Clinical author's note Michael Stewart 30/04/2020: At the time of review there are no branded or generic products containing norfloxacin available in the UK. Norfloxacin may still be available in other countries. This medicine leaflet is based on medical information available in the UK at the time of writing and is left here for reference purposes. Please also refer to the manufacturer's information supplied with your medicine.
Norfloxacin is given to treat urine infections.
It is important to complete the full course of treatment. This is to prevent the infection from coming back.
The most common side-effects are feeling sick (nausea), diarrhoea, feeling dizzy and headache.
Norfloxacin may impair your alertness, so make sure your reactions are normal before you drive and before you use tools or machines.
|Type of medicine||A quinolone antibiotic|
|Used for||Treatment of urinary tract infections|
|Available as||Tablets (discontinued)|
Before taking norfloxacin
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking norfloxacin it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby, or breastfeeding.
- If you are under 18 years of age.
- If you have ever experienced a problem with your tendons after taking another quinolone antibiotic (these are called ofloxacin, levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, moxifloxacin, and nalidixic acid).
- If you have any problems with the way your kidneys work.
- If you have epilepsy or any other condition that causes fits.
- If you have a heart condition, or if you have been told you have an unusual heartbeat.
- If you have a condition causing tired and weak muscles, called myasthenia gravis.
- If you know you have glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. This is a genetic disorder which causes problems after eating foods such as fava beans.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take norfloxacin
- Before you start taking the tablets, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The manufacturer's leaflet will give you more information about norfloxacin and a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take norfloxacin exactly as your doctor tells you to. The usual dose is one 400 mg tablet, taken twice a day. Swallow the tablet with a drink of water.
- You should take the tablets when your stomach is empty, which means taking them one hour before any food, or waiting until two hours afterwards. This is because your body absorbs less norfloxacin after a meal, which means the medicine is less effective.
- Try to space out the doses over the day - so ideally, take a dose every 12 hours.
- Do not drink milk or take indigestion remedies or medicines containing iron or zinc (such as multivitamin tablets) during the two hours before you take norfloxacin, or during the two hours after you have taken a dose. This is because these things interfere with the way norfloxacin is absorbed by your body, and stop it from working fully.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless your next dose is due. If your next dose is due then take the dose which is due but leave out the forgotten one. Do not take two tablets together to make up for a missed dose.
- Even if you feel your infection has cleared up, keep taking the antibiotic until the course is finished (unless you are told to stop by your doctor). This is to prevent the infection from coming back. A course of treatment usually lasts for 7-10 days, although it may be for a shorter time than this if you are a woman. If you have a long-term (chronic) infection, your course of treatment will be for longer than this, possibly for 1-3 months. If you still feel unwell after finishing the course of tablets, go back to see your doctor.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Remember to keep any routine appointments with your doctor. This is so your progress can be monitored.
- Norfloxacin may cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight than normal. Protect your skin by using a sunscreen, particularly if you are exposed to strong sunlight for a prolonged period of time. Do not use sunbeds.
- If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with this antibiotic. In particular, do not take painkillers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, while you are taking norfloxacin.
- Some people develop thrush (redness and itching in the mouth or vagina) after taking a course of antibiotics. If you think you have thrush, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
- This antibiotic may stop the oral typhoid vaccine from working. If you are having any vaccinations, make sure the person treating you knows that you are taking this medicine.
- Norfloxacin may make you feel light-headed and impair your ability to concentrate. Make sure your reactions are normal before you drive, operate machinery or do any other jobs which could be dangerous if you are not sufficiently alert.
Can norfloxacin cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with norfloxacin. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common norfloxacin side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting), indigestion, tummy (abdominal) pain||Stick to simple foods - avoid rich or spicy meals|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids. If the diarrhoea is severe or continues to be a problem, speak with your pharmacist or doctor for advice|
|Headache||Drink plenty of water and ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headaches continue, let your doctor know|
|Feeling dizzy||Do not drive and do not use tools or machines until you feel well again|
|Rash||If this is severe, let your doctor know|
Important: there are also a number of less common but more serious side-effects which have been associated with norfloxacin. Speak with your doctor as soon as possible if you experience the following:
- An allergic-type reaction, such as swelling around your face or mouth, a skin rash, or any difficulty breathing.
- Pain or swelling in your joints.
- Problems with your vision or with your eyes.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
How to store norfloxacin
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine, ask your pharmacist.
Further reading and references
British National Formulary, 79th Edition (Mar 2020); British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.