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What Is Ofloxacin?

By L. Whitaker
Updated Feb 11, 2024
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Ofloxacin, also known in the United States by the trade name Floxin®, is an antibiotic medication in the fluoroquinolone family used in the treatment of serious bacterial infections. The common uses of this medication include the treatment of bronchitis, staph and strep infections, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. It is known to be ineffective in treating syphilis. Some kinds of bacteria have been proven to be resistant to this medication.

Common side effects of ofloxacin can include sleep difficulties, headaches, vaginal infections, or nausea and vomiting. In some cases, psychological effects such as hallucinations or anxiety could be possible. Ofloxacin and other antibiotics classified as fluoroquinolones are known to cause muscular problems in some individuals, including tendinitis, the rupture of the Achilles tendon associated with exercise. These issues are typically seen in people who are also taking steroid medications, are at least 60 years old, or have previously experienced transplantation of the heart, kidney, or lung.

Like any antibiotic, ofloxacin can negatively influence the balance of bacteria in the lower digestive tracts, possibly leading to inflammation along with diarrhea, fever, pain in the abdomen, or shock. This drug should not be taken in conjunction with warfarin (brand name Coumadin®), as it might cause excessive bleeding. Individuals with diabetes could find that ofloxacin can cause changes in blood sugar levels. Use of this medication should be avoided by people who are allergic to certain types of antibiotics, including ciproflaxin (Cipro®), levofloxacin (Levaquin®), and moxifloxacin (Avelox®).

An appropriate dosage adjustment could be required for individuals with impaired kidney or liver function, due to the manner in which this medication is metabolized and excreted. Patients using ofloxacin should take this prescription on an empty stomach and avoid interactions with iron, minerals, and antacids that can impede proper absorption of the drug. It is important to avoid excessive exposure to sunlight while using this medication.

Ofloxacin is not appropriate for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Individuals with a history of seizures should be monitored by a physician, due to the possibility of seizures as a side effect of this drug. Patients who use theophylline as a treatment for asthma should also use caution when taking this medication. It is also not intended for pediatric use, due to the possibility of permanent damage to the musculoskeletal structures. People who have been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis should avoid using this medication.

This drug works by keeping bacteria from self-replication through DNA inhibition. Approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 1990, ofloxacin is found under several trade names in the U.S. and other countries. The Floxin® trade name was discontinued in the U.S. in 2009, although the drug is still available for use in generic formulations, including oral, intravenous, ear drop, and eye drop formats. This medication is sometimes used in veterinary contexts under the brand name Marfloxacin®.

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Discussion Comments
By SarahGen — On Mar 28, 2014

@stoneMason-- I did not have a very good experience with ofloxacin. I'm a diabetic and this antibiotic raised my blood sugar. Thankfully, I was not on it for a very long time and I was able to adjust my blood sugar by increasing the dose of my diabetic medication.

I also have high blood pressure and although ofloxacin did not affect my blood pressure, my doctor told me to avoid aspirin while I was on it. Apparently, ofloxacin can increase the effects of anticoagulant medications and increase the risk of bleeding.

By stoneMason — On Mar 28, 2014

@ddljohn-- It's synthetic, it's not made from bacteria like antibiotics such as penicillin. It's made in the lab. But it's just as effective as antibiotics made from bacteria and it's fairly wide spectrum as well.

Despite being effective, some doctors prefer using other antibiotics to ofloxacin, especially if they suspect that the patient will suffer from a lot of side effects. Like the article said, the drug can cause issues with tendons and muscles.

By ddljohn — On Mar 27, 2014

Is ofloxacin derived from bacteria or is it a synthetic antibiotic?

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