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Infectious Diseases

Fluoroquinolone Trouble Untangled

The fluoroquinolone antibiotics are important drugs indeed – ciprofloxacin is probably the most famous of the bunch, but there’s a whole series of them, and they’re widely used for serious bacterial infections. (I last wrote about them here, with the various arguments about how they were developed in the first place).

But for many years now, it’s been increasingly clear that this class of drugs can have some very unwelcome effects in some patients. The most prominent of these is tendon damage, which often showing up as problems with the Achilles tendon, up to outright rupture even months after drug treatment. Other muscle and connective tissue effects have been seen, as well as CNS effects and others. Over the years, the drugs have picked up black-box warnings for these effects, which seems entirely appropriate.

How do these things happen, though? Any theory has to take into account the fact that the great majority of patients seem tolerate the drugs pretty well, but that suggests that a better knowledge of the mechanism might let you pick out which people shouldn’t take them in the first place. This article at Nature is a good summary of current research in the area. An intriguing possibility is that the effects are (at least partially) due to mitochondrial damage, likely oxidative stress, and that this might be correlated with patients who do not metabolize the fluoroquinolone scaffold as well as the general population. This might allow levels of the drugs to build up intracellularly, and since mitochondria are always dealing with the effects of their metabolic role, they’re vulnerable to being overloaded. It’s worth remembering that mitochondria have bacteria-like ancestry, so they’re certainly not guaranteed against large antibiotic concentrations. Indeed, bactericidal antibiotics in general have been associated with oxidative damage, an effect that has not gone unnoticed in drug development efforts.

There’s a disturbing part of the Nature article, though, where some researchers in the field talk about their worries about publishing results that could affect the commercial prospects of widely used drugs. I understand companies wanting to protect themselves against unfounded accusations, and there’s an endless supply of those. This blog allows me a personal look at many of them, and they just keep on coming. But not all reports of trouble with marketed drugs are unfounded – far from it. It’s a black eye for the industry to go after honest researchers reporting their honest results. Every big organization is vulnerable to falling into this sort of overdefensive behavior under pressure, but that means that the effect is well-known enough that it should be guarded against more effectively. We should be better; we should do better.

174 comments on “Fluoroquinolone Trouble Untangled”

  1. Christophe Verlinde says:

    Oxidative damage, fine; DNA damage. Ok, I get that. But HOW can a drug that has been flushed out the body weeks ago still cause further damage? In other words, I can understand the ACUTE toxicity, but give me a MOLECULAR MECHANISM for the toxicity weeks, months and years down the line.

    1. TDark says:

      If you can’t metabolize the drug well, who knows how long it’s sticking around, and at what level. Moreover all drugs cause changes in transcription. Who knows what sort of changes are caused by this long term accumulation. just one thought.

    2. Robin Bailey says:

      Because it damages Mitochondrial DNA!

    3. Marc says:

      The drug rapidly depletes mitochondrial DNA as you can see in multiple studies…

      Look up what happens in mtDNA depletion syndromes.

    4. Blair says:

      The domino effect. You’ve never heard of systemic damage?

    5. Julie says:

      Actually we would love to know why, Christophe ! And I believe that there is current research on this, as it does sound crazy that a common antibiotic can cause an acute adverse reaction AND various permanent damages: persistant neuropathy, tendon weakness and spontaneous rupture several months out, depression, etc. The article recently published in Nature gives some hints.

    6. Matt says:

      It doesn’t take much damage to cause severe issues. Doxorubicin causes cardiomyopathy in like 20% of patients…

      Even one or two doses of aminoglycosides can be associated with sensorineural hearing damage due to cytotoxicity
      and that’s well known.

      1. mike_alex says:

        Hi Kat, you linked the “POST BY JKING”, do you know when this was originally written and in which blog or website?

        1. Kym says:

          Take a look here, I think Joseph King will be the man you’re looking for:

          You can also find a couple of videos on youtube where he tells his story:

      2. Jane Porterfield says:

        Hi @Kat Sherman, Will you please reply with information about who this “J.King” who wrote this document is, or where you sourced the article, please? I’m a floxie and wish to show it to my physician, but first thing she’ll want to know is more about the source. THANK YOU!!!

    7. milkshake says:

      fluoroquinolones are topoisomerase inhibitors – basically cancer drugs with a degree of selectivity for bacterial topoisomerase. even more potent dimeric fluoroquinolone analogs were developed (with cyclopropyl relaced with 4-5 carbon linker) but they turned out too toxic in the clinic. Mitochondrial damage has nasty delayed effect because mitochondria divide together with the cell division, and daughter cells with unviable mitochondria start dying. This mitochondrial toxicity was the actual mechanism of delayed hepatotoxicity of certain antivirals, that killed patients many months after the trials, the rest was rescued by emergency liver transplants…

      1. Vivian says:

        Any further info regarding the trials that killed patients due to hepatotoxicity?

    8. Lisa says:

      Seeing as fluoroquinolone toxicity is a syndrome and a constellation of symptoms, it’s likely that there is a failure cascade that occurs post exposure to fluoroquinolones. It’s possible that this failure cascade is triggered by gut biome destruction, mitochondrial depletion, fluorine overload, depletion of cellular magnesium and iron, or another mechanism. Frankly, no one really knows for sure. The exact mechanism for fluoroquinolones leading to multi-symptom chronic illness is not entirely understood, but that does not mean that it is not real. There are many plausible mechanisms for fluoroquinolone toxicity. More research needs to be done into each and every one of them.

      1. Jim Mowreader says:

        Lisa, who’s going to fund that much research? The logical source is one of the big government agencies like NIH or FDA, but there’s no money – combine the last tax cut with the $3.6 billion it’s going to take to rebuild Camp Lejeune, the who-knows-how-much it’s going to take to make Trump happy over his wall, $100 billion for new roads and bridges…minor questions like “what causes fluoroquinolone antibiotics to mess you up six months after they cure whatever you had?” simply have to wait.

    9. Carolyn Eagan says:

      Fluoroquinolones have a connection to Mast cell.
      Look at the research. John Hopkins and Brigham and womens hospital mast cell center.
      This drug causes tendon damage and permanent damage. Peripheral neuropathy, autoimmune diseases,, bowel and bladder issues. Eyes, hearing, bone degradation. Please update your research.

    10. Some people are given the drugs several times, even over years and if it stays in your DNA on the molecular level causing damage, you maybe have the perfect storm of it never flushing completely. I can go back to 2001 when they finally diagnosed my “spontaneous” CSF leak out my ear. Never did quite understand how a hole developed over my ear and eroded to cause the Dura to burst open and drain into my ear. They kept putting in tubes to drain the fluid, but never tested the fluid for almost three years. I finally insisted that they test it, after reading on the internet that CSF feels like satin, and mine did. Why didn’t the ENT think to test it. Now I know Cipro can cause cranial pressure enough to “pop” a cork in your head, mine just happened to be the Typani bone above my ear. Others have it come out the nose.

    11. Ciprosurvivor says:

      Fluoroquinolones almost killed me. There is a facebook group with more than 10000 members who have been damaged by these drugs.

      1. demi says:

        Hi, Is there any treatment for this? Its been 2 years and the side effects are still there. How to cope up with this. My muscle aches from time to time and I feel my kidney pains from time to time. I was treated for urinary tract infection.

    12. Nicholas Edward Stucker says:

      I had not been to a Dr in 18 years. Was prescribed Ciprofloxacin. I developed Fasciculations and Fatigue. I had a muscle biopsy that showed mitochondrial myopathy. I have been diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease & Peripheral Neuropathy. All my symptoms are co concurrent w/ FLOURIDE POISONING. I suspect a generic predisposition in failure to metabolize the drug. Regardless I have been poison and my life ruined

    13. Isa says:

      Is that cells die by nature every few days or weeks depending on cell type. If mitosis (cell replication ) is blocked then the cells quantity diminish. As one cell dies the other surrounding cells in that branch also die, not immediately but a few days later, thus causing a steady ongoing domino effect of cell loss, that goes on for months, like in a domino effect that can go on for months.

      There must be a cure for that somewhere…

      1. Debra Watson says:

        Nope… Read Indo written by Dr JKing referenced above…

        1. Debra Watson says:


    14. Vivian says:

      Fluoroquinolone drugs cause continued and lasting damage to the body because it alters and damages DNA — basically permanently changing the structure of your DNA. This is precisely how and why fluoroquinlone victims can experience continued tendonitis, tendon ruptures, and vision damage, and other crippling and permanent effects weeks, months, and years down the line.

    15. Cindy Cossuto says:

      I wonder if a MTHFR gene mutation could cause a build up. I have a mutation of the c677T, which causes my body to not adequately detox. I have toxic levels of metals in addition to depletion’s of vitamins B2, B6, B9, B12, C, D and the mineral, choline. I’m still undergoing chelation and wonder if this will speed up the horrible arm weakness/pains that I have had for several years.

      1. CeCe Cullmer says:

        I have found that the MTHFR mutation is not all that rare. Millions of people have 1 or both of the mutations and don’t even know it. Dr. Ben Lynch is someone on FB and his research on “Dirty Genes” makes a lot of sense on getting rid of toxins in our body. Along with various Dr. recommended supplements, I take 10,000 IU of D-3 a day and mthelyfolated B’s. I unfortunately took Cipro for at the time an undetermined stomach pain…turned out to be a gallbladder attack and about 6-9 months later I started having ankle and swelling issues in my right ankle only. 3 years later the past 6 months of acupuncture and adding collagen to my daily diet had helped reduce the swelling and pain when walking. I now have a sneaking suspicion Cipro could be a link to my situation.

    16. calirad says:

      YOU SAID IT: DNA damage, OK?

    17. Kelsi Carter says:

      I read that there is research to suggest FQs have a very high melting point, over 200C, therefore the crystals are likely to become ‘stuck’ within your body and cannot be removed by normal biological processes. This could explain why people suffer longterm issues once the drug is out of their system.

      Another article I read suggests that FQ cause one’s Phase II detoxification to be slowed down/stopped working. This explains delayed effects. There is evidence, that Levaquin inhibits specific CYP450s. The author suggested “Levaquin interferes with the body’s ability to remove environmental toxins that would otherwise remain subclinical.”

      Interesting and worth looking into. Overall I think there has been an extreme injustice done by allowing FQs to remain available in standard cases where other drugs are available. If doctors are not going to take the possibility of devastating effects seriously then this class of drugs should be banned unless no other solutions exist.

      1. Vivian says:

        Interesting; is the inhibition of the phase II detoxification process permanent or temporary? In any case, this would further suggest the importance for “floxies” to supplement with detox-stimulating nutraceuticals like chlorella.

        Your point about the high melting point of FQs is interesting, as it suggests FQs stay in the body in addition to inducing permanent/long-term adverse symptoms from DNA damage. It would certainly corroborate cases of “re-floxing” after a period of symptomatic dormancy. In my case, I’m 3.5 years out, and experience an upsurge in tendinopathy with fluoride intake (e.g. drinking unfiltered tap water). It may be that the body can’t metabolize and rid itself of FQs the way it does with other “normal” drugs.

  2. Mach4 says:

    Toxicity can skip generations, as in epigenetic patterning. But mitochondrial toxicity testing isn’t required by the FDA for drug approvals- if it were half of all drugs would disappear.

    1. Mike says:

      I’d be very interested in an example of multi-generational toxicity by an epigenetic mechanism. Particularly a human one.

  3. Eric says:

    Maybe I’m just a biased industry hack (I did, in fact, work for the Cipro manufacturer Bayer in the late 90s) but I’ve never been convinced there is much evidence to support the safety concerns. The Nature article and the reference to the FDA comments (An Update on Fluoroquinolones: The Emergence of a Multisystem Toxicity Syndrome, Urology Practice, 4:5, 2017) base many of their conclusions on case studies and online forums. These are notoriously unreliable sources. People get sick and look for a cause – and if they happen to find an online forum describing something similar they often say ‘aha! that’s what I have too’. It’s the same thing observed in the vaccines cause autism debate. It might be even worse in this case because the reported symptoms span a range of ailments and occur some variable time after treatment.
    The FDA’s own review was apparently based upon 1122 disability reports collected over 18 years. With 30 million prescriptions/year that’s 1122 reports out of 540 million prescriptions (0.0002%). That’s a vanishingly small response. It may be real, but I certainly don’t find it very convincing.

