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Levaquin (Levofloxacin) Side Effects Leave Long-Lasting Disabilities

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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 side effects BEFORE people start taking such drugs. Here is a list to be aware of:

FLUOROQUINOLONE SIDE EFFECTS & 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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Looks like it's a good idea not to have a prescription filled without first doing your own research about it on the Internet. I had a few very short courses of Cipro several years ago but haven't had any of the side effects mentioned... unless they haven't shown up yet.

While I haven't taken Levaquin for about 3 yrs, I had taken it a few times over 5 years for sinus infections. The first time was walking pneumonia as above. The pneumonia got better but I wonder now if the knee pain and weird cramping and spinal issues aren't associated with it. When I had the WP, I also got a shot in the doc's office because I was so sick. Sigh... I had forgotten about these side effects till reading this.

I'm not sure what to do at this point because obviously there is no records (different docs) for the Levaquin. I'm more interested in treatments if any to alleviate the pain. Tylenol helps but the deal with that scares me so I maybe take one every other day, same with an aspirin, too much is no good.

I've tried the gin soaked raisins and it helps for a couple months, then I take glucosamine mix each day but don't see much help there. Tiger balm works if I use it at night and let the knees rest. Another thing, not sure if it's all related, but my balance is bad. I'm 62. Not good. My steps are watched and calculated.

If anyone has any ideas on therapies (like PT? - but scared I'll do more damage) and can say exactly WHAT that Levaquin DID...or ways they are treating it..I'd appreciate the ideas.

I also took Levaquin and it made me deathly ill. I had taken almost all and went to the pharmacist and told him and he said I should continue taking all the pills DUH Thank goodness I did not. It took me quite a while to get over it.

Terry & Joe,
THANKFULLY, we have YOU TWO to inform US!!!!

I took Cipro twice for prostate infections, about 2 years apart, in the 1990s. The second infection occurred when I was on a beach vacation - after 3 or 4 days, I called a "phone book" local Dr. and fortunately he said it sounded like prostate problems and referred me to a local urologist who immediately correctly saw it was prostate infection and prescribed Cipro. As it had on the first bout, the Cipro quickly cured the infection.

Bottom line is that I never had any side effects - but - this was during the time when Cipro was the real stuff, not a generic copy from India!

Why don't you badly affected people write to your congressman and senators and ask (no, tell) them to put the screws to FDA about this massive wave of bad generics! It's the perfect time, an election year!

Honestly, The People's Pharmacy saves lives! It is pretty frightening that Terry and Joe are the only people standing between the American people and death, but in the absence of a functioning health system and effective regulatory agencies, we are certainly lucky to have you.

Since breaking my left wrist six years ago, and subsequent surgery to repair the complex fracture, I have had significant neuropathy in the third finger of my left hand. Perhaps I was administered one of these dangerous antibiotics in the hospital; I don't recall. The symptom is best described in the FDA warning published above as a "change in sensation to light touch, pain and temperature." Fortunately, this is mostly a relatively minor annoyance, and not a life-altering condition.

I was a perfectly healthy and athletic 45 year old until I was given Cipro in 2003. The past 11 years I have been completely falling apart. I have had ankle surgery, hip surgery, two neck surgeries, back surgery.... just about one surgery a year .... and I have an appointment with my ortho next week to discuss surgery options on my dual torn rotator cuffs.

One of the black box warnings on Cipro is for tendon ruptures and tendonitis. For some people, like me, the damage to the tendons is permanent and catastrophic. It is damage at the cellular level that never stops.

There are thousands of people like me that are working hard to get this word out. Plus, there are hundreds of studies documenting the damage these meds do to the tendons, ligaments, connective tissues etc. dating back 20+ years. Please listen - this entire class of antibiotics are very strong and dangerous and need to be taken in life and death situations only.

Doctors are giving them out for minor infections and preventatively. I never thought my life would turn out like this and I would be commenting on wonderful articles like this to spread awareness, but I am worried about my children, their future plus my body is so broken that I can't really do much of anything else. Please avoid Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox and all fluoroquinolone antibiotics - insist on something else - when not facing a life and death situation.

Yikes! I just finished a course of Cipro for a uti. I already have some nerve damage in my shoulder, so it's very scary to hear of these other side effects. Thanks goodness my infection is cleared up and I don't have to take any more, I dodged the bullet on this one.

