Cipro Side Effects

Cipro is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic in the same class as Levaquin and Avelox. These drugs have been linked to a wide range of side effects, including peripheral neuropathy, tendon injuries, aortic aneurysm, aortic dissection and more.  Because of the severe nature of many Cipro side effects, U.S. health regulators have warned that the drug’s risks outweigh its benefits in patients suffering from certain uncomplicated infections who have other treatment options.

Cipro FDA Warnings

Cipro and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics are indicated to treat a number of bacterial infections, including  bone and joint infections, skin infections, pneumonia, e. coli, and sexually transmitted diseases.  Common side effects of Cipro include diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, stomach upset, abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, blurred vision, nervousness, anxiety, agitation, sleep problems (insomnia or nightmares), and rash.

Since its approval in 1997, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has released a number of safety communications involving Cipro and other fluoroquinolones:

Tendon Injuries

In 2008, the FDA ordered fluoroquinolone manufacturers to add a Black Box Warning to their product labels regarding an association with tendon injuries, including tendon rupture and tendinitis. According to the agency, the tendon injury risk is highest among patients over 60, in kidney, heart, and lung transplant recipients, and with use of concomitant steroid therapy. Patients using Cipro or similar antibiotics should stop taking the medication and contact their doctor at the first sign of tendon pain, swelling, or inflammation. Read More

Peripheral Neuropathy and Nerve Damage

In 2013, the FDA asked the manufacturers of all oral fluoroquinolones to strengthen warnings regarding peripheral neuropathy and nerve damage. According to the agency, the modified warnings would better describe the potential for rapid onset and the possibility of permanence. Symptoms include pain, burning, tingling, numbness, weakness, or a change in sensation to light touch, pain or temperature, or the sense of body position. Patients who develop any of these issues while taking Cipro should tell their doctor right away. Read More

2016 Label Update

In 2016, the FDA required additional label changes for Cipro and other fluoroquinolones, in light of their association with potentially serious side effects involving  the tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and central nervous system. According to the agency, such complications may occur together, and they may  be permanent. The label modifications include a new Black Box Warning  stating that the serious side effects associated with fluoroquinolones generally outweigh the benefits for patients with sinusitis, bronchitis and uncomplicated urinary tract infections who have other treatment option. Read More

Persistent Cipro Side Effects Flagged by ISMP

According to a QuarterWatch report issued by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices in June 2016, two fluoroquinolones, Levaquin and Cipro, were linked to more persistent side effects reports than any other medication monitored by the FDA.  Levaquin was named in 489 reports, while Cipro was associated with 366 cases. The persistent side effects described most often were painful joint, muscle and tendon disorders. Read More

Cipro and Aortic Aneurysm/Dissection

In 2015, a study published in JAMA: Internal Medicine suggested that the use of fluoroquinolones was associated with an approximately 2-fold increase in the risk of aortic aneurysm and dissection within 60 days of exposure. The authors of the study looked at  medical records from 1,477 patients hospitalized for aortic aneurysm or dissection from 2000 through 2011, and compared each case to 100 controls who had not suffered either of these injuries.

Collagen is a major extracellular matrix component of the aortic wall. Fluoroquinolones have been associated with several collagen-related disorders, prompting the authors to speculate that the same mechanism might be behind these serious aortic complications.

Cipro and Retinal Detachment

In March 2016, drug regulators in Canada added new warnings regarding a serious eye injury called retinal detachment to the labels of Cipro and other fluoroquinolones. Retinal detachment, which can lead to vision loss, occurs when the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye separates from its supporting structures. A review conducted by Health Canada had uncovered 22 international reports of retinal detachment associated with the medications. Read More

That same month, , a group of French researchers reported findings that suggested current use of a fluoroquinolone drug might increase the risk for retinal detachment by nearly 50%. Read More

Fluoroquinolone Associated Disability (FQAD)

FQAD is the term for a “constellation of symptoms” reported among some patients treated with Cipro other fluoroquinolone antibiotics. These side effects may include cardiovascular symptoms, musculoskeletal symptoms, symptoms of the nervous system, neuropsychiatric symptoms, sensory symptoms and skin abnormalities.

Legal Help for Victims of Cipro Side Effects

The nationwide law firm of Bernstein Liebhard LLP offers free legal reviews to the victims of Cipro side effects. If you experienced nerve damage, aortic aneurysm or dissection, or any other complication that could be related to the use of this drug, please contact our office by calling (888) 994-5118.

  1. FDA (2008) “Information for Healthcare Professionals: Fluoroquinolone Antimicrobial Drugs [ciprofloxacin (marketed as Cipro and generic ciprofloxacin), ciprofloxacin extended-release (marketed as Cipro XR and Proquin XR), gemifloxacin (marketed as Factive), levofloxacin (marketed as Levaquin), moxifloxacin (marketed as Avelox), norfloxacin (marketed as Noroxin), and ofloxacin (marketed as Floxin)]”
  2. FDA (2013) “FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA requires label changes to warn of risk for possibly permanent nerve damage from antibacterial fluoroquinolone drugs taken by mouth or by injection”
  3. FDA (2016) “FDA announces safety labeling changes for fluoroquinolones”
  4. Health Canada (2016) “Summary Safety Review – Oral FLUOROQUINOLONES – Assessing the Potential Risk of Retinal Detachment”
  5. FDA (2016) “FDA Briefing Document”
Last Modified: July 22, 2016

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