Q. I was prescribed the generic antibiotic Levaquin (levofloxacin) on 6/25/13 for “walking pneumonia.” The doctor did not provide any information about the drug. The prescription was for one a day for 10 days.

After two days (2 pills) I was in such extreme pain throughout my entire body that I could not walk, get up or go down stairs. I was in a wheelchair for a week and had to use a walker for a couple of weeks more. The pain in my joints, especially my neck, upper shoulders, lower back, legs, knees, etc. was almost unbearable.

It has now been almost eight months and I am still experiencing joint pains that seem to move around my body: one day my neck hurts; another day it’s my knees, thighs, hamstrings; then my back is affected.

When the pains began, I tried to contact the doctor. I left messages with her office that I could not tolerate the Levaquin and to please give me something else.  She apparently was calling the wrong number, (the office had both my numbers!) and never spoke to me.  Finally, after taking 6 of the pills, I decided to stop as I figured I’d be dead with 4 more!

Upon returning to the doctor a week after my first visit, I told her of my experience and that I had stopped taking the antibiotic.  She insisted my side effect reactions had nothing to do with the Levaquin and were not a result of this drug!  She told me to take 800mg of ibuprofen three times a day for the pain.

A month later in July I saw my orthopedist.  He could offer no help, but his nurse shared with me that she had had the same side effects from Levaquin and that it had been a year and she was still experiencing joint pains all over; one day here, another day there.

Going on the Internet I discovered that many other people have suffered the same side effects as I had…some for years!  I called the FDA to report the above, but was not able to get any of the required information from the pharmacy (no manufacturer, expiration date, Lot.#, etc.). I completed 5 pages of information on the FDA’s MedWatch form about side effects and such and faxed them to the FDA.  I also discovered there are some 3400 lawsuits regarding levofloxacin.

A. You are not the first person to report serious complications from levofloxacin (Levaquin). This is an antibiotic in the class called fluoroquinolones (FQs) or quinolones for short. Other medications include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin) and moxifloxacin (Avelox).

You are also correct that it is hard to complete the FDA’s MedWatch forms because it is almost impossible to get the essential information they demand (manufacturer, expiration date, Lot # and NDC number).

Here are some other somewhat similar experiences posted to our website:

“I was taking a 30-day prescription of Cipro for a prostate infection. After playing full court basketball, I awoke the next morning to knees that felt as though they were encased in concrete.

“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.

“Ever since that time (20 months ago) I have suffered in every way imaginable. Sometimes I cannot even walk up my apartment stairs. I have seen my doctor, an acupuncturist and chiropractors. No one can make it go away. This has totally impacted my life, since I can’t play tennis and have a very hard time playing basketball. Do you have a suggestion?” Doug

“I took this medicine four years ago. I was also very physically active before taking it. After 7 days on the med, I developed body-wide tendon and nerve damage that has yet to improve. There are literally thousands of people who have been crippled.” Greg

“I had a similar experience with Cipro. I took it a year and a half ago and have had terrible joint problems ever since. The problems started almost immediately after taking Cipro. I’ve had to spend thousands on tests, physical therapy and doctors’ visits. The worst is my feet and ankles hurt so bad that walking is difficult now. I can no longer exercise without suffering days of pain. All this time, there is some improvement but much of the damage is permanent.” D.B.

“I took Levaquin on Nov.14, 2012. After 6 pills I had Achilles tendonitis, small tears, muscle aches and joint pain all over. Two years later I am still suffering from tendonitis, bursitis in my shoulder joints, fatigue and insomnia. I never ached so much in my life and it continues to get worse. I walk with a cane. There is numbness in my foot and leg diagnosed as neuropathy. Levaquin was prescribed for suspected urinary tract infection. It was contraindicated with my other meds and my age. This just should not be.

“This drug has caused permanent damage and ended most of my life activities. Doctors need to be informed what this med does and care about the consequences. I hope this antibiotic gets off the market or is used only in a life or death situation.” L.P.

We could provide dozens of other stories, but by now you have the idea. According to the Food and Drug Administration, more than 21 million people get a prescription for a quinolone antibiotic each year. Such drugs are prescribed for sinusitis, urinary tract infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, prostatitis and skin infections. Cipro has been around for decades.

The FDA issued an alert about FQs last year about neuropathy:

“This serious nerve damage potentially caused by fluoroquinolones may occur soon after these drugs are taken and may be permanent… Peripheral neuropathy is a nerve disorder occurring in the arms or legs. Symptoms include pain, burning, tingling, numbness, weakness, or a change in sensation to light touch, pain or temperature, or the sense of body position. It can occur at any time during treatment with fluoroquinolones and can last for months to years after the drug is stopped or be permanent. Patients using fluoroquinolones who develop any symptoms of peripheral neuropathy should tell their health care professionals right away.”

