Your child needs to take the medicine called levofloxacin. This information sheet explains what levofloxacin does, how to give it, and what side effects or problems your child may have when he or she takes this medicine.

What is levofloxacin?

Levofloxacin is a medicine called an antibiotic. Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent certain types of infections caused by germs called bacteria.

You may hear levofloxacin called by its brand names, Levaquin®, Novo-Levofloxacin®, PMS-Levofloxacin®. Levofloxacin comes in a tablet and injection forms.

Before giving this medicine to your child

Tell your child’s doctor if your child has:

  • An allergy to levofloxacin or other quinolone antibiotics (e.g. ciprofloxacin)
  • A history of irritated or torn tendons (tissue that connects the muscle to the bone) when levofloxacin or other quinolone antibiotics (e.g. ciprofloxacin​) were taken in the past

Talk with your child’s doctor or pharmacist if your child has any of the following conditions. Precautions may need to be taken with this medicine if your child has:

  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy or a history of seizures
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Kidney or liver disease

How should you give your child levofloxacin?

Follow these instructions when giving your child levofloxacin by mouth:

  • Give your child levofloxacin exactly as your child’s doctor or pharmacist tells you to, even if your child seems better. Talk to your child’s doctor before you stop giving levofloxacin for any reason.
  • Give your child levofloxacin at the same time(s) every day. Pick times that are easy for you so your do not miss doses. If you have a medication calendar, mark the time(s) that you give each dose on the calendar.
  • Give your child levofloxacin with or without food. However, if this medicine causes an upset stomach, give it with food.
  • Tablets should be swallowed whole. Do not crush the tablets since they taste bad.

Do not give levofloxacin at the same time as milk, dairy products, or any juice containing calcium. Also avoid giving levofloxacin at the same time as antacids, iron, calcium, zinc, or multivitamin supplements. Give your child these products at least two hours before or six hours after giving levofloxacin.

What are the possible side effects of levofloxacin?

Your child may have some of these side effects while he or she takes levofloxacin. Check with your child's doctor if your child continues to have any of these side effects:

  • Upset stomach, including throwing up, mild diarrhea (watery bowel movements), and stomach ache
  • Nausea
  • Headache

Call your child’s doctor during office hours if your child has any of these side effects:

  • Changes in eyesight such as blurry vision
  • Nightmares, trouble sleeping
  • Rash

Most of the following side effects are not common, but they may be a sign of a serious problem. Call your child's doctor right away or take your child to the nearest Emergency Department if your child has any of these side effects:

  • Wheezing/chest tightness or trouble breathing
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, mouth or throat
  • Blistering, peeling or red skin rash
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular or uneven heartbeat
  • Fainting or passing out
  • Confusion
  • Severe weakness or tiredness
  • Seizures
  • Numbness or tingling of the hands or feet
  • Severe aches, pain or swelling in the muscles or joints, particularly in the legs
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin, dark urine, or light-colored stools

What safety measures should you take when your child is using levofloxacin?

Your child may sunburn more easily than normal while taking levofloxacin. To help prevent sunburn:

  • Avoid direct sunlight, especially between 10AM and 3PM
  • Avoid sunlamps, bright indoor lights, and tanning beds
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat, long sleeves, long pants or long skirt outside
  • Apply a sun block with a SPF 15 or higher

It is important that your child drinks enough liquids (water or juice) while taking levofloxacin.

Your child should avoid caffeine (for example, coffee, cola, Red Bull®, chocolate) while taking levofloxacin.

Levofloxacin may very rarely cause swelling, redness, pain or tearing of tendons (cords that attach muscles to bones). Check with your doctor if your child gets a sudden pain in the ankle, back of the knee, back of the leg, shoulder, elbow or wrist after physical activity.

There are some medicines that should not be taken together with levofloxacin. In some cases, the dose of levofloxacin or the other medicine may need to be adjusted. It is important that you tell your doctor and pharmacist if your child takes any other medications (prescription, over the counter, vitamins, and herbal) including:

What other important information should you know about levofloxacin?

Keep a list of all medications your child is taking and show the list to your child’s doctor or pharmacist.

Do not share your child’s medicine with others and do not give anyone else’s medicine to your child.

Make sure you always have enough levofloxacin to last through weekends, holidays, and vacations. Call your pharmacy at least two days before your child runs out of medicine to order refills.

Keep levofloxacin at room temperature in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Do NOT store it in the bathroom or kitchen.

Do not keep any medicines that are out of date. Check with your pharmacist about the best way to throw away outdated or leftover medicines.

Keep levofloxacin out of the sight and reach of children and locked up in a safe place. If your child takes too much levofloxacin, call the Ontario Poison Centre at one of these numbers. These calls are free.

  • Call 416-813-5900 if you live in Toronto.
  • Call 1-800-268-9017 if you live somewhere else in Ontario.
  • If you live outside of Ontario, call your local Poison Information Centre.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this Family Med-aid is accurate at the time of printing. It provides a summary of information about levofloxacin and does not contain all possible information about this medicine. Not all side effects are listed. If you have any questions or want more information about levofloxacin, speak to your healthcare provider.

Elaine Lau, BScPhm, PharmD, MSc