What To Avoid When Taking Cipro: Alcohol, Food, Drug Interactions

Cipro is an antibiotic fluoroquinolone prescribed for treating certain bacterial illnesses. It is an FDA approved medication. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Cipro approval to treat urinary tract infections in 2002. Its approval for treating various diseases in the United States began in 1987.

Related Read: Cipro for UTI

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Drug interactions with Ciprofloxacin

Certain drug interactions may trigger adverse reactions or increase your risks. In other cases, Ciprofloxacin prolongs the half-life of other medications, which can be dangerous sometimes (11).

These medications affect the heart rhythm, and using them with Cipro increases the risk of arrhythmia.

Other Medications to Avoid

Blood thinners

Taking Cipro with blood thinners like Coumadin (warfarin) might cause altered bleeding, though there aren’t many reported cases of this occurring (3).


When taking Theophylline at the same time as Cipro, you have a higher risk of developing central nervous system side effects.


Cipro shouldn’t be taken with Tizanidine, a type of muscle relaxer. Taking these two medications together could cause low blood pressure, low heart rate, and intense sleepiness. Concomitant administration of tizanidine and Cipro is contraindicated due to the potentiation of hypotensive (low blood pressure) and sedative effects of tizanidine. 


Methotrexate is a type of drug used to calm your immune system and keep it from fighting healthy cells. 

While only a few cases have been reported, taking Cipro with methotrexate might interfere with your kidneys’ ability to clear methotrexate from your body., which could lead to toxicity (2). 

In their case, Ciprofloxacin slows down their clearance from the blood. This may be dangerous in some cases, especially if you’re taking warfarin. Drugs known to prolong QT Interval (an abnormal feature of the heart’s electrical system that can lead to a potentially life-threatening arrhythmia). Cipro may make the QT interval even longer in people who are already taking drugs that make the QT interval longer.

Drugs that impact the effectiveness of Ciprofloxacin

There’s another list of drugs that impact the effectiveness of Ciprofloxacin by reducing the bioavailability of quinolones.

In other words, they don’t allow quinolones to be absorbed or circulate freely in the blood. As such, taking these drugs along with Cipro can cause a therapeutic failure.

These drugs include:

Vitamins & Minerals to avoid

There’s another list of minerals that impact the effectiveness of Ciprofloxacin by reducing the bioavailability of quinolones, make it less absorbable.

  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese


Because of the formation of ciprofloxacin-iron complexes, which reduce ciprofloxacin absorption, iron supplements should not be used together with Cipro, as it potentially making Cipro less effective.

Forms of iron like ferrous fumarate and ferrous sulfate shouldn’t be taken at the same time as Cipro (10).


Supplements containing fennel might interact with Cipro. According to an animal study, fennel significantly impacted the absorption and elimination of Cipro, while also impacting its effectiveness (5). 

Disease interactions

Cipro might not be recommended if you have certain health conditions, such as:

Myasthenia gravis

Cipro may worsen myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disease that causes nerve and muscular problems. There is a black box warning from the FDA advising patients with myasthenia gravis to avoid taking antibiotics like Cipro.

Tendon problems, including tendinitis

Cipro may cause inflammation and tearing of the tendons (6). You should be cautious when taking Cipro if you’re at risk of tendon problems, including using corticosteroids to treat tendon pain.

Blood sugar problems

If you have diabetes or have a history of non-diabetic hypoglycemia, Cipro might increase the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) (7).

Kidney problems

Taking high doses of Cipro might worsen kidney problems since Cipro is mainly removed from your body by your kidneys.

Liver problems

While rare, Cipro might cause liver injury, especially if it’s taken at high doses or if you have a history of liver problems.


If you’re at risk of having seizures, Cipro might increase the likelihood of having more seizures (8).

Abnormal heart rhythm

If you have heart problems or irregular heartbeat, Cipro might worsen these heart rhythm abnormalities by extending the QT wave, a part of your heart rhythm.

Cipro & Pregnancy

Cipro is a category C drug related to pregnancy safety, which means that risk cannot be ruled out for the growing baby. If you’re pregnant, your healthcare provider can recommend safer antibiotics for use during pregnancy if needed.


Taking Cipro while breastfeeding is “usually considered compatible,” according to a report by the FDA.

Allergic reaction

If you’re allergic to Cipro or its ingredients, you should avoid it.

Cipro – Foods to avoid

Milk / Dairy products

Taking Cipro with dairy products reduces their effectiveness by stopping them from being absorbed from your stomach. 

Avoid consuming dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy-based foods for at least two hours before and after taking your Cipro dose.


It’s not recommended to consume large amounts of caffeine while taking Cipro as it might exacerbate side effects like nervousness, sleeplessness, heart pounding, and anxiety that caffeine can cause. 

Caffeine is found in some beverages like soda, coffee, energy drinks, and chocolate. While consuming low- to moderate levels of caffeine is likely safe, you should avoid increasing your caffeine intake while finishing a round of Cipro.


