Precautions and Warnings With Norfloxacin

Before taking norfloxacin, there are many precautions to be aware of, including warnings on who should not use the drug and possible side effects that may occur. For example, this prescription antibiotic could cause tendon problems or a dangerous irregular heart rhythm, and may not be safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking norfloxacin (Noroxin®) if you have:
  • Tendon problems
  • Rheumatoid arthritis or other joint problems
  • Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Nerve problems
  • A history of seizures or have epilepsy
  • An irregular heartbeat or a heart rhythm problem known as QT prolongation, or have family members with these problems
  • Low potassium levels in the blood
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Any allergies, including to medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
You should also tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Norfloxacin Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of before taking this medicine include the following:
  • Like all quinolones, norfloxacin may cause tendon problems, including tendon rupture. People who are over the age of 60; who have had liver, lung, or heart transplants; or who take corticosteroid drugs are at an increased risk for tendon problems.
Contact your healthcare provider right away if you have any tendon pain, soreness, or swelling, or if you experience weakness or difficulty moving any of your joints. Do not exercise until your healthcare provider makes sure you do not have a ruptured tendon (see Noroxin and Tendon Rupture for more information).
  • Quinolone antibiotics, including norfloxacin, can make myasthenia gravis symptoms worse, such as muscle weakness and breathing problems. This is a serious occurrence that can lead to life-threatening complications. In severe cases, this can result in the need to be put on a ventilator or even death. Norfloxacin should be avoided in people with a known history of myasthenia gravis.
  • This medication can cause severe allergic reactions. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop any signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • A rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Swelling of the lips or throat
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing.
  • Central nervous system problems and neurological side effects have been reported with norfloxacin use, sometimes even after just one dose. Such problems may include:
    • Seizures
    • Tremors
    • Confusion
    • Dizziness
    • Hallucinations
    • Paranoia
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Nervousness
    • Agitation
    • Nightmares
    • Suicidal thoughts or acts.
Certain conditions, including epilepsy, cerebral arteriosclerosis, and kidney disease, can increase the risk for developing these problems. Let your healthcare provider know if you have any of these conditions.
  • This medication may cause a rare and potentially dangerous heart rhythm problem known as QT prolongation. This problem may be more common in older adults, people with low blood potassium, or those taking certain other medications (see Drug Interactions With Norfloxacin).
  • People taking norfloxacin may be more sensitive to the sun. Try to avoid sun exposure, including natural sun and tanning beds, while taking this medicine. If you do go out in the sun, wear protective clothing and sunscreen. Contact your healthcare provider if you develop severe sunburn during treatment with norfloxacin.
  • Norfloxacin has been reported to cause a nerve problem called peripheral neuropathy. If you develop any unusual sensations while taking this medication, such as pain, burning, tingling, prickling, or weakness, contact your healthcare provider right away to reduce the chance of permanent nerve damage.
  • You may become dizzy or lightheaded while taking norfloxacin. Therefore, you should avoid driving or doing anything that requires mental alertness until you know how this medication affects you.
  • This product has been associated with muscle, joint, or tendon problems in children. This medication is not approved for use in children. However, if your child is taking it, contact his or her healthcare provider immediately if any muscle, joint, or tendon problems (such as weakness, soreness, or swelling) occur during or after norfloxacin use.
  • There have been rare reports of liver problems with norfloxacin use. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop any signs of liver problems, such as:
    • Dark urine
    • Loss of appetite
    • Fatigue or excessive tiredness
    • Pain in the right upper part of the abdomen (stomach)
    • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin (jaundice).
  • Antibiotics can disrupt the normal bacteria in the digestive tract, allowing undesirable bacteria to overgrow. This can potentially lead to a serious problem known as pseudomembranous colitis.
Therefore, make sure to let your healthcare provider know if you experience bloody or watery diarrhea with norfloxacin. While mild, short-term diarrhea is a common side effect of antibiotic use, bloody or watery diarrhea may be signs of a potentially life-threatening problem. This severe reaction can occur during norfloxacin treatment or months after you stop taking it.
  • Norfloxacin is a pregnancy Category C medication, which means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown (see Noroxin and Pregnancy for more information).
  • This medicine might pass through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, check with your healthcare provider before taking this drug (see Noroxin and Breastfeeding).
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Norfloxacin Drug Information

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