    1. BernYeeTendons says:

      The chondrotoxicity problems are real and well studied Eric.

      Ow! My Caspase enzymes!

    2. Robin Bailey says:

      Would 20,000 victims on one support group be enough “proof” for you?
      Would 3 black Boxed warnings, the last stating,” a multitude of symptoms many occurring at same time & often times delayed”
      & “irreversible & permanent damage” work?
      Would the Dear Dr. Letters warning Physicians of the Black Box changes from not only FDA but also Bayer convince you?

      1. Eric says:

        No, online support groups wouldn’t convince me at all. Sounds like the anti-vaxxer crowd if I’m being honest. I prefer evidence based medicine.

        Don’t hear me wrong – it doesn’t mean it’s not a real side effect – I don’t know and I suspect none of the bloggers here do either. I just don’t like basing decisions on anecdotes. You can go take tiger’s blood and bear bile if you want that type of medicine.

        1. Edwi Kok says:

          Who is going to fund this honest study Eric? Bayer?
          Damage is real. You are just not up for te truth yet. But keep on doing your own research. Hundreds thousands of people are damaged but never connected the dots.

        2. Robin Bailey says:

          Here Eric
          I can share 100’s of these NIH studies…

        3. Madge Hirsch says:

          There is plenty scientific research in vitro showing the type of damage FQs do to various cellular tissues. You just don’t want to know. This research is not hard to find. You are a biased industry hack. It would serve you right if you end up being given an iv fluoroquinolone and it happens to you.

        4. Terry L says:

          Take a course of Cipro if you want to be convinced.

        5. Nicholas Edward Stucker says:

          Go to your Dr and ask for some Cipro suppositories and then swallow a few tubes of toothpaste w/ FLOURIDE then drink a bunch of public water w/ added FLOURIDE and get back to me.

        6. Heidi Goldberg says:

          I am a 45 year old married mother of 2 children. I was previously healthy and am permanently disabled by Levaquin with severe peripheral neuropathy and tendon damage for over a year now. This has absolutely nothing to do with vaccination. Your ignorance is maddening. I am vaccinated and so are both of my children. All you need to do is look at the thousands of pages of scientific research done on this topic to know this is indeed very real and horrific. You can find it all online. Do your own research. I had none of these issues – not 1 – until I took Levaquin.

        7. Jerisha Glenn says:

          I believe in vaccines! This is different. This drug is not preventative and should never be used unless death is imminent. 1 or 2 studies on vaccines with very limited study sample is different than 10s of thousands of witnesses personal testimonies. I just think you want to label people heroics. We’re talking about fluoroquinolones, one type of antibiotic. I haven’t read not one comment demonizing all antibiotics. So hard to believe medical professionals maybe wrong and mistakes happen amongst some of this trial and error? It’s more believable that all these people have some type of personality disorder that causes them to lie about this or that they’d waste their precious years complaining and living on a fraction of what is their usual productivity.

        8. Dave says:

          My mother was given Cipro for a UTI. At least a dozen people prior to her taking it would describe her as an intelligent lady (valedictorian of her HS, etc) The next day mom said she had the worse headache of her life. It’s been several weeks now, and now mom suddenly unable to balance her checkbook, struggles to place a phone call, doesn’t know what day it is, and drops F bombs like a sailor, coming from a lady who I heard swear maybe twice growing up…..she is a total mental wreck, and the dozen friends keep asking …what has happened to her ? I guess maybe it was a tainted eggroll from her chinese takeout, not the Cipro with the Black Box warnings.

        9. Domen says:

          To find the honest studies about FQAD, is indeed difficult . Relevant Pharma Companies are too afraid of what it could be found, published and this would result in financial damage of this companies. But PLEASE let me tell you, as a toxicologist and molecular scientist as well, that Fluoroquinolones should and have to be be dramatically restricted, and never used to treat urogenital infections, tonsillitis, respiratory infections which are relatively harmless. It is a NONSENSE to negate or ignore the fluoroquinolone toxicities. You all can be sure, fluoroquinolones are highly toxic antibiotics. I could now try to describe the found mechanisms, DNA-adducts and why they only can come from Fluoroquinolones (like the core structure of fluoroquinolones), as well as why (PROBABLY) some people develop FQDA,and others not (based on genetics), but this would result in extremely large text. Thanks for this topic.

      2. Anonymous says:

        What concerns me is that the official FDA reports number only 1122 over 18 years but that others are claiming that there are tens of thousands of current complainants.

        Why aren’t more cases being reported to the FDA? I believe it is still possible for individuals to report Adverse Drug Reactions to the FDA via their Online Reporting Form. At first, it may just be a matter of collating info. A pattern or clue to the cause(s) of various symptoms might not ever appear.

        (Years ago, I used an ophthalmic fluoroquinolone ointment [on one eye only] for a few days. So far, no side effects that I’ve noticed.)

        1. Toni says:

          I had no adverse reactions until month two. Millions who are utterly destroyed by fluoroquinolones NEVER trace their failing bodies and minds back to a seemingly innocuous antibiotic. Every one has a uniqued breaking point. Mine was after one round.I am going to share some trustworthy Fluoroquinolone warning links. If you look them up…I am sure you will be glad you did. Do it for yourself and do it for your friends and your family.

          FDA: Warning for Fluoroquinolone antibiotics
          Department of Health and Human Services: Warning for Cipro
          New England Journal of Medicine: Achilles Tendinitis and Tendon Rupture Due to Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics
          New York Times: Popular Antibiotics May Carry Serious Side Effects
          ResearchGate: Musculoskeletal Complications of Fluoroquinolones: Guidelines and Precautions for Usage in the Athletic Population
          Medscape: Musculoskeletal Complications of Fluoroquinolones: Guidelines and Precautions for Usage in the Athletic Population
          PubMed: The mitochondria targeted antioxidant MitoQ protects against fluoroquinolone-induced oxidative stress and mitochondrial membrane damage in human Achilles tendon cells
          WebMD’s warning about Cipro and similar antibiotics
          Oxford Journals: Fluoroquinolone-Associated Tendinopathy: A Critical Review of the Literature
          Oxford Journals: Electrochemical characteristics of five quinolone drags and their effect on DNA damage and repair in Escherichia coli
          NATA Journals: Fluoroquinolones and Tendinopathy: A Guide for Athletes and Sports Clinicians and a Systematic Review of the Literature
          The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology: The Risk of Fluoroquinolone-induced Tendinopathy and Tendon Rupture: What Does The Clinician Need To Know?
          NCBI: The vasculature and its role in the damaged and healing tendon
          Medication Sense: New Warnings for Cipro, Levaquin, and other Quinolone Antibiotics

        2. Heidi Goldberg says:

          I didn’t tell the FDA about me yet. I’ve been too overwhelmed and in too much pain. And, honestly didn’t think it would make any difference for me to waste my time going on the FDA website. Big Pharma is protected. There are tens of thousands more like me.

      3. Anonymous says:

        My previous vet prescribed 1000 mg of cipro for a skin infection for my 6 year old dog. 4 days into this prescribed treatment, I now have a dog with a blind left eye, anxiety, and balance problems. After an array of tests, blood work etc. the only conclusion reached was that she was given a toxic dose of cipro and the damage is permanent. You can’t tell me that these aren’t dangerous drugs.

    3. Blair Parker says:

      Yes Eric, you are just a biased industry hack as you so succinctly put it. I will only echo The remarks of Robin above.It is very real and frightening for all the victims, a significant amount of data is avaiable to validate this if you are willing to delve into it, in fact you will find it like peeling layers off an onion if you will…..

    4. Dolph Dümpling says:

      One can perfectly argue if these side effects are inacceptable for a potentially life saving drug like an antibiotic, but they are very real and well studied in animal models and human populations alike. Seeing these drugs regularly prescribed for trivial problems like travellers diarrhea makes me cringe.

    5. lxnong says:

      How about this: You take Cipro 500 mg twice a day for a week, I give you 1000 USD.

    6. FQvictim says:

      I hope you use them one day and get into the same situation as us so that you can understand what happens..

    7. Mark A Girard says:

      Yes, Eric, you are an industry hack living in a bubble, oblivious to the trail of misery and mayhem that you and your cohorts are responsible for and arrogantly unwilling to face up to your catastrophic failures. The system is horribly broken and those of us trying to fix it are constantly facing this impudence as we try to raise awareness of how dangerous drugs routinely harm people and how the system denies the obvious and looks the other way whenever possible. The drug companies are not helping society, they are one of the biggest problems we have and most people would be a whole lot healthier if they all closed up and stopped selling what they make.

      FDA does not screen drugs to see if they are safe, they set up the illusion this is happening. Drug trials go a few days then they end and even if 90% of the participants go on to have horrific health issues it is not part of the study. Those drugs are deemed to be safe, approved and mass marketed. Then, as more and more people realize they have been harmed by the drugs and try to raise awareness, they encounter the incredulous disbelief by those in the system that a dangerous drug could have made it through what they believe is rigorous testing. We spend all day every day arguing with these idiots and slowly gaining ground as awareness increases. Eventually, decades later, dangerous drugs are then pulled from the market and the awsuits happen, at which time the criminal transnational drug dealers pay a small portion of their ill-gotten gains to a fraction of the victims and life goes on as it was for the system as the victims get tossed aside. There needs to be dramatic changes, like waiting an entire generation to approve a drug. If you think tht is unreasonable then you are part of this problem and you are complicit in these crimes against humanity. Your ignorance is causing great harm to MASSIVE numbers of people.

      1. Derek Lowe says:

        Many members of your audience for these comments work in the drug industry, and many of them are personally familiar with the details of clinical trial design and drug safety assessments. In other words, they know how ridiculous you sound. Let me urge you to start your own web site if you feel the need to press these views on people, because trying to get them over here is not a good use of your time.

      2. loupgarous says:

        Mark, you obviously have never worked in Big Pharma. I have, processing data from safety and efficacy studies. These are based on human trials in at least three phases – healthy volunteer safety, safety in patient population, then safety, efficacy and effectiveness in patient populations). All phases of testing in humans have as their first objective to identify toxicity which didn’t get picked up in laboratory assays and animal testing.

        Big Pharma has had to walk away from many millions of dollars in development and testing when serious adverse events appear in a drug that looked safe enough to use in early-phase testing.

        I, personally, am not a large fan of the economics of bringing drugs to market, which include direct-to-patient marketing and gratuities to physicians with the evident intent to influence prescribing decisions. About half the budget of a typical new drug roll-out is for marketing, and that includes direct-to-patient advertising campaigns on prime-time TV and a wide span of other media.

        By and large, however, Big Pharma’s been fairly proactive in identifying serious adverse events and either pulling those drugs from the market or defining patients in which benefit outweighs risk (the reason drugs like chloramphenicol and thalidomide are still sold – because they are more effective than anything else in the diseases for which their use is indicated).

        The Taiwan and Toronto studies in which fluoroquinolones have been associated with severe adverse events are relatively recent information. FDA, despite the troubling appointment of the wife of a hedge fund manager with large holdings of Big Pharma stock as agency commissioner at the time, was proactive in issuing black-box warnings about the hazards of prescribing specific fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Those warnings are printed on package inserts and PDR pages on all the implicated drugs.

        Several lawsuits are in the courts alleging systemic malfeasance on the part of Big Pharma and FDA over the hazards of at least one fluoroquinolone antibiotic (Google “levaquin lawsuit” for the details). The discovery phases of these lawsuits ought to throw more light on the problem. Trial or settlement outcomes should show whether or not there was actual malfeasance on anyone’s part.

