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Discharge Instructions: Taking Antibiotics—Fluoroquinolones

Your doctor prescribed a fluoroquinolone antibiotic for you. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections in many parts of the body. For instance, they are used to treat bone and joint infections, skin infections, urinary tract infections, serious ear infections, lung infections, some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and some infections that affect people with AIDS. 


The name of your fluoroquinolone is ____________________________.

Guidelines for Use

  • Follow the fact sheet that came with your medication. It tells you when and how to take your medication. Ask for a sheet if you didn’t get one.

  • Tell your doctor if you have any allergies.

  • Take your medication exactly as directed and with a full glass of water.

    • Take this medicine on an empty stomach—at least 30 minutes before or 2 hours after eating.

    • Keep taking your medication until it is all gone—even if you feel better. If you don’t take it all, your symptoms may return and may be harder to treat.

    • Take your doses at evenly spaced times throughout the day and night. This keeps an even amount of medication in your blood.

    • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember—unless it’s almost time for your next dose. In that case, skip the dose you missed. Don’t take a double dose.

  • Avoid pregnancy, if you can become pregnant. Talk to your doctor about birth control methods you can use while taking this medication. This medication can cause birth defects.

  • Do not use this medication while breastfeeding.

  • Limit your time in the sun and don’t use a sunlamp. This medication makes your skin more sensitive to the sun. When outside, wear a hat, sunglasses, and a sunblock with at least a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15.

  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any other medications.

  • If you take any other medications, take them at least 2 hours before or 4 hours after you take your antibiotic. This includes antacids, herbal medications, and dietary supplements that contain iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, or aluminum.

  • Don’t share this medication with anyone.

Possible Side Effects

Tell your doctor if you have any of these side effects. Don’t stop taking the medication until your doctor tells you to. Mild side effects include:

  • Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting

  • Stomach pain

  • Nervousness

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Headache

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Pain in your lower legs

  • Skin rash, itching, redness, or peeling

  • Swelling of the face or neck


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