Cipro & Levaquin can cause tendinitis & tendon ruptures

Updated 8/25/2018.

Source: MedPage Today
On top of all the other side effects caused by heavy duty, broad spectrum antibiotics like Cipro & Levaquin, I recently learned they can also cause tendinitis and ruptured tendons.
Source: Regenexx

 

 

FDA ORDERS BLACK BOX WARNINGS ON CIPRO & OTHER FLUOROQUINOLONES: THESE DRUGS MAY RUPTURE TENDONS

“Federal regulators are ordering new warnings on Cipro and similar antibiotics because of increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture. The new warnings apply to fluoroquinolones, a class of antibiotics that includes the popular drug Cipro….

“The warning applies to drugs of the fluoroquinolone class, including Cipro, Cipro XR, Proquin XR, Levaquin, Floxin, Noroxin, Avelox, Factive, and marketed generics….

“Most of the tendinitis and tendon ruptures affect the Achilles tendon, behind the ankle. But the agency has also received reports of tendinitis and ruptures in the shoulder and hand. Tendons connect muscle to bone.

“Officials also say they are adding new warnings cautioning that patients over 60, those taking corticosteroids, and those who’ve undergone heart, lung, or kidney transplants are also at increased risk of tendon rupture or tendinitis if they take fluoroquinolones.

“Researchers don’t know exactly what fluoroquinolones do that promotes tendon rupturing. Theories suggest the drug may impede collagen formation or interrupt blood supply in joints …

“… Patients taking the drugs should tell their doctors immediately if they experience soreness or inflammation in muscles or tendons and that they should not exercise affected joints….”

 – (Zwillich, WebMD, 2008)

 

Source: ( Dr. William E. Morgan, 2013)

 

 

 

COMMON SIDE EFFECTS OF CIPRO

 

Source: Consumer Reports
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal liver function tests
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Bleeding easily
  • Blurred vision
  • Bruising easily
  • Burning in the eyes
  • Confusion
  • Dark colored urine
  • Diarrhea, watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Fainting
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Nervousness
  • Nightmares
  • Numbness
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Pale or yellow skin
  • Rash
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling
  • Sleep problems (insomnia or nightmares)
  • Sore throat
  • Stiffness
  • Stomach upset
  • Sudden pain
  • Swelling of the face or tongue
  • Tenderness
  • Tingling
  • Unusual pain anywhere in the body
  • Unusual thoughts or behaviors
  • Urinating less than usual or not at all
  • Vaginal itching or discharge
  • Weakness
“This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. “
 – Cunha, RxList, 5/14/2018

 

 

MORE SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS OF CIPRO

Source: Drug Lawsuit Source
These are listed as  “serious and otherwise important adverse drug reactions” of Cipro, some “disabling and potentially irreversible”:
  • Tendinitis and Tendon Rupture
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Central Nervous System Effects
  • Exacerbation of Myasthenia Gravis
  • Other Serious and Sometimes Fatal Adverse Reactions
  • Hypersensitivity Reactions
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Serious Adverse Reactions with Concomitant Theophylline
  • Clostridium difficile-Associated Diarrhea
  • Prolongation of the QT Interval
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders in Pediatric Patients
  • Photosensitivity/Phototoxicity
  • Development of Drug Resistant Bacteria
– (Cunha, RxList, 5/14/2018)

 

 

