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Antibiotics Can Cause Devastating Side Effects

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Americans think of antibiotics as silver bullets. Our reverence for this type of medication is understandable. Before penicillin was developed, people routinely died from pneumonia and other infections. With this miracle of modern medicine, such deaths have become rare.

Because antibiotics are perceived as wonder drugs, physician and patients tend to overlook their side effects. A little stomach upset or diarrhea seems like a small price to pay for curing a nasty infection.

Sometimes, however, the side effects of certain antibiotics are unexpected and severe. One class in particular, fluoroquinolones, can cause unanticipated trouble. The most frequently prescribed are ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin) and moxifloxacin (Avelox).

Readers of this column have shared some frightening experiences. One wrote: "My husband took Levaquin for a sinus infection and within hours the tendons in his legs tightened and he could not walk. It took months for him to get better though he still has some residual leg pain."

Another reported: "Some ten years ago I was prescribed ofloxacin (Floxin) for a sinus infection. The next evening I woke up from sleep and began hallucinating that HUGE bats were flying around the room.

"The experience absolutely terrified me. I thought I was losing my mind. My sister, who was a pharmacy representative, had warned me not to take this antibiotic. I dismissed her warning as empirical hogwash. Needless to say, I had to learn the hard way."

A parent described her daughter's reaction: "My 27-year-old daughter has spina bifida. I told the urologist treating her for an infection that she could not take Cipro because it had caused seizures. He said he wasn't aware of that problem and that Levaquin was a chemical cousin and shouldn't cause the same problem.

"On day four of the medication she had a seizure. That makes four times she's had seizures on a quinolone, and it still took us the parents to make the connection. The doctors aren't aware of this effect."
A 19-year-old sent his report: "I am a college student who is still suffering the effects of Levaquin months later. My doctor prescribed it for painful urination with a fever. Within an hour of taking the first dose, my legs felt numb and it seemed like my brain was frying. I couldn't explain to my mom what was happening and I could barely move. It wasn't that I was paralyzed; more like I was walking on a water bed. I had no balance, my gait was terrible, and I couldn't think.

"My doctor thought the neurological symptoms I was experiencing were due to fever and dehydration, but really it was a consequence of the Levaquin. I still have deep pains in my knees and feet and I am too weak to exercise as I used to. But the biggest problem that bothers me is the brain fog. I get lost easily, cannot remember things and had to withdraw from school. I am wired-tired and have great trouble sleeping."

These quinolone antibiotics can help clear infections. They can also cause distressing side effects such as tendonitis, tendon rupture, insomnia, dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, psychosis, movement disorders and seizures. Even silver bullets can cause serious damage.

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Do you have a suggestion what antibiotic class may be substituted for the fluoroquinolones?

The adverse examples of the listed medications is actually frightening. If such reactions to these medications occur why isn't the doctor aware of them and if he is, why doesn't the doctor provide a personal and vocal warning of the possible negative side-effects? If the doctor prescribes the medication, isn't he responsible to inform the patient of all possibilities - other than just expecting the patient to read the accompanying included-in-the-box arcane minutiae?

I was given Cipro intravenously last summer when I was hospitalized with diverticulitis and my liver enzymes multiplied ten times their normal value. There were no symptoms. I had taken this drug previously by mouth with no known side effects. The doctors who treated my diverticulitis said I was allergic to Cipro and that a person could take the drug and later develop an allergy to it.

I, too, had a reaction to Cipro. I had taken it, numerous times in the past, but had not taken it for several years when it was prescribed, last summer. I asked the doctor it were safe for a person my age (then 76)and he said "no problem." While on vacation, two days after starting the Cipro, I began to have tendinitis in an elbow and arch. I still have that pain ten months later.

In 2000 I had an adverse reaction to Cipro, inflammation of most of my connective tissue to the point of needing help to get up out of bed, get dressed, I was unable to lift much and could not sit for more than 15 minutes due to the pain. My doctors could not believe it was the Cipro. It was 5 years before I was able to hike and ride my bike again.

Three years ago, my husband was put on Augmentin for an infected cyst on his back. The surgeon wanted to clear the infection before removing the cyst so scheduled the surgery for 2 weeks later and gave him a prescription for 7 days worth of Augmentin.

After the first week on the medication his infection was worse and the surgeon ordered another week of Augmentin (even though we complained that my husband was experiencing terrible stomach pain and the antibiotic didn't seem to be working.) He decided to remove the cyst after 8 days (instead of the 2 wks) and kept him on the antibiotic until my husband came down with drug-induced liver failure (Jaundice).

For 6 weeks it was touch and go with his bilirubin level rising. He experienced all the complications of liver failure: Jaundice, lack of energy, weight loss, terrible itching, loss of muscle mass, stomach pains, inability to eat--it was a nightmare. Due to his advanced age (77) a liver transplant was out of the question.

It was only because he had never done anything to weaken his liver before (non-drinker, etc) that his liver was able to recover over time. He has never regained his muscle mass or all of his pre-Augmentin energy. Upon researching Augmentin, we discovered that Augmentin should never be given to the elderly without being monitored--what was the doctor thinking giving it to a 77 year old?

There were warnings dating back to 1991 about this that the doctor was not aware of. The surgeon told my husband that he would never order Augmentin for a patient again. This mistake almost cost my husband his life!

