Active Ingredients

Ciprofloxacin – Effect, Application & Risks


Ciprofloxacin is a broad spectrum antibiotic . The active ingredient comes from the group of fluoroquinolones . The pharmaceutical company Bayer developed ciprofloxacin in 1981 and it was patented in 1983.

Was ist Ciprofloxacin?

Ciprofloxacin is an active ingredient that is used to treat a variety of diseases. It belongs to the group of so-called synthetic antibiotics. The active ingredient has an extremely broad spectrum of activity and is counted among the fluoroquinolone substances.

Antibiotics from the group of fluoroquinolones have the property of inhibiting the so-called gyrase in bacteria . As a result, the bacteria are impaired in the replication of their DNA, because cell division is slower. As a result, the bacteria are inhibited from multiplying. Thus, ciprofloxacin has a bactericidal effect, which is primarily directed against gram-negative germs.

Pharmacological action

The antibiotic ciprofloxacin affects both the gyrase and the DNA topoisomerase type IV. It thus reduces the DNA synthesis performance and the cell division ability of bacteria. In addition, other mechanisms of action that have not yet been fully researched are under discussion.Ciprofloxacin has a secondary bactericidal effect. This means that the faster the bacteria multiply, the better the effect of the substance. If at the same time the biosynthesis of proteins or the synthesis of RNA is reduced by chloramphenicol , macrolides or rifampicin , this reduces the effectiveness of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin.

The substance is characterized by a very broad spectrum of action. Like other types of fluoroquinolones, ciprofloxacin is particularly potent against gram-negative pathogens. However, ciprofloxacin is also partially effective against germs in the gram-positive range. In addition, intracellular pathogens are combated.

In order to be able to develop its effect, the correct dosage of the substance depending on the disease to be treated is essential. Depending on the type of infection , the dose and duration of use vary. In most cases, ciprofloxacin is administered twice a day. The preferred form of administration is usually the tablet.

For certain diseases, a single dose of ciprofloxacin in an amount of 500 milligrams is sufficient. This is the case, for example, with gonorrhea (clap). In addition, there is also the possibility of intravenous administration. In addition, local application of ciprofloxacin in the form of eye or ear drops is possible.

Medical Application & Use

The administration of ciprofloxacin is indicated for bacterial infections whose pathogens are sensitive to the substance. These include, for example , respiratory infections caused by Haemophilus influenzae or Moraxella catarrhalis.

Ciprofloxacin can be used for urinary tract infections caused by Proteus , Escherichia coli or Klebsiella . Ciprofloxacin can also be used for gastrointestinal infections caused by Shigella, Salmonella , typhus or Campylobacter .

Furthermore, the antibiotic can be used against the problematic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa . This causes, for example, diseases such as cystic fibrosis , otitis externa maligna and osteomyelitis . In addition, a prophylactic use of the drug in relatives of a patient with meningococcal meningitis is possible.

In principle, the antibiotic should only be used for respiratory infections after careful consideration, as it is not sufficiently effective against the responsible germs, the pneumococci. Ciprofloxacin can also be used to treat bile duct infections and anthrax .

Risks & side effects

Ciprofloxacin is associated with a large number of possible side effects , some of which can be very serious. The most common side effects include nausea , skin rashes and diarrhea . Use during pregnancy and lactation is not recommended, and children should not receive ciprofloxacin. Animal experiments with young dogs have shown that ciprofloxacin impairs cartilage growth.Other possible side effects are, for example, the liver toxicity and neurotoxicity of the active substance as well as allergic reactions . Observations indicate a connection to the red man syndrome. Because ciprofloxacin may lower the seizure threshold, people with seizure disorders should avoid the antibiotic if possible, or use it only under close supervision.

Numerous side effects of ciprofloxacin that have been described relate to the tendons . This can cause swelling , pain , inflammation and tears in the tendons. The back of the ankle can also be affected.

Such side effects can occur in people of all ages. The most common are swelling and pain in the Achilles tendon . Tendon ruptures are still possible months after treatment with ciprofloxacin. The likelihood of damage to the tendons also increases in patients older than 60 years. Observations indicate that parts of the active substance can reduce the strength of tendons.

In rare cases, psychotic disorders including suicidal tendencies have been described when taking ciprofloxacin . Patients who suffer from seizures or cardiac arrhythmia should avoid caffeine-containing foods and medicines, as the effect of caffeine is increased. Any side effects that occur should always be reported to the doctor treating you.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.