What Should I Avoid Eating and Drinking With Levaquin?

A strong antibiotic, Levaquin uses include treating various bacterial infections and anthrax. Levaquin (name brand for levofloxacin) has the potential to cause several serious side effects, interact with a number of medications and certain supplements, and can interact with certain foods and drinks.

Foods like dairy products and fortified juices and cereals that contain minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc can interfere with how well Levaquin (levofloxacin) works. (Image: PraewBlackWhile/iStock/GettyImages)

Tip

Foods like dairy products and fortified juices and cereals that contain minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc can interfere with how well Levaquin (levofloxacin) works. You should also avoid taking Levaquin with alcohol, as its effects can increase, causing dizziness and impaired judgement.

Levaquin and Alcohol

Though there is not much clinical information available, there is some anecdotal evidence that suggests that Levaquin and alcohol should not be taken together. One of the potential issues with taking Levaquin and alcohol is that some of the side effects of alcohol may increase. You may feel more lightheaded, dizzy or have worsened impaired judgement.

Alcohol may also make it harder for your body to absorb Levaquin. If your body does not absorb enough of the antibiotic, you will have a harder time fighting off the infection.

The Mayo Clinic states that using alcohol or tobacco with Levaquin may cause interactions to occur. They suggest that you talk to your healthcare provider before taking Levaquin and drinking or using tobacco products.

Levaquin and Dairy

There is no clinical evidence about Levaquin interacting with eating or drinking dairy products. However, calcium supplements or calcium-fortified foods can both bind to Levaquin, making it less effective.

According to a study published in March 2014 in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, calcium found in supplements can decrease the effectiveness of Levaquin. In addition, this study references an older study published in May 2003 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology that indicated that even drinks like orange juice fortified with calcium is enough to reduce the effectiveness of Levaquin.

So if you eat or drink large quantities of dairy or other foods that contain added or large amounts of natural calcium, the extra calcium may cause Levaquin to work less effectively. You should also avoid taking Levaquin with milk or other dairy products.

Levaquin and Caffeine

Levaquin has shown a minimal interaction with caffeine. However, similar to products containing certain nutrients like calcium, you should avoid consuming excessive amounts of caffeine when taking Levaquin.

According to Peace Health, there is limited or no data on the exact interactions between Levaquin and caffeine. It points instead to similar medications belonging to the fluoroquinolones family of antibiotics. Flouroquinolones have shown evidence of increasing the effects of caffeine and make it linger longer in the blood stream. Since Levaquin is a part of this family of drugs, it is possible it may also affect how you respond to caffeine.

Avoid Taking Levaquin and Supplements

Levaquin may interact with supplements, such as multivitamins, that you may be taking. It is always a good idea to tell your doctor about any supplements you are taking prior to starting a new medication like Levaquin.

Your doctor can help you determine if the supplement you are taking may have an interaction with Levaquin. The Mayo Clinic suggests taking any of the following supplements at least two hours before or after taking Levaquin. This will help prevent them from interfering with the drug's effectiveness:

  • Iron

  • Calcium

  • Multivitamins

  • Magnesium

  • Zinc

  • Aluminum

Levaquin and Other Medications

Similar to supplements, Levaquin has the potential to negatively interact with a number of different medications. This can include some over the counter medications such as ibuprofen.

According to the University of Michigan Health, some of the medications that may interact with Levaquin include:

  • Antacids that contain magnesium or aluminum

  • Didanosine

  • Steroid medicine

  • Depression medication

  • Blood thinners

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

  • Heart rhythm medication

  • Theophylline

  • Diuretics

You should speak to your doctor about any medications you are taking. Your doctor may decide on a different antibiotic or may advise stopping or modifying one of your other medications to help avoid unwanted interactions.

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