        But that’s not the same thing as you’re talking about, a basically unregulated market in prescription drugs and no effort made to identify drugs that are associated with serious adverse effects. New drugs don’t get the benefit of the doubt – a serious adverse event is reported and used in safety statistics on the drug regardless of whether there’s a known mechanism by which a new drug causes the serious adverse event – patients get the benefit of the doubt in most of those cases.

        Fluoroquinolones were associated with severe adverse events after new drug approval, and that’s the weak part of our regulatory system – CDC and FDA acknowledge roughly only ten percent of serious adverse events associated with prescription drugs are reported.

        The only way to identify those sorts of events (occurring AFTER new drug approval) reliably would be a Big Data effort where all patient records are digitized and continually monitored for serious adverse events.

        But again, this isn’t Big Pharma’s fault. We, the people, need to tell our representatives in Congress we’d like to have our medical records monitored for serious adverse events, just in case we have a drug which seems to cause a lot of them.

    8. Katie Raisner says:

      I understand your position. My husband is a hospital nurse who gives IV Levaquin daily. He was shocked when I experienced severe side effects. I have now been clinically diagnosed with tendonosis of the Achilles, peripheral neuropathy, interstitial cystitis, and severe anxiety. I am a researcher with a MA from a R1 school. If I read the numbers I would think it to be rare as well. Many of the physicians I have seen tell me that it is not rare. It is grossly underreported. I know that these medications have saved many patients however they are ordered by many physicians unduly as the first medication and without the knowledge they are now a black box medication. That is a problem. The researchers, such as yourself, don’t yet understand why the majority of those who take these drugs have no issues and why the minority take them to devastating consequences. That is also a problem. I was a very active mother of four, not yet 40, a runner, and now I am just so grateful to be able to walk short distances, stand for more than 10 minutes, and play with my children. All because of a UTI and two 750 doses of Levaquin. I have been researching the why and been most encouraged with the research coming out of Tufts about Mast Cell Activation Syndrome/Disorder and how that relates to mitochondrial damage. Three out of my four children have been diagnosed on the Autism spectrum and I believe there is a link between my floxing and underlying mitochondrial issues. I am focusing my energy moving forward to educating physicians regarding the research already there from the NIH and warnings from the FDA. Also I am committed to improve how and who reports severe side effects to the FDA. You are correct, no one is taking our stories seriously. They only look at “real” numbers and I am focused on making sure the real numbers are reflected.

    9. If you were right about adverse effects, scores, thousands of people who knew nothing about the medication they were prescribed up to the time of adverse effect with the same symptoms, they all get sick from some other reason. Check the research of NIH website. The MD’s, the PhD’s who completed this great body of work, they’re all delusional. Seriously, give this more thought.

    10. Steven W. says:

      FQs took most of my body and mind and blended it into a disfunctional heavy weight to carry. My Family can vouge for that since about fourteen years ago when I first started taking this monster drug. I was a very good worker and had little issues being a Family man with physical hobbies, etc. Almost overnight so to speak, I felt like a small bomb went off in my body creating permanent damage, -FROM FLOUROQUINOLONES- It’s a slap in the face to hear someone say that they don’t see how a med can do that much damage. Meds are meds/poison. No big news at all. Those who care to hear, hear. Those who don’t care, will never hear…

    11. Kathy Sherman says:

      Here is some evidence of one of the ways that fluoroquinolones cause damage to some people.

    12. Liz says:

      Maybe you should take Cipro yourself and experience all the symptoms that everyone has experienced and go through all the pain of years of unanswered questions and recommended surgeries and memory loss yourself. Timelines match up…healthy people take this medication and after get extremely sick have to use a Walker suddenly or are wheelchair bound like myself.. until you have lived it. DONT YOU DARE JUDGE US GOING THROUGH IT!

    13. Anna Mercieri says:

      The numbers given by the FDA are useless. These 1% figures bogus. l They represent the number of people who have taken the time to report an adverse event, most people do not, and therefore they mean nothing. There is even a disclosure on the FDA webpage stating you cannot base anything on these numbers.
      Having a husband who became psychotic and suicidal after three doses of Levofloxacin, and speaking to thousands of others who have experienced illness/injury related to this drug.
      Thank God Janssen Pharmaceuticals has stopped the manufacturing of Levofloxacin. The FDA recently strengthened the warnings as well.
      If you want to learn something, look up Dr. Charles Bennet, a hero in the FQ Toxicity fight, who petitioned the FDA to make these changes.
      Most people are skeptical, and deny the seriousness of these drugs, until it happens to them or someone they love. At the rate things are going, and with the current mindset, it probably will happen to most people. Ignorance has to stop.

    14. Melina says:

      It is so insulting hearing that!!! I am getting in my sixth month of pain and my pain and suffering started exactly the day i took this poison!
      I am recovering slowly very very slowly!!! You are nor convienced???? I personally know already three people friends that have been through the same and lasted them from 6 to 9 months! Are we all crazy?? And are the doctors who are doing years of studies on how to treat this crazy too??? Shame on you even commenting and insulting people suffering because of this antibiotic!!!!
      And guess what we all had done all extra exams to make sure it is not sth else!!! You don’t need to be convinced but you need to respect!!!!

    15. Andie says:

      You have never read the data. Therefore, your opinion is meaningless.
      You are dismissed.

    16. Vivian says:

      @Eric: Do you realize that the “official statistics” on the adverse effects of fluoroquinolones (and also for other drugs as well) is horrendously under-reported? This is due to a confluence of factors: the doctor being willfully ignorant and refusing to acknowledge the adverse effects these antibiotics cause, the patients themselves not linking their symptoms to their fluoroquinolone prescription, the doctors who do believe their patient but do not file an official report because they lack the time or interest in doing so, and so on. From first-hand experience, when I went into a clinic to report my symptoms, I was rudely dismissed by ignorant doctors who refused to believe the Ciprofloxacin I was prescribed could have caused them. I was previously a healthy and fit 24-year-old young woman, and today I’m still suffering from tendonitis, tendon injuries, vision damage, memory loss, and peripheral neuropathy 3.5 years since I took the Cipro. My injuries are very likely to be permanent, and they have reduced the quality of my life considerably. You also have to consider the fact that Big Pharma (and the FDA that bows to them) tends to put profit over safety of the people. It is in their business interests to try to prevent studies that examine the adverse effects of their drugs, which is why, until relatively recently, there has been such a dearth of studies on the effects of fluoroquinolones (which is obviously *not* the same as there being “evidence” that these drugs are safe – it merely means no studies have been done on it). Moreover, these pharmaceutical companies often attempt to prevent the publication of any damning results of the studies that *have* been done, for the same financial reasons.
      And for the record, if you truly believe that Cipro and other fluoroquinolone-based drugs are so harmless, why don’t you volunteer to take several rounds of these antibiotics and see how you turn out? Seriously, you seem like one of those short-sighted, sheltered dolts who only believe in something if they personally experience it.

    17. Jerisha Glenn says:

      This is a very inflammatory comment, you are biased, these testimonials mention Cipro use adjacent to these NEW health issues people are experiencing. This drug has ruined so many lives and people dont know the root cause, this is why I believe, there is plenty under reporting. Some Pharmaceutical companies solicit Doctor’s to over prescribe these drugs. Just because you took Cipro and feel fine is bull. Not gonna tell you to kill yourself, but I’m sure plenty people have, after this type of experience

    18. Tina says:

      Just think of the thousands that go unreported because they don’t have a clue that the antibiotic is causing their new problems. And I guarantee you, the physician isn’t going to volunteer the information unless they have to.

    19. Vivian says:

      Eric, you are indeed just a biased industry hack. Granted, the adverse effects of FQs haven’t been aired as much as they should have – due to a conflict of interest against Big Pharma – but there are still many studies out there that provide evidence of the damaging, often long-term or permanent, effects of FQs. It literally takes 2 seconds to Google this information, and if you’re part of the industry you may even have access to further medical databases with even more FQs studies for you to look at. It’s quite comical to assert that FQ toxicity doesn’t exist when you haven’t even done the appropriate research.

      That aside, the FDA’s miniscule statistic on FQ adverse reactions isn’t unusual – it’s just severely under-reported, for several probable reasons:

      1) The patient themselves may not realize the connection between their FQ intake and the development of their strange symptoms, especially if those symptoms manifest months after-the-fact. This is possibly a very common phenomenon.
      2) Even if the patient discovers the connection, most doctors today still do not believe in FQ toxicity (even in the face of evidence). Do you really think a doctor who laughs off their patient’s concern is going to report their adverse reaction to the FDA.
      3) And finally, just plain inertia. A good chunk of those who were afflicted with adverse reactions probably just never got around to submitting an FDA report, either because they’re too busy, aren’t internet savvy, or for other reasons.

      In any case, the official 1% figure quoted by the FDA is laughable and just plain incorrect.

  4. Peroxynitrite says:

    Anecdotes aren’t data, correlation isn’t causation etc. That being said, I was prescribed cipro a few years ago. During that time my sense of smell either disappeared completely or was distorted to the point of being nonfunctional (e.g. poop, coffee, rubber, smoke smelled identical, but most things smelled like nothing at all). After about a year, I started slowly beginning to smell things again. It really made eating and sex not much fun, and could indicate some pretty nasty CNS damage. Fortunately the experience gave me a dissertation idea so there’s that

  5. Robin Bailey says:

    The FDA is in Big Pharma’s pocket!
    They both know exactly how devastating these class of drugs are-but the damage creates a “patient for life”! $$$
    Pure poison!
    We’ve been sold-out!

    1. eyesoars says:

      Ah, I was wondering how long it would take for the first Poe to show up.

      1. Mark A Girard says:

        What exactly does that stupid comment mean?

      2. Vivian says:

        Sure, if what you mean by “Poe” is “someone who isn’t blind to the facts”.

        The FDA is most certainly a pawn of Big Pharma. Just take a look at their track record.

  6. PI says:

    If grad students tell you something, contradict them. Its the law of the jungle, zero sum game, what have you. Teaching them a lesson is the whole point. We dont have anything to learn from them.

  7. Bla says:

    Typo: “This article at Nature”, you mean “in Nature”

  8. Kloooloola says:

    Some immediately useful questions that came to mind:
    Should you avoid exercise or exercise more on Ciprofloxacin ?
    Are people with better aerobic capacity less likely to suffer ?

    I just took a month long course of cipro without any problems.

    1. Dolph Dümpling says:

      1. Yes.
      2. No.

    2. Matt says:

      I went from a VO2 of 52 measured 6 months before taking ciprofloxacin to a VO2 of 35 taken 1 year after taking ciprofloxacin. That gap is much larger than predicted by inactivity if you look at any studies on the matter and I was only 24/25 at the time I took it.

      I also had rapid HR recovery when I had VO2 of 52 (dropping to 70s in less than 10 minutes) and a very slow, incomplete (never getting below 110 for hours) recovery with the VO2 of 35.

      My max blood pressure and HR were 155/34 and 192 bpm when I had the VO2 of 52 and with the 35 VO2 they were 180/100 and 186 bpm.

      At maximal heart rate I had no EKG abnormalities at 192 bpm but at 186 bpm in the postcipro test I had J point ST elevation in multiple noncontiguous leads.

      The difference is clear, the drug destroyed my oxidative capacity and it has only gotten worse after 3.5 years now. Most of my muscles have drastically reduced stamina now whereas it was just my legs at first seemingly.

      I want my life back. Life is no longer fun.

      1. Matt says:

        My forearm gets high lactate (burning in muscles I presume that’s what it is) and freezes up while trying to masturbate now and no matter what I do it does not get better or easier.

        Sex is almost impossible and I definitely cannot satisfy women anymore. I was with a girl one year ago that liked to squeeze with her legs and her just barely doing it made my abdomen squish and my internal organs feel like they were being crushed immediately and I had to get her to stop quickly. Also extreme heavy breathing after minutes and having to stop without being able to continue thrusting for more than 30 seconds at a time was making her feel worried for me.

        Lifting heavy objects (we talking 40 pounds) is impossible and makes me immediately feel severely discomforted inside my chest whereas before I was squatting 180 and benching 135.

