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Common brand names: Cipro

Description: Ciprofloxacin is one of the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics. It is used to treat urinary and intestinal infections, as well as infections of the lungs, skin, bones and joints.

Dental uses: Ciprofloxacin is not commonly prescribed for dental infections. However, it may be used for certain mouth or periodontal (gum) diseases. First, a culture and sensitivity test will be done. This will show the best antibiotic to treat the infection. For example, ciprofloxacin can effectively treat rare dental infections caused by the Enterobacteriaceae group of bacteria.

Dosages for dental purposes: The typical adult dose is 250 milligrams to 750 milligrams every 12 hours. This dose is given for 7 to 10 days. Ciprofloxacin should not be taken with dairy products (milk, yogurt), antacids (Tums, Rolaids, Maalox, Mylanta, Pepto-Bismol), or iron and zinc supplements. These products may slow down the absorption of the drug into the bloodstream.

As with all medicines, be sure to follow your doctor's prescription. Take ciprofloxacin for the prescribed length of time, even if you start to feel better. Do not stop taking it without talking to your doctor. Stopping an antibiotic too soon may cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics. This means the antibiotics won't work the next time.

Concerns and possible side effects: Tell your dentist and physician about all the medicines you take. This should include over-the-counter vitamins and herbal supplements. Also, let your dentist know if you have had a sensitive or allergic reaction to any medicine. If you are pregnant or nursing, or might be pregnant, talk to your primary care doctor before starting any new medicine. This also includes vitamins and supplements.

Nausea occurs more often with ciprofloxacin than penicillin VK. Other side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Rash

If you take this medicine and begin to have difficulty breathing or swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat, get medical help right away.

This drug also can make people more sensitive to the sun. Severe sunburn can occur. People prescribed this drug should try to stay out of the sun and use sunscreens when outside.

Ciprofloxacin also may increase blood levels of the asthma drug theophylline (Theo-Dur). This interaction can be serious and life threatening. Ciprofloxacin may increase blood levels of caffeine. This can be a concern for people who consume large amounts of caffeinated drinks. Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and ciprofloxacin together may increase the risk of seizures.

Ciprofloxacin increases the risk that you will develop tendonitis or have a tendon rupture. It could occur during your treatment or for several months afterward. This problem can happen to people of any age. However, the risk is highest in people over 60 years old. Call your doctor right away if you develop sudden pain, swelling, tenderness, stiffness or movement problems in any of your joints.

Tell your doctor about any reaction to a prescribed medicine, no matter how minor it might be.

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