Antibiotics Home > More Info on Ciprofloxacin Indications

How Does This Medication Work?

Ciprofloxacin works by killing certain bacteria that cause infections. It does this by interfering with two bacterial enzymes called topoisomerase IV and DNA gyrase. These enzymes are needed by the bacteria to copy and repair DNA, important steps for bacteria to multiply.
 

Ciprofloxacin Use in Children

Certain oral and injectable forms of ciprofloxacin are used to prevent an infection after anthrax exposure in children or to treat serious urinary tract and kidney infections in children. However, ciprofloxacin is often not the first choice for treating infections in children because, like other quinolones, it may cause bone, joint, or tendon problems in this age group (see Ciprofloxacin Joint Pain).
 
Ciprofloxacin ophthalmic ointment is approved for use in children as young as two years old. The eye and ear drop products are approved for use in children as young as one year old. Although there are concerns about possible bone, joint, or tendon problems with the use of oral quinolones in children, topical use in the eyes and ears is believed to be safe.
 

Ciprofloxacin Use in Older Adults

Older adults may have an increased risk for certain ciprofloxacin side effects, such as QT prolongation (a problem with the heart rhythm) and tendon problems (see Ciprofloxacin Tendonitis). Studies have shown that tendon problems, including tendon rupture, are more likely to occur in older adults who are also taking corticosteroid medications such as prednisone.
 
In addition, kidney function declines with advanced age. Because the kidneys remove ciprofloxacin from the body, older adults may need lower doses of the oral and intravenous (IV) forms.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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