Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)

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Ciprofloxacin (SIP roh FLOKS uh sin) is the generic name for Cipro® (SIP roh). It is also available as Cipro® XR. Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic. It helps fight infection caused by bacteria. It is in the fluoroquinolone family of antibiotics. It may be used to treat infection in the kidneys or urine, lungs, skin, bones and joints.

Symptoms should get better in about 3 days.

How to Give This Medicine

  • Read the label carefully and make sure you are giving your child the right dose. It is easy to confuse the many different dosage forms and strengths.
  • Give the exact dose of medicine that your doctor ordered.
  • Stay with your child until he or she has swallowed the dose of medicine.
  • If your child takes the liquid form:
    • Shake this medicine before using it.
    • Use a pediatric measuring device (available at the pharmacy) or a measuring spoon to measure the exact dose. Do not measure liquid medicines in kitchen spoons.
    • Do not let your child chew the beads in the suspension.
    • It should not be given in a g-tube. The beads may clog the tube.
  • Sustained-release capsules and tablets allow the dose of medicine to be spread out through the day. Do not crush, break or let your child chew the capsules or tablets. This can cause the medicine not to work and may cause side effects.
  • Ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before crushing any medicine.
  • This medicine can be given with or without food. It should be not given with dairy products or tube feeds, though. Separate ciprofloxacin from dairy and tube feeds by 2 hours.
  • It is very important to finish all the medicine that is ordered for _____ days. Do not stop the medicine early, even if your child is feeling better.

If You Forget to Give a Dose

If you forget to give a dose of this medicine, give it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next dose, do not give the missed dose at all. Do not double the next dose. Instead, go back to your regular dosing schedule. If you have any questions about this, check with your child's doctor or pharmacist.

If a Dose is Vomited

Even if the medicine is vomited (thrown up) right after giving it, some of the medicine may still be in the stomach. Do not repeat the dose unless it is in tablet form and you can see that the whole tablet was vomited.

Medicine Storage

  • Store all medicine out of the reach of children.
  • Always keep medicine in the original bottle from the pharmacy.
  • Store both liquid and capsule forms of this medicine at room temperature. Do not keep this medicine in the refrigerator.
  • Light and moisture make this medicine not work as well. Keep the bottle tightly closed and store it in a dark, dry place (not in the bathroom or above the kitchen sink).
  • Keep this medicine away from heat or direct sunlight.
  • Do not use this medicine after the expiration date printed on the container.
  • When the medicine is no longer needed, dissolve the leftover medicine in water or rubbing alcohol. Mix the dissolved medication with an unwanted material like coffee grounds or kitty litter and place the mixture back in the medicine container or in another container that will not leak. Throw the container away in the trash where children and pets cannot reach it.

Drug – Nutrient Interactions

This medicine should not be taken with these foods, products or medicines:

  • Antacids
  • Calcium supplements (Tums®, Rolaids®, calcium carbonate)
  • Iron or ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate
  • Magnesium supplements
  • Multivitamin
  • Sevelamer (Renagel®)
  • Sucralfate (Carafate®)

This medicine may interact with the following medicines and need extra monitoring. Tell your child’s doctor if he or she takes any of these foods, products and/or medicines:

  • Abilify®
  • Caffeine, Theophylline
  • Diabetes medicines (glimepiride, glyburide, insulin)
  • Didanosine
  • Methotrexate
  • Mycophenolate (CellCept®)
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin®)
  • Quinapril (Accupril®)
  • Steroids (prednisone, dexamethasone)
  • Varenicline (Chantix®)
  • Warfarin (Coumadin®)
  • Dairy foods and enteral (tube) feeds should not be given with ciprofloxacin. Tube feeds should be stopped 1-2 hours before and after giving ciprofloxacin.
  • Your child should not have caffeine while taking ciprofloxacin. Your child should not drink large amounts of soft drinks, chocolate drinks, tea, or coffee while taking this medicine. Caffeine levels in the body will be increased by ciprofloxacin and may cause headache, jitteriness, and a fast heart rate.
  • Do not give over-the-counter medicines (such as acetaminophen, aspirin, antacids, or cold medicines) without checking with your child’s doctor or pharmacist first.
  • If your child is taking any other medicine or herbal supplements, tell your doctor and pharmacist. Certain medicines should not be taken with ciprofloxacin.
  • Ask your doctor if it is all right to give a vitamin or mineral supplement.


  • If your child is allergic to ciprofloxacin or other quinolone antibiotics (norfloxacin, ofloxacin), he or she should not take this medicine.
  • This medicine may cause pain in the joints or rupture of tendons.

Special Note for Female Patients

  • If a patient thinks she might be pregnant, she should tell the doctor before she begins taking this or any medicine.
  • If a patient is breast-feeding her baby, she should tell her doctor before she begins taking this or any medicine. This medicine can pass into breast milk and cause side effects in the baby.

Possible Side Effects

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain
  • Headache, dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Muscle or joint pain

What to Do About Side Effects

  • If a skin rash occurs, stop giving the medicine and call your child's doctor.
  • If your child gets drowsy or sleepy, do not let him ride a bike or operate machinery (such as a lawnmower or car) or take part in any activities where he must stay alert and awake.
  • This medicine makes your child more sensitive to sunlight. Before going out in the sun, he or she should wear a hat and protective clothing and a sunscreen lotion with a SPF of at least 30. The sunscreen should be applied every 30 minutes if your child is sweating or playing in water.

When to Call for Emergency Help

Call for emergency help if your child has any of the following:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Swelling of hands, feet, or ankles

When to Call the Doctor

Call your child's doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Your child has unusual bleeding or bruising; skin rash, redness, blistering or peeling
  • Yellow eyes or skin
  • Severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Pain or swelling in the joints or muscles
  • The infection does not get better or it gets worse while taking this medicine
  • Confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior, agitation
  • If your child is having any side effects that continue or are very bothersome.
  • If your child's condition has not improved within 3 to 4 days.


  • Ask your pharmacist for two labeled bottles if your daycare provider will be giving this medicine.
  • Some pharmacies may not have this medicine as a liquid. Please ask your nurse to call your pharmacy before you leave the hospital to see if they have this medicine or can order it for you. You may also have the prescription filled at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Pharmacy.
  • Ask your nurse for Helping Hand HH-IV-28, Medications: How to Give By Mouth (if your child has trouble taking medicine)

Other Advice about the Medicine

  • Tell your child’s doctor and pharmacist if your child has a strange or allergic reaction to any medicine.
  • If you carry medicine in your purse, keep it in its childproof bottle and keep your purse out of the reach of children.
  • Take all of your child’s medicines with you in the original bottles, whenever your child sees a doctor, goes to an emergency room or is admitted to the hospital. This helps the doctors who may not know your child.
  • Learn the name, spelling and dose of this medicine. Also, teach your child if he is old enough. You will need to know this information when you call your doctor or pharmacist.
  • If your child takes too much of this medicine or someone else takes this medicine, first call the Central Ohio Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 (TTY 614-228-2272). They will tell you what to do.
  • Do not stop giving this medicine or change the amount given without first talking with your child's doctor or pharmacist. Your child’s symptoms may come back.
  • The doctor has prescribed this medicine for your child only. Do not give it to anyone else.
  • Tell your child's teacher, school nurse, coach, babysitter, and others that your child is taking this medicine and what side effects to watch for.

Follow-Up Visits

  • If you have any questions, be sure to ask your child's doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
  • Write down all your questions as you think of them. Take this list with you when you see the doctor.

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro®) (PDF)

HH-V-248 5/79 Revised 6/15 Copyright 1979, Nationwide Children’s Hospital