Chlamydia is caused by a bacterial infection that is sexually transmitted. This infection is a common cause of urinary tract infections. Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic which can be used to treat this and many other different bacterial infections. Ciprofloxacin works by preventing the bacteria from growing, which allows the immune system to eliminate the infection.
Ciprofloxacin belongs to a class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. Ciprofloxacin, according to RxList, blocks the action of two different bacterial enzymes, which are known as DNA gyrase and DNA topoisomerase IV. These enzymes are needed for the unwinding of DNA so that it can be replicated. DNA replication is essential for bacteria to reproduce and multiply. Thus, by blocking these critical enzymes, ciprofloxacin is able to prevent bacteria, such as those which cause chlamydia. Ciprofloxacin does not directly kill bacteria, but it does slow their growth, allowing the body's immune system to kill them. Because ciprofloxacin works differently than some other antibiotics, such as penicillin and tetracycline, it can be used to treat bacteria which are resistant to those medications.
When ciprofloxacin is taken to treat chlamydia, it is usually taken orally, Medline Plus notes. Ciprofloxacin can come in three different forms: a tablet, an extended-release tablet and an oral suspension. The oral suspension and the regular tablet both need to be taken twice a day, whereas the extended-release tablet can usually be taken once per day. For optimal results, patients should try to take their medication at the same time each day, as this prevents the ciprofloxacin levels from dropping below their effective concentration.
Many of the side effects of ciprofloxacin use affect the digestive system. Patients taking ciprofloxacin may suffer from diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and heartburn. Patients may also feel the urgent need to urinate or may develop an abnormal vaginal discharge. They can also develop a headache. Patients can also develop an allergic reaction to ciprofloxacin, which can cause a rash and hives. More severe allergic reactions can cause swelling of the face, lips, tongue. An allergic reaction to ciprofloxacin can also cause swelling of the airway, which can impair breathing.
Ciprofloxacin can cause damage to the liver and kidneys, which can result in sudden liver or kidney failure. Patients can also develop problems with making new blood cells, resulting in anemia. Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which is a serious dermatological problem which can cause the sudden loss of large portions of skin is also associated with ciprofloxacin use. Finally, ciprofloxacin can cause weakening of the tendons which can cause rupturing of tendons in the body, particularly the Achilles tendon.
Although ciprofloxacin is effective in treating chlamydia in a laboratory environment, its effectiveness at treating chlamydia infection in humans was called into question in a 1990 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, titled "Ciprofloxacin compared with doxycycline for nongonococcal urethritis. Ineffectiveness against Chlamydia trachomatis due to relapsing infection." This study found that doses of ciprofloxacin of up to two g daily was often not effective for completely eliminating the bacteria, resulting in the possibility of relapsing infection. Although this study was published several years ago, it is cited in a 2010 issue of the journal Clinical Evidence in the "Chlamydia" section, whihc found that ciprofloxacin is often not the best drug of choice for treating chlamydia infections. This does not mean that it should never be used, merely that there are many other antibiotics, such as doxycycline which are often more effective.