Bacterial infections in the respiratory tract (the upper portion), and various infections of the skin, prostate, and urinary tract are treated with fluoroquinolone antibiotics. This class of antibiotics is also used for treating exposure to anthrax through inhalation, apart from the plague. Belonging to this category of antibiotics, Levofloxacin is available in oral and intravenous forms. Additionally, the antibiotic is also available as an ophthalmic solution for treating bacterial conjunctivitis. Various subsections offer detailed information about the antibiotic, including possible side effects of Levaquin to help patients cope with undesirable outcomes.

Overview – mechanism of action

The outcomes of the medication are attributed to the antimicrobial activity of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. This is achieved by inhibition of specific bacterial enzymes, that are commonly known as type II topoisomerases. These enzymes are responsible for functions in the bacterial cell, and inhibition helps block the replication of DNA, which in turn results in the prevention of cell division, and ultimately, the death of the cells.

It is necessary to note that despite its use in treating infections of the upper respiratory tract, it is not to be confused with medications that are used for treating flu, cold and other infections that are viral in nature.

Intake recommendations

The oral liquid formulation is intended to be taken either one or two hours after consuming food. The tablets may be consumed either with food or without food. However, the ideal way to take the medication is to take it with adequate water. Additionally, the patient is also advised to drink sufficient water throughout the day when on the medication. The only exception will be cases where doctors recommend or advise patients to reduce liquid intake for certain reasons. The purpose of intake of adequate water is to reduce the undesirable outcomes of the medication.

The desired outcomes of the medication are achieved when the amount of medicine in the body is maintained at the right levels. This makes it necessary to stick to dosage and schedule and ensure that the medication is available in the body at the right levels.

Precautions for certain categories of individuals  

The prescription medication needs to be taken after considering the possible undesirable effects or unsuitability for certain categories of individuals. It is also necessary to undergo blood and urine tests to determine if the medication has triggered undesirable effects.

#Aged patients

As the medication is known to cause some form of inflammation in the tendons, it may not be the best option for aged patients. This is also likely to have an impact on patients on prescription steroids such as prednisolone or similar steroids. Patients with a history of kidney ailments, or chronic tendon problems are also likely to experience some form of complications. This also extends to patients who have recently been recipients of organ transplants. It is advisable to seek specialist advice before taking the medication in such instances. Patients belonging to the above categories are also to carefully monitor and report abnormal swelling, pain, or bruises.

#Patients with allergies

Patients with a history of allergies are also likely to experience potentially strong or adverse outcomes from the medication. For instance, there is the possibility of anaphylaxis, which is known to be a potentially life-endangering condition. It may be necessary to seek urgent and appropriate medication intervention to prevent tragic outcomes. Certain tell-tale symptoms are indicative of serious allergic reactions, such as difficulty breathing, unusual and persistent itching, a faint feeling, difficulty in swallowing food or liquid, and abnormal swelling in the limbs and face.

#Patients with low potassium levels

The medication is known to aggravate or elevate the risk of change in heartbeat rate among patients with low levels of potassium. It is therefore important to be on guard against these possibilities and seek immediate intervention, to prevent any abrupt change in heartbeat rate and loss of consciousness.

#Low blood sugar

Patients on medications to treat diabetes are also likely to experience some kind of unwanted effects. The medication is known to cause hypoglycemia and patients already on medications to lower blood sugar levels will end up with extremely lower levels of sugar that could cause unconsciousness. It is important for caregivers to observe and report certain symptoms such as anxiety, or exhibiting drunk behavior without being drunk. The patient may report blurring of vision or may break into a cold sweat, while the skin may be cool to the touch. The patient may experience difficulty in focusing, while many may report feeling drowsy. Other symptoms include abnormal hunger, feelings of nervousness, and a spike in heartbeat rate apart from tremors and fatigue.