I'm sorry that the first commenter had a bad reaction to Cipro but I have to say where was the pharmacist in this whole situation? I don't think I have ever had the DOCTOR tell me much of anything about a drug he/she was prescribing but I ALWAYS get a brief "talking to" by the pharmacist if it's a new prescription AND a big long sheet attached to the prescription with all kinds of possible side effects, drug information, etc. Didn't this person read all that? We have to take personal responsibility for our bodies and knowing what we are ingesting is part of being personally responsible. Additionally, I always look on the internet for any information available about a new drug I might be taking. I have had Cipro many times with no ill effects but it is concerning to hear about all this and I will probably ask for something else in the event it is prescribed for me in the future. Also, if I tried to contact my doctor and they never got back to me about something like this, I'd be finding a new doctor.

I was prescribed Ciprofloxcain for severe case of bronchitis. It was not getting better. My Dr. changed me to Levofloxacin 500mg once a day. The second night I had hallucinations, and psychosis. I immediately stopped after 2 pills and was prescribed Amoxicillin 500 mg 3 times a day. After the bronchitis got better I had a x-ray which showed COPD. I thank God I stopped the Levofloxacin.

I suffered severe agitation, I thought I was losing my mind. When I asked my doctor to change the antibiotic, he poo poo'd the idea, but I insisted. Luckily this side effect wore off, I have never experienced this before and it was very disturbing.

@Fourkatz: What you are saying is not at all realistic. First of all it is impossible to read all the small print information sheet that comes with each medication. Second, the doctor prescribes the medication for the specified illness (out of a few that are indicated) and he is not privy to all the complications. He/she can only go by what the drug companies have divulged. Thirdly, if some medication is new, not all the ill effects are available to the general public/internet. Fourthly when you are sick and have to take the medication right away you don't have all the time in the world to do extensive research. Finally there is no medication that is completely safe. If it kills the bug it will cause you some problems too because we (including the bugs) share some common genes (from the bacteria to the dinosaur to man).

Once again, this group of antibiotics makes news in your column! Thank you for writing about them, but unfortunately 99.9% of the medical community disagrees that these drugs are harmful BUT if they do, they are not admitting it because nobody knows how to "fix" us. Even if we read the inserts, and let me add that I have been told by doctors not to bother reading them as you wouldn't take an Tylenol, most of us wouldn't think we would end up being that 1% that get those terrible side effects and would take the medication that their trusty doctor told them to take. The statistics are quite erroneous. There are many more people than 1% getting ADRs from these drugs. I have been sick since 1997.

I was prescribed Cipro on a Saturday Emergency room visit for a UTI. I experienced "spacey" feelings on Sunday and Monday and since Cipro was the only new thing in my life I was afraid to take more. I called my regular DR. and got a Rx for Amphicillin which I was more comfortable taking. I experienced no side effects with that. Having read since then all of the awful adverse reactions people have I am grateful that I only took it for a couple of days.

There are so many metabolic pathways which are blocked or antagonized by Fl that the many diverse reactions are not so surprising. I always warn people not to let anyone give them this drug.. It should never be used as a first choice as it so often is. DR.s rarely believe me when I list that as a not tolerated drug.

Having had lung problems for years, I have used some of the above meds. Each time I have wondered why I had joint and bone problems. Fortunately there has been no need for any in the past few years. My husband was also prescribed them in his last years. Doctors tell me that my joint and bone problems are because I am old. Who knows?

I too was given Levaquin but it was administered in my anesthesia. I was also given a Rx for Cipro, which I filled, but after reading the side effects on the information sheet I decided not to take them. Thank goodness I didn't. My reaction to the Levaquin was a retinal tear. I had to be checked every 3 weeks for over 2 months w/a retina specialist for detachment issues. I found a website that said quinolones are accumulative in your system & side effects can show up months later. Do not take this drug unless it's a life or death situation... but realize you may not have much of a life after taking it!

husband had mrsa from a hospital stay for pneumonia (he has copd, asthma and diabetes). was treated with antibiotics for 3 weeks but still had small spot in lungs. dr. gave him avelox. on the first day he had stroke like symptoms that lasted for about 45 minutes, on the second day they were more severe and longer lasting. by the third day the symptoms were so bad he couldn't walk, find his words or breathe without difficulty.

back to er where they tested him for stroke and other weird things. the avelox was the culprit as he had stopped taking them after the first 2 doses. the meds affected an area in his brain from a stroke 9 years previous. he had the muscle pains and weaknesses and still does 2 months later. we did read the flyer from the pharmacist. the warnings were the same for all the meds we get, therefore we didn't realize the avelox was the cause.

