How Effective Is Ciprofloxacin for Acne?

Negative drug interactions with certain other medications can limit the use of ciprofloxacin.
A close up of acne.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jamie Nedderman
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 30 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The primary uses of ciprofloxacin are treatment of infections caused by bacteria or anthrax. Ciprofloxacin helps some cases of acne by treating bacteria infections causing cyst-type acne. Several reasons not to use ciprofloxacin for acne include creating immunity to antibiotics, problems with tendonitis, and side effects ranging from minor stomach issues to breathing problems and depression. Ciprofoxacin also reacts with many other drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter medications, such as pain killers and supplements.

Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic that treats the bacteria around the follicle, which often leads to cyst-like acne. Antibiotics also work by reducing chemicals produced by white blood cells, or by reducing the concentration of fatty acids that contribute to inflammation. It is considered to be a powerful antibiotic and often creates swift response to acne concerns.

One reason ciprofloxacin for acne may not be ideal is the possibility of the patient’s system creating immunity to antibiotics. This means that, when antibiotics are prescribed for infections, the medicine will be less effective. Doctors may find another medication or trials of other medications more appropriate before prescribing ciprofloxacin for acne.

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The risks of ciprofloxacin for acne will need to be weighed against the benefits from taking the medication, since one of the main concerns is the increased occurrence of tendonitis or other tendon problems. Patients with myasthenia gravis will also need to be under close medical supervision to avoid breathing trouble or death. The advantages and disadvantages should be discussed with a medical professional, as the patients' medical history and lifestyle should be carefully analyzed prior to taking any medication.

Side effects of ciprofloxacin include stomach issues such as pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Headaches, problems with urination, and genital itching may also occur. If these side effects become severe, patients should contact their doctors. More problematic side effects are fainting, fever, joint problems, and depression, as well as throat tightness or swallowing difficulty, lack of energy and appetite, and others. If any of these are experienced, they should be brought immediately to the attention of medical professionals.

Ciprofloxacin drug interactions must also be considered. Serious problems may result from mixing ciprofloxacin with steroids, anticoagulants, and antidepressants, as well as medications containing caffeine, diuretics, and medications to treat irregular heartbeat. In addition, common drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, ropinirole, and more can also cause serious interactions. Some time is required between taking antacids and vitamin supplements and ciprofloxacin. For these reasons, a doctor and pharmacist must be provided a list of a patient’s medications taken both on a prescription basis and over-the-counter.

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Discuss this Article

anon344375
Post 3

Honest experience, no lie.

I have been taking Ciprofloxacin for almost a week now (five days) 500mg po bid (by mouth twice daily) along with an OTC 10 percent benzoyl peroxide (Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Treatment Cream) product.I was already using the Clearasil before starting the treatment and it was only mildly effective at controlling my cystic acne.

Since the addition of the Ciprofloxacin treatment, there has been a noticeable change in the reduction of my cystic acne. I no longer see a whole lot of inflammation or redness in the affected areas and can safely assume that at this rate it won't be long (maybe a week or two more) before my moderate/severe acne is almost completely under control. I am very content with the results, although I must point out that I am a bit concerned about the possible effects that Cipro can have on your tendons (tendonitis) and possibly creating an antibiotic resistance. I did stop exercising to prevent any possible damage to a tendon, and will also complete the treatment for the entire duration, not simply stop midway and risk a possible return of the infection and creating an antibiotic resistance.

Also, I was originally prescribed Docycycline Hyclate, which may produce fewer side effects, but since I am a poor college student and don't have insurance (Doxycycline Hyclate is about $170 for a monthly 500mg po bid treatment, at Walmart Pharmacy) my doctor changed the prescription to Ciprofloxacin which qualifies for the $10 monthly prescription at most Walmart stores.

Weigh out the cost, the benefits and the side effects. If you can afford the Doxycycline Hyclate. I would suggest you go with that instead, which is just as effective and has fewer side effects) but if you don't have much money to spare, Ciprofloxacin is a good choice. Just take care of yourself. Don't work out so hard that you might hurt a tendon and please, complete the whole regimen to avoid creating antibiotic resistance with the infection coming back only stronger.

Hope this helps someone! Best wishes my friends.

John57
Post 2

@andee-- You are fortunate the only side effect you had with this medication was a headache. I wasn't so lucky. After about a week of taking the ciprofloxacin, I had a bad reaction.

I was short of breath and my joints hurt all over. My doctor told me to stop taking it right away. I wasn't able to take it long enough to see if it would help with my acne or not.

I don't usually have a reaction like that to medication, but that kind of scared me.

andee
Post 1

I was willing to try taking ciprofloxacin because of the type of acne I had. My acne was more than just pimples, but looked like red cysts on my face. When your face looks like this, it is hard to feel confident about yourself, and I was willing to risk the side effects to have a clear complexion.

The ciprofoxacin did clear up my acne, and the only side effect I had was a mild headache. For me, this was well worth it.

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