In addition to the nerve damage, these drugs can cause lots of other serious complications, including tendinitis or even tendon rupture. When this happens it can be a life-altering event. Joint pain and arthritis-like adverse reactions are not generally recognized as a complication of quinolones in adults, though they have been noted in children. We tend to believe the people who have reported this problem on our website rather than the official prescribing information for these antibiotics. It has taken the FDA decades to acknowledge the problems with tendons and nerves, so we would not be surprised if it takes years more for the agency to recognize the joint complications.

Unlike many of the people who have reported problems on this website, we are not calling for the banning of quinolone antibiotics. Goodness knows, we are running out of effective medications against serious infections given the degree of bacterial resistance that has evolved over the years. But doctors must inform patients of potential fluoroquinolone side effects BEFORE people start taking such drugs. Here is a list to be aware of:

Fluoroquinolone Side Effects and Complications:

  • Digestive distress, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, heartburn, vomiting
  • Headache, dizziness
  • Agitation, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Tendon problems, tendinitis, tendon rupture
  • Retinal detachment
  • Nerve damage, peripheral neuropathy, nerve tingling, numbness
  • Allergic reactions, skin rash, anaphylaxis (life-threatening reaction requiring immediate medical attention!)
  • Super-infections including C. diff diarrhea
  • Hallucinations, psychosis, seizures
  • Depression, suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Irregular heart rhythms, torsades de pointes, QT prolongation
  • Kidney or liver damage
  • Blood disorders
  • Arthritis, muscle pain, weakness

Share your own experience with FQ antibiotics below. We want to hear the pros and cons of such drugs. Let others know how such medications worked for you and what, if any, side effects you have experienced.

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  1. Lori

    I am a 57 year old, active female. I was prescribed a 750mg/day, 7 day course of Levoquin, along with a 7 day course of prednisone, for an upper respiratory/pneumonia in late April 2016. While still on this course of meds, I developed pain and swelling in both knees. The pain in my right knee increased till ultimately I felt a “pop” and couldn’t put any weight on it. Went into the orthopedist in a wheelchair. Told him about my pain immediately starting while taking the Levoquin and prednisone. He said in his experience, that is mostly associated with a rupture of the Achilles tendon. Had Xrays and an MRI. There were some tears in the meniscus, but no way of knowing if that was normal wear and tear or something abrupt had happened.

    Had a cortisone shot. Now could get around on crutches, and sometimes could do without even them, although my gait was somewhat halted and unnatural. No significant positive change, so arthroscopic surgery was decided upon for right knee on June 30, 2016.

    The day before the surgery was to take place, I felt a “pop” in the back of my right calf, followed by some measure of pain, but eventually could walk. I mentioned this to the doctor the day of surgery, but he just said we would keep an eye on it. Healed well from the surgery and THOUGHT I was doing better, although my calf was very stiff and developed a huge bruise on the back of that calf. He said I had had a ‘baker’s cyst’ in that calf that had burst. Sent me to physical therapy for calf stretch exercises.

    The exercises aggravated my knees so I ceased going. By the end of July, my calf developed some swelling and then an itchy red rash. It was warm to the touch. The orthopedist was out of town, so his office suggested I contact my family physician. She said when that cyst burst, it put extra fluids down into my calf, and that I was developing cellulitis and prescribed a cream and an antibiotic. The rash cleared and the large bruise was dissipating and the swelling was much decreased.

    During the first week of August, my left wrist developed a nagging ache in it. I could do most everything, but it hurt to press in one particular area at the outer wrist joint. I also stepped wrong on my left leg and jarred my left knee terribly. Was back on crutches and back to see the orthopedist. He ordered an xray and found nothing broken, and gave me a cortisone shot in the left knee and put me on an anti inflammatory. I am now able to get around without the crutches, but not able to walk with a normal gait and have some measure of constant pain in both knees.

    I go back this Monday for a follow up and if it isn’t significantly better, he will likely order an MRI of that knee. Now tonight, August 18th, I patted my brother on the back a couple times and felt a very sharp pain in my left wrist. I can’t move my wrist at all without terrible pain! It hurts so bad, I could believe I have broken my wrist!! What is going on!!?? I’m so discouraged!! I have no doubt there is a correlation between taking the Levoquin and having all these problems in my knee joints, and now my wrist!