        Imagine having that as a 20s male. Imagine your son getting that.

        It is utterly horrible to deal with this situation.

        1. ChairmanMao says:

          Thank your mother for giving you frail mitochondria. And then she should wash out your mouth with soap.

          1. Matt says:

            Ive had my mtDNA sequenced. No issues. It is the drug, not my “frail mitos”.

            When the research shows the drug wiping out large portions of mtDNA in just a couple days you don’t have to have weaknesses to get severe complications.

            I’d rather give full gruesome detail of the problems that arose so people know to not take chances.

    3. Blair Parker says:

      Due to the high incidence of tendonosis and tendon rupture associated with fluoroquinolones caution should be use in excessive exertion.

  9. Klooloola says:

    I just took a month long course of Cipro without any problems. I was taking n acetylcysteine at the time for unrelated reasons.
    Perhaps the cipro + NAC combination should be standardized on ?

    1. Dolph.Dümpling says:

      Oh come on…
      I took Cipro and regularly ate pickles without an issue. Maybe everyone should eat pickles when taking Cipro?

      The side effects of these drugs are actually pretty RARE! But if they hit you you have a serious problem.

      1. Mark A Girard says:

        No, Dolt Rumpling, the adverse reactions to FQs are incredibly common. What is rare are competent doctors who can recognize when they have poisoned another patient, something the average idiot doctor does all day every day. Most are such a menace to their patients that they would do them all a favour by never setting foot in their offices again. The nearly 400,000 reports of adverse reactions to FDA’s pathetic failure of a reporting system are but a tiny fraction of the real number. FDA admits MedWatch normally only represents perhaps 1% to at best maybe 10% of all adverse drug reactions (ADRs), and since most ADRs to FQs are delayed, the number is definitely at the very low end of the range. Those 400,000 reactions and 6,000+ deaths are actually 40,000,000 adverse reactions and 600,000 bodies but the doctors are either too inept or too corrupt to report what is actually happening. Instead, we are routinely misdiagnosed fibro, lupus, ALS, Parkinson’s, MS and a hundred other WRONG conditions and then we are prescribed more toxic dangerous medicines that don’t help and which cause more damage. When we die from the FQs and the many contraindicated drugs these morons pour into our systems to treat the textbook cases of fluoroquinolone toxicity they almost always attribute the death to the disease they suspected they were treating and only rarely are they honest with themselves and to others, that they killed another patient, something the average doctor does over and over again every year. FQs just happen to be one of their most effective weapons.

        It’s my opinion that doctors shouldn’t even be on the list of leading causes of death let alone at the very top.

        1. Dolph Dümpling says:

          You are free to make a fool of yourself. Jost go on.

          1. Sam says:

            You are truly an idiot. You know nothing about the drugs or its side effect. The only person that is looking bad is you. The side effects are not rare but common and death comes to many and anyone advocating different is guilty of the crime. Go peddle your BS elsewhere.

        2. Tina says:

          So true! I could like this a thousand times. Mark.

  10. Levaquin was a significant contributor to my late wife’s suicide.

    There are also devastating side effects for Fluoroquinolones of which there is ZERO studies.
    I am currently at a count of 32 people that have told me their own Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Leak started after taking Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox etc of the 25 different names for these drugs. Only about three of us ever connected the dots between FQs and CSF Leaks. I spoke at the first ever medical symposium on Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Leaks last fall to the world’s CSF docs. They are starting to ask questions. What really needs to happen is some official studies!

    Per the FDA’s own numbers, as documented in my TV interview, 3,000 people have been killed and 200,000 injured by FQs. That is estimated to be only one percent of the actual numbers!
    I don’t know if links are allowed here so fix as needed: kpaddock dot com/fq for links to the FDA warnings, 2015 FDA hearing, and other FQ related papers and interviews of victims of Fluoroquinolones.

    A major problem is the delayed reactions. Few people associate their now devastated health with the, often unwarranted, antibiotic they took six months prior. This is one reason why people say ‘I took it with no problem’. The other is the problem is the damage is cumulative. There have been people that have taking it dozens of times over years. Until they took that one last pill that pushed them over the edge. This is known as the Barrel Theory of Toxicity.

    This class of antibiotics needs removed from the market or at least put into the FDA RTEMS restriction class where docs must sign off before prescribing, as they are clearly not getting the message from any of the current warnings.

    1. Kent G. Budge says:

      “This class of antibiotics needs removed from the market…”

      Would more people die from not having these drugs available that die from the rare side effects?

      1. That would be the case if the side effects where actually rare.
        What is rare is Fluoroquinolone Poising actually being recognized.

        They are also given out like candy when they should be the antibiotic of last resort.
        They are indented for things like Plague and Anthrax. Not uncomplicated UTIs and others, for which the FDA reports they do not work, as the FDA reported in their own 617 page report for the November 5th 2015 hearing.

        1. Anonymous says:

          Paddock wrote about antibiotics “given out like candy.” One of the many books on the history of antibiotics included first hand interviews with R&D and marketing participants. Following Waksman’s disclosures of streptomycin in the early 40s, Parke-Davis launched a deliberate program to search soil samples from around the globe for other new agents. Out of that (non-robotic) research came chloramphenicol in 1947. One of the interviewed parties (a Parke-Davis exec, I think) said that he used to keep a big glass bowl of chloramphenicol capsules on the table in his foyer, just like a bowl of candy. His wife and kids were encouraged to pop those pills every day.

          I don’t remember if any of his family members experienced aplastic anemia, one of the most serious, but rare, side effects of chloramphenicol. Onset of symptoms occurs weeks or months after treatment has stopped.

        2. Dolph Dümpling says:

          Their side effects ARE rare. That’s a fact even a fullblown idiot like you can’t scream avay! There is a thing called DATA, and in the case of fluoroquinolones quite a bit of it. These drugs get prescribed countless of times and the number of serious issues that arise are miniscule indeed.

          1. “Their side effects ARE rare. That’s a fact even a fullblown idiot like you can’t scream avay! There is a thing called DATA, and in the case of fluoroquinolones quite a bit of it. These drugs get prescribed countless of times and the number of serious issues that arise are miniscule indeed.”

            Please provide data to back up your supposition that the side effects are in fact rare. The fact that they are prescribed often does not in any way prove they are safe. Every drug that has been removed from the market was once approved by the FDA. The first three generations of Fluoroquinolones have, thankfully, already been removed from the market due to their recognized deadly side effects. I have presented data to back up my assertions when such data is available. Mostly from the FDA itself.

            I have never once, in the past 14 years of studying and being directly impacted by these ‘rare’ side effects have ever need to resort to disrespect to make my point. When did I actually scream anything?

            So please politely explain the point you are trying to make, with actual data where it is available? What is your actual involvement in this issue? Are you a researchers that can help study and prove or disprove the safety of these drugs? Have you or a family member been impacted (which is hard to asses because of delayed reactions)? What numerical value should be put on the definition of ‘Rare’?

          2. Matt says:

            Early side effects are rare according to research, sure.

            But these studies excluded people with known metabolic abnormalities and even certain liver enzyme alterations. They also followed people for like 1 year.

            If you destroy a bunch of mtDNA the person can be fine for a while then develop severe issues much later.

            Doctors also don’t check people for the liver enzyme abnormalities excluded from bayer clinical trials (not in metabolic panels or standard liver function testing) and also don’t exclude people with metabolic derangements like lowered metals and higher anion gap from taking the drug.

            Seems like some big ass holes and risks to me.

    2. Dee says:

      One of the biggest issues is that doctors do not make the connection between the antibiotic and the side effects. The first (of eight) times I was given Cipro, I had reactions within days, including wide spread, debilitating pain. My PCP referred me to a rheumatoligist who, despite normal test results, told me that I had an autoimmune disease TBD. Over the course of the next four years, I was prescribed either Cipro, Levaquin or Avelox 7 more times. Each time, getting sicker and sicker over the following days, weeks and months. Doctors suggested that I had MS. Then lupus. Then Lyme Disease. Or maybe Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. By that time the adverse reactions were very obvious. I could barely move my limbs. Tendon sheaths were filled with fluid, causing swelling and making it impossible to use my hands. I had a rash for 18 months which responded to no treatment. I’d become intolerant of almost all foods. When I did eat, it would be followed by hours of agonizing pain, the feeling of snakes running through my abdomen, vomiting, diarrhea, and 6 GI diagnoses. Yet, the doctors continued to focus on the disease or autoimmune conditions, ignoring the third leg of the stool — what was being put into my body. They doubled-down on the yet-to-be-identified autoimmune disease, along with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc. Then they gave me levaquin once again for a sinus infection. I took one pill — ONE — at dinner, and I couldn’t walk the next day. The rheumatologist finally put two-and-two together and made the diagnosis. Many of the symptoms have subsided, but too many still linger — four years since that last dose. Tendon damage, wasted muscles, memory issues, peripheral neuropathy, etc. And every week I run into people with similar symptoms, who never made the connection to the antibiotics they were given for UTIs and sinus infections. The so-called “rare” side effects is simply a result of a diagnostic problem. Doctors simply don’t, won’t believe that these antibiotics can do this damage, and dismiss it, minimize it, and write it off as some other condition.

      1. neil jarvis says:

        See a Psych, not an ID specialist or rheumatologist. Might get better insight. Just a thought

        1. Andie says:

          You are obviously a very unhappy person.

        2. Vivian says:

          @neil jarvis: Stop your trolling and get a life.

  11. lxnong says:

    I would not take the cipro if I get the chance, it’s been 3 months, I still suffer from the fatigue and some other issues like insomnia, tendon weakness… the symptoms come and go, sometimes it can be really rough and makes me feel very depressed.
    Check out the facebook page, or search youtube, thousands of people are suffering for months and years. This type of drug is dangerous, if it is not life-threatening situation, I would never take it again.

  12. FDA prepared this document for their own study in preparation for the November 5th 2015 hearing about Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics. This is the document that assigned the name to the condition: Fluoroquinolone Associated Disability (FQAD). See page 17 of the document.

  13. Sharon Figler says:

    I was stopped by a nurse for a VA hospital. She told me I walked like some of her patients. I had a very stiff gait, like Frankenstein. I told her how I was given Fluoroquinolones 3 times and I didn’t even have an infection. She said she prescribes Cipro all the time!

  14. A concerned son says:

    “The mitochondria targeted antioxidant MitoQ protects against fluoroquinolone-induced oxidative stress and mitochondrial membrane damage in human Achilles tendon cells.”

    MitoQ is an OTC CoQ10 derivative that targets the mitochondria. It got some press recently from a University of Colorado study that said it improved blood flow in the vessels of older adults. Since my father was interested in it, I looked up the research on it and ran across this. It’s interesting, this paper is from 2009. I am a chemist, but this isn’t my field of expertise, so I would love to hear anyone’s opinion on if they are on to something.

    (BTW, I am in no way endorsing taking this stuff willy-nilly, I was concerned with my father taking something like this, I am surprised it is OTC).

  15. Mark A Girard says:

    Thank you for doing another article about fluoroquinolones, or FQs. It is sorely needed as this is a global catastrophe of almost unimaginable scope and scale. There are HUGE numbers of victims of fluoroquinolone toxicity but 99.9% of them have no idea what went so horribly wrong in their bodies. Most of them believe their useless incompetent doctors who routinely misdiagnose them with fibro, lupus, ALS, Parkinson’s, MS and hundreds of other WRONG conditions including that it’s all in our head, and even then there is of course at least one medicine prescribed. Who thinks of an antibiotic they took several seasons ago when a tendon ruptures or they need a cartilage transplant or a muscle tears or they get a hernia or collapsed lung or bulging discs out of nowhere or their hair falls out, their teeth crumble away, their nails fall off, their ears ring and hiss and crunch with distortion and they get a variety of visual disturbances and disgusting rashes and loss of bladder control and fluctuating blood pressure and racing heart and palpitations and seizures and blood clots and bloated failing veins that need to be carved out and broken blood vessels and huge hideous bruises for no reason and anxiety attacks and confusion and depersonalization and food and chemical sensitivities and photosensitivity and they lose weight rapidly and they get chronic diarrhea and wounds won’t heal and bones snap and joints hurt and neuropathy sets in and a hundred other problems all join these ones in happening all at once or in rapid succession? This all happened to me within months of taking Levaquin. I was an extreme athlete and hardworking chef just prior.