CONDITIONS TREATED WITH CIPRO

Source: SFGate
You can see from the following WebMD list of conditions treated with Cipro that this broad spectrum antibiotic is commonly used to combat a wide variety of established bacterial infections and is sometimes even given prophylactically :
  • intestine infection due to the Shigella bacteria
  • Intestinal Infection due to Campylobacter
  • Traveler’s Diarrhea
  • Acute Maxillary Sinus M. Catarrhalis Bacteria Infection
  • Pneumonia caused by Proteus Bacteria
  • Urinary Tract Infection caused by Klebsiella Bacteria
  • Infection of the Prostate Gland caused by Proteus
  • Continuous Bacterial Inflammation of the Prostate Gland
  • Skin Infection
  • Bone Infection caused by Enterobacter
  • Lower Respiratory Tract Infection
  • Complicated Peritonitis caused by E. Coli
  • Abscess Within the Abdomen
  • Infection of Urinary Tract due to Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
  • Urinary Tract Infection caused by Serratia
  • Skin Infection due to Klebsiella Bacteria
  • Acute Maxillary Sinus H. Influenzae Bacteria Infection
  • Complicated Peritonitis caused by Proteus Bacteria
  • Bacterial Infection of Kidney due to E. Coli Organism
  • Bladder Infection caused by E. Coli
  • Urinary Tract Infection due to E. Coli Bacteria
  • Infection of the Urinary Tract caused by Proteus Bacteria
  • Skin Infection due to Staphylococcus Aureus Bacteria
  • Skin Infection due to Streptococcus Pyogenes Bacteria
  • Skin Infection due to Enterobacter Bacteria
  • Pneumonia caused by Bacteria
  • Infection Within the Abdomen
  • Urinary Tract Infection due to Staphylococcus Epidermidis
  • Skin Infection due to E. Coli Bacteria
  • Skin Infection due to Citrobacter Bacteria
  • Infection of Bone
  • Prevention of Plague Following Exposure to Plague
  • Bacterial Pneumonia caused by Klebsiella
  • Staphylococcus Saprophyticus Infection of Urinary Tract
  • Infection of the Prostate Gland caused by E. Coli
  • Skin Infection due to Proteus Bacteria
  • Skin Infection due to Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Bacteria
  • Skin Infection due to Providencia Bacteria
  • Infection of a Joint caused by Serratia Bacteria
  • Treatment to Prevent Anthrax following Exposure to Disease
  • Pneumonia due to the Bacteria Haemophilus Parainfluenzae
  • Pneumonia caused by E. Coli Bacteria
  • Infection of Urinary Tract due to Providencia Species
  • Urinary Tract Infection caused by Citrobacter
  • Skin Infection caused by Morganella Morganii
  • Joint Infection caused by Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Bacteria
  • Bone Infection caused by Serratia Bacteria
  • Pneumonia caused by the Bacteria Enterobacter
  • Complicated Peritonitis caused by Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
  • Complicated Peritonitis caused by Klebsiella Bacteria
  • Bladder Infection caused by Staphylococcus
  • Infection of the Urinary Tract caused by Enterococcus
  • Joint Infection caused by Enterobacter Species Bacteria
  • Infection of a Joint
  • Diarrhea caused by E. Coli Bacteria
  • Bacterial Urinary Tract Infection
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Diarrhea caused by a Bacteria
  • Plague
  • Acute Maxillary Sinus S. Pneumoniae Bacteria Infection
  • Pneumonia caused by the Bacteria Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
  • Bacterial Pneumonia caused by Haemophilus Influenzae
  • Pneumonia caused by Gram-Negative Bacteria
  • Bronchitis caused by the Bacteria Moraxella Catarrhalis
  • Complicated Peritonitis caused by Bacteroides Bacteria
  • Infection of Urinary Tract due to Enterobacter Cloacae
  • Urinary Tract Infection caused by Morganella Morganii
  • Skin Infection due to Staphylococcus Epidermidis Bacteria
  • Bone Infection caused by Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
  • Short-Term Infection with Diarrhea
  • Discomfort & Weight Loss
  • Diverticulitis
  • Diabetic Foot Infection
  • chancroid
  • Heart Valve Infection caused by Haemophilus
  • Pneumonia caused by the Bacteria Anthrax
  • Cystic Fibrosis and Infection from Pseudomonas Bacteria
  • Bacterial Stomach or Intestine Infection caused by Anthrax
  • Infection of the Brain or Spinal Cord caused by Anthrax
  • Urinary Tract Infection Prevention
  • Skin Infection caused by Anthrax
  • Treatment to Prevent Traveler’s Diarrhea
  • Treatment to Prevent Meningococcal Meningitis
  • Presumed Infection in Neutropenic Patient With Fever
 – (WebMD, 2018)

 

 

LEVAQUIN

Source: best-price-checker.com
The uses, potential side effects and warnings for Levaquin are similar to those for Cipro. See Levaquin (RxList, 2018A) if you want to check it out specifically.

