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What Is Ciprofloxacin?
Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic prescribed to treat bacterial infections. It belongs to the antibiotic class of fluoroquinolones alongside levofloxacin, gemifloxacin, and moxifloxacin.
Ciprofloxacin is available under the brand names Cipro and Proquin XR and is available as a tablet, extended-release tablet, and liquid suspension.
Since fluoroquinolone antibiotics can cause disabling or otherwise serious side effects that may not be reversible, ciprofloxacin should only be taken for infections that cannot be treated with a safer antibiotic.
How Does Ciprofloxacin Work?
Ciprofloxacin stops bacterial infections by interfering with the bacteria’s DNA. It does this through its inhibition of DNA topoisomerase and DNA-gyrase, two enzymes the bacterial cell uses to replicate DNA. By inhibiting these enzymes, the bacteria cannot replicate, and the infection is stopped.
What Is Ciprofloxacin Used For?
Ciprofloxacin is prescribed to treat severe infections, such as:
- abdominal infections
- bone infections
- joint infections
- sinus infections
- sexually transmitted diseases (e.g., gonorrhea)
- urinary tract infections
- skin infections
Ciprofloxacin may also be prescribed if someone has inhaled anthrax or as a treatment for typhoid fever or the plague.
Side Effects of Ciprofloxacin
The common side effects of ciprofloxacin include:
- stomach pain
- abnormal liver function tests
Furthermore, if you experience any of the following side effects, stop taking ciprofloxacin and contact your doctor immediately:
- fast or pounding heartbeats
- shortness of breath
- sudden dizziness
- severe stomach pain
- watery or bloody diarrhea
- a skin rash, no matter how mild
- increased pressure inside the skull (ringing in your ears, severe headaches, vision problems, nausea, dizziness, pain behind your eyes)
- little or no urination
- muscle weakness
- breathing problems
This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. If you are ever concerned about your symptoms, contact your doctor for their advice.
Some people may be allergic to ciprofloxacin, with symptoms that may include swelling in the face or throat, hives, and difficulty breathing. Ciprofloxacin may also cause a severe skin reaction with a red or purple skin rash that spreads, blistering and peeling skin, burning in the eyes, and a fever. If you have an allergic or severe skin reaction, seek emergency medical help.
Ciprofloxacin can cause serious side effects, including nerve damage, tendon problems, low blood sugar, and serious mood or behavior changes. In rare cases, ciprofloxacin may damage the aorta, which could lead to bleeding or death. If you’re taking ciprofloxacin and experience severe and constant pain in your stomach, chest, or back, seek immediate medical attention.
How to Take Ciprofloxacin?
Ciprofloxacin must be taken precisely as your doctor prescribes, including the dose and dosing schedule. Your prescribed dose will depend on various factors, including your age, the type and severity of your infection, and how well your body reacts to the first dose.
Ciprofloxacin may be taken with or without food, but it should be taken at the same time each day. If you experience an upset stomach while taking ciprofloxacin, try taking it with food.
For those taking the liquid suspension of ciprofloxacin, be sure to shake it for 15 seconds before measuring out a dose. The medication should be given using the provided dosing syringe or a medicine dose-measuring device. The liquid suspension of ciprofloxacin should not be delivered through a feeding tube.
Those taking the extended-release tablet must swallow it whole––do not chew, crush, or break it.
Continue taking ciprofloxacin for the entire length of your prescription, even if you begin feeling better before the prescription is done. By discontinuing your medication early, you risk a recurrent or even worse infection developing.
If you miss a dose of ciprofloxacin, try taking the medicine as soon as possible. However, if you are taking a regular tablet or liquid suspension, skip the dose if your next dose falls within 6 hours, and for those taking extended-release tablets, skip the missed dose if your next dose falls within 8 hours. Do not take two doses at once to try and make up for the missed dose.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ciprofloxacin
What Should You Avoid While Taking Ciprofloxacin?
While taking ciprofloxacin, avoid taking it alongside dairy products, such as yogurt or milk, and calcium-fortified juice. You can eat or drink these products with your meals but do not use only them when taking ciprofloxacin.
Some medicines can make ciprofloxacin less effective, such as didanosine powder or chewable tablets, the ulcer medicine sucralfate, antacids containing magnesium, calcium, or aluminum, and vitamin, or mineral supplements containing iron, calcium, zinc, or magnesium. If you take any of these medications, take ciprofloxacin 2 hours before or 6 hours after taking them.
Other drugs that may interact with ciprofloxacin include:
- blood thinners
- oral diabetes medicines
- medicines to treat depression or mental illness
- steroid medicine
- products containing caffeine
Let your doctor know if you take any of these medicines.
Ciprofloxacin can also make you more sensitive to the sun. So, while taking this medication, avoid tanning beds and when you go outside, wear protective clothes and use sunscreen.
What Is the Most Common Side Effect of Ciprofloxacin?
The most common side effect reported with ciprofloxacin is nausea. Other common side effects include:
- stomach pain
Do You Need a Prescription for Ciprofloxacin?
Yes. Ciprofloxacin is a prescription medication, so it has to be prescribed by a doctor and is not available over the counter.
Can You Get Ciprofloxacin Online?
