How Effective Is Ciprofloxacin for Sinus Infection?

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  • Originally Written By: Kesha Ward
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 17 June 2019
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Ciprofloxacin is generally considered very effective for sinus infections, and is prescribed and recommended by health care providers in most places. A lot of its specific efficacy depends on the individual, and it isn’t always a good fit for every patient. In most instances, though, this drug is able to cure sinus infections and related ailments in a matter of days, and can restore health much faster than other comparable remedies. People who have recurring sinus infections might find that treatments stop being as effective over time, and in these cases a stronger drug may be needed. Ciprofloxacin is usually considered to be one of the safest antibiotics available, but like most medications, it does have a number of side effects and precautions. Patients are usually advised to talk about the choice to start taking this drug with their doctor or other healthcare provider.

Understanding Sinus Infections

Sinus infection, which is commonly referred to as sinusitis in the medical community, is a common ailment that occurs when there is inflammation in the nasal passages. Inflammation, in turn, can result in the buildup of mucus in the nose, which promotes the growth and spread of bacteria; pressure in the eye area and upper face is a common result, along with bad breath, fever, and sore throat.


The sinuses provide natural defenses against bacteria and viruses, but these are compromised when infection sets in. Without treatment, the infection will usually continue to get worse — letting it “work itself out” isn’t usually an effective option. A number of different medical remedies can help, but antibiotics like ciprofloxacin are usually the best choice, both in terms of speed and effectiveness.

Why Ciprofloxacin Works

Healthcare professionals prescribe ciprofloxacin for sinus infection because the medication is an antibiotic that targets and kills bacteria. Antibiotics are a special class of medications that work to not only eliminate bacteria, but also keep them from reproducing. There are several different types of antibiotic. Ciprofloxacin works well for sinus infections because it is specially formulated for mucus-dwelling bacteria.

General Dosage Guidelines

Individuals who take ciprofloxacin for sinus infections typically take the medication orally in pill form. It is usually best for people to take the pills with a full glass of water. Physicians also typically recommend that patients increase fluid consumption and take the medication within two hours after eating. Patients normally feel better within a few days of starting the medication.

In order to ensure efficacy and prevent the infection from occurring, it is important for the patient to take the full prescription. It can be tempting to give up the pills once symptoms seem to have died down, but this can actually cause the infection to come back even stronger than it was before. The medication usually needs the full dosage cycle to be truly effective.

Side Effects

There are side effects that can be experienced with all medications. Individuals who take ciprofloxacin for a sinus infection might experience side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, headaches and loss of appetite. Although these side effects are not usually serious, they should be monitored, and health care providers should be notified if the side effects are persistent.

In rare cases, individuals who take ciprofloxacin might develop serious side effects that require medical treatment. The medication must be stopped immediately if the patient notices bloody stools, jaundice, a change in urine output, hallucinations or seizures. In addition to immediately stopping the medication, the prescribing physician should be contacted immediately.

Interaction Concerns

As with any medication, ciprofloxain might interact with other drugs. Drug interactions can be harmful; it is important for the patient to inform the prescribing physician and pharmacist of all medications currently being taken. Individuals who are taking corticosteroids or an antiarrhythmic drug have to be especially careful and might find that this particular antibiotic cannot be taken safely.


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Discuss this Article

Post 4

@anon995892-- According to the prospectus of the drug, it is used to treat acute sinusitis. There was a study released in the early 90s that compared the effectiveness of ciprofloxacin and amoxycillin for chronic sinusitis and it found that cipro was just as effective as amoxycillin for sinusitis and it was tolerated a little better by patients.

As the article also mentions, this also depends from person to person. The dose, the person's tolerance to the drug all will have an impact on its effectiveness. But overall, I don't think we can say that cipro doesn't work for sinus infections, since it does for many people. And it's not the only drug out there for sinus infections; it's just one that your doctor may choose to prescribe for you.

Post 3

I don't think that cipro treats sinus and respiratory infections. It didn't for me.

Post 2

I have a bad sinus infection that I've had for five months. I was at first prescribed Augmenting but kept vomiting it up even when taken with food. when I told my ENT I needed a replacement (antibiotic won't work if it keeps ending up in the toilet) he prescribed Cipro. I don't know how safe it is. It can have some very serious side effects and carries a black box warning due to potential problems with tendons. Since I have to get rid of this infection before it spreads to the brain or eye orbit, and since many seem to tolerate this antibiotic, I am hoping I am not one of the unfortunates who suffer the rare side effects from it.

I have heard contradicting info regarding sinus infections clearing on their own (with home treatment) vs needing antibiotics. It probably depends on how severe the infection is

Post 1

Actually, Ciprofloxacin doesn't work to target and kill bacteria. Its mode of treatment is blocking the infection from growing and spreading. Different antibiotics treat differently.

Cipro is also not usually prescribed for the treatment of a sinus infection because it is a broad spectrum antibiotic and the likelihood of building an immunity to it is rather high. Cipro is most usually prescribed to treat UTI's and digestion/intestinal infections.

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