Levofloxacin (By mouth)


Levofloxacin (lee-voe-FLOX-a-sin)

Treats bacterial infections. Also treats anthrax infection after possible exposure. This medicine is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic.

Brand Name(s)

Levaquin, Levaquin Leva-pak

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to levofloxacin or any other fluoroquinolone antibiotic (such as ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, Avelox®, Cipro®, Levaquin®, Vigamox®). Make sure your doctor knows if you have myasthenia gravis.

How to Use This Medicine

Liquid, Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • Keep using this medicine for the full treatment time, even if you feel better after the first few doses. Your infection may not clear up if you stop using the medicine too soon.
  • Take your medicine at the same time each day.
    • Tablet: Take the tablet with or without food.
    • Liquid: Take the liquid medicine 1 hour before or 2 hours after you eat.Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • Drink extra fluids so you will pass more urine while you are using this medicine. This will keep your kidneys working well and help prevent kidney problems.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using a steroid medicine (such as hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisolone, prednisone). Use of steroids together with this medicine may increase your risk for tendon problems.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using theophylline (Theo-Dur®) or a heart rhythm medicine (such as amiodarone, disopyramide, sotalol, Betapace®, Cardioquin®, Cordarone®, Norpace®, or Tikosyn®).
  • Tell your doctor if you are using a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®, Jantoven®), diabetes medicine (such as glimepiride, glyburide, metformin, Actos®, Janumet®, Januvia®), or an NSAID pain or arthritis medicine (such as aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil®, Aleve®, Celebrex®, or Voltaren®).
  • Tell your doctor if you use any antacids that contain magnesium or aluminum (such as Gaviscon®, Maalox®, Milk of Magnesia®, Mylanta®, Pepcid® Complete, or Rolaids®), or a vitamin or mineral supplement that contains calcium, zinc, or iron. Also talk with your doctor if you use sucralfate (Carafate®) or didanosine (Videx®) powder or chewable buffered tablets. These medicines should be taken at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after you take levofloxacin.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney, liver, or heart disease; diabetes; heart rhythm problems (such as QT prolongation or a slow heartbeat); or hypokalemia (low blood potassium). Tell your doctor if you have nerve problems or a history of seizures, epilepsy, head injury, or stroke. If this medicine is for a child, make sure the doctor knows if the child has joint problems.
  • Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Stop using this medicine and tell your doctor right away if you have blisters, peeling or loose skin, skin rash or redness, sores, skin ulcers, fever, or chills while you are using this medicine.
  • This medicine may cause serious liver problems, including hepatitis. Stop taking this medicine and tell your doctor right away if you have nausea or vomiting, dark urine or pale stools, stomach pain, or yellow eyes or skin.
  • If you have severe diarrhea, ask your doctor before taking any medicine to stop the diarrhea.It may occur 2 months or later after you stop using this medicine.
  • This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Use a sunscreen when you are outdoors. Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have pain or swelling in your knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, hand, or wrist. Your tendons may be more easily injured while you are using this medicine. The risk is higher if you are older than 60 years, take steroid medicines, or have had a heart, kidney, or lung transplant.
  • You may need to monitor your blood sugar more often while using levofloxacin if you are also using insulin or other diabetes medicines.
  • Stop taking this medicine and tell your doctor right away if you have numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet. These may be symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
  • This medicine may make you feel dizzy or lightheaded. Do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood or urine at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor.
  • Use this medicine only to treat a bacterial infection as your doctor has prescribed. This medicine will not treat viral infections such as the flu or the common cold.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate
  • Chest pain, lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Dark-colored urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain in your upper stomach, yellow skin or eyes
  • Diarrhea that may contain blood
  • Fast, slow, or uneven heartbeat
  • Increased hunger or thirst
  • Joint pain or muscle weakness
  • Anxiety, restlessness, confusion, seeing or hearing things that are not there, severe headache
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet
  • Pain or swelling in your knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, hand, or wrist
  • Red or dark brown urine
  • Seizures or tremors
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Mild headache
  • Mild nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013

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