 

Source: HealthHearty

 

 

FDA SAYS TO USE FLUOROQUINOLONES ONLY AS A DRUG OF LAST RESORT

 

Source: Drugwatch.com
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) posted this warning on July 27 2016:
“According to a July 26 FDA Drug Safety Communication these medications have been associated with disabling and potentially permanent side effects involving tendons, muscles and/or joints, as well as peripheral nerves and the central nervous system. Some patients may even experience more than one such adverse effect.
“Therefore, said FDA officials, fluoroquinolones should be used in patients with acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS), acute bacterial exacerbation of chronic bronchitis (ABECB) or uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) only when no other treatment options are available, “because the risk of these serious side effects generally outweighs the benefits in these patients.”
“‘Fluoroquinolones have risks and benefits that should be considered very carefully,’ said Edward Cox, M.D., director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the agency’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in (a news release). ‘It’s important that both health care providers and patients are aware of both the risks and benefits of fluoroquinolones and make an informed decision about their use.’
“The agency has revised the boxed warning for all drugs in this class of antibiotics to reflect these serious safety concerns. Those drugs are
  • moxifloxacin (Avelox)
  • ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • ciprofloxacin extended-release (Cipro extended-release)
  • gemifloxacin (Factive)
  • levofloxacin (Levaquin) and
  • ofloxacin (Ofloxacin generic brand)….
Specific events reported include
  • tendinitis and tendon rupture,
  • muscle pain or weakness,
  • joint pain and/or joint swelling,
  • peripheral neuropathy, and
  • central nervous system effects (e.g., psychosis, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts).
“Effects can begin within hours of starting the medications, but they may not be seen until after weeks of treatment. Patients should be advised to discontinue the drugs immediately if they experience any serious adverse effects.
“The benefits of fluoroquinolones continue to outweigh the risks when used for certain serious bacterial infections (e.g., pneumonia, intra-abdominal infections) and the FDA says it is appropriate for them to remain available as a therapeutic option in such cases.”
 – (AAFP, 2016) & (FDA, 2016)
Source: medium.com

 

FOLLOW AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY REGIMEN IF YOU NEED TO TAKE ONE OF THESE ANTIBIOTICS

Since antibiotics target the good (probiotic)  bacteria in and on the body right along with their intended target, harmful bacteria, also be sure to take lots of the probiotic yeast, Sacharomyces boulardii, to protect your gut microbiome from being overrun by pathogenic bacteria anytime you’re given a course of antibiotics. This includes antibiotics you receive unbeknownst to you in your IV along with the anesthetic during surgeries. And remember that you can talk with your surgeon about exactly which antibiotic you’ll be given during surgery and why.
Sacharomyces boulardii is a probiotic YEAST, not a bacterium, so is not targeted by antiBIOTICS and can act as a place holder in your gut microbiome to fill up the space created when an antibiotic kills off your good bacteria.
See this earlier post for more information on Sacharomyces boulardii.
Dr Gabrielle Francis, who alerted me to the tendinitis and tendon rupture warnings for Cipro and Levaquin, recommends following this anti-inflammatory regimen during and for at least three months after a course of one of these antibiotics has been finished:
GLUCOSAMINE SULFATE (integrative Therapeutics) – to lubricate and strengthen tendons, build and support joint cartilage: 1 at breakfast/1 at dinner
BIOINFLAMAX (Nutra BioGenesis) – to maintain a healthy inflammatory response in joint and muscles: 2 at breakfast/2 at dinner
MAGNESIUM MALATE (Designs for Health or Integrative Therapeutics) – to protect joints and muscles: 1 at breakfast/1 at dinner
OSTEOFORCE SUPREME (Designs for Health) – to support bone health: 1 at breakfast/1 at dinner
For more information on these supplements (benefits, ingredients list, side effects, interactions), see:
Glucosamine Sulfate
BioInflamax
What Are the Benefits of Magnesium Malate? and Magnesium Malate
OsteoForce Supreme
Source: The Herban Alchemist
In addition, Dr Francis recommends having a detoxifying smoothie for breakfast to keep your body strong while taking antibiotics. This is her version, the Detox Smoothie Bundle. Drink the detox smoothie in the AM and take the antibiotic in the PM.
Visit Dr Francis’s website, The Herban Alchemist, if you want to read more about her.

ARE THESE DANGEROUS ANTIBIOTICS GIVEN TO FACTORY FARMED ANIMALS?

Source: Healthy Market
Yes.
“The federal government must crackdown on the use of antibiotics such as cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones within the nation’s meat industry because of the threat that antibiotic resistance poses to public health, says one of the government’s leading veterinary drug safety officials.” (Webster, 2008)

 

Regions that produce the most pork and chicken also use the most antibiotics on farms. Hot spots around the world include the Midwest in the U.S., southern Brazil, and China’s Sichuan province. Yellow indicates low levels of drug use in livestock; orange and light red are moderate levels; and dark red is high levels.