Yes, you can get a prescription for Ciprofloxacin online with DrHouse. DrHouse offers a safe and fast telehealth service where you can get an online consultation with a licensed doctor who can prescribe ciprofloxacin or any other medication if it is medically appropriate.
For more detailed information about Ciprofloxacin, you can refer to the following sources:
- Cipro prescription label, Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Ciprofloxacin, Drugs.com.
- Ciprofloxacin, MedlinePlus.
The content on this page has been medically reviewed for accuracy and comprehensiveness by Amy Dougherty, FNP-BC, AGAC
Content on the DrHouse website is written by our medical content team and reviewed by qualified MDs, PhDs, NPs, and PharmDs. We follow strict content creation guidelines to ensure accurate medical information. However, this content is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For more information read our medical disclaimer.
Always consult with your physician or other qualified health providers about medical concerns. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on what you read on this website.
If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.
Frequently asked questions
Can I Get a New Prescription or Refill an Existing One Through DrHouse?
Yes, you can get a new prescription or refill an existing one online through DrHouse. You just need to start a consultation with one of our licensed providers and they will be able to assess your needs and provide you with a prescription if necessary.
Please note that the final decision always rests with the doctor based on their professional judgment and your health needs.
What Medications Can't be Prescribed Online By DrHouse?
There are certain medications that cannot be prescribed online by DrHouse physicians due to safety reasons. These include controlled substances, such as opioids and other narcotics, as well as drugs with a high potential for abuse or dependence. DrHouse physicians also don’t prescribe Gabapentin, medical marijuana, muscle relaxants, and HRT medications.
How Do I Get an Online Prescription from DrHouse?
With DrHouse getting a new prescription or a refill for your current Rx is a straightforward and quick process. All you need to do is follow a few easy steps:
- Download the DrHouse telehealth app on your mobile device.
- Create an account by providing basic information and medical history.
- Start an on-demand virtual video consultation with one of our licensed physicians.
- Discuss your medical needs and concerns with one of our physicians.
- A doctor will review your medical history, symptoms, and current medications (if any) to determine if an online prescription is appropriate for you.
- If a physician approves, they will electronically send a new prescription or refill request to the pharmacy of your choice.
- Pick up your medication from the pharmacy.
DrHouse makes it easy for you to get an online prescription from the comfort of your own home. No more waiting in line at the doctor’s office or pharmacy, and no need to take time off work to see a doctor. Our telehealth platform allows you to access quality medical care from anywhere with an internet connection.
For more information about how our telehealth platform works visit our “How DrHouse Works” page.
What Will My Appointment for a New Prescription or Refill Look Like?
During your virtual consultation with a DrHouse physician, you will have the opportunity to discuss your medical needs and concerns.
The consultation will consist of a video call where a physician will assess your medical history and ask you questions about your symptoms and any other relevant information. This is to ensure that a physician has all the necessary information to make an informed decision about your prescription.
You can also ask any questions or clarify any doubts you may have about your condition or medication. Our physicians are happy to address any concerns you may have.
Once a physician has assessed your needs, they will determine if and what type of prescription is appropriate for you. If a new prescription or refill is approved, a doctor will send it electronically to your chosen pharmacy.
How Long Does It Get To Get a Prescription Online With DrHouse?
With our on-demand telehealth service, you have the opportunity to see the first available doctor in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. However, the exact consult time will depend on the complexity of your case and the thoroughness required by the healthcare provider to make an informed decision.
Is It Safe to Get an Online Prescription from DrHouse?
Absolutely, it is safe to get an online prescription from DrHouse. We are committed to ensuring the highest standards of patient safety and privacy.
All our providers are highly qualified US-based physicians and often affiliated with major hospitals. They are board-certified and from the top U.S. medical schools with an average of 20 years of experience.
We strictly adhere to HIPAA regulations, ensuring your personal and medical information is kept secure and confidential. Also, we comply with all applicable state and federal laws related to telehealth and the prescribing of medications.
Therefore, you can rest assured knowing that your safety and privacy are our top priorities when you use DrHouse’s services.
How Much Does DrHouse Cost?
DrHouse strives to provide accessible and affordable telehealth services. DrHouse urgent care, primary care, and specialist visits are $129 or your copay. This includes everything from your initial consultation through to the prescription of your medication.
The cost of a doctor’s visit may be covered fully by your insurance. A typical copay is around $25. We recommend checking with your insurance provider to understand the extent of your coverage for telehealth services.
To learn more about how much DrHouse costs, visit our pricing page
Does DrHouse Accept Insurance?
Yes, DrHouse accepts most major insurances, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and Medicare. The extent of coverage may vary depending on your individual plan.
What Is DrHouse’s Prescription Refill Policy?
Our physicians are able to prescribe up to a 90-day prescription without labs for any previously prescribed medication if it’s medically appropriate and is not classified as a controlled substance.
DrHouse physicians also don’t prescribe Gabapentin, medical marijuana, muscle relaxants, and HRT medications.
DrHouse physicians use their medical judgment to determine whether to prescribe and the duration.
In certain cases, the prescription may be limited to 30 days or less. There also may be a 12-month cap for some prescriptions without labs. For medications requiring annual monitoring (such as blood work or imaging), the maximum prescription limit is 90 days within a year without labs.
DrHouse physicians can refer patients to labs for longer prescription periods or refills.