Ciprofloxacin vs Levofloxacin: Are They The Same Thing?

Levofloxacin and ciprofloxacin are two types of fluoroquinolones, which are broad-spectrum antibiotics. 

This article will compare ciprofloxacin vs levofloxacin, discuss whether they are the same, and explore their similarities and differences. 

Differences Between Levofloxacin vs Ciprofloxacin

1) Formulation

There are three ways to get ciprofloxacin: topically, intravenously, and orally. 

In contrast, levofloxacin can be administered intravenously or as oral pills and solutions.

2) Dose

Both medications have different dosages, varying depending on what bacteria that are prescribed to treat.

Similarities Between Ciprofloxacin and Levofloxacin

  1. Both drugs are a type of fluoroquinolone antibiotic.
  2. Ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin can kill some of the same bacteria, including tuberculosis, brain, urinary tract, and wound infections.
  3. They are both absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. 
  4. They have similar common side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which affect 3-6% of patients. 

Are Levaquin and Cipro the Same Thing?

Levofloxacin and ciprofloxacin are both members of the fluoroquinolone family of drugs.

However, they are not the same thing and have differences in their structures, actions against bacteria, side effects, and metabolism.

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Which is More Effective, Levofloxacin or Ciprofloxacin?

The answer to this question depends on the patient’s health, illness, and the germs involved. 

A systematic review compared the effectiveness of Levofloxacin vs Ciprofloxacin for UTIs. They found that Levofloxacin showed efficacy in treating UTIs, but statistical significance in comparison to Ciprofloxacin was not established.

Your healthcare provider will choose which antibiotic will be most effective for you. 


Ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin are family members of fluoroquinolone drugs but have different structures. 

They should not be used interchangeably; instead, their usage should be based on the patient’s state, the kind of illness, and the bacteria’s susceptibility.

Whereas ciprofloxacin is often taken twice daily, levofloxacin is given once daily. Skin infections, urinary tract infections, and chronic bronchitis are some diseases they may cure. 

While these antibiotics may carry risks, decisions about their use should be based on individual health conditions, and they are typically reserved for more serious infections.

Consult with your healthcare provider before initiating any antibiotic treatment to ensure appropriateness for your specific health needs.

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  2. GE;, Stein. “Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Newer Fluoroquinolones.” Clinical Infectious Diseases : An Official Publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  3. A;, Fitton. “The Quinolones. an Overview of Their Pharmacology.” Clinical Pharmacokinetics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 Nov. 2022.
  4. Borcherding SM;Stevens R;Nicholas RA;Corley CR;Self T; “Quinolones: A Practical Review of Clinical Uses, Dosing Considerations, and Drug Interactions.” The Journal of Family Practice, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  5. Levofloxacin – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf, 23 Sept. 2022.
  6. Ciprofloxacin – Statpearls – NCBI Bookshelf, 7 Mar. 2023.
  7. Ciprofloxacin – LiverTox – NCBI Bookshelf.
  8. Roger C;Wallis SC;Louart B;Lefrant JY;Lipman J;Muller L;Roberts JA; “Comparison of Equal Doses of Continuous Venovenous Haemofiltration and Haemodiafiltration on Ciprofloxacin Population Pharmacokinetics in Critically Ill Patients.” The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Accessed 16 Nov. 2023.
  9. P. Ball. “Efficacy and Safety of Levofloxacin in the Context of Other Contemporary Fluoroquinolones: A Review.” Current Therapeutic Research, Clinical and Experimental, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  10. Ismail M;Noor S;Harram U;Haq I;Haider I;Khadim F;Khan Q;Ali Z;Muhammad T;Asif M; “Potential Drug-Drug Interactions in Outpatient Department of a Tertiary Care Hospital in Pakistan: A Cross-Sectional Study.” BMC Health Services Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  11. Cao D, Shen Y, Huang Y, Chen B, Chen Z, Ai J, Liu L, Yang L, Wei Q. Levofloxacin Versus Ciprofloxacin in the Treatment of Urinary Tract Infections: Evidence-Based Analysis. Front Pharmacol. 2021 Apr 8;12:658095. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2021.658095. PMID: 33897441; PMCID: PMC8060646.

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