Source: PNAS
If you eat meat made from factory farmed animals, you’re also consuming a variety of antibiotics – possibly including fluoroquinones – in each juicy burger, serving of fried chicken, and side of bacon you enjoy.

 

Source: winstonclose
Factory farmed animals (cows, pigs, chickens) are given fluoroquinones – among other antibiotics. (Doucleff, 2015) & (FDA, 2009). The 2009 FDA report lists 2 fluoroquinones and 47 other approved antibiotics for use on factory farmed cows. You can see the report for yourself: Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals .

 

 

Source: The Outdoor Journal
I was also trying to track down which antibiotics are known to be given to farm raised fish in the US and elsewhere and found only these five that have been detected in aquacultured fish:  oxytetracycline, 4-epioxytetracycline, sulfadimethoxine, ormetoprim, and virginiamycin.
But, lest you think wild caught seafood is antibiotic-free, oxytetracycline has also been detected  in wild-caught shrimp from Mexico, perhaps from coastal pollution, sewage contamination, mislabeling, or cross-contamination during handling and processing. (Lueing, 2015)

 

Source: MicrobeWiki
And, in case you noted the dates of the articles and the report cited above and figure the FDA has surely fixed the problem by now, here’s a quote from a recently published article on the rise of antibiotic resistant illnesses:
“The overuse and misuse of antibiotics in the meat industry is contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistance in the U.S. and across the world. This serious public health issue is estimated to kill 10 million people a year worldwide by 2050. In the U.S., antibiotic-resistant infections cause over two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths each year, costing society between $55 billion to $70 billion each year.
“The majority of antibiotics in the U.S. are given to animals that are not sick; they are mixed into animals’ food and water to make them grow bigger or to prevent illness in cramped and unhealthy environments.” (As You Sow, 6/14/2018)

 

Source: The Hearty Soul

 

Many thanks to Dr Gabrielle Francis for alerting me to this situation and recommending the protocol of supplements to take during and after a course of Cipro or Levaquin as protection against tendon damage.

 

 

 

HOW LEVAQUIN TURNED RACHEL BRUMMERT INTO A PATIENT ADVOCATE

Almost immediately after I published this post, Christian John Lillis, Executive Director of The Peggy Lillis Foundation (Lillis, 2018), sent me this article his friend Rachel Brummert just posted on DrugWatch.com about the  dozens of spontaneous tendon fractures she has experienced after taking Levaquin for a suspected sinus infection:  Levaquin Turned Me into ‘Frankenwoman’. (Brummert, 8/24/2018)
Source: Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics
These ghastly experiences motivated her to become a  trained Patient Advocate through the National Center for Health Research and a trained Special Government Employee (SGE) through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. She also works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on fluoroquinolone awareness communication campaigns.
Christian John Lillis and his brother Liam started The Peggy Lillis Foundation to fight Clostridium difficile by building a nationwide Clostridium difficile awareness movement that educates the public, empowers advocates, and shapes policy. Peggy Lillis, Christian and Liam’s mother,  died at age 56  after having a root canal and being prescribed the antibiotic Clindamycin to treat a dental abscess. Seven days later she became septic and went into cardiac arrest from the massive C. diff infection that had taken over her colon. (Peggy Lillis Foundation, 2018)
Source: Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics
“(Clindamycin) increases the risk of hospital-acquired Clostridium difficile colitis about fourfold.” (Wikipedia, 7/26/2018)
Source: beforeyoutakethatpill.com

 

 

REFERENCES

American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP.) (July 27, 2016). Use Fluoroquinolones Only as Drug of Last Resort for Some Infections. See: https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20160727fluoroquinolones.html

As You Sow. (6/14/2018). Antibiotics & Factory Farms. See: https://www.asyousow.org/our-work/environmental-health/antibiotics-factory-farms/

Brummert, R. (8/24/2018).  Levaquin Turned Me into ‘Frankenwoman’. DrugWatch.com. See: https://www.drugwatch.com/beyond-side-effects/levaquin-turned-me-into-frankenwoman/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post-organic

Cunha, J.P.  (5/14/2018). Cipro: Side Effects Center. RxList. See: https://www.rxlist.com/cipro-side-effects-drug-center.htm#overview

Doucleff, M. (2015). For The Love Of Pork: Antibiotic Use On Farms Skyrockets Worldwide. NPR. See: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/03/20/394064680/for-the-love-of-pork-antibiotic-use-on-farms-skyrockets-worldwide

FDA. (2009). SUMMARY REPORT on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals. Center for Veterinary Medicine. See: https://grist.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/ucm231851.pdf

FDA. (7/26/2016). FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA updates warnings for oral and injectable fluoroquinolone antibiotics due to disabling side effects. See: https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm511530.htm

Francis, G. (2018). Personal communication.

