What you should know about levaquin side effects

November 12, 2012

What you should know about levaquin side effects

Levaquin is a broad spectrum anti-biotic typically used in the treatment of bronchitis, pneumonia, Chlamydia, streptococcus, E. Coli and staphylococcus as well as severe, life threatening bacterial infections that may have failed to respond to other anti-biotic medications.

There are a number of levaquin side effects – ranging from mild to severe – which the patient should be aware of before using this medication.

Stevens – Johnson syndrome

Probably the most serious of the levaquin side effects this condition generally begins with flu-like symptoms and a general feeling of unwell. A red rash then begins to develop which, if left untreated, will result in the skin beginning to shed. This serious levaquin side effect generally requires long term hospital treatment as an in-patient.

Encephalopathy and seizures

Encephalopathy – any disorder of the brain resulting from any one of a number of diseases or factors- may occur if the liver is no longer able to process and remove bodily waste, this leads to a build up of toxins in the brain cells which, in turn, impair brain functions. This is clearly a serious levaquin side effect and any individual experiencing the signs or symptoms of encephalopathy should seek urgent medical attention. These signs and symptoms include -

  • Sweet smelling breath
  • Slurring of speech
  • Body tremors
  • Mild confusion with mental fogginess
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Persistent headache
  • Numbness and tingling.

Cardiac problem

Cardiac problems such as chest pain and palpitations are a commonly reported levaquin side effect – the onset of any sharp, sudden, persistent and unexplained chest pain should be treated as a medical emergency.

Gastrointestinal disorders

Common levaquin side effects affecting the gastrointestinal tract include abdominal pain, constipation, increased flatulence, nausea and vomiting.

In addition some patients have reported bloody or watery diarrhoea, characteristic of Pseudo membranous colitis – this condition very often occurs after taking oral bacteria and is the result of severe irritation in the colon caused by the clostridium difficile bacteria killing the healthy bacteria normally present in the colon. This type of severe colitis infection may result in dehydration, low potassium levels, low blood pressure, arrhythmias and even kidney failure or a perforation of the colon. Any patient experiencing these kinds of severe symptoms should seek the advice of their medical practitioner as quickly as possible.


Women prescribed levaquin frequently report an outbreak of vaginitis – this is generally treated alongside the infection requiring levaquin.


Lymphopenia refers to a reduction in the number of white blood cells in the bloodstream – meaning the individual concerned is at higher risk of infection from other sources. It may also cause anemia to develop. Lymphopenia frequently presents with a low grade fever, a general feeling of being unwell and extreme fatigue.

Tendinitis or tendon rupture

In common with other antibiotics in the fluoroquinolones class levaquin side effects also include an increased risk of tendinitis or tendon rupture – this risk is higher in older patients or those with an existing medical condition. Tendon rupture may occur even in the months following treatment with levaquin. Any sudden onset pain, bruising accompanied by a snap or pop should be reported to you medical practitioner.


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