Ciloxan (Ciprofloxacin) - Ophthalmic

What Is Ciloxan?

Ciloxan (ciprofloxacin) 0.3% is a prescription antibiotic eye medication used to treat bacterial eye infections resulting in bacterial keratitis and conjunctivitis, or pink eye. Ciprofloxacin is part of the fluoroquinolone drug class. Fluoroquinolones are broad-spectrum antibiotics, meaning they target a wide range of bacteria.

Ciloxan prevents bacteria replication, which decreases the chances of bacterial growth and infection spread.

Ciloxan is an ophthalmic drug, meaning it is administered to the eyes. It comes in eye drops (solution) or an eye ointment.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Ciprofloxacin hydrochloride

Brand Name(s): Ciloxan

Drug Availability: Prescription

Administration Route: Ophthalmic

Therapeutic Classification: Antibiotic

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Ciprofloxacin

Dosage Form(s): Solution, ointment

What Is Ciloxan Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Ciloxan to treat bacterial eye infections associated with a swollen cornea and pink eye, depending on the bacteria strain.

How to Take Ciloxan

Do not use Ciloxan while wearing contact lenses. Before applying the medication, wash your hands and avoid touching the tip of the applicator directly on the eye or other surfaces.

When administering Ciloxan for cornea inflammation, it is recommended to use three treatment intervals:

  • Day one of treatment: Within the first six hours, apply two drops every 15 minutes onto the affected eye. Then, apply two drops every 30 minutes to the affected eye for the remainder of the day. 
  • Day two: Apply two drops every hour to the affected eye.
  • Days three to 14: Apply two drops every four hours on the affected eye. If your eye has not healed after 14 days, continue treatment.

When using Ciloxan for pink eye, pull your lower eyelid down:

  • Apply one to two drops on the lower eye area every two hours for two days
  • For the next five days, apply one to two drops to the lower eye area every four hours

If you are using Ciloxan ointment, apply a half-inch ribbon to the conjunctival sac by pulling the lower eyelid down:

  • Three times a day for the first two days
  • Two times a day for the next five days

Storage

Store Ciloxan at room temperature (between 68 F and 77 F) and away from light. Exposing Ciloxan to hot or cold temperatures may reduce how well the medication works. As always, keep the medicine in a safe place out of reach of children and pets.

How Long Does Ciloxan Take to Work?

Ciloxan helps relieve symptoms immediately upon treatment. However, each condition has its treatment period needed for a full recovery. For example, when using Ciloxan to treat pink eye, some people might feel better after the third day; however, it can take up to one week to be free from infection. Eye inflammation takes about two weeks to fully heal.

What Are the Side Effects of Ciloxan?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects associated with Ciloxan include:

  • Stinging in the eye
  • Eye irritation
  • Eyelid crusting
  • White crystal formation in the corner of the eye
  • Bad taste in the mouth

Do not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider if these side effects become bothersome or do not subside.

Severe Side Effects

Call your healthcare provider immediately if you are experiencing any of these rare but severe side effects. If you feel these symptoms are life-threatening, call 911 or go to the nearest medical center.

Severe side effects might include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as skin rash, itching, or difficulty breathing 
  • Change in eyesight, eye pain, or severe eye irritation
  • Eye or eyelid swelling
  • Nausea
  • Yellowing of the eye

Report Side Effects

Ciloxan may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much of Ciloxan Should I Take?

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The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For ophthalmic dosage form (ointment):
    • For bacterial conjunctivitis:
      • Adults and children 2 years of age and older—Use a ½-inch strip of eye ointment in each eye 3 times a day for the first two days, then use a ½-inch strip of eye ointment in each eye 2 times a day for the next 5 days.
      • Infants and children up to 2 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For ophthalmic dosage form (solution):
    • For bacterial conjunctivitis:
      • Adults and children—Put 1 or 2 drops in the affected eye every 2 hours, while awake, for 2 days. Then, put 1 or 2 drops in the affected eye every 4 hours, while awake, for the next 5 days.
    • For corneal ulcers:
      • Adults and children—
        • Day 1: Put 2 drops in the affected eye every 15 minutes for the first 6 hours, and then 2 drops in the affected eye every 30 minutes for the rest of the day, while awake.
        • Day 2: Put 2 drops in the affected eye every hour, while awake.
        • Days 3 through 14: Put 2 drops in the affected eye every 4 hours, while awake.

