Ciprofloxacin for bacterial infection

node leader
Share this page: 

Ciprofloxacin for bacterial infection

This leaflet is about the use of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin for the treatment of bacterial infections.

Information Standard quality markThis leaflet has been written for parents and carers about how to use this medicine in children. Our information sometimes differs from that provided by the manufacturers, because their information is usually aimed at adult patients. Please read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.

If your child has ever had a reaction to any medicine, tell your doctor or pharmacist before giving ciprofloxacin.

Name of drug

Ciprofloxacin (sip-row-flox-ah-sin)

Brand names: Ciproxin®

Why is it important for my child to take this medicine?

It is important that your child takes this medicine in the way that your doctor has told you to so that it kills the bacteria and gets rid of the infection.

What is ciprofloxacin available as?

  • Tablets: 100 mg, 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg
  • Liquid medicine (suspension): 250 mg in 5 mL

When should I give ciprofloxacin?

Ciprofloxacin is usually given twice each day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Ideally, these times are 10–12 hours apart, for example some time between 7 am and 8 am, and between 7 pm and 8 pm.

Give the medicine at about the same times each day so that this becomes part of your child’s daily routine, which will help you to remember.

How much should I give?

Your doctor will work out the amount of ciprofloxacin (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give.

How should I give it?

Your child should not have milk or other milky products 1-2 hours before taking ciprofloxacin, or for 4 hours afterwards.

Tablets should be swallowed with a glass of water or juice. Your child should not chew the tablets.

Liquid medicine: Shake the medicine well. Measure out the right amount using a medicine spoon or oral syringe. You can get these from your pharmacist. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not give the right amount.

When should the medicine start working?

Your child should start to get better after taking the medicine for 2 days. It is important that they take the whole course of the medicine that has been prescribed. Do not stop early.

What if my child is sick (vomits)?

  • If your child is sick less than 30 minutes after having a dose of ciprofloxacin, give them the same dose again.
  • If your child is sick more than 30 minutes after having a dose of ciprofloxacin, you do not need to give them another dose. Wait until the next normal dose.

If your child is sick again, seek advice from your family doctor, pharmacist or hospital. 

What if I forget to give it?

If you remember up to 4 hours after you should have given a dose, give your child the missed dose. For example, if you usually give a dose at about 7 am, you can give the missed dose at any time up to 11 am. If you remember after that time, do not give the missed dose. Wait until the next normal dose.

What if I give too much?

It is unlikely that you will cause harm if you give your child an extra dose of ciprofloxacin by mistake. If you are worried that you may have given them too much, contact your doctor or local NHS services (details at end of leaflet). Have the medicine or packaging with you if you telephone for advice.

Are there any possible side-effects?

We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we don’t want (side-effects).

Side-effects that you must do something about

If your child is short of breath or is wheezing, or their face, lips or tongue start to swell, or they develop a rash, they may be allergic to ciprofloxacin. Take your child to hospital or call an ambulance straight away.

Very rarely, ciprofloxacin can cause long-term problems in the joints and nerves. Contact your doctor immediately if your child has any pain or swelling in their tendons, especially in the ankle or calf, pain or swelling in their joints, any numbness or unusual pain or sensation (e.g. tingling), weakness, severe tiredness, changes to their mood, difficulty sleeping, or changes to vision, taste, smell or hearing. Your child should rest any affected parts until you have talked to your doctor.

Other side-effects you need to know about
  • Your child may have diarrhoea, stomach pains, feel sick or be sick (vomit) when they first start to take ciprofloxacin. 
  • Contact your doctor or local NHS services (details atend of leaflet) or take your child to hospital if they:
    » have diarrhoea that lasts for more than 4 days or it is severe, watery or contains blood.
    » are drowsy, floppy or do not respond
  • Do not give your child any medicine to stop the diarrhoea unless your doctor has told you to.

There may sometimes be other side-effects that are not listed above. If you notice anything unusual and are concerned, contact your doctor. You can report any suspected side-effects to a UK safety scheme at http://www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.

Important things to know about taking antibiotics

  • It is important that your child completes the course of antibiotic. This means that they must take the medicine for the number of days that the doctor has told them to, or until all the medicine has been taken.
  • If you stop giving the antibiotic too soon, the bacteria that are left may start to multiply again, and may cause another infection.
  • In the past, doctors may have prescribed antibiotics for many types of infection. However, this practice is now changing with the growing concern about the risk of antibiotic resistance.
  • Bacteria that become “resistant” to a common antibiotic are no longer killed by it, and infections may become harder to treat. It is therefore important that antibiotics are used only when needed.
  • Many common illnesses, such as sore throats, colds, coughs and flu, are caused by viruses. Antibiotics do not kill viruses. Your doctor will not prescribe antibiotics for these illnesses.
  • Try to give the antibiotic at about the same times each day, to help you remember, and to make sure that there is the right amount of medicine in your child’s body to kill the bacteria.
  • Only give this medicine to your child for their current infection. Never save medicine for future illnesses. Give old/unused antibiotics to your pharmacist to dispose of.
  • Only give the antibiotic to the child for whom it was prescribed. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as it could do harm.
  • If you think someone else may have taken the medicine by accident, contact your doctor for advice.

Can other medicines be given at the same time as ciprofloxacin?

  • Tell your doctor if your child is taking corticosteroids (e.g. hydrocortisone and prednisolone) or theophylline, as these should not be taken with ciprofloxacin.
  • You can give your child medicines that contain paracetamol, unless your doctor has told you not to.
  • Your child should not have ibuprofen while they are taking ciprofloxacin, as there is a low risk of causing a seizure (fit).
  • Ciprofloxacin should not be taken with some medicines that you get on prescription. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about any other medicines your child is taking before giving ciprofloxacin.
  • Do not give your child any medicines that contain calcium, magnesium or aluminium (e.g. indigestion remedies / antacids) at the same time as giving ciprofloxacin. Ciprofloxacin should be given 1-2 hours before or 4 hours after giving your child these other medicines.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal and complementary medicines.

Is there anything else I need to know about ciprofloxacin?

You must tell your doctor if your child has ever had a reaction to any medicine or if your child has kidney problems. Check with the doctor or pharmacist before giving ciprofloxacin to your child.

  • Ciprofloxacin can affect the ability to do skilled tasks such as riding a bicycle, playing sports or driving. Your child should take care when doing tasks that require coordination.
  • It is important that your child does not become dehydrated (lack of water). If you think your child may be dehydrated, give them water to drink and contact your doctor, nurse or pharmacist for advice.
  • Your child’s skin may be more sensitive to sunlight while they are taking ciprofloxacin. Keep them out of strong sun. When outdoors, they should wear a long-sleeved top, trousers and a hat and should use a high-factor sun screen (at least SPF 30).

Where should I keep this medicine?

  • Keep the medicine in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight. Liquid medicine does not need to be kept in the fridge.
  • Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
  • Keep the medicine in the container it came in.

Who to contact for more information

Your doctor, pharmacist or nurse will be able to give you more information about ciprofloxacin and about other medicines used to treat bacterial infections.

You can also get useful information from: 
Publication date: