Sunday, October 12, 2008
Cipro side effects
Chances are good that if you go to an urgent care center for treatment of a urinary tract infection, you will end up with a prescription for Cipro. This fluoroquinolone antibiotic is also commonly used for intestinal infections, and its cousin Levaquin is a favorite choice for the treatment of pneumonia. Some of my patients request these antibiotics by name as their use was particularly effective for some previous bacterial infection.
Powerful medications are a good thing when battling serious infections, but you should know that the fluoroquinolones now have a 'black box warning' per the FDA. This cautionary material is rimmed by a bold black square in the PDR and on the product insert. This particular alert was issued 7/8/08 and reads in part:
Fluoroquinolones are associated with an increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture. This risk is further increased in those over age 60, in kidney, heart, and lung transplant recipients, and with use of concomitant steroid therapy. Physicians should advise patients, at the first sign of tendon pain, swelling, or inflammation, to stop taking the fluoroquinolone, to avoid exercise and use of the affected area, and to promptly contact their doctor about changing to a non-fluoroquinolone antimicrobial drug.
The achilles tendon is particularly susceptible to this inflammatory weakening, and, per a physical therapist I know, the loss of tendon strength and substance associated with drug-induced tendinitis is particularly devastating and hard to reverse.
So while fluoroquinolones, when indicated, are effective drugs and potentially life-saving, their routine use in uncomplicated urinary infections is unwise. Ask your doctor about using other choices in cystitis or bladder infections, and ask him/her to consider ordering a culture of your urine sample to confirm that your infection is susceptible to the antibiotic prescribed.