Francis, G. (2018). Detox Smoothie Bundle. See: https://store.theherbanalchemist.com/collections/smoothie-bundles-1/products/zzzdet

Francis, G. (2018). The Herban Alchemist. See: http://theherbanalchemist.com

Hardin, J.R. (2014). Sacharomyces boulardii. See: https://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/saccharomyces-boulardii/

Hutchins, M. (2017). What Are the Benefits of Magnesium Malate?. LiveStrong. See: https://www.livestrong.com/article/280804-what-are-the-benefits-of-magnesium-malate/

Lillis, C.J. (2018). Personal communication.
Luening, E. (2015). Study identifies antibiotics in farm raised seafood. Aquaculture North America. See: https://www.aquaculturenorthamerica.com/research/survey-identifies-antibiotics-in-farm-raised-seafood-1559

 

Morgan, W.E. (2013). Tendon Rupture Related to Antibiotic Use: Fluoroquinolone induced tendon ruptures are a growing concern. See: http://drmorgan.info/clinicians-corner/tendon-rupture-related-to-antibiotic-use/

Peggy Lillis Foundation. (2016). See: https://peggyfoundation.org/about-plf/about-peggy/

Pure Formulas. (2018A). BioInflamax. See: https://www.pureformulas.com/bioinflammatory-plus-120-capsules-by-biogenesis-nutraceuticals.html

Pure Formulas. (2018 B). Magnesium Malate. See: https://www.pureformulas.com/magnesium-malate-chelate-240-tablets-by-designs-for-health.html

Pure Formulas. (2018 C). OsteoForce Supreme. See: https://www.pureformulas.com/osteoforce-supreme-180-capsules-by-designs-for-health.html

RxList. (2018 A). Levaquin. See: https://www.rxlist.com/levaquin-drug.htm

RxList (2018 B).  Glucosamine Sulfate. See: https://www.rxlist.com/glucosamine_sulfate/supplements.htm#HowDoesItWork

WebMD. (2018). What Conditions does Cipro Treat? See: https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-1124-93/cipro-oral/ciprofloxacin-oral/details/list-conditions

Webster, P.C. (2008). Crackdown on factory farm drug use urged. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 184:1, E23–E24.

Wikipedia, 7/26/2018). Clindamycin. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clindamycin

Zwillich, T. (7/28/2008). FDA Warning: Cipro May Rupture Tendons: Agency Issues ‘Black Box’ Warning for Antibiotics Known as Fluroquinolones. WebMD. See: https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/news/20080708/fda-warning-cipro-may-rupture-tendons

 

© Copyright 2018. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

18 thoughts on “Cipro & Levaquin can cause tendinitis & tendon ruptures

  1. Oh, if these drugs were used in raising farm animals it’s very much alarming. Thanks for spreading this awareness. ???

    1. Sarah,
      Not only are two fluoroquinolones still approved by the FDA for use on factory farmed animals, there’s this:
      “According to a new report by the FDA, approximately 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are fed to farm animals. This means that in the United States only 20 percent of antibiotics, which were originally developed to protect human health, are actually used to treat infections in people.”
      – Sustainable Table (2018)
      http://www.sustainabletable.org/257/antibiotics

      As well as factory farms’ ubiquitous practice of giving their animals GMO feed containing glyphosate, a known carcinogen.

      Factory farms routinely give their animals antibiotics to keep them from becoming ill and force them to eat carcinogen-laced feed to increase their profits.

      “A factory farm is a large, industrial operation that raises large numbers of animals for food. Over 95% of farm animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms, which focus on profit and efficiency at the expense of animal welfare.”
      – ASPCA (2018)
      https://www.aspca.org/animal-cruelty/farm-animal-welfare

      Joan

  2. Thank you for this informative article!

    As a 56-year-old woman, in November 2011, I was given levofloxacin (generic Levaquin) 750 mg for a common condition — which wound up being a misdiagnosis. I only took five pills before I couldn’t walk without a cane. The excruciating tendon pain in my Achilles tendon, knee tendons (front and back of knees), shoulder and even forearm tendons, plus pain in what felt like connective tissue between my heart and left lung, heart arrhythmias, and major joints clicking and popping are frightening to say the least. Occasionally, out of the blue, I get stabs of pain from the inner side of one knee, feeling as if a knife is wedging under the kneecap; what walking I can accomplish is fearful, never knowing when this will happen. A buzzing sensation in various areas of my skin, spontaneous bruises on my arms, fragile skin that takes too long to heal, and a sense of bugs crawling on me are an annoyance.

