Levaquin (levofloxacin) Antibiotic

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is Levaquin, and how does it work?

Levaquin (brand name) or levofloxacin (generic name) is an antibiotic that is used for treating bacterial infections.

Many common infections in humans are caused by bacteria. Bacteria can grow and multiply, infecting different parts of the body. Drugs that control and eradicate these bacteria are called antibiotics. Levaquin is an antibiotic that stops multiplication of bacteria by preventing the reproduction and repair of their genetic material, DNA. It is in a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones, a class that includes:

  • ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • norfloxacin (Noroxin)
  • ofloxacin (Floxin)
  • trovafloxacin (Trovan)
  • lomefloxacin (Maxaquin)

The FDA approved levofloxacin in December 1996.

Is this drug available as in generic form?

Yes, levofloxacin as a generic drug.

Do I need a prescription for this drug?

Yes, you need a prescription from your doctor or pharmacist for this drug.

Why is Levaquin prescribed (uses)?

  • Levaquin is used to treat infections of the sinuses, skin, lungs, ears, airways, bones, and joints caused by susceptible bacteria.
  • Levaquin also is frequently used to treat urinary infections, including those resistant to other antibiotics, as well as prostatitis (infection of the prostate).
  • Levaquin is effective in treating infectious diarrhea caused by E. coli, Campylobacter jejuni, and Shigella bacteria.
  • Levaquin also can be used to treat various obstetric infections, including mastitis (infection of the breast).
  • Inhalational anthrax exposure also is treated with Levaquin.

What are the side effects of Levaquin?

Serious side effects and warnings include:

  • Levaquin as well as other antibiotics in the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics, has been associated with tendinitis and even rupture of tendons, particularly the Achilles tendon.
  • Fluoroquinolones have neuromuscular blocking activity and can worsen muscle weakness in individuals with myasthenia gravis.

The most frequently reported side effects are:

Less common side effects include:

Rare allergic reactions have been described are:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/22/2016

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