Levofloxacin Tablet | Side Effects, Dosage & More
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Generic Name:

levofloxacin, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Levaquin
  • Levaquin Leva-Pak (Discontinued)
A discontinued drug is a drug that has been taken off the market due to safety issues, shortage of raw materials, or low market demand.
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for levofloxacin

Oral tablet
1

Levofloxacin is used to treat bacterial infections.

2

This drug comes as an oral tablet, oral solution, and eye drops. It’s also available as an intravenous (IV) drug, which is only given by a healthcare provider.

3

Levofloxacin oral tablet is available as the brand-name drug Levaquin. It’s also available as a generic drug.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Tendon rupture or inflammation warning. This drug is linked with an increased risk of tendon rupture and tendinitis (swelling of your tendons). This can happen at any age. This risk is higher if you’re over 60 years of age, taking corticosteroid drugs, or have had a kidney, heart, or lung transplant.

Worsening of myasthenia gravis warning. This drug may make your muscle weakness worse if you have myasthenia gravis. You shouldn’t take this drug if you have a history of this condition.

Liver damage

This drug may cause liver damage. Call your doctor right away if you have any signs of liver problems. Symptoms include nausea or vomiting, stomach pain, fever, weakness and, abdominal pain or tenderness. They can also include itching, unusual tiredness, loss of appetite, light-colored bowel movements, dark-colored urine, and yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage)

This drug may cause peripheral neuropathy. This condition causes changes in sensation and damage to the nerves in your arms, hands, legs, or feet. This damage may be permanent. Stop taking this drug and call your doctor right away if you have any signs of peripheral neuropathy in your arms, hands, legs, or feet. Symptoms include pain, burning, tingling, numbness, and weakness.

Heart rhythm changes

Tell your doctor right away if you have a fast or irregular heartbeat or if you faint. This drug may cause a rare heart problem called QT interval prolongation. This serious condition can cause an abnormal heartbeat. Your risk may be higher if you’re a senior, have a family history of QT prolongation, have hypokalemia (low blood potassium), or take certain drugs to control your heart rhythm.

Drug features

Levofloxacin is a prescription drug. It comes as an oral tablet, oral solution, and ophthalmic solution (eye drop). It also comes as an intravenous (IV) drug, which is only given by a healthcare provider. 

The oral tablet is available as the brand-name drug called Levaquin. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.

Levofloxacin may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

Levofloxacin is used to treat bacterial infections in adults. These include:

  • pneumonia
  • sinus infection
  • worsening of chronic bronchitis
  • skin infections
  • chronic prostate infection
  • urinary tract infections
  • pyelonephritis (kidney infection)
  • inhalational anthrax
  • plague

How it works

Levofloxacin belongs to a class of drugs called fluoroquinolone antibiotics. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Levofloxacin works by killing the bacteria that are causing an infection. You should only use this drug to treat bacterial infections.

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SECTION 2 of 5

levofloxacin Side Effects

Oral tablet

More Common Side Effects

Some of the more common side effects of levofloxacin include:

  • nausea

  • headache

  • diarrhea

  • insomnia (trouble sleeping)

  • constipation

  • dizziness

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

    • hives
    • trouble breathing or swallowing
    • swelling of your lips, tongue, face
    • throat tightness or hoarseness
    • fast heart rate
    • fainting
    • skin rash
  • Mental symptoms. Symptoms can include:

    • seizures
    • hallucinations (hearing voices, seeing things, or sensing things that aren’t there)
    • restlessness
    • tremors (uncontrollable rhythmic movement in one part of your body
    • feeling anxious or nervous
    • confusion
    • depression
    • trouble sleeping
    • nightmares
    • lightheadedness
    • paranoia (feeling suspicious)
    • suicidal thoughts or acts (thoughts or behaviors of harming yourself)
    • a headache that won’t go away, with or without blurred vision
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Levofloxacin doesn’t cause drowsiness.