I've suffered with diverticulitis since I was 37 (now 55) and the doctors always prescribe Cipro and Flagyl. Both drugs always made me think the cure was worse than the problem. I never had the pain described by other readers but there were so many other side effects that I always dreaded having to take the pills. A few years ago, a physician's assistant suggested that I use an ice pack on my abdomen whenever I felt diverticulitis pain - and that has worked! I haven't had to take those nasty drugs for years. After reading this, I don't think I will ever take them again! Thank you for sharing the news.

In 2005, I was given four days of levaquin in hospital for kidney infection. I developed hallucinations and four different cardiac arrhythmias, one of which is still with me. A friend whose husband is
a doctor suffered a ruptured achilles tendon from Cipro. Her husband will no longer prescribe the quinolone antibiotics.

Is amoxicillin or azithromycin included in this class ?? I have nomadic pains in my wrist, knee, elbow and thumb that last for sometimes days, sometimes weeks....but never more than one at a time. I attributed it to joining the "pain a day" club when I turned 50. In addition, I have problems with the tendons in my hand that connect to my little finger and a tendon problem in the balls of my feet. Plus cold hands and feet. Side effects or old age (I just turned 60) ??? Interestingly, the problems are worse on my left side.

3 years ago I was given a 7 day prescription for Levaquin for a sinus infection. I read the pharmacist information sheet and immediately and went back to him, explaining that athletes should not be prescribed this med. He told me that he had never seen a problem with that medication and since it was just a 7 day prescription I wouldn't have to worry about it.

On day 8 my ankles swelled and my wrists got sore. A week later I was in so much pain that I couldn't walk, couldn't get up off the toilet or use my hands. This extreme pain lasted 3 months but eventually subsided in those areas. However, soreness and stiffness have since migrated to my knees, my hips/thigh region and my shoulders, in that order, but have mostly subsided in those areas now too.

Now the stiffness has migrated to one side of my neck right into the skull. I have found that what works best for the stiffness for me is the prescription anti-inflammatory drug Arthrotec. One pill will give me some relief but the pain never completely goes away. I try not to take this medication except when the pain/stiffness returns and interferes with my daily life, 2-3 times a week. After 3 years I wonder where/when it will all end.

In February of 2011 I fell ill with a COPD exacerbation, and went to my pulmo specialist and was prescribed Avelox, and prednisone. Within 24 hours of taking the meds I was in pain all over my body, having panic attacks, felt like I had been hit by a bus. I called the pulmo's office and told them something was wrong.

I was told that prednisone was a horrible med, and the side effects were bad, but keep taking it, I would feel better. I kept taking it all, two days later I was worse and called them again. Now I could barely walk, the pain in my legs, and arms was tremendous. I had to use the wall to keep from falling over. I felt like my heart was going to pound out f my chest.

Once again the pulmo office said, the doctor understands, but keep taking everything, you will feel better. I completed the course of Avelox, but was still on the prednisone and not getting any better, I was getting worse. One night it was so bad, I couldn't breathe and my son took me to the emergency room, where I was admitted and placed in the Critical Care Unit.

For the next 9 days I was pumped with massive doses of solumedral, and more antibiotics and was released barely waking on my own. I got home and laid in my bed for the next two weeks only getting out of bed t use the restroom a few feet from my bed, hanging on to something the entire way. My son took me to my primary care doctor as I seemed to be getting worse. Diagnosis – Severe Adverse Reaction to Avelox! The reaction was worse due to the steroids I was given.

I was all but bedridden for the next 2 months, then went to using a wheelchair, to a walker, to a cane which I still use almost 3 years later. My heart, liver, and lungs were damaged. I went from 68% lung function to 31% lung function. Am now on disability, and living a life limited as to what I am able to do.

After 2 years of not healing from the reaction, I was diagnosed with Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome. I went from a patrol car in February to being labeled permanently disabled in 7 months. I now have chronic tendonitis throughout my body (not just the Achilles like the commercials indicate,) lung function 31%, pulmonary hypertension, diastolic heart failure, joint issues, muscles issues, cognitive issues, neuro seizures, and the list goes on.

