What is levofloxacin?
Levofloxacin is an antibacterial prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of certain infections, including acute worsening of chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, anthrax, urinary tract infections, acute sinus infections, and others.
Certain bacterial respiratory diseases (such as pneumonia) are opportunistic infections. An opportunistic infection is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as those infected with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems.
Levofloxacin can also be used “off-label” to treat other opportunistic infections of HIV infection. “Off-label” use refers to use of an FDA-approved medicine in a manner different from that described on the medicine label. Good medical practice and the best interests of a patient sometimes require that a medicine be used “off-label.”
What HIV-related opportunistic infections is levofloxacin used for?
The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA-HIVMA), includes recommendations on the HIV-related uses of levofloxacin to:
- Disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease from recurring (called secondary prophylaxis or maintenance therapy). (This is an “off-label” use.)
- Disseminated MAC disease. (This is an “off-label” use.)
- Active tuberculosis (TB) disease. (This is an “off-label” use.)
- Certain bacterial enteric infections, such as salmonellosis, shigellosis, and campylobacteriosis. (This is an “off-label” use.)
- Certain bacterial respiratory diseases, including pneumonia.
What should I tell my health care provider before taking levofloxacin?
Before taking levofloxacin, tell your health care provider:
- If you are allergic to levofloxacin or any other medicines.
- About any medical conditions you have or have had, for example, diabetes or liver problems.
- About anything that could affect your ability to take medicines, such as difficulty swallowing or remembering to take pills.
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Whether levofloxacin can harm an unborn baby is unknown. Levofloxacin should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
- If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV.
- About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Ask your health care provider if there are interactions between levofloxacin and the other medicines you take.
Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from levofloxacin. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.
How should I take levofloxacin?
Take levofloxacin according to your health care provider’s instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much levofloxacin to take and when to take it. Before you start levofloxacin and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.
How should levofloxacin be stored?
- Store levofloxacin tablets and oral solution at 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C).
- Keep levofloxacin tablets in a tightly closed container.
- Store levofloxacin injection pre-mixed solution for intravenous infusion (single-use in flexible container) at or below 77°F (25°C), protect from light, avoid excessive heat, and do not freeze.
- Safely throw away levofloxacin that is no longer needed or expired (out of date).
- Keep levofloxacin and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about levofloxacin?
More information about levofloxacin is available:
Last Reviewed: May 7, 2013
Last Updated: August 1, 2014