    This article ends with the statement “We should be better; we should do better.” This is the understatement of the century. If you are in any way involved in the development or distribution of drugs you couldn’t possibly be doing any worse. The executives of Bayer and J$J are criminals of the highest order who deserve to die behind bars, preferably at a date and time set by the court. All the scientists who helped them design the toxic and often addictive chemicals they are peddling should be jailed for the rest of their lives for crimes against humanity. These giant soulless transnational corporations answer to no one and get away with murder, all day, every day. They intentionally addict as many people as possible and worse yet, they intentionally mass market drugs like FQs to intentionally sicken and maim as many people as possible so that they spend the next 20 or so years buying all sorts of drugs, implants, surgical supplies, ointments, walkers and so on. Then we die prematurely.

    When I spoke about this in front of panels of prestigious doctors of FDA and CDC about FQs, I pointed out that victims of FQ associated disability (FQAD) self-report our ADRs many times more often than the average. This is also supported by the way that virtually everyone who joins one of our many exploding support groups reports having been misdiagnosed, mocked and belittled for even suggesting that their sacred super-safe wonder-drugs could possibly have harmed them. It is very very difficult to convince a doctor that he or she has destroyed your life even if you have every single health issue in the long list of things to watch out for. I am the poster-boy for FQAD, with pretty much every single symptom, spoken to FDA and CDC antimicrobial panels about it, been on TV and in the paper many times, but I still can’t convince any of the ass-clowns who have control over whether I get a disability check or not that FQ toxicity is a thing. Allopathic doctors are absurdly and insanely overconfident in the safety of their wares, but the disparity between perception and reality is greater with FQs that perhaps any other class of drugs on the market. According to one study I read, they are prescribed appropriately about 1/88 of the time, with the other 87 times either not needing an antibiotic at all or where a safer one was recommended. In the few cases where FQs were warranted the doctors almost always prescribed too much for too long and they also prescribed them with other drugs that are contraindicated, thus causing additional harm to their patients. My idiot doctors did all 3, but at least I actually needed them. I had a hospital acquired infection that was going systemic. I just wish they had done something less severe than give me Levaquin, like amputate my leg. Yes, doctors should consider amputation before FQs and anyone who doesn’t get that is part of why doctors are the leading cause of death and misery in America and all over the globe.

    1. L.Frontz says:

      Stop poisoning ppl.with this crap.

  16. Mihai says:

    Pure poison!

  17. Dolph Dümpling says:

    Seeing the kind of responses this topic draws in I seriously question if there is any problem at all with fluoroquinolones or just the usual hysteria of intellectually challanged individuals.
    Usually the best and most effective methods and drugs draw irrational and ridiculous attacks like that the most. Vaccinations, statins, antibiotics as such, now fluoroquinolones?

    1. Dee Jump says:

      Your remarks are highly insulting to those of us suffering these very real, disabiling, long term side affects.

      1. Lin stevs says:

        Yes totally agree. Make sure you request FQ drugs for yourself and your family…….don’t defend it for others. It is a deadly
        poison. Don’t wish it on my worst enemy. Life after FQ poisoning is never the same.

    2. Deborah says:

      I suppose you are just naive yet. Give life some time and either you or someone you know personally ..Will damaged by an FDA pharmaceutical drug. In the meantime you are just an uneducated minion of the propaganda machine.

    3. Eli says:

      Intellectually challenged people? is that your assumption. I think you’ll find that the people you speak of – i.e people who have literally have their lives changed beyond recognition, have more comprehension and understanding of the exact mechanism of this drug – they have sought answers to their suffering, and found thousands of other people experiencing the same. They have had their heads in scientific papers, they have studied physiology, they are probably more astute and informed than those who claim to know better – like yourself. This kind of response shows how ill informed, and unaware the public is to this drug. The FDA ITSELF has issued warnings of permanent and disabling multiple system damage, and you have the audacity to claim we – the sufferers are intellectually challenged and hysterical. Well, Dolph, i would suggest you start your research THOROUGHLY so that you can prevent yourself or any other of your family or friends suffering the fate that this destructive poison has wreaked on too many thousands of people who are raising awareness, to make sure the next person affected ISN”T YOU! With love, from a non intellectually challenged victim of Flouroquinolone Toxicity. Eeesh.

    4. Mark A Girard says:

      Seeing the kind of responses the quacks this page draws keep posting just helps us demonstrate the levels of ignorance and arrogance that victims of harm by BIG PHARMA have to overcome to raise awareness of our very real and very overwhelming condition, a medica malady so harsh and awful that I wouldn’t even wish it on the absurdly over-confident A-holes that did this to us, and that is anyone who is involved in developing, manufacturing, marketing or prescribing the mostly useless and toxic garbage the drug companies are peddling. Companies like Bayer and J$J are drug dealers, plain and simple, and the morally bankrupt scientists that work for them developing new ways to addict people are almost as criminal as the executives who run these companies.

    5. Karen says:

      Ciprofloxacin was a weapon of mass destruction on my body and in my mind. I suffer every waking hour of everyday and am desperate to get help to feel well. This evil antibiotic made 10 fold of my every weak area.

    6. Vivian says:

      @Dolph Dümpling: You know absolutely nothing about the harms that the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics cause, yet you continuously spout ad-hominem attacks against victims of these drugs, or offhandedly dismiss our injuries on baseless grounds merely because it goes against your naïve worldview that prescription drugs can do no harm (which is frankly baffling). Either you’re a troll, or you really are a complete idiot. I dare you to take a course of Cipro or Levaquin if you’re so steadfast about their harmlessness; maybe then you’ll experience yourself what thousands of us have been subjected to.

  18. Edwin says:

    Do yourself and us a favor. Please shut up. You are obviously uninformed on this subject. Start doing research and come back later.

    1. Anna says:

      Edwin, I applaud your response! Being among the many thousands of people I injured beyond comprehension by levaquin, I encourage anyone who denies, turns a blind eye to these horrific, side effects to open your eyes before you open your mouth, do the research.

  19. Troels Johnsen says:

    If you are ever offered fluoroquinolones for other than life threatening infections, like so many patients around the world, please think twice before putting this poison into your body.

    The side effects aren’t as rare as proclaimed, and the severity of the side effects are way beyond what is currently understood.

    If you do decide to use this poison please be VERY alert to the slightest symptoms. I had several alarming symptoms that I brought to my doctors attention, but instead of listening to myself I trusted the doctors, when they said that I shouldn’t worry and just continue the treatment.

    This trust in my doctors has basically destroyed my health and I have had to redesign my life in a daily struggle to get back to a somewhat functional and enjoyable life – without any help from the doctors or health care system who prescribed the drugs in the first place.

  20. Elizabeth Lo says:

    I developed neuropathy and life threatening Stevens Johnson Syndrome from 10 days of Levaquin.

  21. Tracy Jean says:

    I guess I am rare because Cipro permanently disabled me. Two of my coworkers were injured from Levaquin. Someday the genetics of who it will hurt will become known. It’s too late for many innocent people. It’s black-boxed for a good reason. Why risk it if something else will kill the infection?

  22. Dominic Ryan says:

    Separating drug-induced toxicity from disease-related toxicity is very difficult. Drugs are prescribed because there is an underlying pathology. Infection does lots of nasty things and just saying ‘I took this and 3 weeks later I experienced that’ does not separate underlying disease or pre-existing secondary pathology from drug cause.
    Statistics have unfortunately been misused by many people in many more fields than medicine. This has contributed to a rising tide of skepticism in non-specialists and I think that the business of science has done a real disservice to the public. I include in the ‘business of science’ academic press offices who tout a meaningful and useful advance as being the next cure for xxx. The click-baiters then happily exploit it and before you know it there are 20,000 bloggers jumping on the bandwagon.
    There is no doubt that people reporting issues are perceiving a problem. Likely the majority of those problems are physiological. No one should minimize them and medicine should actively seek to alleviate all of them.
    The problem comes when you link lots of observations with a hypothesized cause and then take actions that affect people’s lives. Another poster asked if the world would have been better off without cipro, or the class. If you want to answer that question you have to answer two questions.
    1. Are the other antibiotics that would have been used as safe and effective? One reason cipro and subsequent members of the class were developed, *and used*, was the relative improvement over prior drugs, especially due to resistance that always emerges.
    2. How many more people would have died or suffered life-changing injury from the lack of the drug? Perhaps we only have to look at history to understand the impact of limited antibacterial choices.
    Antibiotics have certainly been overprescribed and overused. They have been used by the animal food industry as growth promoters and we now recognize that as a bad idea. I think the mechanism of action there is poorly understood. Cipro has been overused primarily by treating infections that were becoming slightly resistant. That threshold was perhaps set too low and now resistance to cipro is widespread. Traveller’s diarrhea is often due to e. coli, though perhaps not exclusively, and cipro has been effective for that. The tide may be changing and will depend on just what part of the world you find yourself. Many drugs will be completely ineffective for a Gram negative infection though.
    After such widespread experience with dosing cipro, and other members of the class, if people believe that there is a ‘smoking gun’ then please compile the evidence in a scientifically robust and statistically sound manner. The proposed action to remove the drug also risks the lives of millions.
    If you want to climb on a soapbox to ‘save people from the evil pharma empire’, then do so. But, please be credible and don’t just implicitly advocate for someone else’s loss to benefit your cause.

    1. ” if people believe that there is a ‘smoking gun’ then please compile the evidence in a scientifically robust and statistically sound manner.”

      Point us to the procedure to do so and to someone that has the ability to make changes in policy based on that data, please.

      The FDA itself already has produced such documentation in the cases of uncomplicated UTIs, Bronchitis and Sinusitis. It has mostly been ignored by doctors. Bayer, maker of Cipro, itself was sending out warning letters to doctors that were also ignored for the most part.

      What do you suggest for the data that already exists that no one cares about?

      Would data such as this, again gathered by the FDA itself, satisfy your criteria?

    2. “please compile the evidence in a scientifically robust and statistically sound manner.”

      Please point us to such a procedure. Then more importantly to someone with the ability to make changes based on that data, that will have a real impact on reducing the frequency of prescribing this drug. Would this data, generated by the FDA itself meet your criteria?:

      The FDA itself has presented data showing this class of drugs should not be used for uncomplicated UTIs, Bronchitis or Sinusitis. For the most part it has been ignored by doctors whom still prescribe this class of antibiotics for things that it is documented as being useless.

      Gathering data does no good if such data is not used to make sound policy changes.

      For Immediate Release July 26, 2016

      Release: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved safety labeling changes for a class of antibiotics, called fluoroquinolones, to enhance warnings about their association with disabling and potentially permanent side effects and to limit their use in patients with less serious bacterial infections.

      “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 FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “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.”

      Fluoroquinolones are antibiotics that kill or stop the growth of bacteria. While these drugs are effective in treating serious bacterial infections, an FDA safety review found that both oral and injectable fluroquinolones are associated with disabling side effects involving tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and the central nervous system. These side effects can occur hours to weeks after exposure to fluoroquinolones and may potentially be permanent.

      Because the risk of these serious side effects generally outweighs the benefits for patients with acute bacterial sinusitis, acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis and uncomplicated urinary tract infections, the FDA has determined that fluoroquinolones should be reserved for use in patients with these conditions who have no alternative treatment options. For some serious bacterial infections, including anthrax, plague and bacterial pneumonia among others, the benefits of fluoroquinolones outweigh the risks and it is appropriate for them to remain available as a therapeutic option.

