What Is Ciprofloxacin/Hydrocortisone Used For?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of ciprofloxacin/hydrocortisone to treat external ear infections caused by certain bacteria. The drug comes in the form of an ear drop that is applied to the affected ear. Swimmers are at greater risk for developing these infections. Prevention methods include wearing special earplugs or ear drops and shaking water out of the ears.

An Overview of Uses for Ciprofloxacin/Hydrocortisone

Ciprofloxacin/hydrocortisone (Cipro® HC) is a prescription ear drop used to treat outer ear infections, known medically as acute otitis externa. This type of ear infection is sometimes called "swimmer's ear." As the name implies, ciprofloxacin/hydrocortisone contains a combination of ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic, and hydrocortisone, a corticosteroid medication.
 
Usually, when people think of ear infections, they think of otitis media, or a middle ear infection. Otitis media is the most common type of ear infection. It occurs behind the eardrum. By contrast, otitis externa is an infection of the outer ear and ear canal.
 
The ear canal is the part of the ear that connects the outer ear to the eardrum. When the ear canal or the outer ear becomes infected with bacteria, it is called acute otitis externa. The type of bacteria that commonly cause otitis externa include:
 
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Streptococcus bacteria types.
     
Otitis externa often results from excessive water exposure to the ear, which can happen when people swim a lot. This is the reason it is commonly called "swimmer's ear." When water enters the ear canal, it softens the skin in the ear, allowing bacteria to collect and more easily penetrate the skin.
 
Water exposure is not the only risk factor for an outer ear infection, however. Other things that may lead to an infection include:
 
  • Excessive cleaning or removal of ear wax (ear wax protects the ear canal)
  • Cuts or scratches in the ear canal, which can happen when things are put in the ear, such as cotton swabs
  • Wearing objects or devices that plug the ear canal, such as hearing aids, ear buds, or earplugs.
     
The first sign of an outer ear infection is a feeling of fullness in the ear. Sometimes, the ear will also feel itchy. Other symptoms may include:
 
  • Pain, especially when the ear is touched or pulled
  • Ear drainage
  • Facial swelling near the infected ear
  • Decreased hearing.
     
Ciprofloxacin/hydrocortisone is an antibiotic ear drop used to treat an outer ear infection by killing the bacteria that cause it. Specifically, it is indicated to treat outer ear infections caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, or Proteus mirabilis. The addition of hydrocortisone helps to relieve some of the symptoms, such as inflammation, itching, and pain.
 
Ciprofloxacin/hydrocortisone does not prevent an ear infection from occurring. However, there are certain steps you can take to help reduce your risk of getting one. These steps include the following:
 
  • Avoid excessive ear cleaning and wax removal. If you believe you have wax build-up in your ear, talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to clean your ears.
     
  • Avoid sticking objects into your ear, including fingers, cotton swabs, or anything that may damage the skin in the ear.
     
  • If you swim a lot, shake your ears dry after swimming, or use earplugs or ear drops made especially for swimmers. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider about these products.
     
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Ciprofloxacin/Hydrocortisone Drug Information

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