Levaquin (Levofloxacin) Drug Information

  • Why is this medication prescribed?

    Levaquin (levofloxacin) is used to treat certain infections such as pneumonia chronic bronchitis and sinus, urinary tract, kidney, prostate (a male reproductive gland), and skin infections. Levaquin (levofloxacin) is also used to prevent anthrax (a serious infection that may be spread on purpose as part of a bioterror attack) in people who may have been exposed to anthrax germs in the air. Levaquin (levofloxacin) is in a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. It works by killing bacteria that cause infections. Antibiotics will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.

  • How should this medicine be used?

    Levaquin (levofloxacin) comes as a tablet and a solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day. The length of your treatment depends on the type of infection you have. Your doctor will tell you how long to take Levaquin (levofloxacin). The tablet may be taken with or without food. The solution should be taken 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating. Take Levaquin (levofloxacin) at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take Levaquin (levofloxacin) exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

    You should begin to feel better during the first few days of treatment with Levaquin (levofloxacin). If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor.

    Take Levaquin (levofloxacin) until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. Do not stop taking Levaquin (levofloxacin) unless you experience the symptoms of tendinitis or tendon rupture described in the IMPORTANT WARNING section or the symptoms of allergic reaction described in the SIDE EFFECTS section. If you stop taking Levaquin (levofloxacin) too soon or skip doses, your infection may not be completely treated and the bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics.

  • Other uses for this medicine

    Levaquin (levofloxacin) is also sometimes used to treat endocarditis (infection of the heart lining and valves), certain sexually transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis (TB). Levaquin (levofloxacin) is also sometimes used to prevent or treat travelers' diarrhea and plague (a serious infection that may be spread on purpose as part of a bioterror attack). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.

    This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

  • What special precautions should I follow?

    Before taking Levaquin (levofloxacin):

    • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic or have had a severe reaction to Levaquin (levofloxacin); any other quinolone or fluoroquinolone antibiotic such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), gatifloxacin (Tequin) (not available in the U.S.), gemifloxacin (Factive), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin) (not available in the U.S.), moxifloxacin (Avelox), nalidixic acid (NegGram), norfloxacin (Noroxin), ofloxacin (Floxin), and sparfloxacin (Zagam) (not available in the U.S.): or any other medications, or if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in Levaquin (levofloxacin) tablets or solution. Ask your pharmacist or check the Medication Guide for a list of the ingredients.
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section and any of the following: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven); certain antidepressants; antipsychotics (medications to treat mental illness); cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune); diuretics ('water pills'); insulin; oral medications for diabetes such as glyburide (DiaBeta, in Glucovance, Micronase, others); certain medications for irregular heartbeat such as amiodarone (Cordarone), procainamide (Procanbid), quinidine, and sotalol (Betapace, Betapace AF, Sorine); nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, others); tacrolimus (Prograf); or theophylline (Elixophyllin, Theo-24, Uniphyl, others). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
    • if you are taking antacids containing aluminum hydroxide or magnesium hydroxide (Maalox, Mylanta, Tums, others), didanosine (Videx), sucralfate (Carafate), or vitamin or mineral supplements that contain iron or zinc, take these medications 2 hours before or after you take Levaquin (levofloxacin).
    • tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had a prolonged QT interval (a rare heart problem that may cause irregular heartbeat, fainting, or sudden death) or an irregular heartbeat, and if you have or have ever had nerve problems; a low level of potassium in your blood; a slow heartbeat; cerebral arteriosclerosis (narrowing of blood vessels in or near the brain that can lead to stroke or mini-stroke); seizures; chest pain; or liver disease.
    • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking Levaquin (levofloxacin), call your doctor.
    • you should know that Levaquin (levofloxacin) may cause confusion, dizziness, lightheadedness, and tiredness. Do not drive a car, operate machinery, or participate in activities requiring alertness or coordination until you know how this medication affects you.
    • plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light (tanning beds and sunlamps) and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Levaquin (levofloxacin) may make your skin sensitive to sunlight or ultraviolet light. If your skin becomes reddened, swollen, or blistered, like a bad sunburn, call your doctor.
  • What special dietary instructions should I follow?

    Make sure you drink plenty of water or other fluids every day while you are taking Levaquin (levofloxacin).

  • What should I do if I forget a dose?

    Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

  • What side effects can this medication cause?

    Levaquin (levofloxacin) may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • stomach pain
    • constipation
    • heartburn
    • headache
    • vaginal itching and/or discharge

    Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, or those mentioned in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, stop taking Levaquin (levofloxacin), and call your doctor immediately:

    • severe diarrhea (watery or bloody stools) that may occur with or without fever and stomach cramps (may occur up to 2 months or more after your treatment)
    • skin rash or blisters
    • itching
    • hives
    • tingling or swelling of the face, neck, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
    • difficulty breathing or swallowing
    • hoarseness or throat tightness
    • fainting
    • rapid, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
    • chest pain
    • joint or muscle pain
    • fever
    • unusual bruising or bleeding
    • extreme tiredness
    • lack of energy
    • loss of appetite
    • pain in the upper right part of the stomach
    • yellowing of the skin or eyes
    • dark urine
    • pale stools
    • flu-like symptoms
    • seizures
    • dizziness
    • confusion
    • nervousness
    • restlessness
    • anxiety
    • not trusting others or feeling that others want to hurt you
    • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
    • nightmares or abnormal dreams
    • hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
    • depression
    • thoughts about dying or killing yourself
    • uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
    • pain, burning, tingling, numbness, and/or weakness in a part of the body

    Levaquin (levofloxacin) may cause problems with bones, joints, and tissues around joints in children. Levaquin (levofloxacin) should not normally be given to children younger than 18 years of age unless they have been exposed to anthrax in the air. If your doctor prescribes Levaquin (levofloxacin) for your child, be sure to tell the doctor if your child has or has ever had joint-related problems. Call your doctor if your child develops joint problems, such as pain or swelling, while taking Levaquin (levofloxacin) or after treatment with Levaquin (levofloxacin). Talk to your child's doctor about the risks of giving Levaquin (levofloxacin) to your child.

    Levaquin (levofloxacin) may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

    If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

  • What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

  • In case of emergency/overdose

    In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

  • What other information should I know?

    Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to Levaquin (levofloxacin).

    Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking Levaquin (levofloxacin).

    Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish taking Levaquin (levofloxacin), call your doctor.

  • Brand Names

    • Levaquin®