      FDA-approved fluoroquinolones include levofloxacin (Levaquin), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), ciprofloxacin extended-release tablets, moxifloxacin (Avelox), ofloxacin and gemifloxacin (Factive). The labeling changes include an updated Boxed Warning and revisions to the Warnings and Precautions section of the label about the risk of disabling and potentially irreversible adverse reactions that can occur together. The label also contains new limitation-of-use statements to reserve fluoroquinolones for patients who do not have other available treatment options for acute bacterial sinusitis, acute bacterial exacerbation of chronic bronchitis and uncomplicated urinary tract infections. The patient Medication Guide that is required to be given to the patient with each fluoroquinolone prescription describes the safety issues associated with these medicines.

      The FDA first added a Boxed Warning to fluoroquinolones in July 2008 for the increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture. In February 2011, the risk of worsening symptoms for those with myasthenia gravis was added to the Boxed Warning. In August 2013, the agency required updates to the labels to describe the potential for irreversible peripheral neuropathy (serious nerve damage).

      In November 2015 [My wife’s Journal was part of the evidence at the hearing. and ], an FDA Advisory Committee discussed the risks and benefits of fluoroquinolones for the treatment of acute bacterial sinusitis, acute bacterial exacerbation of chronic bronchitis and uncomplicated urinary tract infections based on new safety information. The new information focused on two or more side effects occurring at the same time and causing the potential for irreversible impairment. The advisory committee concluded that the serious risks associated with the use of fluoroquinolones for these types of uncomplicated infections generally outweighed the benefits for patients with other treatment options.

      Today’s action also follows a May 12, 2016, drug safety communication advising that fluoroquinolones should be reserved for these conditions only when there are no other options available due to potentially permanent, disabling side effects occurring together. The drug safety communication also announced the required labeling updates to reflect this new safety information.

      The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency is also responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

      ### –

    3. Apologizes for the double reply. I did not think the system took my first one.

    4. Madge Hirsch says:

      What about the people ( I am one of them ) who were given this drug for a suspected UTI which then turned out to be non existent when the urine analysis showed no infection present? And when has sinusitis or UTI ever resulted in Achilles tendon rupture? I was given Cipro iv for diverticulitis. Within 24 hours I had pain in my right Achilles tendon . When the nurses asked me if I was in any pain I assumed they meant pain in my lower abdomen where you get the pain with diverticulits. It never occurred to me to link the Achilles pain with my treatment – you don’t get a patient leaflet with an iv drip! Within 48 hrs I had chest pain and neuropathy in my arms and legs. They stopped the Cipro. If I had told them of the Achilles tendon pain they might have stopped it earlier. All this was caused by the Cipro not the disease process of the diverticulitis.

    5. Vivian says:

      @Dominic Ryan: There are many red herrings in your comment. You argue that the effects of the underlying pathology being treated can often be confused with the effects of the drug the patient is being treated with, as if discerning the difference is rocket science to the layperson. I don’t contest the fact that this can and does sometimes happen, but in the case of fluoroquinolones in particular, the cluster of adverse symptoms is very much consistent and is supported with evidence. Someone who develops spontaneous tendinopathy, tendon ruptures, neurological damage, and peripheral neuropathy after a course of Ciprofloxacin to treat an uncomplicated UTI, for example, can hardly blame the development of these symptoms on their UTI. That much should be obvious. I also take issue with your claim that many millions would suffer greater harm should the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics be hypothetically eliminated — there are other classes of antibiotics out there that are much safer, with possible adverse events that are not nearly as crippling or permanent. The whole “antibiotic resistance” fear-mongering among allopathic doctors has been overhyped. Regardless, many more of us are merely advocating for FQs to be restricted and reserved for only the most serious, life-threatening infections, so the premise of your criticism is somewhat of a strawman.

  23. Marilyn Higgins says:

    Imagine waking up with horrible cramps in your legs, suddenly unable to walk for three months. You are 64 years old and a quick google to the FDA website reveals that the doctor you trusted prescribed the 750 mm Levaquin with Prednisone for your sinus infection you are taking. You note immediately the FDA warnings advising doctors NOT to prescribe this medicine to people over 60 and never with a corticosteroid. You read about disabling, potentially permanent side effects. When you call your doctors office they tell you the side effects are “rare”….translation…YOU are the problem. Just admit it. You cannot fact check that these side effects are rare. There are now thousands of cases of “ delayed reactions”. You really do not know that the side effects are rare but you keep saying it. That is as wrong as the drug companies that make this poison and the salespeople who peddle it. You hurt people by perpetuating this myth. If you want to do a really insightful story on fluoroquinolones talk to the nurses and pharmacists. They know the truth. They get the bewildered calls from patients who’s ears are ringing and have had spontaneous ruptures of their achilles tendons . But they are trained to NEVER question the doctor.

  24. If the case, please than this please use these yourself. Most of the world populations have delayed reactions… like 8 months out, and many more they take a poisonious Fq 2-3 times or more of 2 – 3 years or more and WHAMO! They’re either in a wheelchair or worse. There has been countless of researches and studies done that even shows FQ Antibiotics should not even be given to cancer patients, which FQs were initially made for. These are FluoroQuinolones are chemotherapeutic drugs desguised as simple antibiotics. And most probably are aware that chemotherapeutic drugs have such delayed serious adverse reactions mentioned in my post. There’s a lot more published studies todate, and not to far in the past, yet even going back decades. It’s a searchable and you can get confirmation that these studies are factual…. your are losing the battle…many have woken up and more and more are waking up! Once majority of our nations worldwide discover what has been happening for roughly half a century… they’re will be a price to pay! And all those who allowed this will be dealt with swiftly by our laws… so hope where ever you are there is no death penalty law…

    But we are winning, and we need to more than ever stick together and save those innocent healthy individuals, and sadly assist those who are totally ruined and give closure to millions of families as to what truly killed their loved ones.

    This is not a conspiracy theory… this is an actual fact that there has been a silent epidemic far too long… and it has too end and fast…and it will. Just around the corner!

    Have you been FLOXED??? You need to know…so Google it!!!


    Have your pets been FLOXED??? You need to know…Google it!!!

    1. Just to save them a bit of effort Teri:

      Veterinary Fluoroquinolones:

      Advocin, Advocid (danofloxacin) Baytril (enrofloxacin) Dicural, Vetequinon (difloxacin) Floxasol, Saraflox, Sarafin (sarafloxacin) Ibaflin (ibafloxacin) Marbocy, Zeniquin (marbofloxacin) Orbax, Victas (orbifloxacin)

      Recently approved by the FDA:

      Quinsair – Inhaled Levofloxacin. Being promoted for lung infections.
      Baxdela (delafloxacin). Being promoted for skin infections.

      Fluoroquinolone Eye Drops:
      Besivance (besifloxacin) Cetraxal, Ciloxan (ciprofloxacin) Iquix, Quixin (levofloxacin) Ocuflox (ofloxacin) Vigamox (moxifloxacin) Zymar (gatifloxacin) Moxeza (moxifloxacin)

      Fluoroquinolone Ear Drops:
      Cetraxal, Ciprodex (ciprofloxacin) Floxin (ofloxacin) Xtoro (finafloxacin)

  25. Matt says:

    To those thinking you’d have to have a genetic defect causing the severe reaction:

    I had full mtdna sequencing and full connective tissue disease genetic panels done: no issues. I have had a lot of dental work in the past so we would have known if I had trouble metabolizing drugs.

    It doesn’t matter. The drug can still severely harm you.

    1. loupgarous says:


      “I have had a lot of dental work in the past so we would have known if I had trouble metabolizing drugs.”

      Huh? I’ve had a lot of dental work, but I don’t recall ever having a dentist look into whether I had trouble metabolizing drugs. It’s not a thing dentists usually deal with, or are specifically equipped to deal with.

  26. Dee says:

    The so-called “rare” side effects is simply a result of a diagnostic problem. Doctors simply don’t, won’t believe that these antibiotics can do this damage, and dismiss it, minimize it, and write it off as some other condition.

    One of the biggest issues is that doctors do not make the connection between the antibiotic and the side effects. The first (of eight) times I was given Cipro, I had reactions within days, including wide spread, debilitating pain. My PCP referred me to a rheumatoligist who, despite normal test results, told me that I had an autoimmune disease TBD. Over the course of the next four years, I was prescribed either Cipro, Levaquin or Avelox 7 more times. Each time, getting sicker and sicker over the following days, weeks and months. Doctors suggested that I had MS. Then lupus. Then Lyme Disease. Or maybe Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. By that time the adverse reactions were very obvious. I could barely move my limbs. Tendon sheaths were filled with fluid, causing swelling and making it impossible to use my hands. I had a rash for 18 months which responded to no treatment. I’d become intolerant of almost all foods. When I did eat, it would be followed by hours of agonizing pain, the feeling of snakes running through my abdomen, vomiting, diarrhea, and 6 GI diagnoses. Yet, the doctors continued to focus on the disease or autoimmune conditions, ignoring the third leg of the stool — what was being put into my body. They doubled-down on the yet-to-be-identified autoimmune disease, along with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc. Then they gave me levaquin once again for a sinus infection. I took one pill — ONE — at dinner, and I couldn’t walk the next day. The rheumatologist finally put two-and-two together and made the diagnosis. Many of the symptoms have subsided, but too many still linger — four years since that last dose. Tendon damage, wasted muscles, memory issues, peripheral neuropathy, etc. And every week I run into people with similar symptoms, who never made the connection to the antibiotics they were given for UTIs and sinus infections.

  27. Lawrence Wolfe says:

    Looks like Eric has chosen the rational path by leaving. I support that decision.

  28. Trent says:

    Eric needs to wear a hat that says Captain Idiot. People like him are part of the problem. Shame on him to relate FQ toxicity victims to the anti-vaccine crowd. Humans for some reason can’t truly understand a health issue unless they have gone through it themselves. FQs have cost the global healthcare system millions of dollars with the damage they have done. We have an explosion of CFS, CNS and autoimmune issues in the world a lot can be traced back to these drugs.

    Eric- We are happy to give you some FQs for your next sinus infection and then chase it with some NSAIDS. You will get damage. You just don’t know when it will hit you. The reaction will be like nothing you have ever faced in life.

  29. Geo S says:

    Most of this article talks of Tendon rupture which if are poisoned by this Toxic crap is the least of your worries. the mental issues are much worse. Confusion/Suicidal thoughts /Headaches so bad that you want to split your head open and nothing works for pain relief all mixed in with various others whole body issues. You would never believe that the Human body could feel so bad .That is why people kill themselves because your body become a prison of pain and its the only escape. Naysayers please go check out all the YouTube videos including the Doctors that have self prescribed and have poisoned themselves. Big Pharma does not care because to them you are just collateral damage in the profit machine and the lawsuit payouts are peanuts

  30. Tracy Jean says:

    There is an ongoing study for those of you who have been injured.

  31. Kristin White says:

    In 1998 I was given cipro for pneumonia. Shortly after that I started getting neuropathy symptoms, leg pain, bone pain, joint pain and deterioration. I went to Dr after Dr, finally diagnosed with lupus, fibromyalgia, mast cell syndrome. Nobody ever mentioned cipro as being the catalyst.

    Then on January 18, 2018, I was given 2 weeks worth of levaquin, prednisone, meloxicam, ibuprofen. Around day 4, I couldn’t walk. Pain was so intense. Severe tendon pain, heart palpitations, anxiety and total insomnia. I told everyone, nurses, Drs, gp, surgeon, physical therapist. Nobody, not even myself, knew it was from the antibiotic. I took levaquin for a total of 9 days. By this point I was ready to lose my mind, my life, everything. Still nobody knew. I finally searched online, finding the FDA’s levaquin black box warnings.

    Still the medical community denies this is what caused my immense pain and suffering. After 4 months, I finally got my GP to promise me he would read and educate himself. I have liver damage, nerve pain, tendinitis insomnia, anxiety, gastrointestinal issues, severe food intolerances, etc…

    I and many others, hundreds of thousands of others, are suffering because the FDA and pharmaceutical companies lie to Drs and patients.
    Thank you for running this article. I pray it saves others from this living nightmare of suffering.

