Generic Name: ofloxacin
Brand Name: Floxin (discontinued brand)
Drug Class: Quinolone Antibiotics
What is ofloxacin, and what is it used for?
Ofloxacin is a prescription antibiotic that is used to treat bacterial infections. It belongs to the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics which includes levofloxacin (Levaquin), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), gatifloxacin (Tequin), norfloxacin (Noroxin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), trovafloxacin (Trovan) and others. Ofloxacin stops the multiplication of bacteria by inhibiting the reproduction and repair of their genetic material (DNA).
Ofloxacin is used for the treatment of bacterial infections that cause:
- Skin infections
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Prostate infections
The FDA approved ofloxacin in December 1990.
What are the side effects of ofloxacin?
The most common side effects of ofloxacin include:
Allergic reactions have been described, such as hives and anaphylaxis (shock).
Other important side effects include symptoms of nervous system stimulation, such as:
Ofloxacin may cause low or high blood sugar levels especially in people with diabetes who are taking insulin or oral hypoglycemic drugs.
Patients taking ofloxacin can develop skin sensitivity (photsensitivity) to direct sunlight and should avoid exposure to sunlight or use sun protection and sunscreens.
Ofloxacin 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. Some physicians recommend that patients discontinue vigorous exercise while they are taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics.
Ofloxacin should be used with caution in patients with central nervous system diseases such as seizures because rare seizures have been reported in patients receiving this medication.
Ofloxacin should be avoided in children and adolescents under 18 years of age, as safe use in these patients have not been established.
Many antibiotics, including ofloxacin, can alter the normal bacteria in the colon and encourage overgrowth of a bacterium responsible for the development of inflammation of the colon (Clostridium difficile, pseudomembranous colitis). Pseudomembranous colitis can cause fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and sometimes even shock.
Ofloxacin should not be used in patients with myasthenia gravis because it can increase muscle weakness.
What is the dosage for ofloxacin?
- The usual dose for patients with normal renal function is 200 to 400 mg every 12 hours.
- Dosages require adjustment in patients with severely abnormal liver or kidney function.
- Oflaxacin is available as tablets: 200, 300, and 400mg.
- Ofloxacin should be stored in a closed container at 15 C - 30 C (59 F - 86 F).
Which drugs interact with ofloxacin?
- Ofloxacin reduces the elimination of theophylline, elevating blood levels of theophylline. (Theophylline is used to open airways in the treatment of asthma.) If concurrent use of ofloxacin and theophylline cannot be avoided, frequent blood tests to monitor theophylline blood levels should be performed.
- Ofloxacin can enhance the action of the anticoagulant (blood thinner) warfarin, and increase the risk of bleeding.
- Both high and low blood sugar levels have been reported, especially in patients with diabetes who were also receiving insulin or other medications used to lower the blood sugar. Careful monitoring of blood sugar levels is recommended.
- Sucralfate (Carafate), iron, multivitamins containing zinc, didanosine (Videx), as well as antacids containing calcium, magnesium, or aluminum should not be taken within two hours before or after taking ofloxacin.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Ofloxacin should be avoided during pregnancy because it is secreted in breast milk and can cause adverse events in the infant.
- Ofloxacin should be avoided in nursing mothers, as safe use has not been established.
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Ofloxacin is an antibiotic medication prescribed for the treatment of pneumonia, bronchitis, staph infections, STDs (gonorrhea, chlamydia), urinary tract infections, and prostate infections caused by E. coli. The most common side effects of ofloxacin include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia, headache, dizziness, itching, and vaginitis in women. Do not take ofloxacin if pregnant or breastfeeding.
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