Modifications

Few studies have looked at whether Ciloxan can be used safely during pregnancy. Therefore, it is important to use the lowest effective dose. In addition, it is recommended to avoid breastfeeding for three to four hours after using ciprofloxacin.

Ciloxan is safe and effective to use in all ages, including newborns and infants.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, don't panic. Instead, use the medication as soon as you remember, unless it is close to the time for your next dose. Then, skip the missed dose and return to your regular dosing frequency.

You should only take the recommended dose that your healthcare provider has instructed and do not take extra doses simultaneously. 

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Ciloxan?

While overdosing on ciprofloxacin tablets can cause kidney failure, using too much ciprofloxacin ophthalmic solution has no toxic effects, even if the solution is accidentally consumed. If you apply too much to the affected eye, flush your eye with warm tap water.

Precautions

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If your or your child's eye infection does not improve within a few days, or if it becomes worse, check with your doctor.

This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you or your child have a rash, itching, red or swollen skin around the eye or eyelid, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using this medicine.

This medicine may cause your eyes to become more sensitive to light than they are normally. Wearing sunglasses and avoiding too much exposure to bright light may help lessen the discomfort.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Ciloxan?

Do not use Ciloxan if you are sensitive to other dosage forms of ciprofloxacin, such as tablets or intravenous injections. Also, Ciloxan is a fluoroquinolone, so it would be best to avoid it if you are allergic to quinolones.

Common FDA-approved fluoroquinolone medications include:

  • Levofloxacin
  • Moxeza, Avelox (moxifloxacin)
  • Ocuflox (ofloxacin)
  • Baxdela (delafloxacin)

What Other Medications Interact With Ciloxan?

Currently, Ciloxan does not have any known drug interactions. Therefore, it should be okay to take other medications with Ciloxan. However, avoid applying multiple eye medications before and after using Ciloxan without first checking with your healthcare provider.

What Medications Are Similar?

Ciloxan is a medication approved by the FDA to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. Examples of other ophthalmic medications that treat bacterial pink eye are:

  • Aktob (tobramycin)
  • Ofloxacin
  • Besifloxacin

Ciloxan also treats bacterial keratitis. Other ophthalmic medications that treat corneal inflammation include:

  • Ofloxacin
  • Zymar, Zymaxid (gatifloxacin)
  • Fortified tobramycin-cefazolin5

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can Ciloxan be used to treat pink eye?

    Yes, Ciloxan is FDA-approved to treat a pink eye infection caused by bacteria. However, Ciloxan is not an antiviral medication; therefore, it will not treat pink eye caused by viral infections. If you have a pink eye infection, contact your healthcare provider to receive a diagnosis and proper treatment.

  • Can you buy Ciloxan over the counter?

    No, Ciloxan is a prescription medication that must be prescribed to you by a healthcare provider. You cannot buy it over-the-counter (OTC), so you'll need to visit a healthcare provider first.

  • Can I wear contact lenses while using Ciloxan?

    No, you should not wear contact lenses while taking Ciloxan. It is also not recommended to wear contacts while you have an eye infection. Do not use the contact lenses you wore before taking Ciloxan, as they may be contaminated with bacteria. Once your eye infection is cleared, you can begin wearing a new pair of contact lenses.

  • How much does Ciloxan cost?

    The brand medication, Ciloxan, costs around $127.80 for 5 milliliters. Fortunately, the generic medication, ciprofloxacin ophthalmic, is available at a more affordable price of around $10.55.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Ciloxan?

To stay healthy while taking Ciloxan, it is important to use the medication as directed by your healthcare provider. You must complete your prescribed regimen, even if you start to feel better. Keep in mind that if you stop using Ciloxan too soon, your eye infection can come back and may be more challenging to treat.

It will take some time to get used to applying eye drops. Setting an alarm to remind you to use your medication may be helpful. Maintain good hygiene to prevent you and others from being infected. Wash your hands often, do not touch your eyes, and avoid close contact with people around you.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  4. Hajji M, Jebali H, Mrad A, et al. Nephrotoxicity of ciprofloxacin: five cases and a review of the literature. Drug Saf Case Rep. 2018;5(1):17. doi:10.1007/s40800-018-0073-4.

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  6. Austin A, Lietman T, Rose-Nussbaumer J. Update on the management of infectious keratitis. Ophthalmology. 2017;124(11):1678-1689. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2017.05.012.