Taking Antibiotics: Fluoroquinolones

Fluoroquinolone (flu-ro-KWIN-a-lone) antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections in many parts of the body. These antibiotics do not work for colds, flu, and other viruses.

Possible Side Effects

These antibiotics may cause side effects. Many go away as your body gets used to the antibiotic. Call your doctor or pharmacist if any of these side effects bother you or don’t go away:

  • Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting

  • Stomach pain

  • Nervousness or trouble sleeping

  • Headache

Call Your Doctor

Contact your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Pain in your lower legs or your joint tendons

  • Skin rash, itching, redness, peeling, or swelling of the face or neck

Before You Take This Medicine

For your safety, tell your doctor or pharmacist if:

  • You are taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

  • You have other health problems or you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • You have had an allergic reaction to any medicine or food.

Tips for Taking Your Medicine

  • Take your medicine exactly as directed and with a full glass of water.

  • Keep taking your medicine until the bottle is empty, even if you feel better. If you don’t take it all, your symptoms may return and be harder to treat.

  • If you take enoxacin, norfloxacin, or ofloxacin, take it on an empty stomach — at least 30 minutes before or 2 hours after eating.

  • If you take 2 or more doses a day, take them at evenly spaced times, day and night. This keeps an even amount of medicine in your blood.

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember — unless it is almost time for your next dose. If so, skip the missed dose. Do not take a double dose.

For Your Safety

  • Cover up if you have to go out in the sun. Do not use a sunlamp. This medicine makes your skin sensitive to the sun. When outside, wear a hat, sunglasses, and a sunblock of at least SPF 15.

  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any other medicines.

  • If you take any other medicines, take them at least 2 hours before or 4 hours after you take your antibiotic. Thiss includes antacids, vitamins, or other supplements that contain iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, or aluminum.

  • If you become pregnant, stop taking your medicine and call your doctor right away.

  • Do not share your medicine with anyone.