Cipro Antibiotic – Antibacterial Medication
In the course of our lives we all get infections of various kinds and the body’s immune system often needs a helping hand to fight these infections. It is antibiotic drugs that offer this much needed aid. Infections can be caused by many kinds of organisms – these could be bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. In this piece we’re taking a look at ciprofloxacin, a drug that is prescribed in the treatment of a wide range of bacterial infections. This drug is also commonly referred to as Cipro and it has been in use since its approval by the FDA in 1987.
Ciprofloxacin belongs to a class of drugs that are collectively known as fluoroquinolones. Most of the drug names in this family of fluoroquinolones end with the suffix ‘-floxacin’. Besides Cipro, there is Levofloxacin, Moxifloxacin and several others.
Ciprofloxacin causes fights bacteria by damaging bacterial DNA structures. The drug also inhibits an enzyme called DNA gyrase whose function is to correct improper coiling of the bacterial DNA strands.
It comes in different formulations which include infusion solutions of different strengths, oral suspensions and tablets.
The Uses of Ciprofloxacin
Cipro is used the treatment of many bacterial infections. These include skin, joint and bone infections. It is also indicated for use in pulmonary infections such as tuberculosis, nosocomial pneumonia (or pneumonia acquired in a health facility) and bronchiectasis. Cipro is also used in the treatment of acute sinusitis though it is mostly reserved for people who don’t have other available treatment options for the condition.
Ciprofloxacin is indicated in the treatment of urinary tract infections of any severity. It is, however, preferred in the management of the complicated forms of UTIs.
Infectious diarrhea caused by microorganisms such as campylobacter and E. coli is also managed using Cipro.
In certain cases, Cipro can indeed save a patient’s life – one example of a serious life-threatening condition that is treated using Cipro is anthrax. For anthrax, the medication can be used either as prophylaxis or for post exposure treatment.
Ciprofloxacin Side Effects
Ciprofloxacin has been associated with some serious adverse effects such as peripheral neuropathy, rupture of tendons (most often it affects the Achilles tendon), tendinitis and effects to the central nervous system.
The list of milder side effects includes nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, headaches, rashes and restlessness. Other less common side effects are drowsiness, ringing in the ears, blurred vision and back pain.
Who Should Not Use Cipro
Do not use ciprofloxacin if you are allergic to the medication. The allergic reaction usually presents with itching, hives, deranged cardiovascular functions, shortness of breath and swelling in the throat.
Cipro should also be avoided in people who have myasthenia gravis because it worsens the muscle weakness.
Pregnant women are advised to avoid using ciprofloxacin too.
Because of the risk of serious side effects, Ciprofloxacin should not be the first line medication for mild infections. In children, it is not considered the first option because of the potentially serious adverse reactions.
Cipro Drug Interactions
When ciprofloxacin is used concomitantly with theophylline, caffeine, tizanidine, clozapine and olanzapine, the concentration of these drugs in plasma is increased. This is because Cipro is metabolized by the same enzymes that deal with the drugs listed above. Accumulation of the co-administered meds in the plasma increases the risk for toxicity.
The use of Cipro together with drugs used for treatment of diabetes such as sulfonylureas can lead to significantly low blood sugar levels.
Ciprofloxacin increases the plasma levels of sildenafil and other PDE-5 inhibitors, potentiating the risk for adverse effects.
Sevelamer, a drug used in the management of chronic kidney disease, can impair the absorption of Ciprofloxacin thus leading to suboptimal results.
Generic for Cipro
The generic versions of ciprofloxacin have been in existence for quite some time. They come under many trade names, such as Lupin Ciprofloxacin, Teva Ciprofloxacin, Cipro XR and Proquin XR.
Wide accessibility and continued use of Cipro generics is enough evidence that they are effective in the management of infections and comparably safe.
People prefer to use the generics because they are sold at lower prices compared to brand-name Cipro. In the United States, a pill of branded Cipro costs as much as $5 whereas the price of the generic pill ranges from $0.3 to a dollar. The low price comes about because of strong competitions in open markets where it is allowed. Because the manufacturers and the sellers of the drug are many, they have to do all it takes to attract the customers.
Besides being cheap, generic ciprofloxacin is also easy to find online. When you search for Cipro, most of the results that will come up are generic meds. With such a wide variety of offers you are never going to run out of this medication, that’s for sure.
Another thing that attracts consumers to Cipro generics is that these medications can be bought without a prescription. Many don’t fancy the idea of spending time and money on obtaining the doctor’s prescription and they would rather self-medicate. This is common among people who are having infections that are deemed embarrassing such as gonorrhea and those who have had recurrent infections.
The Downside of Self-Medication with Ciprofloxacin
Though many people would prefer self-prescribing, this practice is not advisable because most of the time, people use antibiotics that they do not necessarily need. In the long run, this leads to bacterial resistance and superinfections. Resistance is a price we might have to pay for overusing antibiotics for a long time. This comes about when the microorganisms ‘learn’ the ways we are using to counter them and alter their structures to adapt.
Superinfections are infections that come about as a consequence of using antibiotics. The occurrence of superinfections is explained by the alteration of normal flora. Normal flora are the bacteria that are usually found in the body. They play a vital role of inhibiting the growth of the bad microorganisms that cause diseases. When we take antibiotics, these bacteria that comprise the benevolent normal flora are also affected, which causes significant reduction in their numbers. The bad microorganisms, in their turn, ‘come off the leash’ of a balanced system and thrive without any inhibition causing infections that can be unresponsive to treatment. Some of these superinfections include clostridium difficile, chronic urinary tract infections and candidiasis.
Therefore, it is good practice to always obtain a prescription even if you are buying the generic meds that any online pharmacy will sell to you without asking for any papers whatsoever. This will save you from the risk of developing a superinfection and antibiotic resistance as well as the minimize the possibility of suffering from side effects.
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