Drug-drug interactions with ciprofloxacin and other fluoroquinolones

Am J Med. 1989 Nov 30;87(5A):76S-81S. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(89)90028-4.


Early investigational trials with new quinolone antibiotics revealed two important drug-drug interactions: decreased fluoroquinolone absorption when co-administered with magnesium-aluminum antacids and inhibition of theophylline metabolism. Subsequent studies have investigated the mechanisms of these interactions. With respect to the effect of antacids, the absorption of all quinolones appears to be significantly reduced by antacids containing magnesium and/or aluminum, and concomitant administration must be avoided. Other cations, such as calcium, iron, and probably zinc, appear to interact in a similar manner. Chelation between the quinolone and cation is the most likely mechanism. With respect to the effect on theophylline metabolism, quinolones inhibit specific cytochrome P-450 isozymes responsible for metabolism of methylxanthines, although there are major differences between the quinolones. Enoxacin is the most potent inhibitor, followed by ciprofloxacin, pefloxacin, norfloxacin, and ofloxacin. Caffeine metabolism is also inhibited, although the clinical significance is uncertain. Case reports describe renal failure associated with concomitant administration of cyclosporine and ciprofloxacin, although controlled trials have not demonstrated an interaction. Enoxacin has little effect on warfarin metabolism, suggesting that other quinolones may not affect warfarin disposition. Case reports of central nervous system toxicity from administration of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents and quinolones need confirmation. Patients should be monitored closely when potential interacting agents are used; it is probable that not all interactions have been identified.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antacids / pharmacology
  • Caffeine / metabolism
  • Ciprofloxacin / pharmacokinetics
  • Ciprofloxacin / pharmacology*
  • Cyclosporins / pharmacokinetics
  • Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Rifampin / pharmacology
  • Theophylline / metabolism


  • Antacids
  • Cyclosporins
  • Caffeine
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Theophylline
  • Rifampin