Ciprofloxacin for Crohn's disease


Generic Name Brand Name
ciprofloxacin Cipro

How It Works

Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic that destroys bacteria, which may help control infection and inflammation in the intestines.

Why It Is Used

Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic that may be used to:

  • Treat infections that develop because of Crohn's disease, especially when abscesses, abnormal connections (fistulas) between two parts of the intestines, or holes in the intestines or anal area occur.
  • Treat active Crohn's disease. Ciprofloxacin may help with symptoms when aminosalicylates do not.

How Well It Works

Studies have shown that ciprofloxacin relieves symptoms of Crohn's disease. It was shown to work about as well as Pentasa (an aminosalicylate) and methylprednisolone (a corticosteroid).1 But antibiotics don't work as well after you take them for a long time, and some people have serious side effects. Ciprofloxacin is not used very often to treat Crohn's disease for the long term or to keep the disease in remission (a period without symptoms).

Ciprofloxacin is effective against a broad range of bacteria. Ciprofloxacin and metronidazole may be used together to treat Crohn's disease.

Side Effects

Side effects from ciprofloxacin may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Metallic taste in the mouth.
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Increased sensitivity to the sun.
  • Rash.

Ciprofloxacin increases the risk of a tendon rupture or other tendon damage. If you have sudden pain or swelling around your ankle, shoulder, elbow, or hand while taking it, tell your doctor. Do not exercise until your doctor says it is okay.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Ciprofloxacin should not be taken by children or by pregnant or breast-feeding women.

Ciprofloxacin can be taken with food to reduce the chance of stomach upset.

Antacids containing magnesium or aluminum as well as iron or zinc supplements should not be taken within 4 hours before or 2 hours after taking ciprofloxacin.

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  1. Friedman S, Lichtenstein GR (2006). Crohn's disease. In MM Wolfe et al., eds., Therapy of Digestive Disorders, 2nd ed., pp. 785–801. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.

Last Updated: October 9, 2008

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