I get frequent UTI's and the last dose of Cipro really did a number on my stomach.. Every time I would eat something, I had the worst case of reflux I ever experienced... This happened with everything I ate.... Had to go on soft foods, bananas etc. for 4 weeks... All I was told is to eat Activia 3 times a day... Needless to say, I will never go on Cipro again... Trying health stores for different remedies..... Thank you for your column.

I had to be in physical therapy for five months after taking Cipro last year.
I first developed tendinitis, in my elbow then a ruptured tendon in my hand then a torn rotator cuff. Never again!!!

Can using triple antibiotic ointment cause drug resistance if it is only used on a wound once or twice? Should it be applied four times a day for seven to ten days?

I have never taken any quinolones but a person near to me did.

He was on several medications and, therefore, it was difficult to know what caused his confusion etc.

Thanks to the Internet I realized that there were people in your country who called themselves "floxed" because they suffered from serious side effects.

Many of them have told their stories on the Internet.

I also wrote to David T. Fuller and he told me about interactions for instance.

I also want to recommend Bitter Pills by Stephen Fried.

Can you recommend any other books on this topic?

I am an 84 year old male with COPD. I get Bronchitis once or twice a year and my doctor gave me 750 mg Levaquin and it knocked it out the first time. I keep 3 capsules on hand because if I can get started the first day on this wonderful antibiotic it is out of my system by the end of the last one in 5 days. I have had none of the things in your article and think this drug is wonderful. Tuscaloos, Al.

Thank you for raising awareness on this issue. I saw your piece yesterday in the Pasadena Star News. There are many of us suffering the side effects from floxing and the doctors are unaware of these side effects. I have found great support from the over 1200 people on Facebook who are going through this.

Was recently hospitalized with an inflamed gall bladder. Surgery was not an option so they treated it with two antibiotics intravenously. The second day I started feeling a tearing pain in my left thigh each time I tried to reposition myself in bed. At first I thought it might be associated with my history of back problems so I didn't give it a second thought. Four days later I was sent home with instructions to continue taking the same antibiotics orally. My left thigh was getting worse having numbness and burning feeling on top of the tearing pain which I felt if I moved the wrong way.

I picked up the drug info sheet for Cipro which I was taking to see what side effects were listed. Halfway down through a thick paragraph I found the following:
"Ciprofloxacin may rarely cause serious nerve problems that may be reversible if identified and treated early. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop any of the following symptoms: pain/numbness/buring/tingling/weakness in any part of the body.."

I called the doctor who treated me at the hospital to tell her of what I was feeling. She had never heard of any such thing but did call the pharmacy which ended up substituting another antibiotic.

The following week I saw my primary care doctor and told him about what the Cipro did. He said that he is starting to see more people getting neuropathy while on Cipro. He immediately updated my info and notified all the pharmacies that I was allergic to Cipro. He said that the numbness/tingling feeling will take time to disappear.

The quinolone drugs, cipro, levaquin, avelox are extremely strong and dangerous. When they go awry the adverse effects are serious, long term and often permanent. The awareness in the medical community of these dangers is extremely poor and often the concerns of patients suffering from adverse effects of these drugs are dismissed as "not possible" despite studies and literature citing these very effects i.e. neuropathy, tendon ruptures, neuromuscular damage, cartilage damage and others.

I struggle to heal from 5 days of Cipro given a year ago and have met 100's of people now who are going through similar struggles due to quinolone antibiotics. These drugs, though tolerated by many, should only be dispensed when there is no safer alternative due to the severity and permanence of adverse effects.

Oh please, the examples this article gives are NOTHING compared with the horrific reality of these poisonous drugs! Leg pain for a few months?? There are people (myself included) who've become completely crippled and wheelchair-bound for years or FOREVER because of these nasty drugs! 24/7/365 suicide pain! (And yes, numerous people have committed suicide after enduring the unfathomable wrath of these poisons).

If you enjoy living a pain-free life...if you enjoy being able to walk and work and care for yourself...may I suggest you run for your life from quinolone antibiotics? Trust me: IT'S NOT WORTH IT. What Bayer and J&J are doing here is downright criminal! The doctors have NO treatment for what these sick drugs do to the human body.

8x 1 gram a day of Cipro Nov 2010 (followed by nsaid that was prescribed to be taken with the Cipro) - mis-prescribed for sports injury.

Incredible health prior to Cipro. Post Cipro - unable to work for 6 months:
severe central nervous system damage, and briefly severe musculoskeletal damage - a terrifying experience which I describe as 'chemical torture'. 8 and half months on I can work but am unable to live the pain free life of before with no possibility yet of returning to physical training.

ALL the Fluoroquinolones class antibiotics are very dangerous drugs.

The problem is that Dr's are not being educated about the dangers of FQs and most Dr's don't listen to their patients and learn. I am just one of many, many people that have been injured by these toxic drugs. This will never stop until the FDA starts to do it's job and puts heavier restrictions on the use of ALL FQ's.

5 long years now, and I'm still crippled by the effects of Cipro!!

Some doctors refuse to admit the side effects from medications... for example I am taking a diabetes drug. I went to the eye dr. 4 or 5 times with problems in my left eye he didn't know anything -he prescribed nothing- One day while looking side effects for this medicine I found two other people with the same problem. My dr. abslutly denied any relationship with this medication.

