Levaquin

Generic Name: Levofloxacin

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Levaquin is an antibiotic used to treat certain bacterial infections, including bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinus, skin, prostate, urinary tract, or kidney infections. Levaquin may also be used to treat other bacterial infections, as determined by your healthcare provider. Levaquin is available as an oral solution, tablets, and an intravenous injection (injected into the vein). Levaquin intravenous injection is for hospital use only.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Levaquin works by stopping the growth of bacteria, thereby treating your infection.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: In studies, most people being treated with Levaquin were shown to be infection-free at their follow-up visit.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Levaquin exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed for the full course of treatment, even if your symptoms improve earlier.

    How do I know it is working?

    You may start to notice an improvement in your symptoms. This is a good indicator that your medication is working. Your healthcare provider may ask you questions and order tests to assess how well your infection is being treated.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Levaquin can cause tendon (tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones) problems (such as rupture or swelling). Some tendon problems include pain, swelling, tears, and inflammation of tendons including the back of the ankle (Achilles), shoulder, hand, or other tendon sites. Your risk of tendon problems while taking Levaquin is higher if you are over 60 years of age; are taking corticosteroids (such as prednisone); or have had a kidney, heart, or lung transplant. Call your healthcare provider right away at the first sign of tendon pain, swelling, or inflammation. Also, get medical help right away if you hear or feel a snap or pop in a tendon area, bruise right after an injury in a tendon area, or are unable to move the affected area or bear weight.

    Levaquin can cause worsening of myasthenia gravis (a disease characterized by long-lasting fatigue and muscle weakness) symptoms. Call your healthcare provider right away if you develop worsening muscle weakness or breathing problems.

    More common side effects may include: nausea, headache, diarrhea, trouble sleeping, constipation, dizziness.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Serious allergic reactions, with symptoms such as hives; rash; trouble breathing or swallowing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat; rapid heartbeat; or fainting.

    Liver damage, with symptoms such as unexplained nausea or vomiting, stomach pain, fever, weakness, tenderness, itching, unusual tiredness, loss of appetite, light color bowel movements, dark colored urine, or yellowing of your skin or whites of your eyes.

    Central nervous system effects, such as seizures, hallucinations, restlessness, shaking, anxiousness or nervousness, confusion, depression, trouble sleeping, nightmares, lightheadedness, suspiciousness, headaches that will not go away, or suicidal thoughts or actions.

    Damage to the nerves in your arms, hands, legs, or feet, with symptoms such as pain, burning, tingling, numbness, or weakness in any of these areas of your body.

    Changes in the electrical activity of your heart, with symptoms such as chest pain, fast or slow heartbeat, shortness of breath, and dizziness or fainting.

    Watery and bloody stools (with or without stomach cramps and fever), even as late as two or more months after having taken the last dose of Levaquin.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Levaquin if you are allergic to it, any of its ingredients, or to similar antibiotics (such as ciprofloxacin or moxifloxacin).

    Do not take Levaquin to treat viral infections (such as the common cold).

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Levaquin. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have tendon, nerve, bone, kidney, or liver problems; myasthenia gravis; seizures; joint problems; low blood potassium levels; diabetes or problems with low blood sugar; or if you or anyone in your family has an irregular heartbeat, especially prolonged QT interval (very fast or abnormal heartbeats).

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Adults: The recommended dose is 250 milligrams (mg), 500 mg, or 750 mg once a day. Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose and duration for you based on the type and severity of your infection.

    Children ≥6 months: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child, based on his/her weight.

    If you have kidney impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Levaquin exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Levaquin without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Take Levaquin with or without food, at about the same time each day.

    Drink plenty of fluids while you are taking Levaquin.

    Take Levaquin either two hours before or two hours after you take any of these medicines: didanosine, sucralfate, or antacids, multivitamins, or other medicines or supplements that contain magnesium, aluminum, iron, or zinc.

    Take Levaquin oral solution 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drive, operate machinery, or engage in other activities that require mental alertness or coordination until you know how Levaquin affects you.

    Do not expose yourself to sunlamps or tanning beds, and try to limit your time in the sun, as Levaquin can increase your sensitivity to light. If you need to be outdoors, use sunscreen and wear a hat and loose-fitting clothes that protect your skin from the sun.

    Do not skip doses. Skipping doses or not completing the full course of Levaquin can decrease its effectiveness and can lead to the growth of bacteria that are resistant to the effects of Levaquin.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Levaquin is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Levaquin with the following: antacids, multivitamins, or other medicines or supplements that contain magnesium, aluminum, iron, or zinc; diabetes medicines (such as insulin); didanosine; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen or naproxen); sucralfate; theophylline; or warfarin.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Levaquin during pregnancy are unknown. Levaquin may be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while you are taking Levaquin. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Levaquin, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Beth Isaac, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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