    After almost seven years with only partial recovery and frequent flare-ups, I feel like I’ll never be completely mobile again. Every day, I am fearful of every step I take, concerned that something will happen — either something new or a recurrence of a previous event. Some days as I stretch while waking, I have to remind myself that I must stop or the tight pain that is starting in connective tissue (usually the Achilles tendons) might rupture. And now, it has gotten so bad that I wonder if I will ever walk again.

    To this day, I still get new symptoms, especially joint pain in my left shoulder that took a year to go away, but which returned after only about a month of relief. The most frightening experience woke me one day — the agony of feeling that the top of my left foot was on fire. While crying in pain for about a half hour, I stared at it, amazed that I didn’t see flames! Then it abruptly went away. And the fatigue! I am always so tired – aching and tired.

    During my father’s struggle with cancer in the spring of 2014, I had to give him this poison, and it broke my heart to crush the levofloxacin and dissolve it for him to pour into his feeding tube. On one occasion, I forgot to crush it before putting it in the water to dissolve, and I picked it out with my clean but bare left fingers. Within an hour, I felt a left forearm tendon becoming painful, and the pain gradually radiated up my arm. Within a few hours it had gone through my shoulder and down into my left knee (both front and back tendons), and my Achilles tendon. So, it is apparently dangerous to merely touch it!

    October 1, 2015, I retired from a career in public service (911 dispatcher for Hamilton County, Ohio) that I loved. Not knowing how much pain and unrelenting fatigue I would face each day, I did not consider myself a reliable employee. My employer was good and understanding with me, but I was concerned because even the usually adequate amount of sick, vacation, and compensatory time off I was allowed was all being funneled into recovery. (My employer never tried to push me out!) So I am one of the fortunate ones.

    However, to add insult to injury, my former primary care physician blew off my concerns as if I don’t know what happened to me — and it was two doctors who simultaneously had said that it was levofloxacin that did the damage! My current PCP also doesn’t take me seriously. At least my endocrinologist recognizes the problem and even said that she has several other patients who suffer from FQAD. As if this isn’t enough, I can’t even sue anyone about it because it was the generic version of Levaquin — levofloxacin — that I was given.

    We can add yet another insult to this injury. The so-called “opioid epidemic” due to heroin overdoses has put the damper on physicians prescribing pain killers that truly help. (I was never addicted to opioid medications!) Much that I could once limp through I can no longer do. Walking is a nightmare for me. If I were dying, I would get the relief I need. However, I can’t get relief to live!

    We need a no-nonsense approach to caring for people with FluoroQuinolone-Associated Disability, and we need adequate warnings mandated for all medical personnel so that these drugs are only used in the rarest of instances.

    1. Laurie,
      Thank you for sharing your story. Truly horrible and heart breaking. I had no idea that simply touching a fluoroquinolone could be as dangerous as taking it. Although it’s criminally perverse that you can’t sue the manufacturer of Levaquin, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a Johnson & Johnson company), because you were given a generic version of their dangerous drug, the manufacturer of the generic is also above the law? I see that the FDA approved Levaquin in 1996 and allowed it to be manufactured as a generic in 2011, the year it did its damage to you.
      Joan

  3. Thanks so much for publishing information about the damage these fluoroquinolone antibiotics can cause. It is a great article, which covers a lot of our problems. I think my most frustrating consequence of having been given levaquin for bronchitis – which was never tested to see if it was a bacterial infection – was that it took five years of misery before I was able to learn what had happened to me. I had already suffered two surgeries for torn tendons, experienced an almost total inability to walk, given up trying to curl my hair, withdrawn almost completely from all my friends and family, and had undergone a six hour cardiac ablation for uncontrollable tachycardia. (I feel guilty listing all of those problems, and even left out some, because I feel so guilty knowing others suffer so much more than I have.) Doctors listen to our complaints, sort of roll their eyes, then send us off to specialist after specialist, test after test. I swear, I think these drugs have expanded and made a fortune for the medical industry. Here is hoping you can keep shining a light for those millions of us who have been injured. Thankyou!

