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Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)

How does this medicine work?

Ciprofloxacin (sip-roe-floks-uh-sin) is an antibiotic that is used to treat many different kinds of infections.

How should I give it?

Ciprofloxacin can be given by mouth, as an eye drop, or in the vein (IV). Give it at regular times to keep a steady level in the bloodstream. Give the medicine for the prescribed amount of time; even if your child feels better, to be sure all the infection is gone.

Your child should be awake and alert when taking any medicine. Follow the checked instructions below:

___ If using the liquid form, shake well right before using. Draw up the correct amount in the medicine dropper or oral syringe. Give a small squirt of the medicine inside the cheek. To avoid choking, let your child swallow each squirt before giving more.

___ For children who cannot swallow pills:

  • Crush it between 2 spoons, inside a plastic bag, or in folded paper.
  • Mix the powder with a very small amount (about 1 teaspoon) of soft food, such as applesauce, chocolate syrup, or jelly. Make sure your child takes all of the mixture.

Do not mix medicine into hot drinks, because heat may destroy its effectiveness.

___ If your child has a feeding tube, you will need to take special precautions to prevent clogging the tube. Mix either the liquid form or the crushed tablet form with 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of water. Give it into the feeding tube right away after mixing.

___ If using the eye drops please see the education sheet "Eye drops."

Are there any precautions about food or other medicines?

This medicine works best when taken on an empty stomach (1 hour before or 2 hours after eating).

If it upsets your child's stomach, you may give it with a small amount of food. Do not give it with milk or milk products such as yogurt or ice cream.

Avoid giving antacids or milk products within 4 hours of a dose because it may not be properly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Ciprofloxacin increases caffeine concentrations. Limit use of caffeine such as cola, coffee, tea, and chocolate.

Your child should drink plenty of fluids. Check with the doctor or pharmacist before giving any other prescription or non-prescription medicines, vitamins, or herbs.

What should I do if a dose is missed?

If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you remember, unless it is less than 4 hours until the next dose. In that case, skip that dose and continue with the regular schedule. Never give a double dose.

If your child vomits (throws up) within 30 minutes after receiving a dose, give it again. If your child vomits the second dose, do not repeat it again.

If your child misses or vomits more than one dose, please call the clinic.

What are the side effects?


  • nausea (upset stomach)
  • vomiting (throwing up)
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • abdominal (belly) pain
  • heartburn


  • dizziness
  • sleep problems
  • nightmares
  • aching
  • stiff joints


  • flushing (red, warm skin)
  • rash
  • eyes sensitive to light

When should I call the clinic?

  • severe diarrhea
  • confusion
  • vision problems
  • signs of allergic reaction:
    - rash or hives
    - wheezing
    - trouble breathing - call 911

What else do I need to know?

Blood samples may be needed to check your child's liver function while on this medicine. If elevated, these return to normal when the medicine is stopped.

Prevent sunburn. While taking ciprofloxacin, your child should wear sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), a hat, and protective clothing when outdoors.

You and your child should know the names of all the medicines he or she is taking. Share this information with anyone involved in your child's care.

Ciprofloxacin should be used with caution in children. Early studies of the drug showed cartilage damage in immature animals. Children receiving short courses of ciprofloxacin have not had a decrease in bone or joint development.

Before giving the first dose, read the label. Be sure it is what was prescribed. Check the label for the expiration date. Ask your pharmacist what to do with outdated or unused medicines. If there is no "take-back" program empty them into the trash. Store all medicines in their original container and away from direct sunlight or heat. Do not store in humid places such as the bathroom. Keep them out of children's reach, locked up if possible.

If too much or the wrong kind of medicine is taken, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. If your child is unconscious or has a seizure, call 911.


This is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the clinic or pharmacy.

Last reviewed 8/2015 ©Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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