Levaquin (levofloxacin)

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Brand Name

Levaquin {Janssen}

Generic Name

levofloxacin, pronounced leev oh FLOX a sin


What is Levaquin?

Levaquin is an antibiotic prescribed to treat bacterial infections of the skin, sinuses, kidneys, bladder, and prostate. You may also be given Levaquin to treat bronchitis or pneumonia. If you have been exposed to anthrax or plague Levaquin might be prescribed for you. In a group of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones, Levaquin is effective at fighting many types of bacteria in your body.

Levaquin may also be used for conditions that are not described in this medication guide.


Key Facts About Levaquin

Levaquin can cause swelling or tearing of tendons, which are the fibers that connect your bones to your muscles. Your Achilles’ tendon of your heel is especially at risk. You are more likely to experience this effect if you are over age 60, if you take steroid medication, or if you have had a kidney, heart, or lung transplant. If you experience sudden pain, swelling, tenderness, stiffness, or movement problems in any of your joints stop taking Levaquin and call your doctor.

Levaquin is in FDA pregnancy category C. Levaquin is not known to be harmful to an unborn baby. You should tell your doctor if you are pregnant, or if you plan to become pregnant before starting treatment with Levaquin. You should not use Levaquin without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby, as Levaquin passes into breast milk.

You should avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds while taking Levaquin, as it can make you sunburn more easily. Be sure to wear protective clothing and use sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher when you are outdoors. If you have burning, redness, itching, a rash, or swelling after being in the sun call your doctor immediately.

Levaquin may cause diarrhea during treatment. This may be a side effect or the sign of a possible new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, you should stop taking Levaquin right away and call your doctor. Do not use any anti-diarrhea medications unless your doctor tells you to.


Before You Take Levaquin

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

Tell your doctor if you have a history of an allergic reaction to an antibiotic.

Let your doctor know if you have a heart rhythm disorder and if you take amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), dofetilide (Tikosyn), disopyramide (Norpace), ibutilide (Corvert), procainamide (Procan, Pronestyl), propafenone (Rythmol), quinidine (Quin-G), or sotalol (Betapace).

If you have myasthenia gravis, joint problems, kidney or liver disease, epilepsy or seizures you should tell your doctor before taking Levaquin.

Tell your doctor if you have a history of a 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 or muscle weakness and trouble breathing.

If you have low levels of potassium in your blood or a personal or family history of Long QT syndrome you should inform your doctor before starting treatment with Levaquin.

Refrain from taking antacids that contain magnesium or aluminum, such as Maalox, Mylanta, or Rolaids, the ulcer medicine sucralfate (Carafate), didanosine (Videx) powder or chewable tablets, as well as vitamin and mineral supplements that contain iron or zinc within 2 hours before or after taking Levaquin. These medications have the potential to weaken Levaquin and make it less effective.


Levaquin Drug Interactions

You should inform your doctor if you are taking any of the following:

  • antibiotics like such as clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E.E.S., EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin, Pediazole), moxifloxacin (Avelox), and pentamidine (NebuPent, Pentam)
  • antidepressant medications amitriptylline (Elavil, Vanatrip, Limbitrol), clomipramine (Anafranil), and desipramine (Norpramin)
  • anti-malaria medications chloroquine (Aralen) and mefloquine (Lariam)
  • clozapine (FazaClo, Clozaril)
  • dolasetron (Anzemet)
  • droperidol (Inapsine)
  • haloperidol (Haldol)
  • insulin or oral diabetes medication
  • methadone (Methadose, Diskets, Dolophine)
  • migraine headache medications like sumatriptan (Imitrex,Treximet)
  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, Naprelan, Treximet), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Arthrotec, Cambia, Cataflam, Voltaren, Flector Patch, Pennsaid, Solareze), indomethacin (Indocin) and meloxicam (Mobic)
  • ondansetron (Zofran)
  • pimozide (Orap)
  • steroids like Prednisone
  • theophylline (Elixophyllin, Theo-24, Theochron, Uniphyl)
  • warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);
  • ziprasidone (Geodon)

Other drugs you take that are not listed may interact with Levaquin. You should tell your doctor about all of the medications you use. This includes prescription drugs, vitamins, supplements and herbal products, and over the counter medications. You should not begin taking a new medication without telling your doctor first.


Directions for Taking Levaquin

You should take Levaquin exactly as your doctor has prescribed you to. Do not use Levaquin in larger or smaller amounts, or for shorter or longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label exactly.