I have not found anyone else with this side effect for Avelox, but would love to hear from anyone who has. I am a woman of a certain age who has mild hot flashes, but while I was on the drug Avelox for a sinus infection I did not get a single hot flash the entire time! It was wonderful, but I cannot find anything in the literature or online that anyone has says that backs me up. Has anyone here ever heard of such a thing? After the course of the medicine was over, in a few days I was having hot flashes again.

I have not found anyone else with this side effect for Avelox, but would love to hear from anyone who has. I am a woman of a certain age who has mild hot flashes, but while I was on the drug Avelox for a sinus infection I did not get a single hot flash the entire time! It was wonderful, but I cannot find anything in the literature or online that anyone has says that backs me up. Has anyone here ever heard of such a thing? After the course of the medicine was over, in a few days I was having hot flashes again.

I have a primary Immune deficiency disorder, CVID, so have to take antibiotics often. Levaquin gives me severe diarrhea, so I don't take it; but my last dose of Cipro is the one that did a number on my left knee! I didn't make the connection until later, but suffered five months of severe pain, having to use a knee brace and cane, and consulting an orthopedic surgeon re: knee surgery. Ice, pain meds, and rest--finally, I can walk again without too much trouble. How do we report this? This occurred last year, at age 64.

My 84 yr. old husband was on 500mg Cipro for 4 weeks and then switched to Avelox because Cipro was ineffective. He has severe bronchiatesis. Since taking Avelox he is unable to walk and suffers from severe pain in his thighs and knees. Dr. does not think Avelox is cause.

I took Avelox,Tequin and Levequin alternating over a period of 3y for chronic bronchitis. My life is forever changed as I have been disabled for 6y now and live with a constant, unbearable pain. This class of medication may be helpful as last resort but I was never told about side effects and never told of alternate medications. Beware to anyone who is asked to take this med. They also give them during surgeries so be sure to tell beforehand that you do not want them. Now instead if one health problem I have over 10 and they appear to be life long.

I just want to add that I had taken Cipro & Avelox several times before without noticing side effects. I have had tendinitis in both shoulders, and right elbow for at least 5 years, but nothing like the horrible tendon pain in my left knee after the above-mentioned dose of Cipro. No more quinolones for me!

Yes, that happens to me too! When I had diverticulitis, I took Augmentin and the hot flashes went away. Then I had a tooth infection and the same thing happened last year. This year, another dental issue... I just finished Augmentin and I have them again. Makes me wonder if the hot flashes are from infection or hormones.

I was prescribed Ciprofloxacn (500MG) in January for a prostrate infection. After about 18 days of taking the medication (30 day prescription) I awoke one morning, after playing basketball the night before, to my knees (both) feeling as if they were encased in concrete. Thought it was strange but didn't link the Cipro as the affects slowly wore off over the next few days. I played basketball again and the same thing happened........ that's when I read about the side affects of the drug and stopped immediately. At times I have gone back to playing basketball and have felt like it was 90% gone, then about 4 weeks ago(late April) it got bad again.

It seems my legs constantly ache as if I had just walked 20 miles. Many nights I cannot sleep due to the pain in my legs and, for now, I cannot play basketball as the left knee area, in particular is too weak. My Doctors explanation is that it affects only 1 of 100. All I know is that to me it's 100% and I can only hope that I find a solution or that it goes away but for right now I am very discouraged.

I was prescribed Oflox for 2 weeks for recurrent Breast Mastitis in Nov 2011. Had severe knee pain during the medication, which went away after I stopped taking the drug, but both knees have remained swollen ever since and hurt badly on and off, especially in the evenings. My right hip joint got stiff a week back, and I was limping everywhere - the stiffness went away with Yoga. The doctor says there is cartilage wear and tear and has recommended 2 hours of yoga and cycling daily with medication - Ebov, Sumol, Bon K2 to try and avoid further damage.

Is levaquin toxicity possible 8 months or so after taking it? I had 21 days of 500mg levaquin for sinusitis last June. In Mar/April my podiatrist gave me 2 injections of a corticosteriod in my heel below my ankle due to tenderness/pain in that area. Also took in April 3 weeks of nabumetone ( prescription NSAID) to relieve pain in foot/leg and lower back during trip to China.

During that time had some ankle swelling and leg/face tingling which has grown into more tingling, burning, pinching sensations and pain in legs and some in arms. Could there be a reaction that long afterward with the other medications?

Yes, you can get different adverse reaction years after taking a fluoroquinolone. Very smart of you to associate the two, most doctors don't. But then most doctors are completely unaware of the side effects of this class of antibiotic.

Hi Doug,

I am having very similar issues after taking 5 doses of cipro. have your symptoms resolved? I am going on 9 months with no relief.

I am a 34yr old female I have server lower disc damage to my spine I already take neurontin SOMA, and percocet 4x daily almost 2 weeks ago.

My Dr gave me nitrofur for symptoms of a UTI. I returned a week later having more server bladder pain which was this past Friday its mon-tues morning the Dr gave me ciprofloxacin 500mg Saturday morning the very next day after only having 2 doses I woke up with my toes numb and tingling.

I figured it was just my back giving me new problems didn't think any different took a hot bath it helped it go away. I missed a dose Sunday totally forgot to take the cipro I took a dose this morning and about 1hr later I noticed the tingling thought. I took my dose tonight and now my hands are tingling and my wrist is hurting then about 5hrs later I'm all achey unable to sleep and restless.

After deciding to Google the side effects of the cipro I'm very worried it was my back and nerves.

