Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic used to treat a number of bacterial infections, including diarrhea, pneumonia, bladder and urinary tract infections caused by E. coli bacteria; lower respiratory tract infections; bone infections; and typhoid fever, reports WebMD. Doctors also prescribe ciprofloxacin to prevent or treat an anthrax infection of the skin or mouth in individuals who are exposed to airborne anthrax germs, adds MedlinePlus.
In addition to treating anthrax exposure, ciprofloxacin may help treat and prevent other life-threatening illnesses that are deliberately introduced during biological warfare, such as plague and tularemia, according to MedlinePlus. Ciprofloxacin belongs to a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones that kill infection-causing bacteria.
Individuals who take ciprofloxacin have an increased risk for developing tendinitis or a ruptured tendon, both while taking the drug and for several months after stopping the medication. The Achilles' tendon of the heel is especially vulnerable to swelling or tearing from ciprofloxacin use, adds Drugs.com. Individuals over age 60, and those who take steroid medication or have had certain organ transplants, are at highest risk for tendon injuries.
Ciprofloxacin can cause permanent nerve damage, cautions Drugs.com. Individuals should seek immediate medical attention if they experience burning pain, tingling, numbness, or sudden sensitivity to touch and temperature. Common side effects include upset stomach, diarrhea, vaginal itching, mild headache and slight dizziness. Because ciprofloxacin intensifies the effects of caffeine, individuals should avoid it while taking the antibiotic.