Background: Fluoroquinolones, such as ciprofloxacin, have an adverse effect on growing cartilage and endochondral ossification in children. This study was carried out to determine whether ciprofloxacin also has an adverse effect on the healing of experimental fractures.
Methods: Sixty male 300-gram Wistar rats were divided equally into three groups, which received ciprofloxacin, cefazolin, or no treatment for three weeks, beginning seven days after production of a closed, nondisplaced, bilateral femoral fracture. The serum concentrations of the ciprofloxacin and the cefazolin were 2.4 and 146 micrograms per milliliter, respectively. Radiographic, histological, and biomechanical studies were used to evaluate fracture-healing.
Results: Radiographs revealed significantly more advanced healing of the control fractures compared with the fractures in the ciprofloxacin-treated group (average stage, 2.1 compared with 1.5, p = 0.01). The cefazolin-treated group was not different from the controls with respect to radiographic healing (average stage, 1.8 compared with 2.1, p = 0.18). Torsional strength-testing of fracture callus exposed to ciprofloxacin revealed a 16 percent decrease in strength compared with the controls (284 compared with 338 newton-millimeters, p = 0.04) and a 49 percent decrease in stiffness (twenty compared with thirty-nine newton-millimeters per degree, p = 0.001). The biomechanical strength in the cefazolin-treated group was not different from that of the controls. Fracture calluses in the animals treated with ciprofloxacin showed abnormalities in cartilage morphology and endochondral bone formation and a significant decrease in the number of chondrocytes compared with the controls (0.77 x 104 compared with 1.3 x 104 cells per square millimeter, p = 0.004).
Conclusions: These data suggest that experimental fractures exposed to therapeutic concentrations of ciprofloxacin in serum demonstrate diminished healing during the early stages of fracture repair. The administration of ciprofloxacin during early fracture repair may compromise the clinical course of fracture-healing.