I am a 75 yr old female - was prescribed Cipro for UTI in April 2012, took for 5 days, all was well until the following month when I developed severe groin pain right area. That was followed by severe muscle pains all over my body, neck, shldr joint and upper arm muscle pains, painful wrists, numbness left hand middle fingers, very weak hands/fingers difficulty using lancet to check blood sugar daily. Unable to drive for one month, leg weakness/numbness and inability to concentrate. Since I was a guillain barre survivor/2006/ I thought I was getting a relapse.

Doctors could not understand what was happening, prescribed Ibuprofen, now am on Acetaminephen which helps somewhat. I had ten treatments w/an acupuncturist and she said not guillain barre, agreed w/me on the Cipro and Crestor, (dscntnd Crestor) Got relief from muscle pains w/her treatments, then f/u w/seven weeks of physical therapy, that helped somewhat w/hand,and arm weakness. It is now October left hand weak, fatigued, shoulder joints and upper arm muscle, wrists still painful. I have recently prchsd a natural lotion - "Two old goats" and get some relief at nighttime and am finally sleeping better. My primary docreferred me to a neurologist which I intend to see this coming month.

This is very scary. My husband--age 66--has been recovering successfully from back surgery--back to work after 4 months--very proud of himself because the surgeon says the usual amount of time is 4 to 6 months recuperation. A month ago he developed a case of pneumonia. Took Z-Pac for prescribed amount of time but was still coughing and didn't seem better. Dr. prescribed Avelox which he took for 8 out of the 10 days. Dr. said to stop taking this because husband said his legs felt like "logs." Now he has trouble walking. Is seeing his neurologist who didn't think in examining him that the tendons in his legs were affected. Had some blood tests done and she is now going to test the muscle density in his legs.

This is very scary to me. I didn't realize that some antibiotics have such bad side effects. The pharmacist did contact my husband's doctor but the doctor said since the Z-Pac didn't do what it was supposed to that he needed this drug. The sad thing about the pneumonia is that I think my husband had a pneumonia shot a few years ago and he is hardly ever sick--he had no problem taking time off to recuperate after the surgery and had taken six weeks off several years ago after knee replacement. I am very scared at this point.

I was prescribed CIPRO on a cruise ship for a UTI about five years ago. A few months later, the tendon on the bottom of my right foot hurt so bad that I had to limp for three months. It only went away after I took high dose anti-inflamitories for several weeks.

Now I suffer from an auto-immune disorder...It makes me wonder if a life time of antibiotic overuse and or vaccines have contributed to this.

My daughter is eleven and has never taken an antibiotic and hasn't even had a cold in three years. She had the stomach flu two times in her life. I give her grapeseed extract for a day if she has even a hint of the sniffles and the next day it is gone. I also take this natural antibiotic and have not been sick in over four years with and infection or virus. ...Just thought I would pass this on as a safer alternative to antibiotics.

I was prescribed Augmentin in October for bronchitis. I took it for 6 out of 10 days and stopped after getting worse with flu- like symptoms. I ended up being diagnosed with C. Diff from a severe reaction to this antibiotic. I also contracted a foot infection and a damaged joint in one of my toes. I missed a month of teaching, have had 21 dr visits, 5 different doctors, and several tests/ Xrays MRI, bone scan, white blood cell scans, and blood work. My body is now permanently damaged. I would like to be active and energetic again!

I was given Levaquin a a year or two ago and after a day my legs started hurting. Then they seized up. I had to take a month off of work because I couldn't walk. When I went to the doctor to tell him on day four he laughed at me a said, "you are retarded, it's all in your head. You should stop wasting my time!"

The thing is that was just one side effect of the many I had. Never went back there and every time I wait in a doctors office I let people know the dangers of the meds and that doc.

I had gone to the doctor recently because I started to cough terribly. He diagnosed me with bronchitis and tonsillitis. I had double pneumonia in December of 2012, and was concerned that I was getting it back. The doctor put me on Levofloxacin 500 mg. and it caused me to have diarrhea and pains in my knees. I struggled to walk because of the pain.

I called his office and they told me to get off of it immediately. I had to go back to see him, and he put me on an intravenous drip which had an antibiotic in it, and sent me home with a prescription of Cefuroxime Axetil 500 mg. and Prednisone, 5mg. Again, I am in deep pain and can barely walk. The dosage may be too high or the medicine does not agree with me. I am 72 years old and am concerned that this has caused me damage. I tend to think that treating people with the medicines that were used 40 to 50 years ago is much better than what these pharmaceutical companies are pushing on people.

About a month ago I was prescribed bactrim for sinus infection. It didn't work. Then a week later wad given augmentin 875mg for 2wks. A few weeks after taking it, I have pain in my back, neck, arms, head and feet. Can this be from augmentin? Please help I'm freaked out. And if so how can I fix it??

I have been on antibiotics for a sinus infection for two weeks and I have also noticed that I haven had any hot flashes. I am having pain in my joints, hands, feet and hips mainly. I hope the pain goes away but would be very happy if the hot flashes do not come back.

I have not taken any antibiotics for the last 25 years and last October I experienced rather shoddy dental work which resulted in all 3 teeth that received dental work developing abscesses. I was promptly prescribed Amoxicillin and after 3 prescriptions the infections finally cleared up. The last prescription however looked different. The pills were red and black instead of red and yellow. Within 2 days I started to experience severe anxiety attacks to the point where I phoned an ambulance when my BP peaked at 245/145 convinced I was heading into cardiac arrest.

