Levaquin Side Effects

Levaquin (levofloxacin) is in a group of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones (flor-o-KWIN-o-lones). Levaquin fights bacteria in the body.

Levaquin is used to treat bacterial infections of the skin, sinuses, kidneys, bladder, or prostate. It is also used to treat bacterial infections that cause bronchitis or pneumonia, and to treat people who have been exposed to anthrax or plague.

You should not use Levaquin if you are allergic to levofloxacin or other fluoroquinolones such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), gemifloxacin (Factive), moxifloxacin (Avelox), ofloxacin (Floxin), norfloxacin (Noroxin), and others.

To make sure you can safely take Levaquin, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • myasthenia gravis;
  • a heart rhythm disorder, especially if you take amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), dofetilide (Tikosyn), disopyramide (Norpace), ibutilide (Corvert), procainamide (Procan, Pronestyl), propafenone (Rythmol), quinidine (Quin-G), or sotalol (Betapace);
  • a history of allergic reaction to an antibiotic;
  • joint problems;
  • kidney or liver disease;
  • seizures or epilepsy;
  • a history of head injury or brain tumor;
  • a condition called pseudotumor cerebri (high pressure inside the skull that may cause headaches, vision loss, or other symptoms);
  • diabetes;
  • muscle weakness or trouble breathing;
  • low levels of potassium in your blood (hypokalemia); or
  • a personal or family history of Long QT syndrome.

FDA pregnancy category C: It is not known whether Levaquin is harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using Levaquin. Levofloxacin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Levaquin may cause swelling or tearing of a tendon (the fiber that connects bones to muscles in the body), especially in the Achilles’ tendon of the heel. These effects may be more likely to occur if you are over 60, if you take steroid medication, or if you have had a kidney, heart, or lung transplant. Stop taking Levaquin and call your doctor at once if you have sudden pain, swelling, tenderness, stiffness, or movement problems in any of your joints. Rest the joint until you receive medical care or instructions. Do not share this medication with another person (especially a child), even if they have the same symptoms you have.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Levaquin: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using Levaquin and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • chest pain and severe dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeats;
  • sudden pain, snapping or popping sound, bruising, swelling, tenderness, stiffness, or loss of movement in any of your joints;
  • diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
  • confusion, hallucinations, depression, tremors, feeling restless or anxious, unusual thoughts or behavior, insomnia, nightmares, seizure (convulsions);
  • severe headache, ringing in your ears, nausea, vision problems, pain behind your eyes;
  • pale skin, fever, weakness, easy bruising or bleeding;
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • numbness, burning pain, or tingly feeling in your hands or feet;
  • the first sign of any skin rash, no matter how mild; or
  • severe skin reaction — fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Less serious Levaquin side effects may include:

  • mild diarrhea, constipation, vomiting;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • mild headache or dizziness; or
  • vaginal itching or discharge.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

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