    From the simplest of movements, the outcome is such great pain and immobility! Questions I have: Does the Levoquin cause actual joint/ligament/tendon damage? Or does it weaken the areas making them more susceptible to injury? Is there any way to reverse the ill effects of having taken this drug? Are there any drs. that specialize in the negative effects Levaquin has on the body? Are there any encouraging stories of having fought back and beaten the ill effects this drug has on the body? Help!!! :(

    • Lori

      I forgot to add that I also suffer with strange pains that travel up the fronts of my thighs. And I also suffer from numbness in my thighs from time to time. It comes and goes without reason. Never experienced ANY of these or the above symptoms before taking the Levoquin. I am an otherwise healthy, active 57 year old female.

  2. Brenda O
    Bella Vista, AR

    Hello. I was prescribed Levofloxacin in early Jan 2016. I remember the pharmacist saying ‘be careful and do no do any housework or anything strenuous while on this pill as it could hurt your tendons’. I didn’t think much of it – I have taken meds before. (I was being treated for Pneumonia..2nd dose of antibiotics along with a steriod.)

    By Jan 15th (apx 2 days after taking all pills) I awoke to excruciating pain in both knees. Encased in concrete and being beaten is a good description for it. Immediately contacted my doctor and of course, completely they disregarded what I was saying. I hurt every day, every night for months. No position was comfortable.

    Finally about the first of July I started feeling a little better..had a few good weeks. And then it started again. Had an MRI done of my left knee and now have to have surgery to repair a tear in the tendon in my knee area. Massive swelling, large cyst, etc. All of this happening to my good knee.

    My right knee hurts but not torn up yet. From all of the information listed above, the surgery may not heal everything. Very discouraging and I am worn out. I’m still limping in to work every day…praying for a miracle. Please take caution before taking this drug. Sure wish I hadn’t.

  3. charles

    I took levaquin for a sinus infection. After the first pill I felt like my nerves were popping out all over. After the second one I never ached so much in my entire life; every muscle and bone in my body hurt, so I stopped them, and now I have to wait and see if I get back to normal.

  4. tommy
    Aurora, Colorado

    I got very sick just a few days before Thanksgiving of 2015. I went to my Doctor suspecting a respiratory infection. The Doctor ordered Xrays, and checked me out thoroughly, and with the Xrays and her exam, diagnosed me to have Pneumonia. I was pretty sick.

    She told me that she probably should put me in the hospital, but because of the Thanksgiving holiday, we would wait and see if the medication helped? She prescribed some medicines, Levaquin, and an inhaler, and some Mucinex to clear up my chest congestion. I was coughing badly and had to sit up in my recliner chair at night to sleep a few hours and had to take some ambien to get any sleep.

    After the long weekend, I suddenly developed pain in my left Achilles tendon and could hardly walk. However, the pneumonia symptoms had greatly subsided and I was feeling much better, and felt like I was recovering. However, I couldn’t figure out why my left Achilles tendon was so troubling and painful like I had torn it?

    I had read the information packet that came with the Levaquin, and it did list tendonitis as on of the possible side effect. I didn’t give this much thought at the time because I was sick, and it didn’t matter, getting rid of the pneumonia was my priority. 6 days after taking the 500mg tabs of Levaquin, my pneumonia symptoms had abated, and I was feeling good, but now hobbling around because I could hardly walk. I tried to do some simple exercises thinking that was loosen things up with the tendons. It did not.

    I spoke to the Doctor about this, but this did not seem to be a major concern to her at the time and she said I would get over it. I was crippled up for about 2 to 3 months with the left calf pain from the Achilles tendonitis which slowly got less painful to where I wasn’t gimping around, when almost spontaneously I developed pain in the left knee, right neck/shoulder area.

    This left knee had been replace (metal prosthesis) 18 months previously in 2014. I recovered well from the knee replacement (it was the second revision, the 1st one failed after 12 years), and I was doing fine in rehab, but 6 weeks post op of knee replacement, I took a step down some stairs and felt a pop in that knee with some exquisite pain. After that occurred some days later, I found that I couldn’t lift my left leg, and I subsequently fell in the shower, and fell just getting out of bed. I realized something was wrong, and went to the orthopedic Doc who informed me that I had torn out the quadriceps muscle and I needed immediate surgery to reattach the tendons and muscle.

