Ciprodex (Ciprofloxacin and Dexamethasone) - Otic

What Is Ciprodex?

Ciprodex ear drops are a combination of ciprofloxacin (a quinolone antibiotic) and dexamethasone (a corticosteroid) used to treat ear infections. Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic that works by killing bacteria. Dexamethasone reduces inflammation-causing chemicals in the body. Together, the combination medicine reduces swelling and discomfort in the ear.

Ciprodex is a prescription medicine available as a suspension (liquid) in the form of ear drops.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Ciprofloxacin and dexamethasone

Brand Name(s): Ciprodex

Administration Route(s): Otic

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Anti-infective/anti-inflammatory combination

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Ciprofloxacin and dexamethasone

Dosage Form(s): Suspension

What Is Ciprodex Used For?

Ciprodex (ciprofloxacin and dexamethasone) treats otitis media (acute ear infections in the middle ear) in children with ear tubes and otitis externa (outer ear infections) in children and adults.

The medicine can only be used for bacterial ear infections. It will not work for any other types of ear infections.

Ciprodex (Ciprofloxacin and Dexamethasone) Drug Information - Illustration by Zoe Hansen

Verywell / Zoe Hansen

How to Take Ciprodex

Read the prescription label or patient information leaflet, if available, before you start using this medication. If there is anything that you do not understand, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Ciprodex comes as suspension ear drops to use in the ear only. Use twice daily (every 12 hours) or as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not use the ear drops more or less than directed.

Make sure to clean and dry your ear canal before using the drops. Hold the medicine bottle in your hand for a few minutes to warm the solution. Inserting a cold solution into the ear canal can cause dizziness. Shake the solution well before using it.

To administer the ear drops:

  1. Lie down on your side with the affected ear facing upward.
  2. Place the prescribed number of drops into your ear.
  3. Lie with the affected ear tilted upward for 30–60 seconds.

Use Ciprodex until you finish the prescription for the number of days prescribed, even if you feel better. If the symptoms do not get better after one week or if they get worse, call your healthcare provider.


Keep the medicine container tightly closed, away from the sight and reach of children. Store it at room temperature away from excess heat, light, and moisture. Do not store it in the bathroom, and do not freeze the medicine.

Once the medicine is expired, discard the bottle safely. Do not use expired medicine or throw it away in the waste bin, drain, or flush it down the toilet. The best way to discard your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Ask your pharmacist or contact the local waste disposal company in your community. Many city and town halls and police departments have secured medication drop-offs for unused or unwanted medications.

How Long Does Ciprodex Take to Work?

Your symptoms may start to improve within 48 to 72 hours. Notify your healthcare provider if the pain or other symptoms do not go away after seven days of use.

What Are the Side Effects of Ciprodex?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A medical professional can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a medical professional. You may report side effects to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at or 800-FDA-1088.

Ciprodex can cause side effects in some people. Most are mild, but some can be severe or cause long-term effects. Talk to your healthcare provider if you experience any side effects that persist or worsen.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of Ciprodex are:

If any of the side effects persist or worsen, contact your healthcare provider.

Severe Side Effects

A severe allergic reaction to Ciprodex is rare. If you notice any of the following symptoms, stop using the ear drops and get medical help right away.

Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes
  • Hoarseness
  • Severe dizziness
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing

Long-Term Side Effects

Repeated and prolonged use of Ciprodex may cause antibacterial resistance. Do not use the medicine for longer than prescribed. Contact your healthcare provider if you do not feel improvement, or if you notice any new or worsening symptoms after one week of use.

Report Side Effects

Ciprodex 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 provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Ciprodex Should I Use?

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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 otic dosage form (ear drops):
    • For middle ear infection:
      • Adults and children 6 months of age and older—4 drops into the affected ear(s) two times a day for 7 days.
      • Children younger than 6 months of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For outer ear infection:
      • Adults, older adults, and children 6 months of age and older—4 drops into the affected ear(s) two times a day for 7 days.
      • Children younger than 6 months of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

Try not to skip doses. By doing so, the bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics. 