BY the time I arrived at the hospital my BP had gone down to 155/90 when my normal is 110/70. I was sent home and labelled as hysterical. The anxiety which I did not have before I started to take the antibiotics was so severe I lost 12 lbs in one week despite eating a lot more then I normally would. This is wrong. Antibiotics should not be causing anxiety to the point where you feel you are going to have a heart attack.

I know the feeling. About a few weeks after taking augmentin 875 mg I developed pains all over my body. Now they are mainly in my hands and feet. I'm a 36 yr old healthy man. And don't know how to stop the pain. Best of luck to you. If you find a cure let me know. Ty.

I am a 21 year old male. I woke up one morning and noticed that on of my testicles had a numb and heavy feeling to it so I checked it and thought it flipped of something. 8 days later, I went to the doctors and they said that I've got Epididymitis and a minor bladder infection. He prescribed me 2 weeks of Cipro (2 a day) and on the 5th day at night, I got up from my chair and I had a sharp pain in my upper thigh area.

I woke up the next morning and it is still the same. I have decided that I will not be continuing with this medication as I hope this doesn't turn out to be a major if not permanent damage to my thigh tissue. I am really worried scared that something bad will happen. I am going to get the doctor to prescribe me normal antibiotics as I will refuse to take anything this dangerous again.

I am either allergic or have severe adverse reactions to every single antibiotic I've ever tried. Everything from anaphylaxis to hallucinations, feeling of "impending doom", depression, uncontrollable crying for no reason at all and thoughts that make no sense on any given day. This has happened with Levaquin, Cipro, AMox, Clyox, and basically all antibiotics.

Had to get a tooth pulled today by an oral surgeon who started asking me off the wall questions and telling me, "I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ANYONE HAVING REACTIONS LIKE THIS TO ANTIBIOTICS! YOU NEED TO GO SEE A PSYCHIATRIST FOR YOUR SEVER MENTAL DEPRESSION!"

I said, I am not depressed, I am a happy person, but this reaction occurs when I take antibiotics. he then said,

I was mortified, horrified, beside myself and felt like I was in crazy town. I showed him the side-effects list on line for antibiotics, but he refused to believe me. He then told me I needed to go to an allergist to verify all my medicinal allergic reactions. I explained that I have been to an allergist who said there are no tests that they can conduct on food or medicinal allergies. So the oral surgeon said, without actual proof, he would not touch my tooth.

I was in tears, half from the tooth pain, and the rest from the disbelief, shock and frustration.

I am a 58 year old women who was put on Levaquin and Cipro for Diverticulitis attack for 10 days. I was on these two medications about a year ago for the same but last time it was after 3 different antibiotics were tried and the infection did not clear up. In 2012 I experienced some numbness in legs and trouble walking at times along with the nausea and headache. This time similar not as severe but the leg cramps are intense. I finished the medication on Saturday and this is Tuesday and I am having trouble walking and sleeping due to the pain in my leg knee and calf even sitting causes pain.

I am calling the Dr but wondered how long did these side effects last and what course of action does anyone's Dr take to help relieve this pain... not into pain killers and need to carry on with my life....

I am a 34 year old female with Crohn's disease and IBS-D that started to flare in January. In February my GI Dr prescribed Xifaxin 550 to try to help me with the painful gas, cramping, diarrhea from the IBS. I took the first pill around 6 in the evening, and by 2 am I was vomiting/diarrhea the rest of the night. By morning, I had horrible joint pain that lasted all week long, even though I didn't take another dose.

The diarrhea continued for about 4 days (more like a poisoning diarrhea than the loose stools I have everyday with IBS). I'm wondering if anyone else had this reaction to Xifaxin, and/or if this means I am now allergic to other antibiotics bc I'm terrified to ever take another one.

I went on cipro and cefuroxime due that I had a uti and now I suffer extremely sharp pain in my right leg which I can't even bend down anymore or even just sitting and now my life is not the same, I can't even pick my child up and I'm only 24 yrs.

I've been suffering 3 months and the pain is still there nothing make it better the only thing that works but still hurts is mineral ice. I regret taking them never again will they make me take those horrible antibiotics.

Hi mg, I understand what your going through. Cipro changed my life. I was on it for a sinus infection in Jan and now I have pain in my hands and feet. The frustrating part is my doc doesn't pay attn when I tell him it's from the cipro. I'm only 36 and was very healthy and worked out a lot until now. I'm going to try to see a rhumatologist soon. Good luck with your journey...

After reading many posts I noticed something that stood out; that many doctors are unaware of antibiotic side affects, and some really clueless doctors will ignore a patients' reaction. The smart doctors, however, will at least stop the use of the current drug and prescribe an antibiotic from another family of antibiotics.

That, and people seem to have to self-diagnose themselves more and more because doctors are too afraid to admit to a patient when a drug has an adverse affect on someone (probably from fear of backlash from the pharmaceutical industry).

Well since I had 3 MRI s few years ago, I have problems in my face *(flaky skin -eczema or something like that- and redness in my face. I read somewhere that some medications and dye etc.. can affect some people. For what I learn MRI (with dye) can have different effects in some people, and skin problems is one of them. Doctors or nurses either don't know or they don't want to know and don't tell people. Now I have to have prednison before I have an MRI with dye . they should tell everyone.

