Is a Prescription for a Strong Antibiotic Like Cipro Always Necessary?

Dr. Oz has the answer.

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Q: If you get an Rx for a strong antibiotic like Cipro, should you push back?

Oz says: It's always reasonable to ask your doc if you really need the antibiotic at all. (You certainly don't for, say, a cold.) And it's definitely smart to question if you truly need Cipro. It's part of a class of potent antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones, and the FDA recently warned these were being prescribed too often without enough concern about possible side effects. They can be serious — inflammation and tears in the Achilles and other tendons, and nerve damage.

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What That Means for You

When you get a scrip for a drug in this class (ask if it's one of these), inquire whether another med might work. Just know that your doc isn't brushing you off if she says no. You might need that Rx. For instance, the bacteria typically involved in urinary tract infections has become resistant to older antibiotics like amoxicillin, says infectious diseases expert Barbara E. Murray, MD, of the UT Health Medical School at University of Texas in Houston. The antibiotic nitrofurantoin may work, she says, but some people will still need to use the heavier hitter.

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This story originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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