Levofloxacin is used to treat infections of the sinuses, skin, lungs, ears, airways, bones, and joints, caused by susceptible bacteria. Levofloxacin also is frequently used to treat urinary infections, including those resistant to other antibiotics, as well as prostatitis. Levofloxacin is effective in treating infectious diarrheas, caused by E. coli, campylobacter jejuni, and shigella bacteria. Levofloxacin also can be used to treat various obstetric infections, including mastitis.
Levofloxacin usually is given once daily. It is important to take it at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after any antacid, or mineral supplement with iron, calcium, zinc, or magnesium since these minerals bind levofloxacin and prevent its absorption.
Drug Class and Mechanism
Many common infections in humans are caused by single cell organisms, called bacteria. Bacteria can grow and multiply, infecting different parts of the body. Medicines that control and eradicate these bacteria are called antibiotics. Levofloxacin is an antibiotic that stops multiplication of bacteria by preventing the reproduction and repair of their genetic material (DNA). It is in a class of antibiotics, called fluoroquinolones, a class that includes ciprofloxacin (Cipro), norfloxacin (Noroxin), ofloxacin (Floxin), trovafloxacin (Trovan), and lomefloxacin (Maxaquin). Levofloxacin was approved by the FDA in 1996.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
Levofloxacin is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using Levofloxacin at home, store Levofloxacin as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep Levofloxacin out of the reach of children and away from pets.
Possible Side Effects
The most frequently reported side effects are nausea or vomiting (1 out of every 12 persons), diarrhea (1 out 20), headache (1 out 20), and constipation (1 out of 30). Less common side effects include difficulty sleeping, dizziness, abdominal pain, rash, abdominal gas, and itching.
If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking levofloxacin and seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately: an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives); seizures; confusion or hallucinations; irregular heartbeats, chest pain, or fainting; liver damage (yellowing of the skin or eyes, nausea, abdominal pain or discomfort, unusual bleeding or bruising, severe fatigue); or muscle or joint pain.
If you experience any of the following less serious side effects, continue taking levofloxacin and talk to your doctor:
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation; headache or lightheadedness; drowsiness; insomnia; ringing in the ears; or increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight.
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.