TO AB, I have IBS and take coconut water or cookies or something with coconut (no icecream since have milk) and helps me almost immediately.

You are 100% correct in what you posted.

I had posted earlier in February, and I just want to reiterate what I have found out about Levaquin and Cipro. They damage tendons and cartilage and now I have two knees with torn and shattered meniscus's and a shoulder with a completely torn rotator cuff, plus I have a torn Achilles tendon.

The medications that have been forced down my throat were and are Levaquin, Cipro, Prednisone and I mentioned it to my doctor that I found out this information online and by reading the literature that is attached to every prescription. He told me to stop looking online. Meanwhile, I can barely walk, and need two knee replacements. I wanted to go out of this world with the knees that God gave me, and not ones that are made of steel or whatever they are made of.

It is so frustrating that I cannot walk, anymore, and the doctor's need to really look into what they are giving to their patients. The Pharmaceutical companies deal only in profits.

My brother had bronchitis and his doctor would not give him an antibiotic. Hmmmmm............... I think that doctor knows the score.

I was prescribed cipro 4 months ago for a tooth infection. I had taken it before so I didn't think twice about it. After the third dose, I was taking my daughter to school and my entire left arm went numb while driving. I now have all feeling back but no muscle use in my left hand. I have also started feeling pain in my.left hand and now my right hand and elbow. The pain on the right side just started so I'm not sure if its after effects of the cipro or something else. All I know is I'm only 24 and was perfectly healthy and strong before cipro.

I have been dealing with crippling back problems for nearly 3 years. I took Cipro for the first time 4 years ago and never wondered if the 2 were related until now. At that time I noticed the minute I started Cipro I started to have sore joints - particularly in my knee. Eventually, it resolved. Unfortunately, fast forward to now, and I had forgotten about that week of Cipro and the joint problems and just finished 5 days of Cipro 250 mg. 2x per day for a UTI. By day 2 I was having pain in my left knee, and by today, 2 days after having finished the Cipro, the knee pain in terrible.

So now, between the back problems on my right side (2 herniated discs at L4 & L5, Trapped sciatic nerve at S1, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease) which has lead me to a life of pain and slowed my physical world to a crawl, and the problem with my left knee which magically appeared while on Cipro, I can barely move!

I am a 52 year young woman who is a full-time student and about to transfer to a 4 year university in 2 months. My schedule is beyond demanding with just enough time to walk from one class to the next. With a perfect functioning body, that would STILL present a challenge, but now, I just don't know how I'm going to manage. Is there any way to detox and get this sh*t out of your system? Is there anything that can be done? HELP!

C. Mitchell - there are many different things people self-medicate with to try to reduce the effects of this family of drugs, but many people take months to recover to a decent level of activity. I was floxed 5 months ago by 4x 500mg Ciprofloxacin and I still have numerous issues, but I am MUCH better than I was in the couple of weeks immediately following it when I could shuffle about 100 yards at best and had to quit driving due to knee pain. On good days I can walk a couple of miles without issues and have been driving every day for a couple of months. I still have to very careful about my levels of physical activity.

There are a range of things for which there is published research that shows they can help reduce the effects of taking cipro such as Magnesium, (preferably chelated), Vitamin C (high dose such as 1,000mg a day), Calcium, Vitamin D & E, Co-enzyme Q10. In addition I take a high quality whey protein shake to promote muscle/tendon healing. It's also very important to get some good bacteria into your stomach since Cipro wipes out everything. Acidophilus is great for this. Good diet is also important - lots of fruit, veg and antioxidant rich food such as blueberries. Other things you can do include cutting caffeine/chamomile out of your diet and drinking hot water/lemon juice to help your liver detox, since the liver pathways that deal with these things are maxed out dealing with the toxic effects of fluoroquinolones. Good luck.

After reading all these blogs, I am more convinced than ever that these antibiotics are causing problems. I have been placed on Levaquin and Cipro for double-pneumonia and bronchitis. At Christmas time 2012, I had double-pneumonia and the doctor administered an intravenous bag of Cipro in my arm. I was prescribed steroids for my lungs.

I never felt right, and eventually I started noticing pains in my knees and throughout my body. Then in February, I had bronchitis, and again the doctor gave me the intravenous bag of Cipro and immediately I had fluid in my left knee which he extracted. I told him that it seemed to be after he administered the Cipro and he told me that it was just coincidence. Well, now I have a torn meniscus in that knee, a ruptured Achilles and non-stop pain every day. I can barely walk and there are days that the pain is so bad, that I just can't take another day. I can't enjoy being with my grandchildren as I can't walk, I don't find pleasure in anything because of the constant pain.

My doctor recently put me on Avelox. I am 57 years old and have been on a lot of different antibiotics, but I have never had one effect me like this. I took the medication for 3 days on the forth day every joint in my body started to hurt as if someone was smashing my joints with a hammer. It felt as if it were deep in the bone. I called my Pharmacist and was told yes this was a side effect. I was given it for Diverticulitis.

I had much rather have the Diverticulitis It hurt but not as bad as the medication made me feel. Be careful ask your doctor about this side effect it has been 3 days now and I still hurt

Two days ago I took my last Levaquin which I took for 10 days (700mg) for a staph infection in my nose. After the second or third day I noticed I had severe joint pain and stiffness in my legs in the morning. I figured it was a reaction to the drug, but thought it would go away after I stopped taking them. By the 5th day, my legs were tingling all over, my feet were painfully cold and all of the joints in my legs were cracking and popping when I walked. The pain was so bad I could hardly walk in the morning.