    1. Pamela,
      You’ve suffered badly from the consequences of being given a fluoroquinolone. I’m so sorry. No need to feel guilty sharing your experiences.The ones you chose to mention are terrible in their owm right.
      Joan

  4. Best article I have ever seen on this, thanks so much!!
    I was diagnosed with systemic nerve damage and was told I was like an over-dosed chemotherapy patient and that a bit more would have confined me to a wheel chair. These drugs are a horror story. There are many other antibiotic options to take. Be wise and internet research anything ever prescribed to you, do not trust the doctor or pharmacist to warn you. There are so many more side effects to these drugs than are mentioned and here is a list of what happened to me: Systemic nerve damage, legs jerking at night, painful, sharp needle pains all over body and face, cracking of multiple joints, inability to walk more than a few yards, inability to hold a cup of water with one hand, extreme pain in ankles, feet and wrists, 3 day migraines due to chemical sensitivities, loss of bowel contractions, tears in cornea due to bone dry eyes, hormone and thyroid issues, extremely bad skin sagging, utter despair and the deepest depression I could have never imagined. I am 4.5 years out and still having issue and on my 13th relapse. This is a lonely journey with little help, thank God for the support groups. This has truly altered my life, career and my bank account.

  5. Floxin (and those drugs in the same family) are to be feared, as far as I am concerned. Some years ago, after being prescribed Floxin for an infection, I was in our local emergency room within 10 minutes of ingesting my first dose. I became weak, incoherent, vital signs were showing signs of distress, i.e., I was headed toward a shocky situation.!!! Thankfully, a family member was in the house with me who was able to call 911 for immediate emergency attention. What a VERY scary situation. Naturally, all of my medical records indicate my allergy to this group of drugs……. I just about cringe when I even see the name Floxin.

  6. Why would anyone that reads this information about Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics take a chance that the adverse reactions won’t happen to them? They need to be used in life or death situations-after everything else has been tried. I was given IV Levaquin as a prophylactic during minor surgery, without my knowledge or permission. I was not warned about these incidious drugs. That was 12 years ago. I have not recovered.

    1. Sharon,
      Suffering from Levaquin’s side effects after a minor surgery 12 years ago as a result of someone else’s decision to put it in your IV prophylactically without telling you or alerting you to the risks is horrible & unacceptable. Since the medical profession continues to be allowed to make these ‘risk-benefit’ decisions FOR us WITHOUT OUR INFORMED CONSENT, I hope people will learn to start asking their doctors as many questions as needed in order to protect themselves.

      I understand the thinking behind giving antibiotics prophylactically during surgery and, much as I try to avoid taking them, I’ll be getting one tomorrow at the start of the orthopedic surgery I’m having done to repair the misaligned bones in my left wrist & take the pressure off the overstretched nerves in the carpal tunnel of that hand caused by my original orthopedist’s failure to put in pins after I fell & broke my wrist 8 months ago.

      My surgeon assures me the antibiotic I’ll get in my IV will be Ancef (Cefazolin). It of course has a long list of known possible side effects, all of which look to be the result of the sudden killing off of the good bacteria (probiotics) in the gut microbiome. So when I get home after the surgery, I’ll take a bunch of Saccharomyces boulardii (to act as a place holder in my gut) + the next morning will resume taking GI Revive (to strengthen my gut lining) & will start replenishing the colonies of probiotics I’ve worked so hard to encourage to live in there over the last 8 years.

      Your story reminds me that, before the surgery, I’ll need to confirm with both my surgeon & the anesthesiologist that I’m getting Ancef & not Cipro or another fluoroquinolone.

      Joan

      Joan

  7. Wow! Thanks! This is a really good comprehensive article about FQs and the many ways they can harm people. The thing everyone needs to understand is that these adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are not even close to rare; they are happening all the time to people you know and maybe even to you. The problem is that the ADRs are usually delayed by months so no one makes the connection, not patients or their doctors. Even when we do figure it out, our doctors will tell us those reactions are incredibly rare as if that means that we can’t possibly be having one. Sadly, there are literally millions upon millions upon millions of us but we are routinely misdiagnosed with lupus, fibro, ALS, Parkinson’s, MS, Gulf War Syndrome and any of hundreds of other WRONG conditions. The worse our problems are, the more it just has to be something else.