Unlike some antibiotics (like Flagyl), Cipro isn’t known to interact with alcohol. Even though there aren’t any known interactions with alcohol, it’s not advisable to consume large amounts of alcohol while taking antibiotics as it might interfere with your body’s efficiency at fighting the infection.

Low- to moderate amounts of alcohol are likely fine to consume while taking Cipro, but you should always contact your healthcare provider for guidance.

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Foods to eat when taking Cipro

It is recommended to take Cipro with food. And a smart move would be to eat foods that help you control your infection.

For example, if you have a urinary tract infection, you may benefit from vitamin C-rich meals. Taking your daily dose of Cipro and vitamin C helps your body combat infections.

Another recommendation is probiotic foods and supplements. Non-dairy fermented foods may contribute to your gut microbiota and prevent diarrhea. Some ideas are sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso soup, and pickled vegetables.


Pineapples are rich in bromelain, a group of enzymes with anti-bacterial properties. While not specifically studied with Cipro, some studies using other antibiotics found that bromelain increased the absorption of the antibiotics, which can help make them more effective.


Fermented foods are among the best sources of probiotics. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, buttermilk, tempeh, and sourdough bread are all good sources of probiotics.

You can also find probiotic supplements, which some people prefer to take during their course of antibiotics, sometimes for weeks and months afterward.

Fiber-rich foods

As long as you’re not suffering from severe diarrhea, fiber-rich foods act as prebiotics, which help feed the beneficial probiotics in your gut.

Some great sources of fiber include:

  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

Bland foods

If you’re experiencing diarrhea from taking Cipro, consider eating a bland, soft diet until your body recovers. Drinking plenty of clear liquids can help prevent dehydration from persistent diarrhea.

A bland diet can include foods like:

  • Refined grains (white toast, crackers, white rice, etc.)
  • Applesauce and other soft fruits
  • Well-cooked vegetables
  • Well-cooked lean meats

Some side effects of Cipro

Although you are cautious of what to eat and avoid when taking Cipro, some of the most common side effects of Cipro might appear:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • heartburn
  • diarrhea
  • vaginal itching and/or discharge
  • pale skin
  • unusual tiredness
  • sleepiness

If you experience severe or rare side effects while taking Cipro, you should seek medical attention immediately. 

More rare and serious side effects can include:

  • severe diarrhea (sometimes bloody) with or without fever and severe stomach pain
  • Cipro rash
  • frequent urination; trembling; blurred vision; or unusual anxiety
  • fainting or loss of consciousness
  • decreased urination
  • sudden pain in the chest, stomach, or back


Cipro is a type of antibiotic drug used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. You should avoid dairy when taking Cipro. You also shouldn’t take certain mineral supplements like iron while taking Cipro, as they can reduce its effectiveness and absorption.

To help reduce potential negative side effects of Cipro, eat foods rich in probiotics to help replenish the depletion of healthy bacteria.

Explore More

cipro for uti

Cipro for UTI: Dosage, Side Effects, Alternatives.


  1. Thai T, Salisbury BH, Zito PM. Ciprofloxacin. [Updated 2022 Sep 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535454/
  2. Dalle JH, Auvrignon A, Vassal G, Leverger G. Interaction between methotrexate and ciprofloxacin. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2002.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11972105/
  3. Ellis RJ, Mayo MS, Bodensteiner DM. Ciprofloxacin-warfarin coagulopathy: a case series. Am J Hematol. 2000 Jan;63(1):28-31. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10602164/
  4. Lehto P, Kivistö KT, Neuvonen PJ. The effect of ferrous sulphate on the absorption of norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1994 Jan;37(1):82-5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1364716/
  5. Zhu M, Wong PY, Li RC. Effect of oral administration of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) on ciprofloxacin absorption and disposition in the rat. J Pharm Pharmacol. 1999 Dec;51(12):1391-6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10678493/
  6. Kim GK. The Risk of Fluoroquinolone-induced Tendinopathy and Tendon Rupture: What Does The Clinician Need To Know? J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2921747/
  7. Berhe A, Russom M, Bahran F, Hagos G. Ciprofloxacin and risk of hypolycemia in non-diabetic patients. J Med Case Rep. 2019 May. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6511658/
  8. Agbaht K, Bitik B, Piskinpasa S, Bayraktar M, Topeli A. Ciprofloxacin-associated seizures in a patient with underlying thyrotoxicosis: case report and literature review. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2009 May. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19473592/
  9. FDA. Ciprofloxacin Use by Pregnant and Lactating Women. 2017. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/bioterrorism-and-drug-preparedness/ciprofloxacin-use-pregnant-and-lactating-women
  10. Terp DK, Rybak MJ. Ciprofloxacin. Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1987 Jul-Aug;21(7-8):568-74. 

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