Overview of Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) Medication

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Cipro (ciprofloxacin) is classified as an antibacterial drug—a.k.a., an antibiotic. Antibacterial drugs like Cipro are used to treat bacterial infections. Among its indications, Cipro may be used to treat infections in people who have Crohn's disease.

Older woman checking prescription with cell phone
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How Is It Taken?

Cipro is taken orally in tablet form or occasionally as an IV drip. For Cipro to work properly and kill the bacteria causing an infection, it is important to maintain a constant level of Cipro in the blood. Therefore, it must be taken at regular intervals without missing any doses, usually every 12 hours, although this can vary depending on the situation.

Take each dose of Cipro with eight ounces of water. It should never be taken at the same time as antacids, iron, or zinc supplements (including multivitamins that contain these minerals). Instead, Cipro should only be taken at least two hours before or six hours after these supplements.

Why Is It Prescribed?

Cipro is used to fight a wide variety of infections that may occur in different areas of the body, including pneumonia, infectious diarrhea, typhoid fever, and bone, joint, skin, and urinary tract infections.

Who Should Not Take Cipro?

Children should not take Cipro except in special circumstances.

Before taking Cipro, tell your healthcare provider if you have or have ever had:

  • Allergic reaction to any drug
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • History of stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Tendonitis

Tell your healthcare provider if you are planning on having any surgery, including dental surgery, while taking Cipro.

Is Cipro Safe During Pregnancy?

No. The FDA has classified Cipro as a type C drug. The effect that Cipro has on an unborn child has not been studied extensively in humans; however, it has been shown to increase bone development problems in animals. Notify the prescribing healthcare provider immediately if you become pregnant while taking Cipro.

Cipro is not recommended during breastfeeding as it does pass into breast milk and could affect a nursing infant.

Side Effects of Cipro

Taking Cipro can result in both common side effects and uncommon, but serious adverse reactions.


Cipro may cause sensitivity to sunlight (including tanning beds or lamps). Reactions can include sunburn, skin rash, redness, and itching. Take precautions such as wearing protective clothing (long pants and shirts, hats, sunglasses) and sunscreen.

Cipro may increase the effects that caffeine has on the body, such as nervousness. Caffeine is found in many soft drinks, tea, coffee, and even chocolate, so be aware of the caffeine content of your food while taking Cipro.

Other side effects include dizziness, lightheadedness, headache, restlessness, and tiredness.


Some uncommon but serious side effects from Cipro include difficulty breathing or swallowing, sunburn or blistering, seizures, or convulsions.

The fluoroquinolone category of antibiotics (including Cipro) has also been associated with aortic aneurysms or dissection, retinal detachment, and tendon ruptures. People with a history of collagen-type diseases should avoid Cipro unless no other treatment options are available.

In addition to the black box warning issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008 regarding the possibility of tendon rupture when using Cipro, the agency warned about the risk of aortic tears (dissection) and aneurysms (that may rupture) in 2018.

If you experience any of these symptoms call your healthcare provider immediately.

Will Cipro Make Diarrhea From IBD Worse?

Cipro is sometimes used to kill bacteria that cause diarrhea. But given how antibiotics work, the drug may both cure and cause diarrhea.

Antibiotics kill off any kind of bacteria in the body. Therefore, "good" bacteria in the colon (or elsewhere in the body) may be killed along with the "bad," altering your bowel movements.


Cipro can interact with several drugs. Tell the prescribing healthcare provider about all drugs and nutritional supplements you are taking, especially those from the following list:

  • Antacids
  • Caffeine
  • Cancer chemotherapy agents
  • Cinoxacin
  • Cyclosporine
  • Cimetidine
  • Enoxacin
  • Glyburide
  • Iron
  • Levofloxacin
  • Lomefloxacin
  • Nalidixic acid
  • Norfloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Other antibiotics
  • Phenytoin
  • Probenecid
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Sucralfate
  • Theophylline
  • Warfarin
  • Zinc

Common Questions About Cipro

Using Cipro exactly as how directed is important to both its efficacy and your safety. Answers to some common questions about taking the drug can help you use this drug as intended.

How Long Can I Take Cipro?

Your healthcare provider will tell you how long you are to take Cipro. Don’t take it for longer than prescribed.

Use of Cipro for long periods of time may result in yeast infections in the mouth, rectum or vagina, as well as tendon rupture/tendinopathy. Crystals in the kidney are also a potential adverse effect of Cipro, but this risk is lowered by drinking the recommended amount of fluids each day.

What Do I Do If I Miss a Dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If your next dose should be taken soon, just take that dose. Don't double-up or take more than one dose at a time.

If I Start to Feel Better, Can I Stop Taking Cipro?

No. As you are treated with Cipro, you may start to feel better, but that does not mean the infection is entirely gone. Take all of the medication that was prescribed to you unless your healthcare professional tells you to stop.

Stopping an antibiotic before the bacterial infection is completely gone can result in serious consequences.

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. Wu XW, Ji HZ, Wang FY. Meta-analysis of ciprofloxacin in treatment of Crohn's disease. Biomed Rep. 2015;3(1):70-74. doi:10.3892/br.2014.368

  2. Yu Xi, Jiang DS, Wang J, et al. Fluoroquinolone Use and the Risk of Collagen-Associated Adverse Events: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Drug Safety. 2019;42(9):1025-1033. doi:10.1007/s40264-019-00828-z

  3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA warns about increased risk of ruptures or tears in the aorta blood vessel with fluoroquinolone antibiotics in certain patients. 12/21/18.

Additional Reading
  • Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc. Cipro Medication Guide [PDF]. Merck & Co., Inc. March 2011.

  • PDR Health. Cipro. Thomson Healthcare 2011.

  • The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. Ciprofloxacin. AHFS Consumer Medication Information. 15 Jun 2011.

By Amber J. Tresca
Amber J. Tresca is a freelance writer and speaker who covers digestive conditions, including IBD. She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 16.