    Two days later I was in surgery on the 3rd of July, 2014 (6 or 7 weeks post op to the knee replacement surgery). This was very painful. My bout with the pneumonia occurred almost a year + later in Nov. of 2015. Anyway, as the tendonitis in the left Achilles tendon subsided, my knee was afflicted with tendonitis and almost as painful as when I had the reattachment procedure.

    I went to the orthopedic Doc, who did the reattachment procedure the prior year, and he said that I had a very rare reaction to the Levaquin, and that I should go to physical therapy. I went thru 8 weeks of physical therapy with very little improvement, and I still have some instability, and weakness in the knee.

    This has now been going on for 9 plus months with very slight improvement. I still have difficulty with stairs, and uneven ground. I do exercise routinely almost 5 days a week, but to no avail. I still can find no one who knows what is wrong, or how I can get better? Seemingly, the answer is “just give it more time.” So, I am still gimping around with a limp, and a stiff knee. So, does anyone out there have a “magic pill” or a cure?

  5. Lucetta

    I was taking levaquin 750 MG for eye infection. After about 7 days, every joint in my body began to hurt so much. My neck and back also hurts constantly. After I was prescribed levaquin, I read up on it and asked my eye doctor and later my family doctor for something else would do the job but didn’t have such severe side affects. I was told that this medicine was very common and it was what my eye doctor recommended for treatment and that it should be oKay to use. So I started taking the levaquin but after 7 days, I stopped taking the medicine myself because it felt like every joint in my body started to hurt, couldn’t sleep, itching, headaches, confusion, dizzy, weak and hard to breath at times. Yes, it was the levaquin causing me these problems because the day before I started taking levaquin, I had a doctor’s appointment for a check up and I had none of these problems. If I had, I would have told my family doctor at that time. It was the next day following my check up when I started on levaquin and not long afterwards, these side affects started. Even though I no longer take levaquin, the pain and suffering is still very much present! If anybody finds something to stop or help ease the pain, please share. Thanks

    • Dinah

      I have taken Levaquin on and off for more than 7 years, as I have COPD with constant bronchial infections and pneumonia. About 3 years ago I started having hip and leg pain which caused me to limp and spend much of my time on the sofa with a heating pad. I am retired but my pain has severely limited my life. I am unable to play with my grandchildren, cook dinner, and struggle to dress myself.

      Before realizing what was causing my pain I spent more than 12 weeks seeing a chiropractor, had several tests done including MRIs, spent 8 weeks in physical therapy, and saw a back specialist, an orthopedic surgeon, and a arthritis doctor, looking for answers. I even kept a pain journal in an attempt to document when and why my pain was better and worse. I was never able to make any correlation which might help me determine what was wrong. All the above doctors and therapists finally said they couldn’t help me.

      About a month ago, I happened to notice online that nerve, muscle and tendon pain are a side effect of the drug Levaquin. I suddenly realized that I should simply have contacted my Pulmonologist, who had been writing all of my prescriptions for Levaquin for several years, with no mention of the obvious side effects. It just never occurred to me to associate my pain with this drug.

      My pain comes and goes at will. I can be miserable with severe pain in both hips in the morning, and by evening the pain has radiated through my knees and into my feet. I have classified it as an 8-9 on a scale of 10 marking unbearable pain. I have a difficult time sleeping as I can’t put any pressure on my hips, so no side sleeping, and I find that sleeping on my stomach provides the best nights sleep, in addition to Lyrica and a sleeping pill.

      This medicine has pretty much ruined my life and I understand there is no relief other than pain medicine. I long for my old life where I could perform simple tasks and not have to think about pain every moment of the day. If anyone knows of the class action lawsuit that seems to be ‘out there’ I would certainly like to be added as one of the plaintiffs. Please advise if you have info on this active court case and where it is filed. Like countless others, this drug has pretty much ruined my life.

  6. Pam

    In May of 2011, I took 1 pill of Avelox for a sinus infection and became extremely ill. Bloody diarrhea sent me to the emergency room. I was diognosed with c- diff and spent the next 4 days hospitalized. It took me at least 6 weeks to start feeling better. I now suffer with arthritis in my neck, hips and feet as well as joint pain.

  7. Barbara

    I was prescribed levaquin 500mg a day for 10 days for a UTI. On day six I started to experience leg and knee pain. I was not even able to get up off the toilet and had difficulty walking up and down stairs. This lasted about a week to 10 days. After some research I realized this pain was related to the levaquin. I will never take this drug again.

  8. Sharon

    My mother was hospitalized for a bladder infection, after the second dose she started hallucinating. We tried to get help for her and the nurses told us it was sundowners, my mother had no dementia before. We stayed with her through the night and refused to allow her to be given further treatment but she was never the same. A friend told me her father had the same hallucinations.

