Athletic people often face upper respiratory infections and other medical illnesses. Occasionally they need antibiotics to treat these infections. While it can be safe to exercise or play sports while taking these medications, there are some concerns worth discussing with your doctor.
Tendon rupture and certain antibiotics
The concern that has received the most attention is the risk of tendon rupture. Fluoroquinolones, including ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and levofloxacin (Levaquin), are often used to treat urinary infections. These antibiotics have been associated with increased risks of tendon ruptures.
Antibiotic-associated diarrhea can occur when you take antibiotics. These medications can alter the normal bacteria in the G.I. system. In order to decrease your chance of having diarrhea, your doctor can keep the duration of antibiotic treatment as short as possible that still eliminates the infection.
Antibiotics that have been linked to photosensitivity are a concern for anyone who plays outdoor sports or exercises outside. Tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones and sulfa drugs are believed to carry this risk. It is possible that you could develop a serious sunburn on body parts exposed to the sun or have an increased risk of skin cancer if you use these medications. Theoretically you should avoid these antibiotics or use sunscreen and wear fully protective clothing.
By no means does this list of concerns represent medical advice. If you have an infection and require treatment, you should ask the doctor about possible complications with those drugs, especially as they pertain to exercise and sports.
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