Levofloxacin is given to treat a bacterial infection. It is useful for treating infections such as sinusitis, chest infections, urine infections, prostatitis, and some skin and soft tissue infections. It works by killing the bacteria which are the cause of the infection.
Other antibiotics are usually prescribed in preference to levofloxacin. Levofloxacin is reserved for infections which have not improved with other antibiotic treatment. It is also used if other, more preferred, antibiotics cannot be prescribed for some reason.
Before taking levofloxacin
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking levofloxacin it is important that your doctor knows:
• If you are pregnant, trying for a baby, or breast-feeding.
• If you are under 18 years of age.
• If you have ever experienced a problem with your tendons, called tendonitis.
• If you have any problems with the way your kidneys work.
• If you have epilepsy or any other condition that causes fits.
• If you have ever had mental health problems.
• If you have a heart condition, or if you have been told you have an unusual heartbeat.
• If you have a condition causing tired and weak muscles, called myasthenia gravis.
• If you know you have glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. This is a genetic disorder which causes problems after eating foods such as fava beans.
• If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
• If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine. It is particularly important that you tell your doctor if you have had a problem after taking another quinolone antibiotic (these are called norfloxacin, ofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, moxifloxacin, and nalidixic acid).
How to take levofloxacin
• Before you start taking the tablets, read the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The manufacturer’s leaflet will give you more information about levofloxacin and a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
• Take levofloxacin exactly as your doctor tells you to. The usual dose is 500 mg daily, although for some types of infection a dose of 250 mg daily is sufficient, and for others, 500 mg twice daily is needed. Read the label carefully to make sure you know what dose is right for you.
• You can take levofloxacin before or after meals. If you are taking one dose a day, it is preferable to take it in the morning. If you are taking more than one dose a day, try to space out your doses – so ideally, take a tablet every 12 hours.
• Many people find it helps to swallow the tablets with a drink of water. You may break the tablets in half along the score line if needed, but do not crush or chew the tablets.
• Do not take indigestion remedies (antacids) or medicines containing iron or zinc (such as multivitamin tablets) during the two hours before you take levofloxacin, or during the two hours after you have taken a dose. This is because these medicines interfere with the way levofloxacin is absorbed by your body, and stop it from working fully.
• If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If when you remember your next dose is due, then take the dose which is due but leave out the forgotten one. Do not take two tablets together to make up for a missed dose.
• Even if you feel your infection has cleared up, keep taking the antibiotic until the course is finished (unless you are told to stop by your doctor). This is to prevent the infection from coming back. A course of treatment usually lasts for 7-14 days. If you still feel unwell after finishing the course of tablets, go back to see your doctor.
How to store levofloxacin
• Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
• Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.