Compare Cipro vs. Penicillin

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Cipro
(Ciprofloxacin)

penicillin

Kills bacteria. Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) is a good and cheap antibiotic to treat many types of bacterial infections. However, you have to reduce your caffeine intake, and have to protect yourself from the sun.Kills bacteria. Penicillin Vk (Penicillin) is good for treating many bacterial infections and is available as a generic. You may need to use another form of birth control along with your birth control pills. It's also best taken on an empty stomach but it can cause an upset stomach.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.17Cipro
Reviews for Cipro
63%
of people (All ages) say Cipro is worth it
53%
say it works well
17%
say it's a big hassle
755 reviews
Have you used Cipro (Ciprofloxacin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Penicillin
71%
-8% worse vs. Cipro
52%
+1% better vs. Cipro
12%
-5% worse vs. Cipro
1297 reviews
Have you used Penicillin Vk (Penicillin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
CiproPenicillin
  • Any musculosketal side effect 14%
  • Any side effect 41%
  • Any neurological side effect 3%
  • Any musculoskeletal side effect 9%
  • Diarrhea 2%
  • Nausea 3%
  • Fever 2%
  • Asthma 2%
  • Rash 2%
  • Abdominal pain 3%
More Cipro side effects »

The Penicillin FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Penicillin side effects »
How it works
CiproPenicillin
Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) is an antibiotic. It kills bacteria by preventing them from reproducing and repairing themselves.Penicillin Vk (Penicillin) is an antibiotic. It kills bacteria by preventing them from making their own protective covering.
Type of medication
CiproPenicillin
Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
CiproPenicillin
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Infusion (iv)
  • Pill
Used for
CiproPenicillin
Risk factors for serious side effects
CiproPenicillin
  • Over 60 years of age
  • On long-term steroid use
  • Heart, kidney, or lung transplant
  • Myasthenia gravis
Detailed Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) risks & warnings »
  • Prior severe allergic reaction to Penicillin Vk (Penicillin)
Detailed Penicillin Vk (Penicillin) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

Pain
CiproPenicillin
  • If you notice redness/inflammation, pain or swelling in your joints or muscles, especially in the Achilles tendon, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Talk to your doctor immediately if you start to feel burning, tingling, numbness, pain or you can't tolerate heat or cold. This could be a sign of nerve damage and it can happen as soon as you start taking the medication and may not go away if you stop it.
  • If you notice pain in your Achilles tendons, contact your doctor.
No pain related info.
Upsides and benefits
CiproPenicillin
  • Available in generic.
  • Available in different forms: tablet, capsule, and suspension.
  • Used to treat many types of bacterial infections.
  • Less resistance seen in bacteria to this antibiotic. Your doctor may run tests to see which antibiotics will kill the bacteria causing your infection.
  • Available in generic.
  • Available in different forms: tablet, capsule and suspension.
  • Used to treat many types of bacterial infections.
Downsides and risks
CiproPenicillin
  • Must be used with caution in people over 60 years of age, or who have had either an organ transplant or on long-term steroid use due to possible tendon rupture.
  • If you have caffeine while on Ciprofloxacin, you may noticed increased effects of the caffeine.
  • Ciprofloxacin can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
  • Can't be used if you've ever had myasthenia gravis.
  • Can cause diarrhea.
  • Many bacteria have developed resistance. Your doctor may run tests to see if Penicillin will work on your infection.
  • Can make birth control pills less effective.
  • Best taken on an empty stomach, but can cause stomach upset and diarrhea.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
CiproPenicillin
  • If you notice pain in your Achilles tendons, contact your doctor.
  • Wear sunscreen if you're going to be out in the sun.
  • Take the medication exactly how the doctor tells you to.
  • Avoid taking this by itself with dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt) or with juice with calcium.
  • Take this medication at least 2 hours before or 6 hours after any antacids with magnesium or aluminum or with any vitamins with calcium, iron or zinc.
  • Can cause diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
  • Limit your caffeine intake while taking this medication.
  • Take this medication exactly how your doctor tells you to.
  • If you're taking birth control pills, this medication can make them less effective.
  • Try to take it on an empty stomach. If this gives you an upset stomach, take it with food.
  • Can cause diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
Learn more
More about CiproSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Cipro (Ciprofloxacin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about PenicillinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Penicillin Vk (Penicillin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it