This drug can make you feel dizzy and lightheaded. You shouldn’t drive, use machinery, or do other tasks that require alertness or coordination until you know how it affects you.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

levofloxacin May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Levofloxacin can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Drugs that increase the risk of side effects
  • Increased side effects from other drugs: Taking levofloxacin with certain medications raises your risk of side effects from those drugs.  Examples of these drugs include:
  • Insulin and certain oral diabetes drugs, such as nateglinide, pioglitazone, repaglinide, and rosiglitazone. You may have a significant decrease or increase in your blood sugar levels. You may need to monitor your blood sugar levels closely while taking these drugs together.
  • Warfarin. You may have an increase in bleeding. Your doctor will monitor you closely if you take these drugs together.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).  Drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen may increase the risk of central nervous system stimulation and seizures. Tell your doctor if you have a history of seizures before you start taking levofloxacin.
  • Theophylline. You may have symptoms such as seizures, low blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat due to increased levels of theophylline in your blood. Your doctor will monitor you closely if you take these drugs together.

Drugs that can make levofloxacin less effective
  • When used with levofloxacin, these drugs can make levofloxacin less effective. This means it won’t work as well to treat your condition. This is because the amount of levofloxacin in your body is decreased. Examples of these drugs include:
    • Sucralfate, didanosine, multivitamins, antacids, or other drugs or supplements that have magnesium, aluminum, iron, or zinc may reduce levels of levofloxacin and stop it from working correctly. Take this drug either 2 hours before or 2 hours after taking these drugs or supplements.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with diabetes

People who take levofloxacin with diabetes drugs or insulin can develop low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). Test your blood sugar as often as your doctor recommends. If you have low blood sugar while taking this drug, stop taking it and call your doctor right away. Your doctor may need to change your antibiotic.

People with kidney damage

Your doctor will adjust your dose and how often you take levofloxacin, based on how much your kidneys are damaged.

Pregnant women

Levofloxacin is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should be used only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are breast-feeding

Levofloxacin passes into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your child. You will need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

For children

This drug hasn’t been studied in children younger than 6 months. It shouldn’t be used in this age group.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if your infection doesn’t get better within a week of finishing this drug.

Allergies

Levofloxacin can cause a severe allergic reaction, even after only one dose. Symptoms can include:

  • hives
  • trouble breathing or swallowing
  • swelling of your lips, tongue, face
  • throat tightness or hoarseness
  • fast heart rate
  • fainting
  • skin rash

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

SECTION 4 of 5

How to Take levofloxacin (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Pneumonia

Brand: Levaquin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg

Generic: levofloxacin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Nosocomial pneumonia: 750 mg taken every 24 hours for 7–14 days.
  • Community acquired pneumonia: 500 mg or 750 mg taken every 24 hours for 5–14 days. Your dose will depend on bacteria causing the infection.
Child dosage (ages 0–5 months)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children younger than 6 months. It shouldn’t be used in this age group.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

If you have kidney problems, your doctor will adjust your dose and how often you take this drug. Your dose will be based on how much your kidneys are damaged.

Acute bacterial sinusitis

Brand: Levaquin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg

Generic: levofloxacin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Acute bacterial sinusitis: 500 mg taken every 24 hours for 10–14 days or 750 mg taken every 24 hours for 5 days. Your dose will depend on bacteria causing the infection.
Child dosage (ages 0–5 months)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children younger than 6 months. It shouldn’t be used in this age group.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

If you have kidney problems, your doctor will adjust your dose and how often you take this drug. Your dose will be based on how much your kidneys are damaged.

Acute bacterial exacerbation of chronic bronchitis

Brand: Levaquin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg

Generic: levofloxacin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Acute bacterial exacerbation of chronic bronchitis: 500 mg taken every 24 hours for 7 days
Child dosage (ages 0–5 months)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children younger than 6 months. It shouldn’t be used in this age group.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

If you have kidney problems, your doctor will adjust your dose and how often you take this drug. Your dose will be based on how much your kidneys are damaged.

Skin and skin structure infections

Brand: Levaquin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg

Generic: levofloxacin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Complicated skin and skin structure infections (SSSI): 750 mg taken every 24 hours for 7–14 days.
  • Uncomplicated SSSI: 500 mg taken every 24 hours for 7–10 days
Child dosage (ages 0–5 months)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children younger than 6 months. It shouldn’t be used in this age group.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

If you have kidney problems, your doctor will adjust your dose and how often you take this drug. Your dose will be based on how much your kidneys are damaged.