  9. Deborah

    My diagnosis was double pneumonia, was hospitalized for 5 days They administered I. V. Levaquin and was sent home with 10 day prescription of Levaquin as well. The pain I my shoulders [ where the joint is at ] started while I was in the hospital and has pretty much stayed constant, it has been approximately 5 weeks since my discharge.

    It [ the pain ] does not allow me to raise my arms over my head, I have to sleep on my back…. sleeping on my sides is way to painful, any type of movement whether it be washing or combing my hair, getting dressed or even sneezing does not go without a high amount of pain.

    My question is, is there going to a light at the end of the tunnel? The pneumonia is completely cured, but I am left with constant pain in both my shoulders with seems to be from the antibiotic I was given to help get rid of my pneumonia…..WHY ?? How do I go about getting over which seems to be some form of a terrible adverse side effect or possible Levaquin poisoning. Any feedback would be very much appreciated, Thank you for your time.

  10. Kathy
    Los Angeles

    Was prescribed 750MG of Levofloxacin for 5 days for pneumonia and took my last pill over 8 days ago. The left side of my rib cage is sore to the touch, my back is aching and I am having pain in my right knee. I don’t know what to do. Called the Doc and he said just roll with it, the pain will eventually go away….. really? I took this stuff to fix me, not to keep me in this pain. Any suggestions???? HELP ME!

  11. k nand

    I took levofloxacin for 6 days to treat pneumonia, and on the 6th day instead of getting better, I developed fast heart beat, more coughing and fluid in my lungs! Have an antibiotic skin test first before you take this! It can really ruin your life! So sad doctors are still prescribing it to make their patients come back!!! Now I had lung fluid extraction, and have difficulty speaking. I’m trusting God and vitamin C to reverse the damages. I read somewhere that vitamin C can cure pneumonia. Sad to deal with money making doctors!

  12. kevin

    Was prescribed several strong antibiotics, including Lavaquin over about 2 months for chronic sinusitus. These drugs are toxic and poison. Had knee pain, feet hurt, hip pain, ankle pain, inability to sleep many nights, difficulty standing up after waking, The only thing that seemed to neutralize the pain were steroids, methylprednisone. Of course, you can’t stay on them too long either. I had to stop taking the last antibiotic post-sinus surgery after 6 days of a 14-day course. Like many others on this site I have always been active but now somedays I just want to get thru the day. I cannot believe that there isn’t a bigger back lash about these drugs. When I complain, which I hate to do, but seem to be getting better at, I feel like a crazy person and people just kinda say, really antibiotics can do that???? Yes, everyone on this site has my sympathy, and I pray time heals.

  13. DS

    I took Levaquin and Cipro as my “go to” antibiotics for the past 20 years, because I am allergic to most other antibiotics. I never noticed an immediate problem, but would have horrible joint pain for months. My fingers would hurt so bad that I could not dry them with paper towels in public restrooms. I dreaded having to shake hands with people. The pain would be random, but intense. Also, my shoulders would hurt so bad at night that I would be in tears. I would have to literally throw myself off of my side to roll over. I never put it together that it was because of those drugs, until the reports came out last year. I still have shoulder pain and issues sleeping, but most of the other random pains have stopped. I will never take anything from this family of drugs again. Not one Dr. ever indicated that there could be these kind of side effects, and not one Dr. ever suggested that my pain could be from those meds.

  14. margaret

    Was prescribed Levofloxacin (generic of Levaquin) 500 mg for 10 days by a pulmonary doctor for a spot on my upper right lung. I am 74 years old and was in very good health. After taking the 2nd pill I had very bad pain in my bones from shoulder to ankles and muscle pain in arms, wrist, knee and legs. Just had a liver scan today because my Alkaline Phosphatase levels are high due to taking this drug.

    I have seen Rheumatology, and I don’t have Arthritis. My right leg is swollen and very painful. I had 4 X-rays taken of my right knee, and the orthopedist said nothing was wrong and prescribed physical therapy. Never in my life have I had a pain in right leg until I took the Levofloxacin. I stopped taking it.

    I have been off of it for 2 months and still have pain in my bones and muscles with right knee swollen and pain all the time in it. I would never have taken Levofloxacin if I had known the bad side effects.

    Before this medication is prescribed the doctor should make it clear what it can do to you. To me it is poison. I told my doctor that it should never be prescribed and was told that if everything was taken off the market that hurt someone, they wouldn’t have any thing to prescribe.

