17.6 FDA-Approved Medication Guide
Read this Medication Guide before you start taking levofloxacin tablets and each time you get a refill. There may be new information. This Medication Guide does not take the place of talking to your healthcare provider about your medical condition or your treatment.
What is the most important information I should know about levofloxacin tablets?
Levofloxacin tablets, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, can cause serious side effects. Some of these serious side effects could result in death.
If you have any of the following serious side effects while you take levofloxacin tablets, get medical help right away. Talk with your healthcare provider about whether you should continue to take levofloxacin tablets.
1. Tendon rupture or swelling of the tendon (tendinitis).
Tendon problems can happen in people of all ages who take levofloxacin tablets. Tendons are tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones.
Some tendon problems include pain, swelling, tears, and inflammation of tendons including the back of the ankle (Achilles), shoulder, hand, or other tendon sites.
- The risk of getting tendon problems while you take levofloxacin tablets are higher if you:
- are over 60 years of age
- are taking steroids (corticosteroids)
- have had a kidney, heart or lung transplant.
- Tendon problems can happen in people who do not have the above risk factors when they take levofloxacin tablets.
- Other reasons that can increase your risk of tendon problems can include:
- physical activity or exercise
- kidney failure
- tendon problems in the past, such as in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Call your healthcare provider right away at the first sign of tendon pain, swelling or inflammation. Stop taking levofloxacin tablets until tendinitis or tendon rupture has been ruled out by your healthcare provider. Avoid exercise and using the affected area.
The most common area of pain and swelling is the Achilles tendon at the back of your ankle. This can also happen with other tendons. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risk of tendon rupture with continued use of levofloxacin tablets. You may need a different antibiotic that is not a fluoroquinolone to treat your infection.
2. Worsening of myasthenia gravis (a problem that causes muscle weakness).
- Tendon rupture can happen while you are taking or after you have finished taking levofloxacin tablets. Tendon ruptures have happened up to several months after people have finished taking their fluoroquinolone.
- Get medical help right away if you get any of the following signs or symptoms of a tendon rupture:
- hear or feel a snap or pop in a tendon area
- bruising right after an injury in a tendon area
- unable to move the affected area or bear weight
Fluoroquinolones like levofloxacin tablets may cause worsening of myasthenia gravis symptoms, including muscle weakness and breathing problems. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any worsening muscle weakness or breathing problems.
What are levofloxacin tablets?
- See “What are the possible side effects of levofloxacin tablets?”
Levofloxacin tablets are a fluoroquinolone antibiotic medicine used in adults age 18 years or older to treat certain infections caused by certain germs called bacteria.
These bacterial infections include:
- nosocomial pneumonia
- community-acquired pneumonia
- acute sinus infection
- acute worsening of chronic bronchitis
- skin infections, complicated and uncomplicated
- chronic prostate infection
- urinary tract infections, complicated and uncomplicated
- acute kidney infection (pyelonephritis)
- inhalational anthrax
Studies of levofloxacin tablets for use in the treatment of plague and anthrax were done in animals only, because plague and anthrax could not be studied in people.
Levofloxacin tablets are also used to treat children who are 6 months of age or older and may have breathed in anthrax germs, have plague, or been exposed to plague germs.
It is not known if levofloxacin tablets are safe and effective in children under 6 months of age.
The safety and effectiveness in children treated with levofloxacin tablets for more than 14 days is not known.
Who should not take levofloxacin tablets?
Do not take levofloxacin tablets
if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to an antibiotic known as a fluoroquinolone, or if you are allergic to levofloxacin or any of the ingredients in levofloxacin tablets. See the end of this leaflet for a complete list of ingredients in levofloxacin tablets.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking levofloxacin tablets?
Before you take levofloxacin tablets, tell your healthcare provider if you:
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take,
- have tendon problems
- have a problem that causes muscle weakness (myasthenia gravis)
- have central nervous system problems such as seizures (epilepsy)
- have nerve problems
- have or anyone in your family has an irregular heartbeat, especially a condition called “QT prolongation”
- have low blood potassium (hypokalemia)
- have bone problems
- have joint problems including rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- have kidney problems. You may need a lower dose of levofloxacin tablets if your kidneys do not work well.
