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Antibiotics 101: What are Fluoroquinolones?

Nurse Mike (Mike Linares)
By SimpleNursing | Published November 21st, 2018
Published November 21st, 2018
fluoroquinolones title card

Fluoroquinolones is a type of antibiotics that are given to treat some illnesses related to the respiratory and the urinary tract system. In this lecture, we’ll be delving deeper into what fluoroquinolones are, how nurses can easily remember these drugs, and what to watch-out-for when giving the medications.

Let’s get right into it.

Cipro de Mayo

With tons of medications that are out there, how in the world are you going to identify which belong to fluoroquinolones? Easy; just remember Cipro de Mayo. Cipro de Mayo is like the famous Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican celebration that commemorates the victory of the Mexican Army against the French. Enough of that bit of background.

The point is, you can instantly recall what fluoroquinolones are by keeping in mind Cipro de Mayo. Now, how is Cipro de Mayo related to this type of antibiotics? Well, Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) is one of the most popular fluoroquinolones drugs given to clients inside a hospital setting.

Another tip to associate Cipro with fluoroquinolones is Folklorico which is a traditional dance done during Cinco de Mayo. Fluoroquinolones sound like Folklorico. I hope that helped you out in remembering fluoroquinolones, which is especially helpful during the NCLEX®.

The Suffix: Floxacin

Like most drugs, fluoroquinolones also has a distinct suffix that can also pinpoint medications belonging in this group. Most of the fluoroquinolones end in “-floxacin.” Some examples are:

  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • Levofloxacin (Levaquin)
  • Ofloxacin (Floxin)

As indicated, fluoroquinolones are usually given to treat the following:

  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Urinary tract infections

Cipro and Levaquin are primarily given for urinary tract infections. Though these medications are not as strong as aminoglycosides or vancomycin, which are considered as the “big guns” in severe cases of infection, fluoroquinolones are still quite effective in resolving UTIs.

Specifications for Administration

There are a couple of things that you have to keep in mind when giving fluoroquinolones to clients.

  1. Fluoroquinolones should not be taken with food.
  2. Direct sunlight is prohibited.
  3. Watch out for the client’s blood pressure.

Tetracycline, macrolides, and fluoroquinolones are drugs that shouldn’t be taken with food. You can remember this as:

  • TMF = Too Much Food – Tetracycline, Macrolides, Fluoroquinolones

Blood pressure, on the other hand, is another priority when it comes to fluoroquinolones. Make sure that you are assessing the client for signs of increased blood pressure. Within 30 minutes, fluoroquinolones can precipitate an immediate drop in blood pressure for as much as 15 points once it is administered, especially when these drugs are given through an intravenous line.

So far, there has never been a nursing question related to blood pressure that was given in the NCLEX® so far regarding blood pressure. But as nurses, it is essential that you are aware of the side effects of giving fluoroquinolones especially if you’re working inside the emergency room.

For our next group of antibiotics, we’ll go into what sulfonamides (Bactrim) are, the indications, how the drug is given, and what to keep tabs on regarding side effects. Drop by Simple Nursing’s website and Youtube channel to check out more nursing-related topics.

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