Ciprofloxacin is one of the newer 4-quinolones. It combines a high antibacterial activity and a broad spectrum with favourable pharmacokinetic properties. The present study was designed to detect the influence of urinary pH and fluid consumption on crystalluria. Six healthy volunteers aged 25–41 years, 3 of each sex, participated in the study. Single doses of 1,000 and 500 mg of ciprofloxacin were given orally. The urinary pH was varied by giving each subject three different diets: a regular diet, a diet supplemented by ammonium chloride to acidify urine, and a diet supplemented by sodium bicarbonate to obtain alkaline urine. The urine volume and pH were measured and microscopically examined at 37°C immediately after voiding. After the very high dose of 1,000 mg ciprofloxacin the regular diet regimen led to crystalluria in only one subject. Even with this high dose, but with the acidifying regimen, no crystals were observed in any one of the volunteers. When bicarbonate was supplemented 5 of 6 volunteers presented crystals in 22 of the 36 urine samples. 21 of the crystalluric urine samples showed a pH ≥ 7.3. After the usual 500-mg dose and regular diet no crystals were observed at all; only in 3 subjects who received bicarbonate supplement crystals have been seen. In the urine of two subjects crystals emerged ‘ex vivo’ after some hours of storage at both 37°C and room temperature; these results show the importance of sediment observation at 37°C immediately after voiding to differentiate between real and ‘ex vivo’ crystalluria. Results of different examinations permit the conclusion that the crystals contain mostly unchanged ciprofloxacin as major component and magnesium as characteristic element. Participation of the metabolite 2 in the crystal formation cannot be excluded. No significant change was observed in blood counts and blood chemistry of any subject. Urinalysis showed no modifications except the eventual presence of the typical drug-related crystals. Hematuria never occurred.

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