  32. LoxPStopLoxP says:

    I’ve been FLOXED. You know what cured me? Cre.

  33. Melissa says:

    “I have long  suspected that one of the risk factors for those that get damaged by the Fluoroquinolone antibiotics is the presence of a genetic quirk call the MTHFR gene that prevents the proper absorption of Vitamins B12, B6, and folic acid. The lack of these nutrients would disrupt the creation of the extra glutathione needed for counteracting the oxidative stress of the Fluoroquinolone antibiotics, and allowing significant damage to the mitochondria, leading to the above mentioned Fluoroquinolone Associated Disability.
    Even worse is that these ROS can damage the sensitive mitochondrial DNA, leading to DNA Damage, and without the proper nutrients to engage the highly sophisticated DNA repair processes in the cells, the next generation of mitochondria remain afflicted with the damage that was caused by the Fluoroquinolones, thus preventing any potential healing. This is one of the reasons why this FQAD can last for years or even be permanent.”

    1. AColeman says:


      I have been suffering with fluoroquinolone toxicity for nearly three years now. I was very slowly getting well and anticipated another 2+ years of problems. I had limited tendonopathy issues (achilles) but severe PN and digestion issues – so mostly neurological effects of the FQ I took – for a UTI it turns out I didn’t actually have.

      About 4 months ago the integrative medicine specialist, who along with my help, put the pieces together suggested I get a MTHFR test. It turned out that I was heterozygous for the C677T locus.

      Since that diagnosis I have started taking a form of vitamin b complex with folinic acid. I can’t take the 5-MTHF version that completely bypasses the methylation process, yet the version with folinic acid (one step before methylation) has had some positive impacts on my symptoms. I have made some serious strides towards feeling better since the diagnosis and the new form of Vitamin B. I now have like 1 day a week where I feel relatively normal and even my “bad” days would have been considered fantastic days 8 months ago.

      I really hope someone in the biomedical community starts investigating this link. I have a BS in Biochemistry and MS in molecular biology and from all I can read and what I understand this seems like a very real potential indicator of those who might suffer from FQ toxicity and also a potential source of treatment to make some positive impacts in FQ sufferers, though I suspect even with the new Vitamin B treatment I may have a year to return to full health.

  34. EM says:

    PBS Newshour did a review of this issue in 2011. This is a 10 minute video segment with an injury profile and an overview of the drug safety program and its limitations.

  35. Kaleberg says:

    I took a course of ciprofloxacin not that long ago, and I could feel the changes in my tendons. They felt stretched and thin, like Bilbo Baggins on his eleventy-first birthday. The sensation was concentrated in my wrists and above my ankles. It started about two weeks into the 30 day course and lasted at least 30 days afterwards. I stopped weight lifting and jogging for the period. I’m not sure what was going on internally, but it was a fragility I could sense.

    1. Kaleberg says:

      I should note that my doctor warned me about the side effects and told me to change my exercise routine and listen to my significant other if she noticed any psychological effects. I was pretty lucky and had just a vague sense that something about my body was different, but I could imagine the side effects spiraling out of control.

  36. Cheryl says:

    I worked in the health care field and became disabled from taking levofloxicin in July 2014. These adverse reactions are very real.

  37. EM says:

    This story describes a clinician who has injured by a therapeutic course of Cipro. Dr. Ghalili relates the disbelief by his treating physicians that his symptoms were caused by the drug. If a Doctor can’t get his peers to believe him, what chance does a simple patient have?

  38. EM says:

    These are very dangerous drugs. The development, licensing, and monitoring systems are not infallible.
    By definition, any withdrawn drug was once a drug that was developed, tested, approved and licensed to be safe and effective for a particular indication. Some drugs stay on the market for decades before being identified as unsafe. The FDA whistleblower for Vioxx, Dr. Michael Graham warned over ten years ago that the system is no longer capable of protecting the public.
    In the midst of the Vioxx fiasco PBS ran an excellent series researching how the unthinkable could be happening. This series is very valuable in understanding the problem.

  39. Kelly B says:

    I took Levofloxacin over 5 years ago and overnight I got immediate nerve, tendon and joint damage and horrible Gastro-intestinal issues – took me awhile to learn to walk again. I’m still in pain, almost daily from the side effects. Taking a fluoroquinolone antibiotic is like playing Russian Roulette with your health! It happened when I was 29, yet, I’m still paying for it EVERY DAY – as doctors ignorantly say “it should be out of your system by now” – ya right.

    1. Vivian says:

      It’s not “out of your system” and possibly won’t ever be, because FQs cause lasting DNA damage. The symptoms persist months and years after taking FQs because the damaged DNA continues to replicate, preventing the body’s natural healing process.

  40. Richard says:

    I do not come here to name call, just to tell a little of my story as best I can;

    Casually and needlessly prescribed to me over two years ago by a urologist for Chronic Prostatitis, which in 95 per cent of cases is non-bacterial, Cipro is apparently no better than a placebo for this condition (according to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence in the UK).!scenario

    My family and I were told nothing about any possible adverse effects, let alone any severe and permanent ones. We were given no informed consent whatsoever. The drug pack leaflet was also completely inadequate.

    My life and my health is now ruined. We then found out there were many others in the same boat. We also later found out that there was no evidence of any infection in the microbiology test, yet the urologist still prescribed the Cipro for 4-6 weeks, “just to cover any underlying prostatitis”.

    He was also happy to prescribe multiple courses of it, as and when. Seeing as the effects of this drug can be culminative, this seems to be very irresponsible. Some patients are not going to know that they have been damaged until the second or third course, when the damage manifests itself in a physically noticable way. People cannot look at their mitochondria as they go along, or as they are taking the first course.

    I had to be pushed in a wheelchair by my mother to visit my dying father, because Cipro had left me unable to walk properly, over six months later, among myriad other manifest damage/symptomatology such as;

    CNS/ANS symptoms, dreadful insomnia, breathing difficulties, aches, muscle weakness, difficulty walking, nerve pain, skin damage, vision damage, muscle fasticulations, involuntary spasms and photo toxicity.

    The Cipro did not even help with the prostatitis. People are being given this drug when their lives are not even at risk. It is baffling.

    Many doctors appear to be ignorant of the growing research that is out there about how bad these drugs can be. We are the canaries in the coal mine, just trying to sound the alarm and inform/warn others..

    Please understand people’s distress who have been so needlessly damaged. It is very difficult to rationalize.

    Kind regards


  41. David Rubenstein says:

    Eric, I’m a 63 year old man that had no health problems until I was first given Cipro in 1990. I suffered a host of symptoms and visited Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, U. of Michigan, etc., and they could find nothing wrong with me. I suffered for 9 years and then oddly it disappeared. I’ve been healthy since 1999 until last March when-not coincidentally-I took Cipro again (5 pills in total over 5 days). My tendon pain and numbness began 1 month later. Now besides muscle pain and atrophy, tendon pain, neuropathy, collagen disappearing, etc., I’m totally normal…lol. Of course my internist and nuerologist could not find anything wrong (I knew that they wouldn’t). Coincidence? Not. Other ailment? Apparently not Psychosomatic? No way I am not an anti-vaxxer… you tell me….

  42. Mike Brown says:

    Well look at that now the side effects AREN’T 1% like the FDA think, only 1% get reported by doctors or patients.10-14% of all people prescribed is the actual rate, this should be labelled “Dangerous” instead of 16 pages of black box warnings lol. 3,000 people took these meds in testing before getting approved by the FDA to prescribe to the masses, which started in Europe.That’s not nearly enough nor was seeking a cure NEAR ENOUGH by the pharma industry.Map the dam drugs to the 3 billion parts of the human DNA and see what gets disrupted.Reason why your family doctor etc don’t find anything wrong is because blood etc get tested on the whole instead of the white blood cell being looked at with the blueprint of your entire lives worth of infections etc. ALL connective tissue is affected by these drugs not just your tendons even the portion that hold the brain in place can be affected.the flox victim have to be treated as a individual because no 2 people are alike so one may suffer a ruptured tendon another may have the esophogus collapse etc.Dr. Lonnie Herman has gone to the FDA with his findings he would never prescribe this to anyone unless dying from a infection and the traditional antibiotics fail after being tried on the patient first.I didn’t even have this luxury for a complicated UTI, A it should not have been administered to begin with and the side effects NEEDED to be explained before the IVY was inserted into my arm. EVEN YOU MARC can’t argue that point, so i sued my cased got accepted in 10 minutes and i won vs Bayer.If the Doctor Nurse or pharmacist even told me to look at the side effects i would have, I thought it was a normal traditional antibiotic and i only knew that you had to take them all or it may not work or the infection may come back etc. It’s almost like these drug companies are legally committing genocide 25 years worth of mass usage for a antibiotic that is a last resort treatment.I love what is going on in the States now with the Corner’s exumming bodies to find damaged blood brain barriers etc.You don’t believe me MARC call Dr. Hermans office FLORIDA since since he KNOWS WHAT TO LOOK FOR AND IS SUCCESSFUL AT DETOXIFYING THE BODY.In Canada we were missing 10 pages worth of black box warnings our gov demanded these missing pages and now people will have to sign off in understanding of the SIDE EFFECTS.This means that no medical professional can administer or write a prescription without the patient’s understanding and WILL have to sign off on it.Like the United States Canada may either label the medicines DANGEROUS or discontinue them altogether.The body wants to heal but the disruptions this medicine causes like leaky gut and autoimmunity reactions by left over bacterial plaques that the soldiers of your body attacks. Leaky Gut is a real disordered and can be tested in a lab to 100% accuracy with 3 specific things, one of them by itself can take 3-6 months to treat. All the tests needed for the individual can be done Dr.Herman is accepting Canadian patients the tests needed are rather expensive, like leaky gut is sent to a lab in Arizona i believe.These pham giants have billions set aside just for marketing yet no money went to find cures for the ailments attributed, but yet they wanted funding for a liquid form to be administered to our kids.8 years of Television bad press yet they did 0 to research since then to find a cure is NO EXCUSE other than to make MONEY. This is why these pharm executives ceo’s cfo’s etc live in multi million dollar homes. MAKE NO MISTAKE NONE OF THESE PEOPLE WOULD EVER TAKE THE MEDICINE THEMSELVES.Vioxx caused several hundred thousand heart attacks that’s a joke to how many people this medicine has killed over 25 years lol.Probably about 6 million deaths world wide in that time.So marc we got them now that science has found the medical evidence these antibiotics cause.So i say you want to treat the pharma care industry recklessly like a business then the business will have to pay out to the victim.They should pay these medical bills for the anearisms etc this medicine causes. 800,000 to 1.25 million in medical expenses by the patient in the States when all of it could have been avoided by trying the first MEANS of treatment like amoxician etc.

    1. Gord Olson says:

      Mike, I am also in Canada. My wife has severe FQ toxicity, and we were not able to find a lawyer who was willing to take that case. In fact, all of our research has indicated that Canada is one of the most difficult countries in the world in which to sue the medical system.
      Also, which Dr. Herman in florida? There are several…
      I would really love to get more info from you about your successes, are you a member of any of the FQ facebook groups? If you have resources and/or information that can be helpful to people suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity, please go to the Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Group on Facebook and share your info! There are thousands of desperate people looking for help on there!

      1. Joe says:

        My wife has severe FQ toxicity too- 8 years and one by one her tendons are going! First her thumb, then achilles, hamstring, elbows (both)- When we met (13 years ago) we went hiking, horseriding, biking, swimming- nearly daily! Now she can’t even make it to the front of our apartment building or down to the garbage chute, or carry ANY weight and we rely on a wheelchair. Any luck finding a lawyer??

