How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Ofloxacin is an antibiotic that belongs to the class of medications called quinolones. It is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria. It is most commonly used to treat infections of the lung, urinary tract, and skin. It can also be used to treat certain prostate infections and sexually transmitted infections. Ofloxacin works by killing some types of bacteria that can cause these infections.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than the ones listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

200 mg
Each light yellow, oval, biconvex, film-coated tablet, engraved "200" on one side, contains 200 mg ofloxacin. Nonmedicinal ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, methylcellulose, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, colloidal silicon dioxide, polydextrose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide, and carnauba wax.

300 mg
Each white, oval, biconvex, film-coated tablet, engraved "300" on one side, contains 300 mg ofloxacin. Nonmedicinal ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, methylcellulose, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, colloidal silicon dioxide, polydextrose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide, and carnauba wax.

400 mg
Each yellow, oval, biconvex, film-coated tablet, engraved "400" on one side, contains 400 mg ofloxacin. Nonmedicinal ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, methylcellulose, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, colloidal silicon dioxide, polydextrose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide, and carnauba wax.

How should I use this medication?

The usual recommended adult dose is 200 mg to 400 mg twice daily, depending on the type of infection being treated.

The medication can be taken with or without food but should not be taken with dairy products (e.g., milk, yogurt) or calcium alone. (See "What other medications could interact with this medication?" below.)

You should make sure to drink enough liquids (e.g., water, juices) while taking this medication.

It is important to complete the entire course of medication prescribed by your doctor even if you begin to feel better.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take ofloxacin if you:

  • are allergic to ofloxacin or any ingredients of the medication
  • are allergic to other quinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin)

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • difficulty sleeping
  • dizziness
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • itchiness
  • nausea
  • rash
  • taste alteration
  • vaginal infection caused by yeast or bacteria
  • vomiting

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • abnormal vision
  • joint pain
  • muscle pain
  • signs of liver damage such as yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • swelling of the hands, feet, or ankles (if you are not having difficulty breathing)

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • blisters on mucous membranes, with fever
  • chest pain
  • confusion or changes in thought patterns
  • diarrhea (watery and severe or bloody)
  • irregular or rapid heart rate
  • pain, swelling, or rupture of a tendon
  • sensation of skin burning
  • severe abdominal or stomach cramps or pain
  • signs of an allergic reaction, e.g.:
    • difficulty breathing
    • hives
    • swelling of the face, tongue, or throat
  • signs of bleeding, e.g.:
    • bleeding gums
    • blood in the urine
    • dark tarry stools
    • easy bruising
    • nosebleeds
    • vomiting blood
  • skin rash, especially if skin is blistering, loosening, or peeling

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin taking a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should take this medication.

HEALTH CANADA ADVISORY

March 14, 2012

Health Canada has issued new information concerning the use of ofloxacin. To read the full report, visit Health Canada's website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca.

A previous advisory on ofloxacin was issued on November 7, 2011.

To read the full Health Canada Advisory, visit Health Canada's web site at www.hc-sc.gc.ca.

Allergy: Serious allergic reactions have been reported by people who take this medication. These reactions often occur following the first dose. Signs of an allergic reaction include a severe rash, hives, swollen face or throat, or difficulty breathing. If these occur, seek immediate medical attention.

Diabetes: Disturbances of blood glucose control, including the onset of high or low blood glucose, have been reported with ofloxacin. This usually occurs for people with diabetes who use insulin or take an antidiabetes medication by mouth (e.g., glyburide). If you have diabetes and are taking ofloxacin, carefully monitor your blood glucose.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Ofloxacin may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Do not drive or engage in other activities requiring alertness if the medication affects you in this way.

Fluids: Drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication. This will help to avoid the possible development of crystals in your urine.

Kidney or liver problems: If you have reduced kidney or liver function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Medical conditions: If you have a history of convulsions (seizures) or have a medical condition known to make seizures more likely, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Neuromuscular disorders: People with myasthenia gravis (an autoimmune disorder that causes muscle weakness) should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Stomach problems (especially colitis): People taking this medication may develop diarrhea caused by an infection with the bacteria C. difficile. If you have loose, watery, and bloody bowel movements, with or without fever or stomach cramps after taking ofloxacin, get medical attention as soon as possible. Diarrhea caused by C. difficile infection can lead to serious health problems if it is not properly treated.

Sun sensitivity: People who take ofloxacin are more likely to suffer from sunburn. While taking ofloxacin, be careful if you must spend time in the sun. Avoid sun and use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15. Stop taking the medication if sun sensitivity occurs.

Tendinitis: Ofloxacin may increase the chance of tendon injury. Injury occurs more commonly for people who are also taking corticosteroid medications. If there is any new pain in the tendons, stop taking ofloxacin, avoid physical exercise, and contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, stop taking it and contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking ofloxacin, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children and adolescents: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children. Ofloxacin is not recommended for children and adolescents under 18 years of age.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between ofloxacin and any of the following:

  • aminophylline
  • amiodarone
  • antidiabetes medications (e.g., glyburide, insulin, metformin)
  • antacids containing aluminum hydroxide, calcium, and magnesium hydroxide (do not take within 2 hours of ofloxacin)
  • buffered antiretroviral medications (e.g., didanosine)
  • calcium supplements and multivitamins containing calcium (do not take within 2 hours of ofloxacin)
  • cimetidine
  • cyclosporine
  • disopyramide
  • erythromycin
  • iron supplements and multivitamins containing iron (do not take within 2 hours of ofloxacin)
  • medications taken to control heart rhythm
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)
  • phenothiazines
  • quinidine
  • sotalol
  • sucralfate (do not take within 2 hours of ofloxacin)
  • theophylline
  • tricyclic antidepressants
  • warfarin
  • zinc supplements and multivitamins containing zinc (do not take within 2 hours of ofloxacin)

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.