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Am I having a bad reaction to cipro?
April 6, 2011 5:04 PM   Subscribe

Am I having a bad reaction to cipro?

I caught some food poisoning in india that left me sick for days and have lost lots of weight. I've managed to get some cipro which seemed to work right away. I've taken 4 500mg pills over 2 days. I feel ok during the day now, but after I take the cipro I'm extremely nauseous and vomiting and bed stricken again. Is this normal from cipro? If I stop taking the cipro will I be resistant to it in the future? I'm so under weight im anxious to be off this, but I really would not want to have a resistance to this if I need it again. thanks for any help.
posted by mewmewmew to Health & Fitness (28 answers total)
 
Call the pharmacist who provided you with the cipro. Usually they know best.
posted by uans at 5:08 PM on April 6, 2011


I took cipro three times (in Asian and South America) and (1) I definitely did not have these symptoms and (2) did not develop any kind of resistance. In fact I feel like it saved me at least twice. Can you consult?
posted by ddaavviidd at 5:09 PM on April 6, 2011


I had the same reaction to cipro -- so awful! I totally sympathize. My doctor then told me that it's not uncommon. Do call whoever prescribed it to you, and feel better soon!
posted by philokalia at 5:11 PM on April 6, 2011


Cipro can cause nausea and vomiting. You need to talk to a professional. Don't stop taking the Cipro on your own without having yourself checked out, the infection can easily come back, possibly even stronger than before, which is a much bigger danger than antibiotic resistance. (An acquaintance of mine got hospitalized this way.)
posted by StrikeTheViol at 5:14 PM on April 6, 2011


Anecdotal: Cipro makes me sick to my stomach for the first few days. My vote is to do your best to tough it out and keep yourself well hydrated.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:16 PM on April 6, 2011


Call the pharmacist who provided you with the cipro. Usually they know best.

I would try this, but the dude does not speak english, and I'm pretty sure he's not a pharmacist, and I'm also pretty sure he doesn't own a phone :)
posted by mewmewmew at 5:27 PM on April 6, 2011


Are you also pretty sure it's actually Cipro? Because I might be wondering about that at this point.
posted by charmcityblues at 5:31 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eating unknown pills giving to you by a barely-known person generally ends badly. Try to find a real doctor/clinic. You may or may not have bigger problems than food poisoning at this point.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:34 PM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Taken from the FDA and the manufacturer's detailed monograph of the drug: The most frequently reported drug related events, from clinical trials of all formulations, all dosages, all drug-therapy durations, and for all indications of ciprofloxacin therapy were nausea (2.5%), diarrhea (1.6%), liver function tests abnormal (1.3%), vomiting (1%), and rash (1%).

Many antibiotics can cause nausea and vomiting, so this is not abnormal. However, if you don't feel that your condition is improving (e.g. generalized weakness, can't keep fluids down, etc.) you should contact an alternative health care provider to be assessed further and confirm that you aren't suffering from dehydration or electrolyte imbalance.
posted by Asherah at 5:35 PM on April 6, 2011


I've managed to get some cipro....

I didn't interpret that correctly on first read. Then I read:
nd I'm pretty sure he's not a pharmacist

What charmcityblues said. Are you even sure it is Cipro? Are you out of your mind? Ge to a medical facility ASAP. Bring the mystery pills with you to show to a real medical professional.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:41 PM on April 6, 2011


Cipro has indeed given me this kind of reaction, but seriously, get this checked out by some kind of professional.
posted by sonika at 5:51 PM on April 6, 2011


I got this after a quick search


Heres the search page.

IANYD etc etc. Some of these results suggest that cipro kills a lot of beneficial bacteria. A couple of those links also suggest eating yogurt to replace the bacteria. Also, from personal experience, having traveled in India in other places where you pretty much need to be your own doctor, cipro is broad spectrum antibiotic, and perhaps not specifically designed for digestive system problems.

Try and find a real doctor.
posted by elendil71 at 5:51 PM on April 6, 2011


If you're still in India, there will be doctors everywhere, in residential neighborhoods as well as at hospitals. Look for an allopathic doctor. Show him/her the pills and ask what they are.