The pain hasn't gone away and it seems to be getting worse. I've also noticed that I'm extremely fatigued and exhausted. I'm usually a very active and highly motivated person, but I had trouble just getting out of bed today. I am so unusually tired. Today I noticed that the pain is now in my elbows and fingers. Everything is so sore and I just feel sick, out of it and like my body failing. I also have no appetite whatsoever.

What's odd about this pain is that it's different from normal muscular aches and pains. I've strained muscles before and I've had bad muscle pain from exercising too hard but this pain feels much different. It feels like it's inside my bones and it's cold and dull and achey.

I am so scared that this drug has permanently damaged my body. I'm only 29 years old and since starting Levaquin, I've felt like an elderly person who can hardly move.

Please help! Has anyone had any luck treating this? Am I going to feel like this for the rest of my life? What can I do to make this go away?

People's Pharmacy response: Please contact your doctor to report this problem.

Hi was put on antibiotics caused jaundice was very ill. My liver is back to normal, can it come back even though am not taking antibiotics now.

People's Pharmacy response: Now that you are back to normal, you do not need to worry.

I have a horrible story that I am still currently in the midst of. Last month all of a sudden everything felt different. I couldn't explain it and tried my best to just ignore it. One night alone in my room I was alone with my feelings and couldn't escape it . Everything was and had been off balance, I looked it the mirror and it felt far, I couldn't explain it. I had been forgetting words and losing my keys a few months prior to the odd feeling and getting horrible headaches on the same side of a tooth that had a root canal that still hurt. I went back to the endodontist twice he assures me I was fine. It got to the point where I could feel myself slipping into a coma. My brain was failing. My body was failing I could barely walk I was separating from EVEYTHING and in the ER they diagnoses me with depression !

Finally I took matters into my own hands and got the tooth removed. They found an abscess. I knew it. I knew I wasn't depressed. This was three days ago. I think I feel a little better with the help of antibiotics. But I still don't feel completely normal :( I fear death. Doctors are no help. And I've spent so much money

AFTER READING SO MUCH (MANY BAD OR NEGATIVE COMMENTS) ABOUT ANTIBIOTICS, I am affraid to take mine. I was prescribed for an infected cut 'CEPHLEXIN 500 MG. does anyone knows anything this antibiotic? I will like to know if anyone had a reaction or side effect. Thank you.


An infected cut should be treated with an antibiotic. You should not fear this medication when it is prescribed appropriately.

I have an ear with a punctured ear drum. Because of that, I get frequent ear infections. I have been been using Ofloxacin Otic for the last five years. For the past 3 years I have been dealing with a chronic insomnia that is driving me insane. Lately, I decided to research the prescribed medication. Side effects mention central nervous system damage. I am convinced this medication is at fault for my insomnia. Is the damage reversible? I would appreciate any comments.

I have had problems with Cipro and pain ever since. I take name brand Zithromax it's just one pill a day for a week. I make sure I eat activia yogurt before bed because you shouldn't eat it near the the same time you take the Zithromax. one thing I think is very important to note is that the generic versions of pills aren't the same as the name brands. It's about the fillers and inactive ingredients being different which can cause the active ingredient to be less effective. Generics only have to be 80% as effective, yet it is shoved down our throats that they are the same as the name brands.

There is a book called the Orange Book that goes into scientific detail on generics versus name brand formulations. Generics don't dissolve in your stomach the same either.

I can personally attest that I took generic Zithromax and ended up needing TWO courses of it instead of the one course of name brand Zithromax. name brand Zithromax works in two days for me but the generic didn't work at all in a week! The bio similars that are coming out are going to be way worse as those only have to have a "similar" effect. it's about time the insurance companies get out of forcing our doctors to do or prescribe things. The Drs need to start listening to the patients. We know our bodies.

I only took one pill 875mg augmentin. It made me so sick I never took another one. Now, a month later bad leg aches. Did you ever get better? How are you? I'm afraid its going to be permanent please let me know what you think. All my levels from cbc came back normal so I'm not sure why the leg pain and it won't go away. Thank you I really pray you are better!

I was diagnosed as having silent reflux causing a lot of sinus drainage as was prescribed Nexium 40 mgs twice daily and Amoxicillan for 28 days did not make a connection at the time or before but aprox 2 weeks in my ankles swelled and stiffened up and so did many joints in my body hands, fingers, knees achille's tendons, elbows, shoulders, neck. My right knee is on fire if I kneel also extreme weakness, brain fog, gastric problems, dizziness, I can barely walk sometimes my walking is getting better went to Rheumatologist he thinks it could be early signs of RA but did not have these vast problems until the antibiotics some area seem to be getting better. Was on this therapy almost 4 weeks I started in July I believe is right and now almost November still having problems I return to Rheumatologist Nov.9

I am 64 and have had almost continual UTIs this past year for which I've been on almost continual antibiotics (varying ones but not CIPRO). Now I have frequent thigh pain and calf cramps (mostly in one leg). I'm unable to sleep at night because of the pain (especially when I try to sleep on my sides). It also aches during the day when sitting at work.