Chronic bacterial prostatitis

Brand: Levaquin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg

Generic: levofloxacin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis: 500 mg taken every 24 hours for 28 days
Child dosage (ages 0–5 months)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children younger than 6 months. It shouldn’t be used in this age group.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

If you have kidney problems, your doctor will adjust your dose and how often you take this drug. Your dose will be based on how much your kidneys are damaged.

Urinary tract infections

Brand: Levaquin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg

Generic: levofloxacin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Complicated urinary tract infection or acute pyelonephritis: 250 mg taken every 24 hours for 10 days or 750 mg taken every 24 hours for 5 days. Your dose will depend on bacteria causing the infection.
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infection: 250 mg taken every 24 hours for 3 days
Child dosage (ages 0–5 months)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children younger than 6 months. It shouldn’t be used in this age group.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

If you have kidney problems, your doctor will adjust your dose and how often you take this drug. Your dose will be based on how much your kidneys are damaged.

Acute pyelonephritis

Brand: Levaquin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg

Generic: levofloxacin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Complicated urinary tract infection or acute pyelonephritis: 250 mg taken every 24 hours for 10 days or 750 mg taken every 24 hours for 5 days. Your dose will depend on bacteria causing the infection.
Child dosage (ages 0–5 months)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children younger than 6 months. It shouldn’t be used in this age group.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

If you have kidney problems, your doctor will adjust your dose and how often you take this drug. Your dose will be based on how much your kidneys are damaged.

Inhalational anthrax, post-exposure

Brand: Levaquin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg

Generic: levofloxacin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Inhalational anthrax (post-exposure): 500 mg taken every 24 hours for 60 days
Child dosage (ages 6 months–17 years)
  • Inhalational anthrax (post-exposure) in children who weigh more than 50 kg: 500 mg taken every 24 hours for 60 days
  • Inhalational anthrax (post-exposure) in children who weigh 50 kg or less:  8 mg/kg (not to exceed 250 mg per dose) taken every 12 hours for 60 days
Child dosage (ages 0–5 months)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children younger than 6 months. It shouldn’t be used in this age group.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

If you have kidney problems, your doctor will adjust your dose and how often you take this drug. Your dose will be based on how much your kidneys are damaged.

Plague

Brand: Levaquin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg

Generic: levofloxacin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Plague: 500 mg taken every 24 hours for 10–14 days
Child dosage (ages 6 months–17 years)
  • Plague in children who weigh more than 50 kg: 500 mg taken every 24 hours for 10–14 days
  • Plague in children who weigh 50 kg or less: 8 mg/kg (not to exceed 250 mg per dose) taken every 12 hours for 10–14 days
Child dosage (ages 0–5 months)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children younger than 6 months. It shouldn’t be used in this age group.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

If you have kidney problems, your doctor will adjust your dose and how often you take this drug. Your dose will be based on how much your kidneys are damaged.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Levofloxacin comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug or don’t take it at all

Your infection won’t get better and may get worse. Even if you feel better, don’t stop taking the drug.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose can include:

  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • disorientation
  • slurred speech
  • nausea
  • vomiting

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away. 

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your symptoms should get better and your infection should go away.

Levofloxacin is used for short-term treatment.

You can take this drug with or without food

Taking it with food may help to reduce upset stomach.

Store this drug at 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C)

Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medcation is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

You doctor may check your kidney and liver function while you’re taking this drug. This will help make sure your kidney and liver are working correctly. 

This monitoring may done using:

  • Liver function tests. Your doctor may do blood tests to check how well your liver is working. If your liver isn’t working well, your doctor may have you stop taking this drug.
  • Kidney function tests. Your doctor may do blood tests to check how well your kidneys are working. If your kidneys aren’t working well, your doctor may give you less of the drug.
  • Blood sugar: Levofloxacin can cause changes in your blood sugar. If you have diabetes, your doctor may ask you to check your blood sugar more often while you’re taking this drug.

Sun sensitivity

This drug can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. This increases your risk of sunburn. Stay out of the sun if you can. If you have to be in the sun, wear protective clothing and sunscreen.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

What does the pill look like?

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SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does levofloxacin Cost?

Oral tablet

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for levofloxacin on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

Levofloxacin- levofloxacin tablet, film coated. (2015, February). Retrieved from http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=6ee54fdc-efe6-4411-a711-8154ceee20b6

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on December 7, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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