    I just wish I had found all these responses about how bad it can be before taking Levofloxacin. I go back on July 5, 2016 for a CT scan of my lungs. Pray for me that the spot is not there after this horrible ordeal with the drug. I go next week to see the cardiologist to see whether damage has been done to my heart and chest. Also, I have an appt. with a neurosurgeon in 2 weeks. I pray there is no nerve damage.

  15. Kimberly

    I took Levaquin for 5 days in February 2016 for very bad phenomenon. After 2 days my hands started hurting so badly I could not open a water bottle or make the bed. I told a Dr who gave me a different antibiotic it has been 4 months and I still suffer from all over body aches and joint pain. I am miserable most days and in doing research on it, it seems as there is no relief to be had.

  16. Maryann

    I was prescribed Levaquin along with steroids back in March 2016 for bronchitis. The dosage was (1) 500mg pill once a day for 10 days. After several days on these meds I started to have severe joint pain. By the 9th day I couldn’t take the pain and decided not to take the last pill. I reported this to my doctor who had prescribed this medication, and she told me Levaquin could cause tendonitis.

    It has now been more than 2 months and the pain in my joints has gotten more severe, especially in my knees. My knees swell up, especially behind the knees, and I have difficulty standing up from a sitting position and also have difficulty walking. I have pain and a burning sensation down my legs to my feet and also in my feet. I also get pain in my upper arms/shoulders. Every now and then I get a strange pain in my eye. I have taken Meloxicam, Advil and Alleve to try to get some relief from the pain but it doesn’t always help. Had I known the damage this drug would cause me, I would have suffered through the bronchitis without taking anything. Every day is a struggle, and I basically do nothing, no physical activity due to the constant pain.

  17. Carrie

    I was prescribed Levofloaxacin for a kidney infection and after two doses had severe neck and shoulder pain. I just took my eighth dose. The pain is not too bad during the day but is unbearable at night. Decided to look this stuff up today to see if it was what is causing the pain. Wish I would have read all of this before this mornings dose. I would not have taken it. Now I am just hoping that if I don’t take anymore it will get better. I will never take this again. My question at this point is, has anyone had this and gotten better after or is this going to be permanent?

  18. Susan

    I took Levaquin for a bad case of bronchitis 18 months ago. Right after I finished the course I began having joint pain that seemed to travel through my body. At first it was bad and kept me form activities I enjoy. The cramping of muscles and joints still wakes me up at night and interferes with my job. As if I didn’t have enough to deal with before I took this stuff. I don’t believe in taking antibiotics as a preventive measure, why take something to fix an infection that isn’t there? But I’ve had breathing problems and every time I have an episode the doctor wants me to take antibiotics. I believe they should be a last resort because the cure can be worse than the problem.

  19. K

    I just took generic Levaquin for a bronchial infection or pneumonia. Within the first couple of days my knees especially began to get really stiff and hurt. I’ve been off the drug for a little over a week now and my knees are maybe only slightly better. I have to really hold onto stair rails (going down stairs is especially painful and feels as if my knees are going to blow out), and I now have to assist myself in rising from a seated position.

    If my knees are straight, it hurts to bend them. If my knees are bent, it’s painful to straighten them back out. Most of my issues are in the knee area but have noticed odd pains shooting intermittently throughout various parts of my body. Basically for me, it seems that anywhere I already had some muscle, tendon, or joint irritation, the pain got worse when I was on the Levaquin. The pain and stiffness hasn’t subsided since going off the med even though I am not doing any exercise regimen now. I am pretty regularly using Ibuprofen especially at night so I can sleep and also so the pain of moving my legs does not wake me up. I will not take this drug again. I hope this pain and stiffness goes away soon as it is really limiting what I am able to do.

    • Kathy

      I have the same but only in one knee…..has it gotten any better?

  20. Sarah

    MOVING ON: I have been suffering from Levaquin damage for 5 years from terrible tendon pain, knees, shoulders and achilles cramping. I used to be completely active. Now I am like a 90 year old. ( I am 70). I took Levaquin for 12 days for sinus infection, and on the last day I could not walk for almost a month. Achilles tendon was near breaking/ripping for a year. Before that I was hiking up mountains.

