

Yes. But you need to be well hydrated. Stay away from the dairy products and drink plenty of juice while taking the ciprofloxacin.

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Written by Dr. Ganga Sapkota
Updated on July 5, 2020

A graduated medical physician with years of experience in the medical field. Working as a full-time physician in Puspanjali Hospital, Chitwan, Nepal.

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