    We have found that it is incredibly difficult to convince a doctor that he or she destroyed your life and yet that is exactly what happened to every single one of us. I urge everyone who reads this to google “fluoroquinolone toxicity” and “floxed” and follow where it goes. You need to know this info as doctors hand this stuff out like candy and are oblivious to the trail of bodies behind them. Please learn about this and pass on this info. There may be nothing that is more Hellish than having a toxic chemical wreck your DNA and melt your connective tissue. Prevent that from happening to you and to those you love. Also, this may well be the answer to those whose bodies self destructed for some reason. They/you may well be floxed

    Best wishes everyone!

    Mark A Girard
    Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Advocate

    1. Thanks for this comment, Mark. Since publishing the post, I’ve been surprised to hear privately from many people I know that they or others they know have suffered destructive, long lasting harm from Cipro or another fluoroquinolone. That alone suggests adverse drug reactions are considerably more common than the official reports claim.

      Your commenting that it’s “incredibly difficult to convince a doctor that he or she destroyed your life” calls to mind almost all the comments to an article cited in my post. Almost all the physicians’ responses to the article’s warning that these dangerous drugs should be used only as a last resort were 1) The tendon rupturing side effect is so rare it needn’t factor into the decision to prescribe these drugs and 2) Anger that if they heeded the warning, they wouldn’t have any drugs left to treat many infections. So much for ‘First do no harm’.

      This is the article:
      American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP.) (July 27, 2016). Use Fluoroquinolones Only as Drug of Last Resort for Some Infections. See: https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20160727fluoroquinolones.html

      Joan

      1. Thanks for the reply and for the link to the article, Joan. I was glad to see a few doctors who seemed to grasp they have not managed antibiotics well at all, but most were arrogant and absurdly over-confident, as we have found the vast majority of MDs to be. They leave med-school thoroughly in-doctor-inated to believe that the completely fraudulent drug industry “research” is pretty much the same as the research done by scientists where there is no money riding on the outcome. Nothing could be further from the truth. I can count all the honest objective industry funded research from the last 150 years on one hand, by forming a zero. Doctors believe this crap is actually science and that the only pathway to health is with the toxic and often addictive pills they are peddling. A patient with low vitamin B-12 or D3 could go into 25 allopathic doctors offices and they would come out with 25 wildly varying misdiagnoses. The chance that even one of them would recognize the actual problem and address it with healthy food and supplementation are slim. The patient would end up with prescriptions for all sorts of different drugs ranging from antidepressants to anti-anxiety meds to statins to pain meds to dozens of others I can’t even think of, none of which would do anything to make the patient healthier. The current model is so broken it needs to be dynamited, leveled and rebuilt from scratch. The average doctor would do their patients a HUGE favour by never setting foot in their offices again. We could hire college kids holding iPads nd it would yield improved outcomes for the vast majority of patients at a minute fraction of current costs. Seriously, we would start living longer healthier happier lives if all doctors in the US stopped showing up to work. Most are doing far more harm than good.

        1. Mark,
          I feel only slightly more positive about MDs than you. Antibiotics doctors have given me over the years led to my getting a nasty Clostridium difficile infection in 2010. When I learned that the usual treatment of C. diff is even more antibiotics, I refused to subject myself to that and instead worked with my alternative health care people to come up with a protocol of supplements that vanquished it. This is the paper I wrote about that protocol and why it worked:

          Hardin, J.R. (2011). Successful holistic treatment of Clostridium difficile gut infection: case study. Oriental Medicine Journal, 19:4, 24-37. See: http://peggyfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/C.-difficile-OMJ-article-lo-res.pdf

          Functional Medical people I’ve worked with personally (Denice Hilty, DC; Frank Lipman, MD; and Gabrielle Frances, naturopathic doctor, chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, & herbalist) and others whose online information I trust (Joseph Mercola, DO; Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS; Amy Meyers, MD; David Williams, medical researcher, biochemist, & chiropractor; and David Jockers, doctor of natural medicine, functional nutritionist & corrective care chiropractor) focus on how to stay well & also are careful in how they approach treating illnesses so I feel positive about them.

          The allopathic/Western medical model focuses on identifying SYMPTOMS of dis-ease in the body and treating them with pharmaceuticals or surgical interventions to suppress or remove the symptoms. That’s not my idea of health. The functional medical model focuses on identifying and addressing the ROOT CAUSES of diseases, conditions and discomforts. That’s a model I can live with.

          Joan

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