    What I would like to know is — has anyone found any relief from any treatments for Levaquin damage? Has there been any research on WHY this drug is so toxic? If I knew why, what chemically is happening, I might be able to use alternative therapies to help me. I don’t understand what the drug has done on a cellular level. Does anyone know anything? Thanks

  21. Anglela
    Lawrenceville, GA.

    I have taken Leviquin for varies reasons ranging from sinus infection to bladder infections through out years. At first, i thought my joint pain came from exercise e.g. jogging or aerobics, but i notice my joint pain was getting worse. I went from doctor to doctor trying to find out what was going on. They ordered blood work, x-rays, MRIs, and even put me on anti-immflammtory and pain medication. It only helped for a moment, then the pain starts back. I have a history of bronchitis and sinus infections, and the first thing I am put on is Levinquin or Cipro. My joint pain had gotten so bad that my Doctor ordered a series of test to see did I have Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis all test came back negative. I am sure this medication is a HUGE contribute to my joint pain.

  22. Carol

    I have been allergic to Levaquin for sometime now. I took it before 2011, not sure exactly what year it was. I do not remember how many I took when I noticed rash’s from my scalp down to my waist. I notified my Doctor and he told me to stop taking them, which I did. Since that time, little by little, I’ve had different problems, which could be related to this drug. I’ve got COPD, on O2 24/7 now, plus inhalers, nebulizers, chest shaker, and take mucus relieving drug when needed. I have Vitreous Detachment (eye where the retina is attached). I have cataracts. I have had balancing problems (gait), neuropathy, tremors, CMC of the left hand, Scolosis of the cervical and lumbar areas, and degenerative hip and spine areas. I am 70 years old, so I’m assuming some of these aliments are from aging, but my God all of them????? I now have to see a Cardiologist on Wednesday 5/18 for possibly Abnormal Heart Rhythm problems. My heart while at rest starts to beat very fast. I’m so confused and don’t know if I should persue this further with an attorney??? Comments?

  23. Anne

    I have taken both Levaquin and Cipro over the years …but this last prescription (for sinusitis) has laid me out. I thought it might be that I’d never had generic Levaquin before and the formulation must have changed. I also have peripheral neuropathay that was thought to have been caused by my Type 2 diabetes. But now I wonder….. since it came out of the blue a few years ago, if it was related to usage of these drugs. I have stopped the 500 mg of Levafloxin on my 3rd dose today and pray I will be okay. Guess you have to Google before you take any drug these days !

  24. Frances
    Queens, New York

    I was on Levaquin for 5 days this past October for a severe infection. About a week later I nearly fainted on the job and was found to have hypotension. The doctor cut my BP med in half. Next, I awoke feeling as if I were getting the flu or I’d been beaten up. My entire body was achy from head to toe. Although I had no fever, I had chills that no amount of blankets could alleviate. I lay curled up in bed, exhausted, for two days. There were 5 more episodes over the next eight weeks. Three doctors found nothing wrong with me. A fourth doctor, a rheumatologist, tentatively diagnosed fibromyalgia. I know that was wrong. I don’t have pain at any of the classic pressure points. Since January, I’ve had migrating muscle and joint pain with no apparent relation to a specific activity or degree of activity. I’ll wake up with an aching right upper arm and shoulder, then it will go away only to be followed by pain in my neck, back, ankle, or knee. Tingling or pins and needles sensations in my hands and feet have become normal. I ignore it. As I write, my right elbow, forearm and wrist ache. Thus far, Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ms, lupus, sleep apnea have all been ruled out by tests. I am not diabetic. Knee and ankle pain has prevented me from walking, formerly my main form of exercise. I used to walk for miles on end. Now I’m in too much pain to go any farther than a block or two. I have to sit and rest before turning around and walking back. Stairs are difficult, some days more than others. Unfortunately, I both live and work on the fourth floor of buildings without an elevator. I make it up and down, but one step at a time, clinging to the railing or bracing my back against the wall. I require 9-10 hours sleep to function decently the next day. I used to get along fine on 6 1/2 hours. I have a neurologist appointment in three weeks, but I’m not getting my hopes up.
    If anyone else has had this, did you get better over time or find an effective treatment?

  25. Lisa

    I took Levaquin for 10 days for a staff infection from a dermatology procedure. Three or four days into it I started noticing my legs were very tired and my knees were stiff. I thought it was because I was resuming normal activity after six weeks of keeping my leg up and not doing anything strenuous. However two weeks later my knees are still very sore and stiff. Not sure if it is getting better, maybe a little bit the last day or two but I need to take Motrin to sleep or do any sporting activities. Never had knee problems before this so I am sure it has to do with the Levaquin. I am a 61-year-old female .

