Ciprofloxacin Side Effects

Ciprofloxacin Side Effects

Ciprofloxacin is a synthetic antibiotic of the second-generation fluoroquinolone drug class. It is used to treat patients suffering from different infectious diseases such as respiratory tract infections (e.g. malignant otitis externa, sinusitis, tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia), bone and joint infections (arthritis, poliomyelitis), endocarditis, gastroenteritis, infectious diarrhea of different causes, skin infections (infected wounds, burns, cellulitis, abscess, phlegmon), urinary tract infections (e.g. cystitis, pielonephritis, prostatitis, adnexitis, endometritis), infectious eye diseases (conjunctivitis, blepharitis, keratitis etc), anthrax, bacteriemia, septicemia. This antibiotic can also be used for prophylaxis of infectious complications after surgery.

Side effects

Although Ciprofloxacin is usually well tolerated by the body, up to 15% of patients who use it experience some side effects. The most common side effects are:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Mood changes
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Tremor
  • Anosmia
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Dysphagia
  • Dyspepsia
  • Stomach upset
  • Flatulence
  • Aggravated irritable bowel syndrome
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Vision changes (blurred vision, decreased visual acuity, flashing lights, change in color perception, diplopia)
  • Cataracts
  • Nystagmus
  • Photosensitivity (increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight)
  • Rash
  • Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sore throat or unusual cough)
  • Suprapubic pain
  • Vaginal itching and/or discharge
  • Vaginal candidiasis

Other side effects of Ciprofloxacin are:

  • Lack of energy
  • Postural hypotension
  • Myalgia
  • Myasthenia
  • Myoclonus
  • Night muscle cramps
  • Neck, back pain
  • Arthralgia
  • Joint stiffness
  • Joint swelling
  • Tendinitis
  • Extremity pain
  • Hyperesthesia
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Change in sense of taste
  • Flushing
  • Increased perspiration (sweating)
  • Vasculitis
  • Mouth dryness
  • Painful oral mucosa
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pseudomembranous colitis
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Erythema multiforme
  • Exfoliative dermatitis
  • Bloodshot eyes, crusting of eyelids, white crystals in the eye, eye burning, eyelid swelling, eye itching, feeling of something in the eye, dry eyes, eye sensitivity to light when Ciprofloxacin eye drops or ointment are used
  • Discomfort, decreased hearing, itching, irritation or pain in the ear (when ear drops are used)

Like any other drug, Ciprofloxacin can cause allergic reactions such as rash, urticaria, itching, swallowing or breathing difficulty, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, hands, eyes, conjunctivae, face, lips, tongue and throat, unusual hoarseness, angioedema, anaphylaxis, anaphylactic shock and anaphylactoid reactions, allergic interstitial nephritis. These reactions are serious and require urgent medical attention.

In some cases, Ciprofloxacin can cause toxic reactions such as bullous pemphigoid, purpura, erythema multiforme, serum sickness-like reaction, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, exfoliative dermatitis, fixed eruption, toxic epidermal necrolysis (Lyell’s syndrome), necrotizing and cutaneous vasculitis, interstitial nephritis.

Rare side effects

In some rare cases, Ciprofloxacin intake can lead to disturbance in attention, migraine, tinnitus, hearing loss, bad taste, loss of taste, hiccough, injection site reaction, erythema nodosum, lymphadenopathy, allodynia, hypesthesia, dyskinesia, temperature sensitivity, cystic fibrosis arthropathy, foot pain, Achilles tendon rupture, knee inflammation, abnormal gait, Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, tachycardia, hypotension, renal calculi, phlebitis,  gout flare up, polyuria, urinary retention, vaginitis.

Changes in laboratory tests

People who use Ciprofloxacin should bear in mind that this medicine can cause changes in laboratory tests results. Therefore, you should keep in mind that Ciprofloxacin can cause such abnormalities as anemia, methemoglobinemia, decreased hematocrit, eosinophilia, leukopenia or leukocytosis, increased atypical lymphocyte count, monocytosis, immature white blood cells, neutropenia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia or throbocytosis, pancytopenia (life-threatening), bone marrow depression signs, elevated sedimentation rate, prolongation or decrease in prothrombin time, hepatic enzyme elevations (alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, lactat dehydrogenase, gammaglutamyl transferase, bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase), elevation of lipase levels, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood urea nitrogen, uric acid, serum creatinine, creatine phosphokinase, serum amylase, serum calcium, potassium, blood glucose (or hypoglycemia), acidosis signs, decrease in total serum protein, serum albumin. There can also be some changes in urine tests: abnormal odor, color, polyuria, crystalluria, albuminuria, candiduria, hematuria, eosinophiluria. Presence of blood or mucus in your stool.

Serious side effects

Ciprofloxacin can cause some serious side effects that require urgent medical attention. Among them are:

  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Catatonia
  • Ataxia
  • Dysphasia
  • Dysesthesia
  • Paresis
  • Delirium
  • Paranoia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Toxic psychosis
  • Benign intracranial hypertension
  • Cerebral thrombosis
  • Epistaxis
  • Hemoptysis
  • Dyspnea
  • Bronchospasm
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Pleural effusion
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Respiratory distress
  • Angina pectoris
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Cardiac murmur
  • Abdominal aortic bruit
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiopulmonary arrest
  • Arrhythmia (fast, slow or irregular heartbeat, atrial flutter, palpitations, ventricular bigeminy)
  • Cardiovascular collapse
  • QT prolongation on ECG
  • Torsade de pointes
  • Easy bruising and bleeding
  • Oral ulceration
  • Hepatic necrosis with hepatic failure (fatal sometimes)
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Intestinal perforation
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Feeling an urgent need to urinate
  • Urethral bleeding
  • Urine retention
  • Micturition
  • Renal failure
  • Inability to move, redness and pain in joints
  • Tendon rupture
  • Cutaneous candidiasis
  • Tingling in arms and legs
  • Myasthenia gravis exacerbation
  • Myoclonus
  • Oral thrush infection
  • Gastrointestinal moniliasis
  • Vaginal infection (including yeast infection)

Side effects in pregnant women

Ciprofloxacin seems to be sufficiently safe during pregnancy. However, it should be used only when the benefit outweighs the risk and it is not advisable to take it during breastfeeding due to risks for the baby.

Side effects in children

The most common side effects in children are joint problems: arthralgia, arthrosis, joint sprains, limited movement in affected joints (shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle). In addition, Ciprofloxacin can cause such adverse reactions as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, diarrhea, fever, myalgia, asthma, rash, dizziness, insomnia or somnolence. There are also reported cases of Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction (hypotension, tachycardia, and disseminated intravascular coagulation).


You may never experience any of the side effects listed above. Your doctor cannot predict your body’s reaction to Ciprofloxacin until you have tried it. That is why you should immediately inform your doctor of any changes in your health condition after taking Ciprofloxacin. Therefore, when you feel something is wrong, ask your doctor for advice and he or she will diagnose if your problem is connected with the medicine intake. You should also be careful because some of the side effects of Ciprofloxacin require urgent medical attention.