What is Ciprofloxacin?
Ciprofloxacin is a prescription antibiotic from the fluoroquinolone family, its active ingredient is hydrochloride ciprofloxacin. It has a range of medical uses including treatment for respiratory and urinary tract infections. It can be taken orally in tablet form to treat traveller’s diarrhoea. Most cases of traveller’s diarrhoea are caused by one of the strands of e coli bacteria or by campylobacter, Ciprofloxacin targets the bacterial infection in your stomach and gut, easing the symptoms of traveller’s diarrhoea and reducing the duration of the illness. Ciprofloxacin has been in use since 1987 and is on the World Health Organisation’s List of Essential Medicines. Although it may cause side effects in some patients, Ciprofloxacin is considered to be a safe drug and is widely prescribed.
What is the active ingredient of Ciprofloxacin?
The active ingredient of Ciprofloxacin is hydrochloride ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic from the fluoroquinolone family. It is a broad spectrum antibiotic that is used to treat a range of infections and works by killing the bacteria that cause them. Hydrochloride ciprofloxacin is an effective treatment for traveller’s diarrhoea, when the condition is caused by a bacterial infection.
How does Ciprofloxacin work?
The majority of cases of traveller’s diarrhoea are caused by one of the types of e coli bacteria. In Asia, campylobacter is also a frequent cause of the illness. If the bacteria have entered your system (usually via contaminated food or water) they cause an infection in your stomach and gut. This is responsible for the unpleasant symptoms that follow; diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea etc. When you take a course of Ciprofloxacin tablets, the active ingredient hydrochloride ciprofloxacin targets the bacteria. Most bacterial cases of traveller’s diarrhoea respond to antibiotic treatment, reducing the severity of symptoms and the duration of the illness. If your traveller’s diarrhoea is the result of a viral infection, Ciprofloxacin will not overcome it.
Who can take Ciprofloxacin?
Our online GPs are usually able to consider prescribing Ciprofloxacin to patients who have no prior health conditions that prevent them from using the medication safely. If you are travelling to a country in the developing world where traveller’s diarrhoea is commonplace, you may be prescribed Ciprofloxacin to use if needed.
If you’re allergic to hydrochloride ciprofloxacin, you are taking the medication Tizanidine, or are breastfeeding, you cannot be prescribed Ciprofloxacin. If you are pregnant, suffer from epilepsy, diabetes or kidney problems you should advise your online GP when you complete the short medical questionnaire. The duty GP will only prescribe Ciprofloxacin if it is safe for you to use.
What doses of Ciprofloxacin are available?
If you are prescribed Ciprofloxacin, your online GP will give you precise individual instructions about how to use the medication safely. The usual treatment for traveller’s diarrhoea is a single 500mg tablet taken every 12 hours (i.e. one tablet in the morning and another in the evening). The course of treatment must continue for between 5 - 7 days without a break. Even if the symptoms of your traveller’s diarrhoea have resolved after a few days, the bacteria may still be present in your body and the infection could return.
Unless specifically instructed to do so by your online GP, you should not take your prescribed Ciprofloxacin tablets on a preventative basis. You should only take them if you begin to suffer from traveller’s diarrhoea.
How do I take Ciprofloxacin?
If you are prescribed Ciprofloxacin, your online GP will give you precise individual instructions about how to use the medication safely. Generally, when Ciprofloxacin is used to treat traveller’s diarrhoea the medication is taken as follows:
- One 500mg Ciprofloxacin tablet every morning
- One 500mg Ciprofloxacin tablet every evening
This treatment is repeated every day for as long as your online GP has instructed. You should not stop taking Ciprofloxacin just because the symptoms of traveller’s diarrhoea have gone. The bacteria may still be present in your stomach or gut, and could cause the diarrhoea to return.
Can I take Ciprofloxacin and drink alcohol?
Our online GPs generally do not recommend drinking alcohol while you are taking any prescription medicine. Although drinking alcohol in moderation will not reduce the effectiveness of Ciprofloxacin, it may exacerbate any side effects of the medication. Drinking alcohol will almost certainly aggravate the symptoms of traveller’s diarrhoea and should be avoided.
What are the side effects of Ciprofloxacin?
Your Ciprofloxacin tablets will come with a patient leaflet giving detailed information about the medication, its ingredients, possible side effects, and contraindications. Please read this leaflet carefully before you take any tablets. Keep the leaflet with the medication for future reference.
If you take Ciprofloxacin exactly as directed by our online GP, you are unlikely to experience any significant unwelcome side effects. A small minority of patients may experience some minor side effects.
Common: may affect up to 1 in 10 people
- nausea, diarrhoea
- joint pains in children
Uncommon: may affect up to 1 in 100 people
- fungal superinfections
- a high concentration of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell
- decreased appetite
- hyperactivity or agitation
- headache, dizziness, sleeping problems, or taste disorders
- vomiting, abdominal pain, digestive problems such as stomach upset (indigestion/heartburn), or wind
- increased amounts of certain substances in the blood (transaminases and/or bilirubin
- poor kidney function
- pains in your muscles and bones, feeling unwell (asthenia), or fever
- increase in blood alkaline phosphatase (a certain substance in the blood)
- feeling highly excited (mania) or feeling great optimism and overactivity (hypomania).
If you experience serious discomfort we recommend that you go straight to your nearest casualty department. In an emergency dial 999.
When should I not to take Ciprofloxacin?
You should not take Ciprofloxacin if you are allergic to the active ingredient hydrochloride ciprofloxacin, if you are breastfeeding, or if you are taking the medicine Tizanidine. If you suffer from any of the following medical conditions, or are taking any of the following medications, you should mention them when you complete the short online health questionnaire.
- Epilepsy or seizures
- Kidney problems
- Tendon problems after previously taking Ciprofloxacin
- Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency
- vitamin K antagonists (e.g. warfarin, acenocoumarol, phenprocoumon or fluindione) or other oral anti-coagulants (to thin the blood)
- theophylline (for breathing problems)
- phenytoin (used to treat epilepsy)
- ropinirole (for Parkinson’s disease)
- phenytoin (for epilepsy)
- cyclosporin (used to treat psoriasis, dermatitis, rheumatoid arthritis and in organ transplantation)
- probenecid (used to prevent gout)
- metoclopramide (used to treat nausea and vomiting (feeling/being sick) and migraine)
- methotrexate (for certain types of cancer, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis)
- clozapine (an antipsychotic)
- olanzapine (an antipsychotic)
- other medicines that can alter your heart rhythm: medicines that belong to the group of anti-arrhythmics (e.g. quinidine, hydroquinidine, disopyramide, amiodarone, sotalol, dofetilide, ibutilide), tricyclic antidepressants, some antimicrobials (that belong to the group of macrolides), some antipsychotics.
Any specific warnings - please mention any medication specific warning if they are
The Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) is the leaflet included in the pack with a medicine. It is written for patients and gives information about taking or using a medicine. It is possible that the leaflet in your medicine pack may differ from the PDF-version from this website because it may have been updated since your medicine was packaged or the medicine is from another brand.