  26. Margie

    Hi All,
    I feel your pain. I was prescribed Levaquin for 10 days 500 mg per day for a supposed UTI. (later tested negative for it but had been suffering with it badly so I continued to take the med) I happen to have also had an infection going on in my nasal sinus’s and a little bit in my lungs and something around my heart .. and had been to ENT for this.

    I was out of town when I went to urgent care and they gave me the levaquin. My UTI symptoms did not really get much better but ultimately did and I tolerated the meds okay.. one MAJOR important comment I’ll make is that the Doctor that prescribed this said in somewhat of a scary tone.. “YOU MUST DRINK ALOT OF WATER WITH “THIS” MEDICINE”. YOU MUST.. something made me think this was very serious.. so I made sure that I went off all other vitamins (that might have interfered) and only took my blood pressure meds .. ate well and drank and drank and drank large poland spring bottles 3 a day…always with the idea that as soon as I took the last pill..

    I was going to start high quality probiotics.. well by the time I got to the 10th day and a few days later I had tendontitis in my hips, weakness in one leg and weakness in other areas too.. but I diligently took the probiotics immediately I think that would be good to take for 30 days..and I started to research the drug more carefully. I read somewhere that it affects your enzymes..

    I was very lucky and started taking enzymes. I was diligent to go slowly with moving around and I made a good recovery.. I think enzymes and probiotics and plenty of water is the key.. I think it will still do anyone out there good to take these.. I only took the enzymes 2 weeks and now intermittently..I didn’t want to suppress my own body from making enzymes and unlike probiotics, enzymes I believe go in and out and don’t stay.. so you have to not get your body dependant upon these as well.. but to take them for a week or 2 and then every 5 days or 7 I think would be okay..

    I also started to take my high potency vitamins again..I asked around what helps stimulate your own enzymes to work and someone said “bitters”.. our local chocolate gourmet shop makes his DARK chocolate with bitters!! I lucked out again and happen to go there a few times after this whole ordeal and had his own home made dark bark and I asked him. why am I not getting sick or symptoms from this chocolate.. no stomach ache.. no zits no nothing.. he said.. because I don’t use sugar I use bitters!!!!!!! and sweet cocoa.. wow.. this all happened right when I needed it too.. I had about 3 huge helpings over that week and half and I think it helped.. it was delicious also!..homemade dark chocolate made with bitters.. how did I stumble upon this?

    The good news is that the levaquin CURED my sinus infection (remember I was prescribed this for a UTI and it ended up curing 2 other ailments that were pretty bad.. but the UTI.. that seemed to have cured only slowly) So my sinus problems got cured, my gurgling around my heart got cured.. I stopped hearing the gurgling/palpitation that was around my heart.. which I also think was from an infection..(it showed up on an echo cardiogram and the doctors didn’t offer anything for it.. by accident I took the levaquin for the UTI and bingo the heart thing got better..

    This is a potent drug and probably should truly be only given out for only certain ailments and with STRICT instructions and immediate follow up with probiotics and enzymes.. I hope this helps someone out there.. lots of water too.. good luck and God Bless

    • Alice
      San Francisco

      Margie, did you take enzymes and probiotics at the same time as the antibiotics? I’m on third day, so far no reaction but by reading all these reactions I’m getting scared and want yo everything possible to avoid or prevent these scary side effects. Any other advice what to do? I gave 4 more days to go, daily 500 mg. Thank you!

  27. John
    Frisco Tx

    I took Leviquin for 10 days, had no symptoms while taking it for a serious cough and congestion. The day after taking the last pill, I felt very sick, flu like symptoms, and legs are hurting and aching. It’s been 1-2 weeks now and my legs feel worse everyday. Took aspirin to help rid pain, but that isn’t working anymore. Wondering if anyone had similar symptoms and if so, how long will this last. Pain and cramps in my legs are unbearable. What can a person do to ease the pain? Totally miserable in Texas.

    • Mona

      I took leviquin for 7 days for a kidney infection. Ever since I’ve had worsening leg, knee and ankle pain. It seems to get worse instead of better. I have no idea what to do from here.

    • Daniel

      In February after pneumonia in the hospital I was given Levofloaxacin for 7days dosage at home. About ten days later my legs, ankles and feet began to swell, blister and peel with excruciating pain radiating throughout, up and down non stop. Three months later it remains much the same even though some swelling has subsided. It was only the other day on TV that I heard a woman tell of her nightmare after taking this drug and then I learned what has happened to me. The pain doesn’t stop no matter what I’ve tried except for a little relief from Lidocaine burn spray( about 5 minutes worth). When I told my doctor he more or less waved me off;”didn’t know”. This drug is poison.

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