- have liver problems
- have diabetes or problems with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if levofloxacin tablets will harm your unborn child.
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if levofloxacin passes into your breast milk. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you will take levofloxacin tablets or breastfeed. You should not do both.
including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Levofloxacin tablets and other medicines can affect each other causing side effects.
Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take:
- a steroid medicine
- an anti-psychotic medicine
- a tricyclic antidepressant
- a water pill (diuretic)
- certain medicines may keep levofloxacin tablets from working correctly. Take levofloxacin tablets either 2 hours before or 2 hours after taking these medicines or supplements:
- an antacid, multivitamin, or other medicines or supplements that have magnesium, aluminum, iron, or zinc
- sucralfate (Carafate®)
- didanosine (Videx®,Videx®EC)
- a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven)
- an oral anti-diabetes medicine or insulin
- an NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug). Many common medicines for pain relief are NSAIDs. Taking an NSAID while you take levofloxacin tablets or other fluoroquinolones may increase your risk of central nervous system effects and seizures.
- theophylline (Theo-24®, Elixophyllin®, Theochron®, Uniphyl®, Theolair®)
- a medicine to control your heart rate or rhythm (antiarrhythmics)
Ask your healthcare provider if you are not sure if any of your medicines are listed above.
Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.
How should I take levofloxacin tablets?
- Take levofloxacin tablets exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take them.
- Take levofloxacin tablets at about the same time each day.
- Drink plenty of fluids while you take levofloxacin tablets.
- Levofloxacin tablets can be taken with or without food.
- If you miss a dose of levofloxacin tablets, take it as soon as you remember. Do not take more than 1 dose in 1 day.
- Do not skip any doses of levofloxacin tablets or stop taking them, even if you begin to feel better, until you finish your prescribed treatment unless:
- you have tendon problems. See “What is the most important information I should know about levofloxacin tablets?”.
- you have a serious allergic reaction. See “What are the possible side effects of levofloxacin tablets?”.
- your healthcare provider tells you to stop taking levofloxacin tablets.
Taking all of your levofloxacin tablets doses will help make sure that all of the bacteria are killed. Taking all of your levofloxacin tablets doses will help you lower the chance that the bacteria will become resistant to levofloxacin tablets. If your infection does not get better while you take levofloxacin tablets, it may mean that the bacteria causing your infection may be resistant to levofloxacin tablets. If your infection does not get better, call your healthcare provider. If your infection does not get better, levofloxacin tablets and other similar antibiotic medicines may not work for you in the future.
What should I avoid while taking levofloxacin tablets?
- If you take too much levofloxacin, call your healthcare provider or get medical help right away.
What are the possible side effects of levofloxacin tablets?
Levofloxacin tablets can cause serious side effects, including:
- Levofloxacin tablets can make you feel dizzy and lightheaded. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do other activities that require mental alertness or coordination until you know how levofloxacin tablets affect you.
- Avoid sunlamps, tanning beds, and try to limit your time in the sun. Levofloxacin tablets can make your skin sensitive to the sun (photosensitivity) and the light from sunlamps and tanning beds. You could get severe sunburn, blisters or swelling of your skin. If you get any of these symptoms while you take levofloxacin tablets, call your healthcare provider right away. You should use a sunscreen and wear a hat and clothes that cover your skin if you have to be in sunlight.
- See “What is the most important information I should know about levofloxacin tablets?”
Serious allergic reactions.
Allergic reactions can happen in people taking fluoroquinolones, including levofloxacin tablets, even after only 1 dose. Stop taking levofloxacin tablets and get emergency medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms of a severe allergic reaction:
- trouble breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the lips, tongue, face
- throat tightness, hoarseness
- rapid heartbeat
- skin rash
Skin rash may happen in people taking levofloxacin tablets, even after only 1 dose. Stop taking levofloxacin tablets at the first sign of a skin rash and call your healthcare provider. Skin rash may be a sign of a more serious reaction to levofloxacin tablets.
