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What Is Gatifloxacin?

By C.B. Fox
Updated May 17, 2024
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Gatifloxacin is a type of antibiotic that can be used to treat a variety of different infections. This medication is often taken orally, though in certain types of infections, in can be applied topically, directly onto the infection. A member of a class of medications known as fluoroquinolones, gatifloxacin stops the spread of bacteria both by killing them and keeping them from replicating. When prescribed, it must be taken exactly as directed in order to prevent serious complications from arising.

There are a number of different conditions that gatifloxacin can be used to treat. It is often given to people with certain bacterial sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea, as well as those with infections of the urinary tract. Bacterial infections of the respiratory system, including pneumonia and upper respiratory infections, may also be treated with this drug. For all of these conditions, the administration method is usually oral and often administered once per day.

Infections of the eyes can also be treated with gatifloxacin. In these cases, the medicine is given as a liquid suspension that is dropped directly onto the affected eye. With this type of medication, patients need to be careful that they do not touch the medicine dropper onto the infected area of the eye, or the medicine could become contaminated.

In some cases, a single dose of gatifloxacin may be enough to completely kill the infection. Other times, a number of doses must be taken. Like other antibiotics, this medicine is most effective when it is taken at regular intervals, which, in the case of gatifloxacin, is usually once every 24 hours. Patients may begin to feel better soon after starting the course of antibiotics, but the infection may not be completely gone until the last dose is taken even if there are no symptoms, so it is important to take all the medication that the doctor prescribes.

A relatively strong antibiotic, there are a number of side effects that are often seen when patients take gatifloxacin. The drug can cause abdominal discomfort, which occasionally leads to vomiting. It can also produce neurological effects, including restlessness, dizziness, confusion, and sometimes hallucinations. Patients who experience these effects should notify a doctor in order to receive a recommendation about whether to continue taking the medication. Side effects will often lessen in severity as the patient adjusts to the drug, and in some cases, the infection may be serious enough to warrant suffering through these uncomfortable effects.

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Discussion Comments

By Perdido — On Aug 29, 2011

@wavy58 - That is true about gatifloxacin making your skin more prone to sunburn. I found that out the hard way.

I have a tan, so I generally don’t burn when I wear sunscreen. The package instructions that came with the antibiotic said to wear sunscreen while outdoors, so I thought I would be safe.

I used SPF 30 and went to the beach. Within just one hour, my skin became very itchy. My friend told me that I was pink.

I went home, and after I got out of the shower, my sunburn had developed to a bright red. I itched all over, and I had to stay coated in aloe vera for relief. I will never go outside while on gatifloxacin again.

By kylee07drg — On Aug 28, 2011

I believe in the power of gatifloxacin. It has the ability to cure strong infections, and it also has the power to make me see things that aren’t there.

When my doctor prescribed this antibiotic, he told me about the potential side effects. I hardly ever experience bad reactions to medication, so I did not think any of them would happen to me.

I was lying on the couch at my sister’s house when I saw a man walk into the room. He started picking up objects and putting them in a bag. I asked my sister why she just sat there and let him take her things, and she did not know what I was talking about.

When she told me that he wasn’t real, he disappeared. However, I remained confused and dizzy for the rest of the night, and I was afraid to be alone while on the medication for fear that I could not distinguish reality from hallucinations.

By OeKc05 — On Aug 27, 2011

My doctor prescribed gatifloxacin to treat my urinary tract infection. I had been ignoring the symptoms in hopes that they would go away, but they only got worse.

When it started out, I just had some bladder cramps, and I had to urinate often. I drank cranberry juice every day, hoping that it would cure it. It didn’t.

After a week, I felt very nauseated, and I had a fever. I even vomited, and then I knew it was time to see a doctor.

Before handing me the prescription, he asked me if I was diabetic. I’m not, but diabetics are not supposed to take gatifloxacin, because it can cause hypoglycemia.

By wavy58 — On Aug 27, 2011

I took gatifloxacin for a bronchial infection, and I had to alter some of my regular routines because of it. It was inconvenient, but at least it got rid of the infection.

I am used to taking an antacid after I eat. I get painful heartburn if I don’t. The precautions on gatifloxacin said to wait four hours after taking it to take any antacid containing aluminum or magnesium. So, I had to deal with heartburn while on the antibiotic.

Also, it said to avoid the sun. The antibiotic can make you very sensitive to the sun, and you can burn quickly. I usually spend a couple of hours in the pool, but I couldn’t do it that week.

By rugbygirl — On Aug 26, 2011

@ElizaBennett - That's a good tip! That happened to me when I got strep throat a couple years back and was on antibiotics.

The doctor back then told me that antibiotics can interfere with birth control pills, too - she told me to use a backup method for the entire cycle. She said that whenever they got people in who got pregnant on the pill, they often turn out to have been sick and either they were throwing up their pill or they had been on antibiotics. (I have no idea why that would interfere with your oral contraceptives, but apparently it can and does.) Just a public service announcement!

By ElizaBennett — On Aug 26, 2011

One other tip - any time you're taking an antibiotic, especially if you're a woman, start eating yogurt by the truckload! Antibiotics kill off your body's natural flora from your gut as well as "down there." I tend to get a yeast infection whenever I'm on antibiotics, so I try to fend it off with yogurt.

(Last time, I also asked my doctor for a preventative dose of fluconazole - something else to think about.)

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