Generic Name: levofloxacin (oral) (LEE voe FLOX a sin)
Brand Name: Levaquin
Medically reviewed on December 21, 2017.
What is levofloxacin?
Levofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone (flor-o-KWIN-o-lone) antibiotic that fights bacteria in the body.
Levofloxacin is used to treat bacterial infections of the skin, sinuses, kidneys, bladder, or prostate. Levofloxacin is also used to treat bacterial infections that cause bronchitis or pneumonia, and to treat people who have been exposed to anthrax.
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics can cause serious or disabling side effects that may not be reversible. Levofloxacin should be used only for infections that cannot be treated with a safer antibiotic.
Levofloxacin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Levofloxacin may cause swelling or tearing of a tendon, especially if you are over 60, if you take steroid medication, or if you have had a kidney, heart, or lung transplant.
Before taking this medicine
To make sure levofloxacin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
tendon problems, bone problems, arthritis or other joint problems (especially in children);
slow heartbeats or other heart rhythm disorder (especially if you take medication to treat it);
long QT syndrome (in you or a family member);
liver or kidney disease;
epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
a nerve disorder;
low levels of potassium in your blood (hypokalemia); or
Levofloxacin may cause swelling or tearing of a tendon (the fiber that connects bones to muscles in the body), especially in the Achilles' tendon of the heel. This can happen during treatment or up to several months after you stop taking levofloxacin. Tendon problems may be more likely to occur if you are over 60, if you take steroid medication, or if you have had a kidney, heart, or lung transplant.
Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice. Tendon and joint problems may be more likely in a child taking levofloxacin.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Levofloxacin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
How should I take levofloxacin?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Take levofloxacin with water, at the same time each day. Drink extra fluids to keep your kidneys working properly while taking this medicine.
You may take levofloxacin tablets with or without food.
Take levofloxacin oral solution (liquid) on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.
Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Levofloxacin will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.
Do not share this medication with another person (especially a child), even if they have the same symptoms you have.
This medication can cause you to have a false positive drug screening test. If you provide a urine sample for drug screening, tell the laboratory staff that you are taking levofloxacin.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking levofloxacin?
This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Levofloxacin can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors. Call your doctor if you have severe burning, redness, itching, rash, or swelling after being in the sun.
Levofloxacin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning in your eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling).
Levofloxacin may cause swelling or tearing of (rupture) a tendon. Levofloxacin can also have serious effects on your nerves, and may cause permanent nerve damage. Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:
signs of tendon rupture--sudden pain, swelling, bruising, tenderness, stiffness, movement problems, or a snapping or popping sound in any of your joints (rest the joint until you receive medical care or instructions); or
nerve symptoms--numbness, tingling, burning pain, or being more sensitive to temperature, light touch, or the sense of your body position.
Stop taking levofloxacin and call your doctor at once if you have:
severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness (like you might pass out);
the first sign of any skin rash, no matter how mild;
muscle weakness, breathing problems;
sudden weakness or ill feeling, fever, chills, sore throat, swollen glands, mouth sores, easy bruising or bleeding;
increased pressure inside the skull--severe headaches, ringing in your ears, dizziness, nausea, vision problems, pain behind your eyes; or
liver problems--upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common side effects may include:
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect levofloxacin?
Some medicines can make levofloxacin much less effective when taken at the same time. If you take any of the following medicines, take your levofloxacin dose 2 hours before or 2 hours after you take the other medicine.
vitamin or mineral supplements that contain aluminum, iron, magnesium, or zinc.
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
a diuretic or "water pill";
oral diabetes medicine;
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with levofloxacin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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