Antibacterials (Into the ear)


Treats middle ear infections and outer ear infections ("swimmer's ear").

Brand Name(s)

Ciprodex, Cipro Hc, Floxin Otic Singles, Cresylate, Acetasol, VoSol, Floxin, Cetraxal

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

Make sure your doctor knows if you have had an allergic reaction to any medicine. This includes acetic acid or an antibiotic such as ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, gatifloxacin, levofloxacin, neomycin, Ciloxan®, Cipro®, Floxin®, Levaquin®, Zymar®. Some ear drops should not be used if you have a hole or tubes in your eardrum.

How to Use This Medicine

Liquid, Drop

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • Use this medicine only in your ear. Do not swallow the medicine, and do not put it in your eyes.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after using this medicine.
  • Gently clean the ear if there is any discharge. Be careful to not put a cotton swab or anything else inside the ear.
  • You may warm the drops by holding the unopened bottle in your hands for a few minutes. Putting room temperature drops in your ear might make you dizzy.
  • Remove the cap. Do not let the tip of the dropper touch anything, including your ear.
  • Lie down or tilt your head to the side. For a child, gently pull the child's earlobe down and back to straighten the child's ear canal. For an adult, gently pull the earlobe up and back to straighten the ear canal.
  • Drop the correct number of drops into the ear.
  • For a middle ear infection (otitis media): Gently fold in the flap of skin at the front of the ear after you put in the drops. Let go of the flap, then fold it in again. Do this 5 times, using a pumping motion. This helps move the medicine into the middle ear.
  • Keep the ear tilted up for a few minutes.
  • Repeat these steps for the other ear, if needed.
  • Keep using this medicine for the full treatment time, even if you feel better after the first few doses. Your infection may not clear up if you stop using the medicine too soon.
  • Your doctor might want to put a wick soaked with the medicine into your ear. If you need to use a wick, your health caregiver should tell you how long to keep the wick in your ear and how often to put more medicine in. You may need to keep using this medicine after you take the wick out of your ear.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Keep the bottle closed when you are not using it. Store it at room temperature, away from light and heat. Do not freeze.
  • If you have single-use drops: Throw away the used plastic container right after using a dose of medicine. Do not save any medicine leftover in an open container.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of the used medicine container and any leftover medicine. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor.
  • Tell your doctor if you have ear drainage during the six months after you use this medicine.
  • Keep your ears clean and dry while you are being treated with this medicine. Do not go swimming unless your doctor says it is okay.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Muscle or joint pain.
  • Severe pain or tenderness when you put the drop in your ear.
  • Skin rash.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Bitter taste in your mouth.
  • Dizziness.
  • Mild stinging, itching, or discomfort when you put the drops in your ear.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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