If the pills are, indeed, Cipro (Ciplox or Cipla or any of the brand names for Cipro there), do not assume that the doctor will give you the right advice on what to do with regard to the rest of the course of pills. I've twice had serious allergic reactions to Indian versions of medication I'd taken before in the U.S. without incident, and two separate doctors from two of the most well-regarded hospitals in the country told me that if I'd not been allergic to the U.S. brand, I could not be having an allergic reaction to the Indian version, since they were identical. The first time, I believed the doctor, and ended up with a rash that made the skin on my arms slough off. Lovely! The second time, I ignored the doctor and quit taking the medicine, and did not regret that decision.

If the pill is indeed Cipro, and the doctor thinks you do indeed need Cipro (because there are any number of bugs that will cause stomach upsets which Cipro won't help), then ask him for a prescription so you can buy a different brand of Cipro from a quality pharmacy. You don't necessarily need a 'scrip for Cipro in 99% of Indian pharmacies, but you want one of the top-notch pharmacies -- a 98.6 or some other pharmacy that's a local or national chain instead of a one-man operation with a tiny fridge for the medicines that need to be kept cool. Best bet: go to the local hospital and use the chemist inside. Make sure you get a different brand of Cipro from the one you've been taking.

You may find you tolerate another brand better. This was what happened to me with regard to some very ordinary antibiotics I took while there.

If you're still sick on the Cipro, stop taking it and get to Delhi or Mumbai or Bangalore or Calcutta so you can see a really good doctor at one of the world-class hospitals. They'll take a stool sample and figure out what's wrong with you and exactly what you need to get well.
posted by artemisia at 5:54 PM on April 6, 2011


Whether or not they are pathogenic, all gram-negative bacteria have endotoxins (toxins which are released only or mainly when they die) and a number of gram-negative bacteria cause food poisoning:

Gram negative bacilli are a large and varied group that are subdivided into several further categories. The Enterobacteria include many species that cause food poisoning in humans – E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Proteus, and also the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis. The Vibrio group contain bacteria that are shaped more like commas than rods – and include the bug that is responsible for cholera.

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is also a gram negative bacillus. This bacterium has been identified in the last 25 years as a major cause of stomach ulcers.

Other gram negative bacilli are Haemophila influenzae, which causes pneumonia, Bordetella pertussis, which causes whooping cough, and Brucella bacteria, which are associated with brucellosis in cattle. A final group is the Bacteroides, a species of bacteria that are very common in the human gut. In fact, they make up a quarter of the dead bacteria in faeces.


Especially in light of Cat Pie Hurts comment, I think you could be experiencing the effects of endotoxin released when your cipro kills various bacteria.

I'd say you should finish the course.
posted by jamjam at 5:56 PM on April 6, 2011


nd I'm pretty sure he's not a pharmacist

I'm interpreting this to mean he got the Cipro from one of those small-town and/or local, non-chain chemists that seem really fly-by-night to westerners because the meds are jumbled everywhere on the shelves, and the refrigerated stuff is kept in a knee-high mini-fridge, and sometimes there's a 17 year old kid dispensing the meds. (I really hope that's what the OP means! Taking random pills from some stranger on the street would just be...lunatic.)
posted by artemisia at 5:58 PM on April 6, 2011


I'm interpreting this to mean he got the Cipro from one of those small-town and/or local, non-chain chemists that seem really fly-by-night to westerners because the meds are jumbled everywhere on the shelves, and the refrigerated stuff is kept in a knee-high mini-fridge, and sometimes there's a 17 year old kid dispensing the meds. (I really hope that's what the OP means! Taking random pills from some stranger on the street would just be...lunatic.)

