What is Cipro?
Ciprofloxacin (INN) is an antibiotic that can treat a number of bacterial infections. It is a second-generation fluoroquinolone. Its spectrum of activity includes most strains of bacterial pathogens responsible for respiratory, urinary tract, gastrointestinal, and abdominal infections, including Gram-negative (Escherichia coli, Haemophilus influenzae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Legionella pneumophila, Moraxella catarrhalis, Proteus mirabilis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa), and Gram-positive (methicillin-sensitive, but not methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterococcus faecalis, and Streptococcus pyogenes) bacterial pathogens. Ciprofloxacin and other fluoroquinolones are valued for this broad spectrum of activity, excellent tissue penetration, and for their availability in both oral and intravenous formulations.
Ciprofloxacin is used alone or in combination with other antibacterial drugs in the empiric treatment of infections for which the bacterial pathogen has not been identified, including urinary tract infections and abdominal infections among others. It can also treat infections caused by specific pathogens known to be sensitive.
Ciprofloxacin is the most widely used of the second-generation quinolone antibiotics that came into clinical use in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 2010, over 20 million outpatient prescriptions were written for ciprofloxacin, making it the 35th-most commonly prescribed drug, and the 5th-most commonly prescribed antibacterial, in the US. Ciprofloxacin was discovered and developed by Bayer A.G. and subsequently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987. Ciprofloxacin has 12 FDA-approved human uses and other veterinary uses, but it is often used for unapproved uses (off-label).
Overall, the safety of ciprofloxacin and other fluoroquinolones appears to be similar to that of other antibiotics, but serious side effects occur on occasion. Some disagreement in the literature exists regarding whether fluoroquinolones produce serious adverse events at a higher rate than other broad-spectrum antibiotics. The U.S. FDA-approved label for ciprofloxacin includes a "black box" warning of increased risk of tendon damage and/or rupture and for exacerbation of muscle weakness in patients with the neurological disorder myasthenia gravis. Other side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dizziness.