The most common side effects of ciprofloxacin include nausea, diarrhea, heartburn and vomiting. If any of the following symptoms are severe or do not go away, seek medical advice or attention right away:
- Black, tarry stools
- Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
- Bloody or cloudy urine, or decreased urination
- Fever or chills
- Joint or muscle pain
- Red skin lesions, often with a purple center, or skin rashes
- Sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
- Severe stomach pain
- Hives or swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Unusual weight gain
- Yellow skin or eyes
Taking ciprofloxacin has been shown to impact your tendons (cords that attach your bone to your muscles) and can increase your risk of developing tendonitis or a tendon rupture, especially if you’re over 60 years of age, taking steroid medications or have a history of tendon problems.
Ciprofloxacin can interact with other forms of medication and substances, causing potentially serious side effects or allergic reactions. Tell your doctor if you are taking muscle relaxers such as tizanidine (Zanaflex), phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors such as sildenafil, anticoagulants (blood thinners), antidepressants, antipsychotics, diuretics, insulin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen. This is not a complete list of ciprofloxacin drug interactions, so be sure to discuss any medications that you’re on even if you don’t see them listed here.
Ciprofloxacin can cause low blood sugar in some patients, so be wary of low blood pressure symptoms such as blurred vision, fatigue, confusion, cool pale skin, and cold sweats if you are diabetic and taking diabetes medication orally. These could be signs of hypoglycemia and could lead to unconsciousness.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found that while rare, fluoroquinolone antibiotics like ciprofloxacin can increase the occurrence of serious ruptures or tears in your aorta (a large artery that begins in the heart). These ruptures can lead to dangerous aortic bleeding, heart attack, or even death, so people at risk for cardiac problems should be cautious about taking ciprofloxacin.
Be sure to tell your doctor if you have been diagnosed with or have a history of other medical conditions, including a prolonged QT interval (a rare heart problem that may cause irregular heartbeat, fainting, or sudden death), aneurysms, kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, myasthenia gravis (severe muscle weakness), seizures, or diabetes. Ciprofloxacin can also significantly increase theophylline levels in your blood, which can lead to serious illness or death. This is not a complete list of medical conditions that can be impacted by the use of ciprofloxacin, so be sure to discuss your medical history with your health care provider before taking ciprofloxacin.
Ciprofloxacin can cause your skin to become sensitive to sunlight or ultraviolet light, so try to avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun or UV rays and do your best to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, or sunscreen that is SPF 15 or higher. Call your doctor if you notice redness, swelling, or blistering as a result of sun exposure while on ciprofloxacin.
As with all prescription medication, be sure to inform the prescribing doctor about any medical conditions you have been previously diagnosed with, as well as any medication/ supplements you are currently taking before starting treatment.
Antacids can reduce the amount of ciprofloxacin that your body absorbs, so be sure to take them at least 2 hours before or 6 hours after taking antacid medications.
In addition, let your doctor know if you are breastfeeding, pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant before starting treatment with this medication.