Safety profile of quinolone antibiotics in the pediatric population

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2003 Dec;22(12):1128-32. doi: 10.1097/01.inf.0000101994.25947.12.


Fluoroquinolone-induced joint/cartilage toxicity has been observed in juvenile animal studies and is species- and dose-specific with canines exhibiting the highest rate of arthralgias. These early observations led to the contraindication of fluoroquinolones in the pediatric population. Despite these recommendations fluoroquinolones continue to be prescribed for select children with difficult-to-treat infections for whom the benefit of quinolone therapy may outweigh the risk of cartilage toxicity. A review of retrospective and prospective safety data of ciprofloxacin-treated children showed that the rates of arthralgia and quinolone-induced cartilage toxicity were low. Episodes of arthralgia were mostly reversible based on published surveillance data in children. Recent data from Bayer's ciprofloxacin clinical trials database found that the incidence of arthralgia in children did not differ between the ciprofloxacin and nonquinolone antimicrobial control groups. The role of fluoroquinolones in the treatment of certain serious infections in children does not appear to be compromised by safety concerns when used appropriately.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Arthralgia / chemically induced*
  • Arthralgia / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ciprofloxacin / adverse effects*
  • Ciprofloxacin / therapeutic use
  • Dogs
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Fluoroquinolones / adverse effects*
  • Fluoroquinolones / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Safety


  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Ciprofloxacin