Ofloxacin: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, and More

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Ofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic used to treat various bacterial infections. It works by inhibiting the enzymes necessary for bacterial DNA replication, transcription, repair, and recombination, effectively killing the bacteria. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the uses, dosage, side effects, and other important information about ofloxacin.

Uses of Ofloxacin

  1. Respiratory Tract Infections: Ofloxacin is commonly prescribed to treat respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. It is effective against a range of bacteria, including those that are resistant to other antibiotics.
  2. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Ofloxacin is used to treat both uncomplicated and complicated urinary tract infections. Its broad-spectrum activity makes it a preferred choice for UTIs caused by various bacteria.
  3. Skin and Soft Tissue Infections: This antibiotic is also effective against infections of the skin and soft tissues, such as cellulitis and abscesses.
  4. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Ofloxacin can be used to treat sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea, especially when first-line treatments are not suitable or have failed.
  5. Prostatitis: Chronic bacterial prostatitis, an infection of the prostate gland, can be treated with ofloxacin due to its ability to penetrate prostate tissue effectively.
  6. Gastrointestinal Infections: It is sometimes used to treat certain gastrointestinal infections, including traveler’s diarrhea caused by susceptible strains of E. coli.
  7. Eye and Ear Infections: Ofloxacin ophthalmic (eye drops) and otic (ear drops) formulations are used to treat bacterial infections of the eyes and ears, such as conjunctivitis and otitis externa.

Dosage of Ofloxacin

The dosage of ofloxacin varies based on the type and severity of the infection, the patient’s age, kidney function, and other medical conditions. Below are some general guidelines:

Oral Dosage:

  1. Respiratory Tract Infections:
  • Adults: 400 mg daily, either as a single dose or divided into two doses (200 mg every 12 hours) for 7-10 days.
  1. Urinary Tract Infections:
  • Uncomplicated UTIs:
    • Adults: 200-400 mg daily for 3 days.
  • Complicated UTIs:
    • Adults: 200-400 mg every 12 hours for 7-10 days.
  1. Skin and Soft Tissue Infections:
  • Adults: 400 mg every 12 hours for 10 days.
  1. Sexually Transmitted Infections:
  • Chlamydia:
    • Adults: 300 mg twice daily for 7 days.
  • Gonorrhea:
    • Adults: 400 mg as a single dose.
  1. Prostatitis:
  • Adults: 300 mg twice daily for 6 weeks.
  1. Gastrointestinal Infections:
  • Traveler’s Diarrhea:
    • Adults: 200 mg twice daily for 3 days.

Ophthalmic (Eye Drops) Dosage:

  • Bacterial Conjunctivitis:
    • Adults and Children: 1-2 drops in the affected eye(s) every 2-4 hours for the first 2 days, then 1-2 drops four times a day for the next 5 days.

Otic (Ear Drops) Dosage:

  • Otitis Externa:
    • Adults and Children: 10 drops into the affected ear twice daily for 10 days.

Dosage Adjustments: Patients with impaired kidney function may require dosage adjustments. It is crucial to follow a healthcare provider’s guidance in such cases.

Side Effects of Ofloxacin

Common Side Effects:

  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain are common side effects.
  • Central Nervous System Effects: Headache, dizziness, and insomnia can occur.
  • Skin Reactions: Rash and itching are possible.

Serious Side Effects:

  • Tendinitis and Tendon Rupture: Ofloxacin can increase the risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture, especially in older adults and those taking corticosteroids.
  • Peripheral Neuropathy: This condition involves nerve damage that can cause pain, burning, tingling, or numbness.
  • Central Nervous System Effects: Severe side effects include seizures, tremors, and anxiety.
  • Cardiac Effects: Ofloxacin can cause QT interval prolongation, leading to arrhythmias. Patients with a history of heart conditions should be monitored.
  • Severe Allergic Reactions: Although rare, some patients may experience severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Symptoms include rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, and difficulty breathing.

Special Considerations

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Ofloxacin falls under FDA Pregnancy Category C, indicating that risk cannot be ruled out. Animal studies have shown some adverse effects, and there are no well-controlled studies in pregnant women. It should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefits justify the potential risk to the fetus. Ofloxacin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing infant. Breastfeeding mothers should consult their healthcare provider before using it.

Drug Interactions:

  • Antacids and Supplements: Products containing magnesium, aluminum, calcium, iron, or zinc can interfere with the absorption of ofloxacin. It is advised to take ofloxacin at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after these products.
  • Antiarrhythmic Drugs: Combining ofloxacin with drugs that affect heart rhythm (e.g., amiodarone, sotalol) can increase the risk of QT prolongation.
  • Warfarin: Ofloxacin can enhance the effects of warfarin, increasing the risk of bleeding. Regular monitoring of INR (International Normalized Ratio) is necessary.
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Concomitant use of NSAIDs can increase the risk of central nervous system stimulation and seizures.

Administration Tips:

  • Oral Tablets: Swallow the tablet whole with a full glass of water. It can be taken with or without food, but consistency is key.
  • Eye Drops: Wash your hands before use, avoid touching the dropper tip to prevent contamination, and do not wear contact lenses while using the drops.
  • Ear Drops: Warm the bottle in your hand to avoid dizziness, lie down with the affected ear upward, and stay in that position for a few minutes after administration.


Ofloxacin is a versatile antibiotic effective against a wide range of bacterial infections. Its broad-spectrum activity and availability in various forms make it a valuable tool in treating infections of the respiratory tract, urinary tract, skin, soft tissues, and more. However, it is essential to use ofloxacin under the guidance of a healthcare provider due to the potential for serious side effects and interactions with other medications.

Understanding the correct dosage, being aware of potential side effects, and taking necessary precautions can help ensure the safe and effective use of ofloxacin. As with any medication, always consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice tailored to your specific health needs.

Also read: Ketorolac Tablet: Uses, Side Effects, Dosage, Precautions and More

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