Drugs & Supplements

Levaquin Drug Overview: Commonly Prescribed for UTIs

If you are prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs), you may have been prescribed a medication called Levaquin. Typically, Levaquin is not used as the first-line defense for infections; however, if weaker medications fail to work any longer, a more potent medication like Levaquin may be used. As with any medication, the stronger the drug, the more severe the side effects may be to the end-user. Levaquin is used to combat: Enterococcus faecalis, Enterobacter cloacae, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis, or Pseudomonas aeruginosa found in UTI patients.

Drug Classification of Levaquin

Levaquin is an antibiotic. While antibiotics are not prescribed to combat viral infections, they are great at treating bacteria infections. Levaquin is frequently prescribed to patients who continually get urinary tract infections, including those with kidney infections.  

In a drug class called quinolone or fluoroquinolones, Levaquin is prescribed in 250 mg, 500 mg, or 750 mg doses for three to 14 days.‚Äč

For urinary tract infections, typical doses of Levaquin are either 250 or 750 mg for three to 10 days, depending on the type of infection and if it is a complicated or an uncomplicated UTI.

What Other Conditions Is Levaquin Prescribed For?

In addition to treating UTIs, Levaquin may be prescribed for patients with pneumonia, prostate gland infections, and skin infections. Additionally, Levaquin is used for patients who have chronic sinusitis and chronic bronchitis when other antibiotics are not successful or are not viable treatment options. It is also utilized in patients who are exposed to anthrax.

Levaquin may also be prescribed for endocarditis, tuberculosis, salmonella, and even sexually transmitted diseases.

white medication pills on brown surface

Levaquin Risks

Levaquin has been highly documented for causing sudden tendon ruptures during or after use. Even one dose of the drug can leave you prone to sudden tendon ruptures months after taking the medication. These ruptures are most common in your shoulder, hand, Achilles tendon (back of the ankle), and other parts of your body. No age group is absent of these risks; however, the highest risk of tendon ruptures after taking Levaquin are those 60 years of age and older. Signs of a tendon rupture include hearing or feeling a snap or pop in an area that has tendons (joints), having a bruise after an injury to a tendon area, or the inability to move or put weight on the affected joint.

Other health risks that can be caused by Levaquin use are aorta tears or damage; this can cause uncontrollable bleeding and death. If you have a known heart issue, you should talk to your doctor before beginning Levaquin to treat a UTI or other bacterial infection.

Tell Your Doctor If You are Taking Medication Prior to Taking Levaquin

While all medications that you take should be discussed prior to your doctor prescribing a new medicine, it is important to mention the use of oral or injectable steroids. These include prednisone, Medrol (Methylprednisolone), and dexamethasone.  

Antacids should not be taken within two hours of taking Levaquin. If you take a prescription or over-the-counter antacid that contains magnesium or aluminum, you should take it two hours before or after taking the antibiotic. You should also do the same with vitamins that contain magnesium, aluminum, iron, or zinc.  

Also, be cautious when taking NSAIDs with Levaquin. This includes aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac, Mobic, and naproxen.

What Medical Conditions Should My Doctor Know About Before Starting Levaquin?

If you have any type of nerve damage, such as peripheral neuropathy, you should mention this to your doctor. Levaquin can cause or exacerbate nerve damage, so it is crucial for your doctor to note if you had symptoms prior to taking the drug.

Levaquin can also cause neurological issues. If you have a history of seizures, stroke, kidney disease, or changes to your brain structure, you should tell your doctor. Patients with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Epilepsy, and myasthenia gravis need to be especially cautious when prescribed Levaquin.

Patients who are taking immune-suppressant medications should not take these while using Levaquin. The use of Cellcept, a commonly prescribed drug for patients with myasthenia gravis (MG), need to be especially careful; stopping the use of Cellcept can trigger an MG relapse. Patients with MG may also experience an exacerbation of the weakening of their muscles and nervous system, including their lungs.  Death is also possible from using Levaquin with MG.

Side Effects of Levaquin Use

In addition to the above-mentioned side effects of taking Levaquin, patients need to pay attention to:

  • Tingling or burning in their body (peripheral neuropathy)
  • Headaches
  • Nightmares
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Anxiousness
  • Depression
  • Mood and memory changes
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood sugar

If you are allergic to Cipro, Avelox, Baxdela, or Factive, you should not take Levaquin. All these medications are in the same drug class and must be avoided. Dangerous allergic reactions may occur if you take Levaquin and have a known drug allergy to fluoroquinolones or medications that end in -floxacin.

Also, be mindful and notify your doctor right away if you have changes to the color of your urine, irregular or fast heartbeat, a rash, or hives.

Patients who take Levaquin may develop yeast infections, thrush, or Clostridium difficile (c-diff). If you are prone to yeast infections when taking antibiotics, you may want to take probiotics or talk to your doctor about taking a prophylactic treatment to avoid developing an overproduction of yeast.

Levaquin can be a dangerous drug for many people. It should only be taken when the benefit outweighs the risk. It is important to tell your doctor about medications and medical conditions prior to them prescribing Levaquin. While Levaquin can help cure many bacterial infections, the side effects and repercussions from taking the drug can be painful, dangerous, and even fatal. If possible, you should avoid taking Levaquin for a urinary tract infection. However, if you must take the drug, be cautious of ramifications from taking the medication. Be sure to drink plenty of water when taking Levaquin and avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.

Sources

Levaquin (Levofloxacin): Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Interactions, Warning. (2018, October 29). RxList. https://www.rxlist.com/levaquin-drug.htm#indications

Levaquin Oral : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-14492-8235/levaquin-oral/levofloxacin-oral/details

Levofloxacin: MedlinePlus Drug Information. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a697040.html

Levaquin Uses, Dosage & Side Effects. (2019, February 14). Drugs. https://www.drugs.com/levaquin.html

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