You can take Levaquin with or without food.

Take Levaquin with a full glass of water, at least 8 ounces.

You should drink several extra glasses of fluid daily while you are taking Levaquin.

If you are taking Levaquin oral solution you should do so on an empty stomach, either 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals.

Use a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, and not a regular table spoon to measure liquid Levaquin. If you do not have a dose-measuring device your pharmacist can give one to you.

You must take Levaquin for the full amount of time your doctor has prescribed for you to take it. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared, but you still need to complete your course of antibiotic treatment. Failure to do so may result in an increased risk of further infections that are resistant to antibiotics.

Levaquin can cause you to have a false positive drug screening test. If you are providing a urine sample for drug screening test let the laboratory staff know that you are taking Levaquin.

You should store Levaquin at room temperature, and away from heat and moisture. Do not freeze the liquid Levaquin.

If your symptoms get worse while taking Levaquin and you have a fever contact your doctor right away.

If you miss a dose of Levaquin you should attempt to take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose do not take the missed dose in addition to your regular dose.



Levaquin Side Effects

If you experience any of the following adverse effects you should stop taking Levaquin and seek medical help immediately:

  • allergic reaction that includes breathing difficulties, hives and swelling of your face, lips, throat or tongue
  • appetite loss
  • anxiety
  • bleeding or bruising easily
  • chest pain
  • clay colored stools
  • confusion
  • diarrhea that is watery or bloody
  • dizziness that is severe
  • depression
  • ear ringing
  • eye pain
  • feeling faint
  • fast or pounding heartbeats
  • fever
  • hallucinations
  • headache that is severe
  • insomnia
  • itching (extreme)
  • jaundice
  • joint pain that is sudden, snapping or popping, bruising easily, swollen, tender, stiff or restricted in movement and range
  • nausea
  • nightmares
  • numbness with burning pain or tingly feeling in your hands or feet
  • paleness
  • seizures
  • severe skin reaction and 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) that causes blistering and peeling
  • skin rash of any kind
  • unusual thoughts or behavior
  • urine that is dark
  • urinating less than normal or not at all
  • vision problems

Less serious Levaquin side effects may include:

  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • diarrhea (mild)
  • headache (mild)
  • insomnia
  • vaginal itching or discharge
  • vomiting

It should be noted that this is not a complete list of possible side effects of Levaquin. You should contact your physician for a complete list and medical advice regarding these effects.


Levaquin Description and Dosing

Levaquin is available as tablets, which are film coated and capsule-shaped. The 250mg tablets are terra cotta pink and imprinted with “250” on one side and “Levaquin” on the other. The 500mg tablets are peach and imprinted with “500” on one side and “Levaquin” on the other. The 750mg tablets are white and imprinted with “750” on one side and “Levaquin” on the other.

Levaquin Oral Solution is in a 25 mg/dosage, and it is a clear yellow to clear greenish-yellow color.

Levaquin dosages vary for each individual based on their age, condition and situation. Your doctor will tell you the right dose of Levaquin for you to take. Do not change or alter your Levaquin dose without talking to your doctor first.

If you suspect that you have overdosed with the Levaquin you should seek emergency help immediately.


Ingredients in Levaquin

The main ingredient in Levaquin is levofloxacin,

Levaquin also contains the following inactive ingredients:

250mg – hypromellose, crospovidone, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide, polysorbate 80 and synthetic red iron oxide.

500mg – hypromellose, crospovidone, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide, polysorbate 80 and synthetic red and yellow iron oxides.

750mg – hypromellose, crospovidone, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide, polysorbate 80.

Levaquin Oral Solution contains the following inactive ingredients: sucrose, glycerin, sucralose, hydrochloric acid, purified water, propylene glycol, artificial and natural flavors, benzyl alcohol, ascorbic acid, and caramel color. It may also contain a solution of sodium hydroxide for pH adjustment.

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The information contained in this drug guide is intended as an educational resource only. This guide is not exhaustive and does not contain all available information about this drug.This guide is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatment.

The information provided in this guide does not replace the need for the advice and services of medical professionals or the need for medical examination. Always talk to your physician or pharmacist before taking any prescription medication or over the counter drugs (including any supplements) or before making any changes to your treatment. Only your doctor, nurse or pharmacist can provide you with safe and effective advice regarding your drug treatment.

The use of the information in this guide is at your sole risk. This information is provided "AS IS" with no warranties to accuracy or timeliness.

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