Levofloxacin hemihydrate is an antibiotic medication used to treat people in the event of bacterial infections. It is part of the larger antibiotic family known as the quinolones, and like its chemical relatives, this medication is considered effective at treating many different types of infection. Normally, levofloxacin is not used as a first-line treatment, but is instead employed when an infection does not respond to other types of antibiotics. In cases of extremely aggressive infections, or infections that could quickly become fatal, this medication may sometimes be the first compound to be given to the patient.
Some people may be at risk from taking levofloxacin hemihydrate, which is why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set limits on who it can be prescribed to within the United States. Pregnant women cannot take this medication, since there is a risk of damage to the fetus. Individuals with sexually transmitted diseases should also typically avoid this drug, since it may encourage resistance to antibiotics among these microbes.
There are several ways that levofloxacin hemihydrate may be given to patients, including by injection, or orally, via tablets or a liquid suspension. Some uses of levofloxacin include urinary tract infections, anthrax, meningitis, respiratory tract infections, and pelvic inflammation caused by bacteria. This medication prevents cell division in many species of bacteria, which is why it is so effective against a variety of germs. It can also affect human cells negatively, however, meaning that it can cause side effects.
Side effects of levofloxacin hemihydrate are often mild, but some can potentially be quite hazardous, which is why this medication is not given to children. Nausea, constipation, and diarrhea are all common side effects, and are not usually dangerous. Muscle pain, headaches, and anxiety or trouble sleeping also occur in many people that take this medication. Seizures, numbness, and changes in skin color could indicate worse problems, however, and a doctor should be notified if these side effects occur. More rarely, extremely serious side effects like nerve damage and irreversible tendon damage can result from taking this compound.
Potent medications like this one may cause drug interactions, which is why patients should be careful when taking it in combination with other drugs. Potential interactions of levofloxacin hemihydrate can include increasing the blood thinner warfarin to dangerous levels. Taking caffeine with this medication can sometimes lead to a caffeine overdose, since this antibiotic slows caffeine's metabolism. Corticosteroids, sometimes used to treat inflammation, can sometimes cause tendon ruptures when taken before or with this medication. Many other potentially dangerous interactions exist, which is why levofloxacin should only be taken under a doctor's supervision.