If you forget a dose of the ear drops, use them as soon as you remember. However, skip the missed dose if it is nearly time for your next dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not use extra ear drops to make up for the missed dose.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Ciprodex?

An overdose of Ciprodex otic should not be dangerous. However, you should seek emergency help if you think you or someone else may have accidentally swallowed Ciprodex ear drops.

What Happens If I Overdose on Ciprodex?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Ciprodex, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after using Ciprodex, call 911 immediately.


Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

If you or your child feel that your symptoms are not improve after 7 days, or if they have become 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 have a rash, itching, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using this medicine.

Call your doctor right away if you have fluid that continues to drain from your ear (otorrhea) after you have finished your treatment with this medicine.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Ciprodex?

Do not use Ciprodex for these reasons:

  • If you are allergic or have a history of hypersensitivity to fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Quixin or Levaquin (levofloxacin), Maxaquin (lomefloxacin), Vigamox or Avelox (moxifloxacin), Chibroxin or Noroxin (norfloxacin), Ocuflox or Floxin (ofloxacin), or other corticosteroids like prednisolone
  • For viral infections of the outer ear canal, such as herpes simplex infections and fungal ear infections
  • For children younger than 6 months old

No adequate, well-controlled studies with Ciprodex have been performed in pregnant people. If you are pregnant, you should be cautious when using this medication. Consult your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while you are using Ciprodex.

People who are breastfeeding must also consult their healthcare provider and use Ciprodex only if the benefits clearly outweigh the risk of side effects.

What Other Medications Interact With Ciprodex?

There are no drug-drug interactions reported with Ciprodex since it is only used topically for the ear. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medications you are using while taking this medicine to avoid any problems.

What Medications Are Similar?

Another medicine similar to Ciprodex is Cortisporin, which has a similar combination of drugs. Cortisporin also treats mild-to-severe acute otitis externa.

Cortisporin otic solution (neomycin, polymyxin B sulfates, and hydrocortisone otic solution) is a combination drug containing two antibiotics (aminoglycoside antibiotic and polymyxin antibiotic) and a corticosteroid. It is administered three to four times daily to treat a bacterial infection.

Ciprodex and Cortisporin should not be used together. Both the drugs are used to treat the same infection. Only one of these medicines should be used according to the prescription of your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Ciprodex used for?

    Ciprodex is used to treat middle ear bacterial infections in children with ear tubes and outer ear bacterial infections (swimmer's ear) in children and adults.

  • How does Ciprodex work?

    Ciprodex contains ciprofloxacin, which kills the bacteria, and dexamethasone, which reduces the ear's swelling and inflammation.

  • What drugs should not be taken with Ciprodex?

    It is usually safe to take Ciprodex with other medicines, but it is important to consult your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking.

  • What are the side effects of Ciprodex?

    Common side effects of Ciprodex may include discomfort, pain, or itching in the ear.

  • How long do I leave Ciprodex in my ear?

    After inserting the drops in the upward affected ear, maintain the position for 30–60 seconds to help the drops move into the ear canal.

  • Can Ciprodex make my ear infection worse?

    The use of Ciprodex for a prolonged period may result in a fungal ear infection. Do not use for longer than prescribed.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Ciprodex?

Ciprodex is a combination medicine that is generally safe to use, and more effective than ciprofloxacin and similar antibiotics when used alone. Always follow your healthcare provider's directions and complete the medicine course to fully treat the infection. Antibiotic resistance can develop if you do not take Ciprodex as prescribed.

Keep a close check on your symptoms. Consult with a healthcare provider if your condition does not improve.

Medical Disclaimer

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

3 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.
  1. Food and Drug Administration. Ciprodex (ciprofloxacin and dexamethasone), otic suspension label.

  2. American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. Patient information: frequently asked questions. Topical therapy for acute otitis externa (swimmer's ear).

  3. DailyMed. Label: Neomycin and polymyxin B sulfates and hydrocortisone- neomycin sulfate, polymyxin b sulfate and hydrocortisone suspension.