The antibiotic Ciprofloxacin can be prescribed as 'standby treatment' to take with you, just in case you develop significant symptoms of traveller's diarrhoea.
Ciprofloxacin should be started if your bowel movements become:
- very frequent
- very watery
- contain blood
- last beyond three days
However, the antibiotic should not replace seeking medical advice where necessary. If your symptoms are worsening, not improving, or you feel very unwell then you are advised to seek urgent medical attention.
Before you start the treatment, please read the manufacturers leaflet contained with the medication. This contains more information and lists all the potential side effects.
How to take the medication
The dose is 500mg to be taken twice a day for three days; it is important that you space out the doses evenly during the day, ideally by 12 hours. Swallow the tablet with water, and you can take it either before or after your meals.
Avoid milk, orange juice, antacids or vitamin supplements containing iron or zinc, during the two hours before, and the two hours after you have taken a dose of Ciprofloxacin. This is because they interfere with the absorption of Ciprofloxacin and will reduce the effectiveness of your treatment.
Ensure your reactions are normal before you drive and before you use tools or machines as Ciprofloxacin may make you feel lightheaded or impair your concentration.
Complete the course
Keep taking Ciprofloxacin until the full course is finished (unless a doctor tells you to stop), even if you feel that the infection has cleared up. This is to stop the infection from coming back. If you forget to take a dose, then take one as soon as you remember unless it's nearly time for your next dose. In this case, just leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as normal.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.