        1. Vivian says:

          I’m from Canada too (Toronto, Ontario to be exact). The pharmacies here don’t even include pamphlets with the Black Box warning for fluoroquinolones — the Black Box warning which has been standardized in the USA for a few years now. All my Cipro prescription came with was a generic pamphlet mentioning the usual mild and temporary side effects like nausea, diarrhea, stomach upset, and so on. It did NOT at all list any possible tendon damage, nerve damage, and any of the more serious and permanent adverse effects. The prescribing doctor and pharmacist never mentioned anything to me either. Had I known about it, I would have thought twice about taking Cipro (which has crippled me ever since).
          I would be very interested in knowing whether there has been any successful cases against Bayer (or the prescribing doctor/pharmacy) here in Canada regarding fluoroquinolone toxicity and associated disability.

      2. Chris says:


        From Alberta.No way of any recourse against the medical community?I took Cipro and a month later I ruptured my Achilles and other tendon issues.We have no legal recourse here in Canada?

  43. Mayhaps, people like me never reported their issue to the FDA, on account of the fact that the prescribing Dr. that gave me Cipro in the late 1990’s *from his closet of samples), retired and moved to another state. I can’t find records to back up the fact that I was give Cipro and then a couple of years later my brain burst through the Dura and sat in a hole formed in the bone for over two years. They never bothered to test the fluid, just kept putting in drainage tubes and calling it an ear infection, then giving more antibiotics to treat what was finally diagnosed as a CSF leak, primarily by me. I had to ask the ENT to please test the fluid, as I already knew it felt like satin (one indication). They diagnosed it as a spontaneous CSF leak. What caused the Dura to rupture, I’d always wondered. It was such a fluke to come out the ear, that one case ended up on a Medical Mysteries episode on TLC a few years ago. Now we believe after many more cases have transpired since then, that it was Fluroquinolone antibiotics that caused the brain to swell and “blew” a hole in the Dura and bone. I have 22 different diagnosed medial conditions, including CLL//SLL Cancer that came about at age 49 and I’m female and American, with French and English heritage. This cancer is most often found in Eastern European men in their 70’s, but more and more younger people and women are being diagnosed. I was diagnosed as late Stage II with an enlarged spleen and liver. I was in molecular remission after Chemo with Treanda & Rituxan, until this year. After 5 years, I’m not in molecular remission anymore. They have raised me to 1000mg of Metformin 2x a day, to slow the white blood cells down, as they’ve found it helps. I don’t get disability, as I was/am a homemaker. I have nothing to gain or prove. I just warn people about these drugs as often as I can. My mom was doing great until two rounds of Levaquin for lung issues/pneumonia. Ever since then, she can’t raise her arms above her head for the pain in her shoulders. Then the lower back issues started. She was helping to hang drywall prior to the Levaquin in her early 70’s. My daughter was given Cipro for UTI’s at least twice. Now at age 27, her lower back discs look just like mine do in my 50’s, with pain and bouts of Sciatica all the time. That’s three generations of like issues at least in one area… The lower back instability and severe Sciatica. Mom and I both developed Gout in one big toe in the same year. I was given Levaquin twice, which I can trace and Levaflosacin one other time since the Cipro, over the years. Now I refuse them all. How does one person have as many issues as I do and there is no explanation? Because people are refusing to put two & two together. Enlarged spleen, enlarged liver, severe arthritis in hands, back and hips. Then there’s the CLL/SLL, Myositis, Type II Diabetes and High Blood Pressure (diagnosed both at the same time, just shortly after the CSF leak was fixed by a 7 hr. Craniotomy, at around age 44). Many many more, I’m a mess! I still get out of bed everyday and call it a good day.

  44. Rebecca Tobin says:

    Eric, please remove your pseudo intellectual head from your ass. Why are you so afraid to do some homework and learn how dangerous flouriquinolones are to the general public? I was given ciprofloxacin eyedrops after CATARACT SURGERY. I had no infection. It was given to me “ just in case” ( to protect the doctors…not the patient). My life has never been the same. I now spend my life searching for medical care. 18 months of pure hell. This type of suffering should be reserved for people like you, who put yourself above the rest of humanity because you think you are so smart. I hope you feel safe in your bubble of ignorance. Go ahead…I dare you to take Cipro, Levaquin, Floxin or any other Flouriquinolone antibiotic. Maybe that will enlighten you.

    1. Patricia Pearsell says:

      I was going to post this question: Are eyedrops that contain fluroquinolones (Vigamox) as dangerous as taking orally? I think Rebecca has already answered my question. My Mother had double-cataract surgery in the Fall 2018, which involved a course of eyedrops before and after to the total of about 8 weeks. Her health has not been the same since, including what we thought was fibromyalgia and a dramatic worsening of her osteoarthritis, but now I am wondering…..

  45. Anita Miller says:

    January 2016 given Levaquin for a pelvic inflammation which was causing severe pain. Took 10 days, noticed vision problems, joint problems, could barely walk without assistance, extreme fatigue. Returned to the doctor and reported symptoms and was put on the drug for 10 more days to be sure inflammation cleared up. Note, there was no pathology indicating infection, only an exam on the first visit. for six weeks my husband and I tried to find the reason behind my immobility. for the past 20 months if have had to use walkers, canes and have resorted to mechanical carts to get around. Brain fog, mild seizures, gut issues, vision issues are a very real part of my every day life. I experience depression, lethargy, and suicidal thoughts. I have been a very active high functioning person all of my life. This is real! In all of my medical experience as a nurse, I could not have conjured up my condition and the vast symptoms I have been going through. I wish I had been warned. I would never have taken that first pill. I still have people question “how could this happen?” It is real people and I hope everyone who reads this will take it seriously and start bringing attention to this nightmare.AA

  46. Cat says:

    I took Cypro in 2007, 11 years ago. I regret every day that I was prescribed and took this medication. Both my achilles tendons were affected, i lost 2.5 cm of muscle in my legs, developed carpal tunnel in both hands, I ended up in a wheelchair and spent 3.5 years on a benefit and spent 10 years in chronic pain. I lost my freedom, my ability to work, my relationships, my partner, my life savings. My body now seems to be really sensitive to medications. I will always be recovering. Please, please do not take this medication, its not worth it.

  47. Damon says:

    I wonder if this drug or others that might be prrescribed along with it – don’t inhibit the P450 Enzyme In the liver. Slowing down the metabolism significantly, thus extending the drugs terminal half life (ie out of the system). One example just as an FYI , CBD can inhibit the P450 when dosed in the 35mg range an above.

  48. An Old Chemist says:

    As an organic chemist, when I look at the structure of ciprofolaxin, I immediately note that it is a Michael addition substrate! This explains why it makes DNA-adduct and hence changes the DNA-structure forever (see the two posts above by Kat Sherman and Kathy Sherman which give a link to details about these DNA-adducts). This Michael addition functionality is a common pharmacophore in all the drugs of fluoroquinolone series.

    1. Nicholas Edward Stucker says:

      After being poisoned I developed my own protocol to treat FLOURIDE POISONING from taking Ciprofloxacin. Organic Tamarind, Nacent Iodine, Magnesium L-Threonate, Boron, Vitamin D3 & K2. As well as Various antioxidants like Alpa Lipoic Acid & N.A.C.

      1. Marie says:

        Why tamarind?

        1. loupgarous says:

          “Different parts of tamarind (T. indica) are recognized for their various medicinal properties. A previous study reported that the seed, leaf, leaf veins, fruit pulp and skin extracts of tamarind possessed high phenolic content and antioxidant activities.[37] The presence of lupanone and lupeol,[38] catechin, epicatechin, quercetin and isorhamnetin [39] in the leaf extract could have contributed towards the diverse range of the medicinal activities. On the other hand, ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) analyses revealed that tamarind seeds contained catechin, procyanidin B2, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, chloramphenicol, myricetin, morin, quercetin, apigenin and kaempferol.[40] The treatment of tamarind leaves on liver HepG2 cells significantly regulated the expression of genes and proteins involved with consequential impact on the coagulation system, cholesterol biosynthesis, xenobiotic metabolism signaling and antimicrobial response.”

          “Tamarind” From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  49. mfernflower says:

    Linezolid has similar issues associated with mitochondrial toxicity in susceptible persons: E.G

    Ideally we could figure out what genes influence cipro and linezolid sensitivity and develop a test for it

  50. Roberta Miller says:

    I have recently learned that the years of my taking Cipro can be the reason for my medical issues. Maybe not all but certainly some of them. I am really, really pissed to realize that my health may have been jeopardize because of a company that didn’t care enough to consider me nothing but a bean in their bean count. I have tendon issues, an aortic aneurysm, nerve damage, as well as having a mitral valve replaced, kidney disease and lots of pain. Is there still any lawsuits open for this??

  51. Penny Valiant says:

    Does anyone her have anything positive to add? how do we stop the symptoms? has anyone found any doctors that can help or a treatment that suppresses or works to rebuild what damage has been done. I am really hoping for a spontaneous recovery, but feel like there must be something we can do. I will not accept this as my fate. I really find it hard to believe that with all these posts, no one has anything positive to say about recovery from this toxicity.

    1. Debra says:

      There are many dangerous drugs on the market watch Mad in America that will scare the hell out of any one. I have been fighting for my husbands life for many years, it’s a wonder he is still living. I have researched and researched for years afraid of running out of time. Over and over he would be in the hospital for respiratory failure many times having to call emergency. Each time would get worse and each time he was treated with fluoroquinolones. Finally after seeing the devastating effects while researching his medications I told them to find a safer antibiotic. He has been able to stay out of the hospital for about a year now. He had been hospitalized 9 times in a year and a half. He can’t seem to get off of the oxygen. This is not the first time he has had problems with fluoroquinolones at several different times since 2010 while being given these antibiotics, he went in to heart failure. He was given them after a surgery in 2012 that caused him to have severe neuropathy a spine stimulator relieves maybe 50% of the pain. Before ever taking this drug I went back to look at all of his Vitals he was in perfect health. This is where I have the problem with these pharmaceutical companies and the FDA the clinical trials are not any where near long enough to see if these drugs are safe and people are being the guinea pigs while the profits keep pouring in for them while literally disabling and destroying peoples lives, if not taking the lives of people. Had I not been home with my husband for sure would not be here today. Unfortunately I had no idea what was causing him to be so ill, because that information wasn’t available. Otherwise I would never have allowed him to be given these antibiotics. Do you think these companies take they’re own medications? Probably not. I am a chemists in a different field, one thing is for sure is any time you put 2 chemicals together it will have a reaction some times that reaction is explosive which is what is happening with these antibiotics.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Just to try to keep everything in one place (blog topic):
    Nature 566, 326 (2019) doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-00619-7
    Correspondence, 19 Feb 2019
    “Europe rules on harm from fluoroquinolone antibiotics”
    “… recommendations, such as restricting the use of these drugs, have been adopted by the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use …”

    Link in Handle or: articles/ d41586-019-00619-7

  53. Michael Layne says:

    I don’t really understand all the science behind it but as of 2008 cipro has caused complete hell in my life. Pain everyday, weakness, muscle loss etc. on and on. The FDA and doctors should be held responsible for what we all have gone through. These drugs should be taken off the market or used only in life or death situations. I do still work I have no choice until retirement if I can make it that long. I have been to doctor after doctor with no answers at all. I wish the best to all that suffer because of these drugs. Mike

  54. crystal says:

    My heart goes out to everyone who have or cares for ALS patient. My husband was diagnosed with ALS 3years ago, He had gone through several bouts of depression, the first sign of ALS appeared in the hand and arm as he experienced difficulty with simple tasks such as buttoning a shirt, writing, or turning a key in a lock later affected one of the legs, trouble breathing, slurred and nasal speech, difficulty chewing or swallowing. He also experienced awkwardness when walking or running and I noticed that he was tripping or stumbling more often. He had gone through several bouts of depression, over 6 hospitalizations in just two years. Coping with ALS wasn’t easy. He had attempted suicide and all treatment had done little for his improvement. When I became fragmented in my thinking, I started to have my worst problems. We’ve finally benefited from some real dedicated support group of people with natural treatment and a small number of friends and family that knew and loved us. Dr vihaan treatment has turned his life around, he is now symptom free. I don’t want people to feel that suicide is their only option, know you are loved, you are valuable, you are worth more than your darkness. Reach out and get the support you need email: start your natural treatment, Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side.

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