Levaquin (levofloxacin) is a concentration-dependent fluoroquinolone antibiotic prescribed for the treatment of bacterial infections, including those affecting your skin, bladder, prostate, kidneys and sinuses. In some cases your health care provider will recommend taking Levaquin if you have bronchitis, pneumonia or have been exposed to anthrax. «Concentration-dependent» means that this medicine is most efficient in killing the bacteria and slowing down its growth when its concentration in the blood is maintained at the same level. That’s why to ensure maximum efficiency of your treatment you will need to take Levaquin as prescribed at regular intervals. The effects of Levaquin are based on interfering with two bacterial enzymes in your body that are required for the bacteria to multiply. Using Levaquin is associated with a number of risks, which is why talking to your health care provider is the first thing you are supposed to do. If you are allergic to the active ingredient this medicine contains – levofloxacin – or any other drugs of the kind, including ciprofloxacin, lomefloxacin, moxifloxacin, norfloxacin or ofloxacin – taking Levaquin is not recommended as it is likely to cause the same reaction in you again. If you took this medicine anyway and experience symptoms such as hives, trouble swallowing and breathing, rash and swelling of your face, throat and tongue seek emergency medical assistance as these are the most typical signs of a new allergic reaction. Before you ask your health care provider for a prescription certain things need to be mentioned – to ensure the accuracy of the dosage you are prescribed. Firstly, your health will be evaluated and you will be supposed to discuss with your doctor any diseases you have or used to have in the past, including but not limited to epilepsy, seizures, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, joint problems, a personal or family history of Long QT syndrome and myasthenia gravis. If you have any other chronic conditions that you think need to be mentioned – also tell your doctor about them to make sure you get maximum benefits from your treatment.
Follow all of your doctor’s recommendations concerning the routine of taking Levaquin and the dosage. Do not take more of this medicine than prescribed as it is not going to make your treatment more efficient. Do not combine Levaquin with such medicines as blood thinners (warfarin), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen), oral steroids or insulin and diabetes medications before talking to your health care provider. The following drugs should not be taken within 2 hours before or after you use Levaquin as they can decrease its effects significantly rendering your treatment less efficient: didanosine, antacids with magnesium or aluminum, mineral supplements that contain zinc or iron or ulcer medicine. Taking Levaquin is associated with a number of mild side effects that usually tend to go away on their own. Such side effects include headache, dizziness, vaginal itching or skin itching, nausea, diarrhea, depression and anxiety and insomnia. These side effects normally do not need to be reported unless they interfere with your everyday life. However, there are more serious side effects that you should watch for. Make sure you stop using Levaquin and tell your health care provider if you experience any of the following serious but quite rare side effects: bloody or watery diarrhea, fainting, confusion, hallucinations, joint pain, numbness, red skin rash, blistering and peeling, dark colored urine, weakness or seizure. If you develop any new side effects also report them to your doctor as you may require a dose adjustment.
Levaquin is FDA pregnancy category C, which means it may cause defects in unborn babies although it is not clear if some of the cases may just be coincidental. Levaquin can be prescribed to a pregnant woman only if the doctor believes that the potential benefits definitely outweigh any potential risks for the unborn baby. However, if there are other antibiotics that may appear more suitable Levaquin will not be used because of the safety concerns mentioned above. You should also bear it in mind that Levaquin has been reported to make skin more sensitive to sunlight. While taking Levaquin it’s best to avoid sun exposure and apply sunscreen with SPF minimum 15. One of the rare side effects of Levaquin is tearing of the tendon. Tendon is a connective tissue that connects muscles to the bones. If you experience any of the following symptoms stop taking Levaquin and contact your health care provider as soon as possible: stiffness, swelling, tenderness, sudden pain, or problems moving your joints. It has been established that this side effect is more likely to occur in patients that are older than 60, take steroid medications or have a kidney, lung or heart transplant.
Possible side effects
Mild side effects of Levaquin are likely, especially at the beginning of your treatment. The following symptoms are considered to be mild and you do not need to report them to your health care provider unless they change in intensity or become bothersome: constipation, nausea, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, sleep problems, vaginal itching, mild skin itching, muscle pain, restlessness, anxiety, and depression. More serious side effects can include some of the following symptoms and need to be reported to your health care provider as soon as possible: dizziness, diarrhea, weakness, fever, dark colored urine, depression, hallucinations, confusion, red skin rash, easy bruising or bleeding, numbness, urinating less than usual, sore throat, skin rash, burning, seizure, and unusual thoughts. A rare but very serious side effect possible when taking Levaquin is tearing of the tendon (special fiber that connects muscles to the bones). This effect has been reported by patients with a number of risk factors, such as age (being older than 60), medical conditions (a heart or lung transplant) and those taking other medications (steroids). You will need to stop taking Levaquin if you notice the following signs of this condition: joint stiffness or tenderness, pain or swelling in your joints, as well as any movement problems. Also make sure you call your doctor immediately in that case.
Important safety information
Taking Levaquin is not recommended if you have ever been allergic to its active ingredient (levofloxacin) or other antibiotics of the kind, including ofloxacin, lomefloxacin, ciprofloxacin, moxifloxacin, or norfloxacin. Make sure you let your health care provider know if you are taking any other medications or if you have low levels of potassium, a personal or family history of long QT syndrome, liver disease, kidney disease, myasthenia gravis, seizures, diabetes, or joint problems, as these factors may affect the dose you are prescribed and how often you will need to take it. This drug is FDA pregnancy category C. This category means that it is not known for sure whether Levaquin can be harmful to an unborn baby, but it has been established that this medicine can pass into breast milk. The following heart rhythm disease medications are supposed to be reported to your doctor if you are taking them, as dangerous interactions with Levaquin are possible: bretylium, procainamide, quinidine, amiodarone, sotalol, and disopyramide. Also make sure your doctor is aware of any other drugs you are taking that have been reported to cause interference with Levaquin and affect the quality of your treatment. The following ones are important to mention: blood thinners, oral insulin or diabetes medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and oral steroid medications.