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Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic used to treat a number of bacterial infections. This includes bone and joint infections, intra abdominal infections, certain type of infectious diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, skin infections, typhoid fever, and urinary tract infections, among others. For some infections it is used in addition to other antibiotics. It can be taken by mouth, as eye drops, as ear drops, or intravenously.
Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and rash. Severe side effects include an increased risk of tendon rupture, hallucinations, and nerve damage. In people with myasthenia gravis, there is worsening muscle weakness. Rates of side effects appear to be higher than some groups of antibiotics such as cephalosporins but lower than others such as clindamycin. Studies in other animals raise concerns regarding use in pregnancy. No problems were identified, however, in the children of a small number of women who took the medication. It appears to be safe during breastfeeding. It is a second-generation fluoroquinolone with a broad spectrum of activity that usually results in the death of the bacteria.
Ciprofloxacin was patented in 1980 and introduced in 1987. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system. It is available as a generic medication and is not very expensive. The wholesale cost in the developing world is between US$0.03 and US$0.13 a dose. In the United States it is sold for about US$0.40 per dose. In 2016 it was the 102nd most prescribed medication in the United States with more than seven million prescriptions