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Ciprofloxacin belongs to the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics and is used in the treatment of a wide range of bacterial infections such as respiratory tract infections, intra-abdominal infections, a few types of infectious diarrhea, and urinary tract infections. Ciprofloxacin is available as oral tablets, eye and ear drops, and in injection form.

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What is Ciprofloxacin?

Ciprofloxacin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that eliminates gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, including mycobacteria and anaerobes. Regarded as a potent antibacterial drug in the scientific community, it treats serious infections when other antibiotics fail. It helps treat chest infections, including pneumonia, skin/bone infections, sexually transmitted infections, eye/ear infection, conjunctivitis, meningitis, and more. Researchers also believe bacteria treated with Ciprofloxacin become less resistant than penicillin and tetracycline alternatives. However, it does not work on virus-related infections, only targeting bacteria.

The antibiotic fights off with the following bacteria:

  • Bacillus anthracis
  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • Enterococcus faecalis
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • Salmonella typhi
  • Streptococcus pneumonia

How to take Ciprofloxacin?

Since the antibiotic drug treats a wide range of infections, its dosage and treatment duration varies significantly. Your doctor will prescribe you the proper dosage after assessing various factors such as type/severity/duration of the infection, age, weight, medical history, and current medications. You need to follow your doctor’s order as prescribed.

We have mentioned a standard list of Ciprofloxacin dosages based on diseases to be treated  (actual dosage may vary among individuals)

Acute uncomplicated pyelonephritis:

Adults – 1000 mg per day.

Complicated Urinary Tract Infection:

Adults – 1000 mg per day.

Uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infection:

Adults – 500 mg daily for three days.

Anthrax infection after the exposure:

Adults – 500 mg 2 times a day taken every 12 hours at intervals for 60 days.

Ciprofloxacin dosages for children exposed to anthrax include 15 mg per kg of body weight taken every 12 hours for 60 days. The dosage must not exceed 500 mg per day.


Adults – A single dosage of 250 mg.

Other infections:

Adults – 250 mg to 750 mg 2 times daily taken every 12 hours.


Adults: 500 mg to 750 mg 2 times a day took 12 hours for 14 days.

The above list gives you a standard idea of the dosing pattern. You must not take it by yourself without consulting your doctor. Besides, the ciprofloxacin dosage for children widely differs from adults, which requires careful consideration by the doctor.

What are the side effects of Ciprofloxacin?

Some common side effects include nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, headache, lightheadedness, and difficulty sleeping. While it may subside over time, you must contact your doctor if the side effects persist or worsen.

Ciprofloxacin can also cause severe side effects requiring immediate medical attention. Some signs of severe side effects include unusual bruising or bleeding skin, persistent fever/ sore throat, kidney issues such as changes in urine amount, and reddish or pinkish urine. Check for liver issues such as abdominal pain, persistent vomiting or urge to vomit, yellowing eyes/skin, or dark urine.

Other signs of serious side effects include:

  • Dizziness (feeling of passing out)
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart palpitation
  • Severe pain in the stomach/back/chest
  • Cough and breathing difficulties

Although rare, Ciprofloxacin may cause a severe intestinal condition known as clostridium difficile in which you may experience persistent diarrhea, stomach pain/cram, blood, or mucus in the stool. You may experience it while taking the drug or even weeks/months after the treatment. In such cases, you must contact your doctor rather than self-medicate yourself with anti-diarrhea or opioid medications, as they may worsen your condition.

Do not use the medication for a prolonged period as you may develop oral thrush or a new yeast infection. Contact your healthcare professional if you notice any white patches in your mouth, experience vaginal discharge, or any other symptoms. 

Compared to Ciprofloxacin, Amoxicillin is considered a safe medicine during pregnancy. 

Is Ciprofloxacin penicillin?

No, both Ciprofloxacin and penicillin work differently on bacteria.

Firstly, the core of Ciprofloxacin contains two six-member carbon rings attached to a fluorine atom. The drug targets two bacterial enzymes called DNA gyrase and topoisomerase. These enzymes, while replicating notch, coil, and seal the DNA. The active ingredient fluoroquinolones bind with these two separate enzymes, killing the mutation of the bacteria. Therefore, the DNA of the bacteria remains incomplete and defective, eventually leading to their death.

To understand how penicillin works, you need to understand bacteria cells.

Each bacteria cell comes with a protective envelope called the cell wall. These cell walls are powered by peptidoglycan which offers them flexibility and rigidity. The outer cell wall of the bacteria is formed when one peptidoglycan chain links with another with the help of the enzyme DD-transpeptidase.

Penicillin belongs to the beta-lactam family comprising a four-membered beta-lactam ring, which binds with the DD-transpeptidase and inhibits the growth of bacterial cell walls. Without a cell wall to protect them, the bacteria become vulnerable to outer water and molecular pressures, leading to their death.

However, only gram-positive bacteria have thick cell walls as they contain high levels of peptidoglycan. Meanwhile, gram-negative bacteria include thinner cell walls and are surrounded by a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) layer that prevents antibiotics from entering the cell. That’s why penicillin only works against gram-positive bacteria as it contains a high level of DD-transpeptidase.

This is why doctors suggest ciprofloxacin doses instead of penicillin to patients infected with gram-negative bacteria.

How long should I take Ciprofloxacin 500mg?

The duration of the treatment widely differs on an individual and the type/severity of the infection. Your doctor may prescribe you a 3-7 day course for uncomplicated UTI and kidney infections, whereas your dosage may increase up to a couple of weeks for severe infections. Ciprofloxacin can treat some infections within one day as well. Meanwhile, infections like plague or anthrax exposure may take weeks or months to clear up.

What does Ciprofloxacin treat?

Ciprofloxacin treats infections caused by gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria such as pneumonia, gonorrhea, STIs, typhoid fever, infectious diarrhea, and other severe infections of the skin, bone, abdomen, prostate, and joints. It is also used for treating or preventing plague and anthrax inhalation caused by bioterror attacks. Doctors may prescribe Ciprofloxacin for treating sinus infections, bronchitis, and urinary tract infections in the absence of other treatment options. Moreover, the extended-release version of Ciprofloxacin tablets is used for treating complicated kidney and urinary tract infections when no other treatments work.

Can I Buy ciprofloxacin Online in the UK?

Yes, you can order Ciprofloxacin online with a valid prescription.

However, you simply cannot buy Ciprofloxacin online from a website you know nothing about. Medicines may come cheaper online, but the likelihood of getting a fake or spurious medicine remains high.

Before you buy Ciprofloxacin online, get a background check done about the website, such as checking their license, certification, and consumer reviews.