Yes it was one of these. Not as nice as the "asian chemists" you see in bombay, but it was "a store".
posted by mewmewmew at 6:05 PM on April 6, 2011


For what it's worth, I'm just back from Mexico where I got bad turista--8 days in bed--and took a full course of Cipro for it, on prescription by a capable MD. The Cipro made me nauseated and vomitous until I learned to take it on a full stomach. The illness was bad and persistent enough that I had to follow with a full course of Keflex, also with meals. I'm guessing this was more than just food poisoning, and I tested positive for a bacterial infection but not amoebic infestation. It was hard to tell exactly which symptom was caused by what. But taking the antibiotics with food did help ameliorate the stomach symptoms.
Sure did screw up much of an otherwise fine trip, though.
I'm home and fine now, thanks.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 6:13 PM on April 6, 2011


Just one more note - Cipro can also reek havoc with the good bacteria in your gut. Try to find something to eat daily yogurt, etc. to re-populate or you might find yourself quickly in the same situation again.

When I travel internationally I take something like Culturelle daily. It's proved to be a much better solution to gastric distress when traveling for me...and works really well after / during a course of antibiotics for a stomach bug...
posted by NoDef at 6:31 PM on April 6, 2011


You need to take it AFTER a meal, are you doing that? Most-all antibiotics will cause nausea if taken on an empty stomach, or even with food, you need a full stomach.
posted by biscotti at 6:52 PM on April 6, 2011


Sick for days? Did you consult a real doctor? You may have some sort of intestinal parasite and not bacterial food poisoning, which is awful but usually resolves itself after a very unpleasant 24-48 hours. Cipro is an antibacterial agent and not effective against parasites.
posted by emd3737 at 7:37 PM on April 6, 2011


FWIW, I've been on courses of Cipro that made me so nauseated that I had to take Dramamine with each dose until I could get a different antibiotic. In my case, taking it with food did not make one bit of difference. I would suggest taking some kind of anti-emetic until you get this resolved, but it sounds like taking an unfamiliar medication without a doctor's supervision could potentially make things worse.

Yikes. Feel better soon.
posted by corey flood at 10:05 PM on April 6, 2011


I've taken Cipro and I've gone to doctors in India. Take it on a full stomach and (although I think most small Indian pharmacies are fine) I suggest seeing a doctor. Some intestional worms/bugs/nasties require specific medicine to clear out. Feel better!
posted by Bunglegirl at 11:34 PM on April 6, 2011


Cipro doesn't agree with me so much. Eating it with food and making sure to have some yogurt appears to help reduce but not eliminate the nausea, for me.

Although seconding the comments above that you might not have a bacterial infection, or might not have actually obtained Cipro.
posted by nat at 8:13 AM on April 7, 2011


Cipro is a strong anti-biotic, lots of people have stomach problems when they take it. Keep taking it, but not on an empty stomach, and you should be fine.
posted by Kololo at 8:13 AM on April 7, 2011


Haven't read the whole thread but see multiple recommendations to eat yoghurt. Cipro says in the leaflet (if you're given a leaflet, which I wasn't), that you should stay away from all dairy products while you're taking it. Eating dairy -before I found out about this - made me feel worse.
posted by Lebannen at 11:18 AM on April 7, 2011


... don't know where the link went; Don't eat dairy until you're off the cipro.
posted by Lebannen at 11:18 AM on April 7, 2011


If you're still in India, there will be doctors everywhere, in residential neighborhoods as well as at hospitals. Look for an allopathic doctor. Show him/her the pills and ask what they are.

There will also be pharmacies all over the place, staffed with pharmacists who are qualified to dispense Cipro and other antibiotics would would be considered "behind the counter" in the US. You could also consult one of them. If you are in a major city the pharmacists are almost certain to speak English.

However, I agree with others that, in addition to verifying that what you've been taking was actually Cipro, you should also see a doctor to make sure that what you really have is food poisoning. This is why it's such a bad idea to take Cipro and other antibiotics on trips so as to be able to self-medicate gastrointestinal problems. Because you're not a doctor and you don't know that what you have is bacterial.
posted by Sara C. at 7:04 PM on April 7, 2011


Yeah, they're right about waiting until your course is done for the yogurt-- but personally the two times I've had to take cipro, nausea didn't abate until I had yogurt (I did cipro on a trip this past summer and couldn't get access to yogurt until I got home.. so I stayed nauseous for several more days. Ugh.)
posted by nat at 12:28 PM on April 8, 2011


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