Indications of serious side effects

No medication is free from the possibility of undesirable outcomes. Levaquin is no exception, and patients on the medication may experience mild, moderate, or adverse effects. It is also necessary to bear in mind that not all patients may experience effects. Certain categories of patients are known to be free from all side effects of Levaquin. The nature and extent of unwanted outcomes depend on various factors, such as the age of the patient, the condition being treated, the strength of the dosage, the length of treatment, the overall health condition, the presence of other conditions, and the use of other medications. There are clear tell-tale signs of effects that may be considered serious or adverse in nature. For instance, patients or caretakers observing black stools that appear tarry in nature are to bring this to the notice of the treating specialist. Similarly, discernible outcomes such as peeling of the skin, formation of blisters on the skin, and loose consistency of skin are all indications of possible unwanted effects that are serious in nature.

Patients observing discoloration of the urine (either clouded or with traces of blood), or experiencing chills for no other attributable reasons are also at risk of ending up with possible unwanted effects later. This also includes the possibility of patients experiencing a reduction in the amount of urine passed or the frequency of urination. Other effects that are a cause for concern include diarrhea, pain in the muscles or the joints, outbreak of lesions that are red in color. Additionally, the patient may also end up with ulcers in the mouth, and abnormally acute pain in the stomach. The formation of rashes and swelling in the face are also possible symptoms of serious side effects. Swelling may also be witnessed in the limb extremities, Patients observing any sudden change in weight (increase) or yellowing of the skin or whites of eyes are to seek medical intervention at the earliest.

General precautions to be followed by patients

The medication is known to have an impact on certain types of blood cells in the body, and as a result of this, the patient is more prone to bleeding and infections. It is, therefore, necessary for patients on the medication to exercise complete care and caution and ensure that the possibility of contracting an infection is eliminated. This includes avoiding individuals or locations identified as infected/high rate of infections, and increased hygiene. For instance, washing of hands is to be performed more frequently, oral hygiene is to be performed with greater care to avoid bruises. Patients are to avoid partaking in activities or staying in locations that may increase the possibility of getting hurt.

The medication may also, at times, cause patients to be more sensitive to sunlight, and this may result in extreme sunburn or an outbreak of rashes. The skin may appear reddish, may itch a lot, or there may be discoloration of the skin. It is, therefore, necessary for patients to avoid exposure to direct sunlight when it is most bright or intense. Patients are to wear suitable protective clothing, apart from using suitable topical applications to protect the skin from the harmful effects of sunlight sensitivity. It is important to avoid getting tanned under the sun, when on medication or to use sun lamps for a tan.

Commonly reported unwanted outcomes of Levaquin

The antibiotic is known to have an impact on liver health due to the mechanism of action/compounds. This includes the possibility of hepatitis. It is, therefore, necessary for patients and caregivers to seek medical attention in the event of observing the change in the color of urine/stools, or if the patient is experiencing feelings of nausea. Pain in the stomach or yellowing of the eyes/skin are other indications of the impact on the liver.

Levofloxacin is also known to be a reason for patients suffering from severe diarrhea, even weeks after the medication has been discontinued. In such instances, it is necessary to seek medical attention before attempting to treat the outcome symptomatically. This is mainly because, in certain circumstances, diarrhea medicines are known to worsen the condition.

Undesirable outcomes of Levaquin include peripheral neuropathy, and this is indicated with symptoms such as numb feelings, and a burning or tingling sensation in the limbs. Patients are advised to seek medical attention after observing or experiencing these symptoms, to prevent the condition from turning serious.

Convulsions and seizures are other possible outcomes of the medication. Parents of children on the medication are to observe and seek immediate treatment in the event of the child experiencing convulsions, or exhibiting altered behavior. This includes unusual feelings of anxiety, a state of confusion, or depression. Patients are also known to imagine things that are not present, and report hearing sounds that are non-existent. Similarly, there is also the possibility of the patient experiencing difficulty in falling asleep or having to put up with strange thoughts.

Impact of medication on tests and other medicines

One of the side effects of Levaquin is the impact on certain laboratory test results. It is, therefore, necessary to intimate treating doctors about the use of the medication, as this will alert the doctors of the possible changes in test results. Patients on antacids, multivitamins, or any formulations containing aluminum/iron/zinc/magnesium are to ensure that there is a clear gap of 2 hours after Levaquin, following which the other medications can be consumed. If taken together or without this gap in between, there is the possibility of the medications having an impact on the desired outcomes of the antibiotic.

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