Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) Side Effects


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Ciprofloxacin is a type of antibiotic that is used to treat several different types of infections. It is in a class of broad-spectrum antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. This type of antibiotic is used to treat infections with both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria.

Antibiotics should only be used when clearly needed because of the risk of side effects and also because of the risk of creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Side effects of ciprofloxacin are highly variable and are going to differ from person to person. In most cases, people taking ciprofloxacin do not have any serious side effects from taking the drug.

Black Box Warning

Ciprofloxacin does have a "black box" warning as mandated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning is put in a drug's patient information packet when it is determined that there is the potential for a serious side effect.

The ciprofloxacin black box warning is in regards to tendonitis and tendon rupture. If you experience symptoms of tendinitis, seek care from a medical professional and contact the physician that prescribed the ciprofloxacin to determine how to proceed.

Fluoroquinolones, including CIPRO, are associated with an increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture in all ages. This risk is further increased in older patients usually over 60 years of age, in patients taking corticosteroid drugs, and in patients with kidney, heart or lung transplants.

Antibiotics and IBD

Ciprofloxacin is sometimes used to treat Crohn's disease and to treat pouchitis in people who have had j-pouch surgery (ileal pouch-anal anastomosis, or IPAA) to treat their ulcerative colitis. Antibiotics should always be used carefully, but extra caution should be taken in people who have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) because of the risk of diarrhea and the risk of secondary infection with a bacterium called Clostridium difficile (or C difficile). People with IBD may be at a greater risk of having a flare-up of the disease after taking antibiotics.

Neurological and Central Nervous System Warnings

In May of 2016, the FDA issued further warnings regarding certain effects that have been associated with ciprofloxacin, including those that can affect the tendons, muscles, joints, nerves, and central nervous system.

There is concern over this antibiotic being used as first-line therapy for uncomplicated infections. In other words, the FDA is asking physicians to stop prescribing this drug for a simple infection, like a urinary tract infection, when another antibiotic that does not have these safety concerns can be used instead.

According to the FDA, some of the problems that have been described as being related to ciprofloxacin include "tendon, joint and muscle pain, a "pins and needles" tingling or pricking sensation, confusion, and hallucinations." These effects or any other troubling adverse effects should be reported to a physician immediately, as the drug might need to be stopped.

Common Side Effects

Check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

  • upset stomach (mild)
  • diarrhea (mild)
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • headache
  • restlessness

Less Frequent or Rare Side Effects

Check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

  • change in sense of taste
  • increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight

Always Notify Doctor of These Side Effects

Less common:

  • blistering of the skin
  • the sensation of skin burning
  • skin itching, rash, redness, or swelling


  • skin rash
  • itching
  • hives
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • swelling of the face or throat
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • dark urine
  • pale or dark stools
  • blood in urine
  • unusual tiredness
  • sunburn or blistering
  • seizures or convulsions
  • vaginal infection
  • vision changes
  • pain, inflammation, or rupture of a tendon

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor. This information is meant only as a guideline; always consult a physician or pharmacist for complete information about prescription medications.

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Article Sources

  • Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals. "Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) patient Insert." Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc. Oct 2008. 
  • Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. "Antibiotics." 22 Mar 2011.
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA advises restricting fluoroquinolone antibiotic use for certain uncomplicated infections; warns about disabling side effects that can occur together." 7 March 2018.