Could the pain be related to too long a period of antibiotics? I take calcium, magnesium, zinc pills every day (previously prescribed for restless leg syndrome).

Hi all, last year around the Christmas holiday I took levaquin for a sinus infection. Well three days into the five day treatment my shoulders hurt a bit, but by day five I could barely raise my arms to lift my newborn! Fast forward to this past September my knee just came undone! (dislocated my right patella and tore tendon) I wasn't running or jumping or turning sharply! All I did was stand up!!

Today I'm just now learning to walk without a limp and still can't bare full weight! What's even more scary is now it feels like my right elbow is about to come apart too!! Also, at times I lose use of my arms... painful and difficult to raise them up! All this suffering from taking something that's suppose to be beneficial! I've spent two months on crutches and 2 1/2 months in therapy. I recently had pain in my left knee too I'm praying that one holds up!

I was prescribed 875mg Augmentin for what my doctor thought was a sinus infection. Half way through the 10 day treatment my body felt achy all over, was weak and I ended up suffering stroke like symptoms - facial numbness, tingling in my left arm and my head ached and was in a fog. I ended up in the ER on two separate occasions. They performed a CT scan and MRI and found nothing. I hope that the lingering symptoms will resolve with time. This makes me very leery about taking this and any other medication in the future.

I have not read the comments but the "article" itself is purely anecdotal. There doesn't appear to be any proven facts to back up the claims. Anyone can just say something and who would lie on the internet? RIGHT?

Hi all, 1st off I'm sorry to hear about the complications that so many are experiencing. I realize some of these comments go way back but it is obvious that this thread is active and since I read every single comment I wanted to add mine. At this moment I'm on Cipro and Flagyl for what may be a parasite infection likely caused from recent previous antibiotic intake. I took Keflex about 3 months ago and then recently Cipro for 14 days for staph. I was admitted for 1 1/2 days in isolation on both antibiotics (Cipro/Flagyl) IV. Then sent home and have about 3 days more to take of both of them. Before being admitted, the admitting Dr. who was called in talked to me. He said there are 2 main causes for what they believe I have (waiting on a test to come back) 1) hospital stays of any length and I was in the hospital just for observation for 1 day about 2 months ago. 2) antibiotics kill good bacteria and sometimes we can get C. diff. (bacteria)

All my life I have had issues with antibiotics mostly stomach upset and often headaches and then dehydration which lead me to ER and sometimes another antibiotic to correct what the former antibiotic caused. Are you getting the picture of the vicious cycle that antibiotics can cause? HOWEVER, in some cases antibiotics are life saving. I also didn't know then what I have learned now.

I do want to share that Augmentin for me by far caused me the worst experience of all of them with regard to severe joint pain. I stay away from that one. What I have learned is that I can take antibiotics now as long as I take Protonix. I take it in between doses. It has made a huge difference but get a good Protonix if you choose to go this route (good doesn't mean expensive). Eating yogurt just isn't strong enough for me. What my Doctors have taught me is when I am given an antibiotic and if I have any strong reaction like numbness, swelling, severe diarrhea, etc. after dosage, then it could be an allergic reaction. It is wise to call your Dr. right away or go to ER and get treated. Some of the comments above seem to indicate allergy to the antibiotic.

What I feel I did wrong this time with back to back antibiotics and a hospital stay that has made me so very sick is that I was weak after 2 rounds of antibiotics and slept so much that I was missing my doses of vitamins and supplements and not eating much and not eating right either. I have a couple medical conditions that added to the fatigue and I have to take my vitamins and supps for my immune system.

A comment was made above that was right on about taking the vitamins listed, drinking hot water with lemon to detox liver etc., green tea is a good thing to drink as well and this can help after antibiotic treatment. We as patients have to be totally involved in our care and research. Doctors hate that, well it's our life. I will never make that error again and will take the good things to help my body recover after antibiotic treatment and especially not miss the Protonix (or Prebiotics) which helps with the good bacteria we all need.

But I can say honestly that when I have a condition that I agree with the Dr. that I need an antibiotic, I will take it. You can't let a staph infection or other serious illnesses go and not get help. I didn't read any comments that explained that at times we have to have antibiotics. In life in general eating good food, grass fed meat, lean towards organic foods and taking your multi and supplements can help greatly to reduce the frequency of needing antibiotics. Prior to this recent experience I went a couple of years without any antibiotics at all. Sometimes we just get sick enough that we need medicine. I also don't jump right away to get antibiotics and try for a couple days to take extra vitamin C, get more rest, etc to see if I can get better.

I also agree very much that Doctors should discuss the potential side effects and reinforce the main symptoms to watch for which can indicate an allergy to that antibiotic and to get urgent care right away. The pharmacists are a great resource as well.

I hope everyone has recovered well by now. I know some have suffered a lot and it's so sad. I also hope that when you all do need help with a condition that you get it and keep track of what you all can and can't take. Write it down and have it handy at all times in case of emergency.

I have just experienced a severe allergic reaction to ancif IV after minor surgery. I feel terrible with upper arm muscle cramps, severe weakness et. This is very frightening as I need to return to work next week.. I am trying to understand if I have fluoroquinoline poisoning.. thanks for these posts as I attempt to try to figure out what has happened to me. My doctor advised me that these symptoms will only last for 14 days, its now day 13 and I still feel awful.. Any advice would be appreciated!
I have been doing a liver cleanse for two days now, Dr. Oz ..

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