Antibiotics Home > Ciprofloxacin Joint Pain

Clinical studies have shown that one of the side effects that can occur while using ciprofloxacin is joint pain. Children appear to have an increased risk for this problem. If your child is taking this medication, notify his or her healthcare provider immediately if any muscle, joint, or tendon problems occur, such as problems walking or moving joints.

Does Ciprofloxacin Cause Joint Pain?

Ciprofloxacin is a prescription antibiotic that belongs to a group of drugs called fluoroquinolones, or "quinolones" for short. It is used to treat a variety of different infections.
Just like all medications, ciprofloxacin can cause side effects, and one of these is joint pain, especially in children. Joint pain with ciprofloxacin use should not be ignored in any one, as it may be a sign of a more serious problem (see Ciprofloxacin Tendonitis).

Ciprofloxacin and Joint Pain in Children

Like other quinolones, ciprofloxacin has been associated with muscle, joint, or tendon problems in children. In one clinical study, ciprofloxacin was given to one group of children, while another antibiotic (a cephalosporin medication) was given to a second group. All potential side effects were reported, and any reported muscle, bone, or joint pain was thoroughly evaluated.
After six weeks of treatment, 9.3 percent of the children receiving ciprofloxacin experienced muscle, bone, or joint pain, compared to 6 percent of children receiving the other antibiotic. Specific types of muscle, bone, or joint problems included:
  • Joint pain
  • Joint sprain
  • Abnormal gait
  • Leg and arm pain
  • Back pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Wearing down of cartilage in the joints.
A variety of joints were affected, including the knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hip. However, all of the joint pain and other symptoms had resolved within 30 days after stopping ciprofloxacin.
It should be noted that ciprofloxacin oral products are only approved for use after exposure to anthrax or to treat serious urinary tract and kidney infections in children under the age of 18. Ciprofloxacin ophthalmic products and ciprofloxacin ear drops are approved for use in children, and are generally considered safe because so little of the medication reaches the bloodstream after normal use.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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