What is ciprofloxacin otic used for?

Ciprofloxacin otic (ear) is commonly used for the treatment of a type of ear infection known as swimmer’s ear, or acute otitis externa, caused by certain bacteria. 

Ciprofloxacin otic may not be appropriate for the infection listed above, depending on which germs are causing the infection. Bacteria in some locations may have developed resistance to ciprofloxacin otic, which will make it less effective.

Ciprofloxacin otic may also be used for other conditions as determined by your healthcare provider.

Ciprofloxacin is also available in tablet or liquid form for infections caused by certain bacteria.

Ciprofloxacin ophthalmic is used to treat eye infections.

How does ciprofloxacin otic work (mechanism of action)?

Ciprofloxacin otic kills certain types of bacteria by disrupting their ability to create and repair their DNA.

How is ciprofloxacin otic supplied (dosage forms)?

Ciprofloxacin otic is available in the following dosage form that is placed in the ear.

  • 0.2% solution ear drops

How should I store ciprofloxacin otic?

Ciprofloxacin otic should be stored between 59 F to 77 F (15 C to 25 C). Keep containers in the provided pouch to protect them from light.

Side Effects

What are the most common side effects of ciprofloxacin otic?

The most common side effects of ciprofloxacin otic are listed below. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of these side effects that bother you.

  • Pain in the ear where you apply ciprofloxacin otic
  • Ear itching
  • Another infection (see below)
  • Headache

There may be other side effects of ciprofloxacin otic that are not listed here. Contact your healthcare provider if you think you are having a side effect of a medicine. In the U.S., you can report side effects to the FDA at or by calling 800-FDA-1088. In Canada, you can report side effects to Health Canada at or by calling 866-234-2345.

What are the serious side effects of ciprofloxacin otic?

While less common, the most serious side effects of ciprofloxacin otic are described below, along with what to do if they happen.

Severe Allergic Reactions. Ciprofloxacin otic can cause allergic reactions, which can be serious. Stop using ciprofloxacin otic and get help right away if you have any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction.

  • Breathing problems or wheezing
  • Racing heart
  • Fever or general ill feeling
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat
  • Trouble swallowing or throat tightness
  • Itching, skin rash, or pale red bumps on the skin called hives
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness, feeling lightheaded, or fainting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Joint pain

Another Infection With Prolonged Use. Using ciprofloxacin otic for a prolonged period of time may lead to an infection with other types of germs, such as yeast or fungi. Call your healthcare provider if your ear infection does not improve after 1 week of using ciprofloxacin otic.

Warnings & Precautions

Who should not use ciprofloxacin otic?

Allergies to Ingredients. People who are allergic to any of the following should not use ciprofloxacin otic.

  • Cetraxal
  • Ciprofloxacin 
  • Any of the ingredients in the specific product dispensed

Your pharmacist can tell you all of the ingredients in the specific ciprofloxacin otic products they stock.

What should I know about ciprofloxacin otic before using it?

Do not use ciprofloxacin otic unless it has been prescribed to you by a healthcare provider. Use it as prescribed.

Do not share ciprofloxacin otic with other people, even if they have the same condition as you. It may harm them.

Keep ciprofloxacin otic out of the reach of children.

Ciprofloxacin otic should only be applied in your ear. Do not apply ciprofloxacin otic to your eyes. Do not inject or inhale it.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before using ciprofloxacin otic?

Tell your healthcare provider about all of your health conditions and any prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, vitamins/minerals, herbal products, and other supplements you are using. This will help them determine if ciprofloxacin otic is right for you.

In particular, make sure that you discuss any of the following.

Pregnancy. It is not known if or how ciprofloxacin otic could affect pregnancy or harm an unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you are or plan to become pregnant. Your healthcare provider will advise you if you should use ciprofloxacin otic while you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. 

Breastfeeding. It is not known if ciprofloxacin otic passes into breast milk. Tell your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.


Does ciprofloxacin otic interact with foods or drinks?

There are no known interactions between ciprofloxacin otic and foods or drinks.

It is unknown if drinking alcohol will affect ciprofloxacin otic.

Does ciprofloxacin otic interact with other medicines (drug interactions)?

There are no known interactions between ciprofloxacin otic and other medicines. Always tell your healthcare provider about any prescription or OTC medicines, vitamins/minerals, herbal products, and other supplements you are using.

Does Ciprofloxacin (Cetraxal) otic interact with other drugs you are taking?
Enter your medication into the WebMD interaction checker

Overdose/Missed Dose

What should I do if I accidentally use too much ciprofloxacin otic?

If you or someone else has used too much ciprofloxacin otic, get medical help right away, call 911, or contact a Poison Control center at 800-222-1222.

What should I do if I miss a dose of ciprofloxacin otic?

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and only use the next dose. Do not use double or extra doses.

It is important to complete your prescribed course of ciprofloxacin otic, even if your symptoms get better or go away. This will reduce the risk that future infections are resistant to ciprofloxacin otic or other similar medicines.

Drug Survey

Are you currently using Ciprofloxacin (Cetraxal) otic?

This survey is being conducted by the WebMD marketing sciences department.