Ciprofloxacin drops for infection
This leaflet is about the use of ciprofloxacin drops to treat infections of the outer ear that are caused by bacteria (sometimes called bacterial otitis externa). They are not suitable for ear infections caused by viruses.
This leaflet has been written for parents and carers about how to use this medicine in children. Our information sometimes differs from that provided by the manufacturers, because their information is usually aimed at adult patients. Please read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.
Ciprofloxacin drops are often used for the eye, but it is safe to be used in the ears as well. If you are concerned, talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Name of drug
Ciprofloxacin drops (sip-roh-fl ox-ass-in)
Common brand: Ciloxan®
Why is it important for my child to take this medicine?
Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic. By giving it regularly in the way that your doctor has told you to, it should kill the bacteria causing the infection.
What are ciprofloxacin ear drops available as?
- Ciprofloxacin 0.3% drops (supplied in a 5 mL dropper bottle)
When should I give are ciprofloxacin drops?
Ciprofloxacin drops are usually given two or three times each day. Your doctor will tell you how often to give the drops to your child.
- Twice a day: give the drops once in the morning and once in the evening. Ideally, these times are 10–12 hours apart, for example some time between 7 and 8 am, and between 7 and 8 pm.
- Three times a day: give the drops once in the morning, once in the early afternoon (e.g. straight after school) and once in the evening. Space these times out as evenly as possible.
Give the ear drops at about the same times each day.
How much should I give?
Your doctor will work out the number of ear drops (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.
It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give.
How should I give the drops?
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water.
- Shake the bottle.
- Your child needs to have their head tilted to one side. (They could rest their head on a pillow.)
- Put the tip of the dropper just inside the ear hole. Try to avoid touching the nozzle on to the ear. Gently squeeze the drop(s) into the ear.
- Your child should keep their head tilted to one side for a minute or so.
- Wipe the nozzle with a clean tissue after each use.
Repeat the above steps for the other ear if necessary.
When should the medicine start working?
The drops will start to work straight away but it may take 2–3 days before your child starts to feel better. It is important that you give the whole course of drops that your doctor has prescribed, even when your child feels better. This is to make sure that all the bacteria are killed and the infection doesn’t come back.
What if my child is sick (vomits)?
You do not need to worry if your child is sick, as the drops will still work.
What if I forget to give it?
If you usually give it twice a day
If you remember up to 4 hours after you should have given a dose, give your child the missed dose. For example, if you usually give a dose at about 7 am, you can give the missed dose at any time up to 11 am. If you remember after that time, do not give the missed dose. Just give the next dose as usual.
If you usually give it three times a day
Do not give the missed dose. Just give the next dose as usual.
What if I give too much?
It is unlikely that you will cause any harm if you give your child extra drops by mistake. If you are worried that you may have given your child too much, contact your doctor or local NHS services (111 in England and Scotland; 0845 4647 in Wales). Have the medicine or packaging with you if you telephone for advice.
Are there any possible side-effects?
We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we don’t want (side-effects).
Side-effects you must do something about
If your child is short of breath or is wheezing, or their face, lips or tongue start to swell, or they develop a rash, they may be allergic to ciprofloxacin. Take your child to hospital or call an ambulance straight away.
Other side-effects you need to know about
- Your child may develop a rash or itching in the ear(s) while using the drops. This will stop when the course of treatment is finished. If it is a problem, contact your doctor for advice.
There may, sometimes, be other side-effects that are not listed above. If you notice anything unusual and are concerned, contact your doctor. You can report any suspected side-effects to a UK safety scheme at http://www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.
More information on side-effects can be found in the following leaflet http://www.medicinesforchildren.org.uk/side-effects-childrens-medicines.
Can other medicines be given at the same time as ciprofloxacin drops?
- You can give your child medicines that contain paracetamol or ibuprofen, unless your doctor has told you not to.
- Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal or complementary medicines. However, most medicines can be given safely while using ciprofloxacin drops.
Is there anything else I need to know about ciprofloxacin drops?
- Do not put cotton wool (or anything else) into the ears during the course of treatment.
- Ciprofloxacin is widely available in the UK in other formulations, including as eye drops. Ciprofloxacin eye drops (Ciloxan 0.3%) are the most commonly used preparation in the UK for ear infection. It is safe for ciprofloxacin eye drops to be used in the ears as well. If you are concerned, talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
- Once opened, ciprofloxacin drops should not be kept for longer than 4 weeks.
Important things to know about taking antibiotics
- It is important that your child completes the course of antibiotic. This means that they must take the medicine for the number of days that the doctor has told you to, or until all of the medicine has been taken. If you stop giving the antibiotic too soon, the bacteria that are left will start to multiply again, and may cause another infection. There is also a risk that these bacteria will be ‘resistant’ to the first antibiotic. This means that it might not work next time, and your child might need a different antibiotic, which might not work as well or cause more side-effects.
- Try to give the medicine at about the same times each day, to help you remember, and to make sure that there is the right amount of medicine in your child’s body to kill the bacteria.
- Only give this medicine to your child for their current infection.
- Never save medicine for future illnesses. Give old or unused antibiotics to your pharmacist to dispose of.
- Only give the antibiotic to the child for whom it was prescribed. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.
If you think someone else may have taken the medicine by accident, contact your doctor for advice.
- Antibiotics only kill bacteria; they do not kill viruses. This means that they do not work against colds, sore throats, flu or other infections that are caused by viruses. Your doctor will not prescribe antibiotics for these illnesses.
Where should I keep this medicine?
- Keep the drops in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight. They do not need to be kept in the fridge.
- Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
- Keep the medicine in the container it came in.
Who to contact for more information
Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to give you more information about ciprofloxacin drops and other treatments for ear infection.
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