Liver damage (hepatotoxicity):
Hepatotoxicity can happen in people who take levofloxacin tablets. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have unexplained symptoms such as:
- nausea or vomiting
- stomach pain
- abdominal pain or tenderness
- unusual tiredness
- loss of appetite
- light colored bowel movements
- dark colored urine
- yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
Stop taking levofloxacin tablets and tell your healthcare provider right away if you have yellowing of your skin or white part of your eyes, or if you have dark urine. These can be signs of a serious reaction to levofloxacin tablets (a liver problem).
Central Nervous System Effects. Seizures have been reported in people who take fluoroquinolone antibiotics including levofloxacin tablets. Tell your healthcare provider if you have a history of seizures. Ask your healthcare provider whether taking levofloxacin tablets will change your risk of having a seizure.
Central Nervous System (CNS) side effects may happen as soon as after taking the first dose of levofloxacin tablets. Talk to your healthcare provider right away if you get any of these side effects, or other changes in mood or behavior:
- hear voices, see things, or sense things that are not there (hallucinations)
- feel restless
- feel anxious or nervous
- trouble sleeping
- feel lightheaded
- feel more suspicious (paranoia)
- suicidal thoughts or acts
- a headache that will not go away, with or without blurred vision.
Intestine infection (Pseudomembranous colitis)
Pseudomembranous colitis can happen with many antibiotics, including levofloxacin tablets. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get watery diarrhea, diarrhea that does not go away, or bloody stools. You may have stomach cramps and a fever. Pseudomembranous colitis can happen 2 or more months after you have finished your antibiotic.
Changes in sensation and possible nerve damage (Peripheral Neuropathy)
Damage to the nerves in arms, hands, legs, or feet can happen in people taking fluoroquinolones, including levofloxacin tablets. Talk with your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in your arms, hands, legs, or feet:
Levofloxacin tablets may need to be stopped to prevent permanent nerve damage.
Serious heart rhythm changes (QT prolongation and torsades de pointes)
Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have a change in your heart beat (a fast or irregular heartbeat), or if you faint. Levofloxacin tablets may cause a rare heart problem known as prolongation of the QT interval. This condition can cause an abnormal heartbeat and can be very dangerous. The chances of this happening are higher in people:
- who are elderly
- with a family history of prolonged QT interval
- with low blood potassium (hypokalemia)
- who take certain medicines to control heart rhythm (antiarrhythmics)
Increased chance of problems with joints and tissues around joints in children can happen. Tell your child’s healthcare provider if your child has any joint problems during or after treatment with levofloxacin tablets.
People who take levofloxacin tablets and other fluoroquinolone medicines with oral anti-diabetes medicines or with insulin can get low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for how often to check your blood sugar. If you have diabetes and you get low blood sugar while taking levofloxacin tablets, stop taking levofloxacin tablets and call your healthcare provider right away. Your antibiotic medicine may need to be changed.
Sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity)
See “What should I avoid while taking levofloxacin tablets?”
The most common side effects of levofloxacin tablets include:
In children 6 months and older who take levofloxacin tablets to treat anthrax disease or plague, vomiting is also common.
Tell your healthcare provider if you feel dizzy or faint during a treatment with levofloxacin tablets.
Levofloxacin tablets may cause false-positive urine screening results for opiates when testing is done with some commercially available kits. A positive result should be confirmed using a more specific test.
These are not all the possible side effects of levofloxacin tablets. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
How should I store levofloxacin tablets?
Keep levofloxacin tablets and all medicines out of the reach of children.
General information about the safe and effective use of levofloxacin tablets
- Store levofloxacin tablets at 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F). [See USP Controlled Room Temperature].
- Keep levofloxacin tablets in a tightly closed container.
Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Medication Guide. Do not use levofloxacin tablets for a condition for which it is not prescribed. Do not give levofloxacin tablets to other people, even if they have the same symptoms that you have. They may harm them.
This Medication Guide summarizes the most important information about levofloxacin tablets. If you would like more information about levofloxacin tablets, talk with your healthcare provider. You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about levofloxacin tablets that is written for healthcare professionals.
For more information call 1-866-850-2876.
What are the ingredients in levofloxacin tablets?
Active ingredient: levofloxacin
Inactive ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol 400, polysorbate 80, and titanium dioxide. In addition 250 mg contains iron oxide red and 500 mg contains iron oxide red and iron oxide yellow
This Medication Guide has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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