Hundreds of thousand of dollars in medical testing later, I still have no answer as to why this happened to me, and am told there is no “cure.”

I have taken Levaquin many times in the past with no adverse effects. This past spring I took Levaquin 750 mg tabs for pneumonia and developed severe left knee pain and swelling, severe left shoulder pain, and overall muscle pain. It was so bad, I had to take almost the whole summer off from work. I did extensive physical therapy for my knee (including a prednisone shot) and shoulder.

After 6 weeks of PT, I had an MRI of my knee which showed 2 meniscal tears. I did not want to take a lot of ibuprofen, as that can cause it's only problems, so tried the raisins/gin remedy without any success. The things that helped me the most were weekly massages and Epson salts baths. After I started feeling a little better, I added acupuncture too. I ended up having knee surgery in November and am not 100% better, but getting closer everyday!

I have no doubt this was all due to the Levaquin. Although my physician, nurse practitioner, surgeon, physical therapist and massage therapist cannot say it was definitely due the Levaquin, they all concur they have heard similar stories. I think more extensive warnings should be placed on fluoroquinolones and patients educated about the potential effects so they can make informed decisions about medications to take. Thank you for bringing this important subject to the attention of the public!

This is the only medication that I have ever had a reaction to in my life; and what a reaction it was. Approximately 8 years ago I came down with a nasty prostate infection. Running a very high fever I went to the urgent care clinic run by my physician's group. After a number of tests confirming the prostate infection I was prescribed Levaquin. This was in the evening after 7 pm.

After arriving home I immediately took one of the capsules and went to bed within approximately 1/2 hour. Before I could even get to sleep I started having thoughts of killing my wife and committing suicide. I started hallucinating and experiencing real terror at the thoughts I was having. I got out of bed, got dressed and told my wife, who was still up watching television, what I was experiencing and then I went out for a long walk till the effects wore off. In hindsight that may have not been too smart but it worked out for the best. There is now a notation in my medical records to NEVER prescribe any quinolone medication to me.

I've taken these antibiotics without side effects. Does that mean I can tolerate them in the future? Or can the nerve damage occur anytime you take them, not just the first time?

Thanks for your information.

I ended up in the emergency room and no one would believe me until I asked them to look in the PDR. It affects the elderly more often.

I had frequent UTI for several years and then ordered a Removable Bidet and with frequent use and after every bowel movement, I have not had a urinary tract infection in 5 years. These attach to the toilet seat and can be ordered off the internet. Mary

I was prescribed Cipro for a kidney infection; 500 mx two times daily for two weeks. Within 2 days, it made me feel so strange, somewhere between agitated and floating above the clouds! Scary... but even worse, the antibiotic made the pain in my back and backside even worse! I called my doctor; she was unconcerned but did prescribe Vicodin for the pain.

Knowing full well I might be making a big mistake, I stopped the dosage 5 days before the prescription called for... I simply had to trust the signals of distress my body was sending me, night and day.

The kidney infection seems to be gone, knock wood. Okay, here's what is really disturbing:

My sister was prescribed the very same antibiotic and asked the doctor about side effects. The m.d. said she'd never heard of any... although I'd given her an earful just two weeks prior about the pain, strange feeling of psychosis, etc.

Either doctors just aren't listening to us, or they are forgetful.

It is pointless to blame the sufferers for these side effects; my pharmacist didn't bat an eyelash on being prescribed the Cipro! I did, however, had to sign an acknowledgement to receive the Vicodin... strange world!

A small dose of painkillers, albeit strong ones like Vicodin, merit much more attention from pharmacists, the FDA, and the medical community than the very real dangers of Cipro!

If Docs & PharmD's get kickbacks for prescribing these meds, do you think they'd NOT do it? I'm fairly certain they do get something from the pharmaceuticals, why else would they be used without batting an eyelash? Alternative medicine docs would tell us I'm sure. I'd much rather work on staying healthy and NOT take pills. Those years I mentioned above in my comment were working years, no time to do anything but get better. Ya, and look at the long term issues that prevail for so many, and what can we prove? Those scrips were from over 10 yrs ago and in the last 5-7 yrs, and if I had the records, which I keep for taxes, who would listen?

Please understand that even one pill can do you in, so don't think you are in the clear because you stopped them. I am sorry to say that weeks and even months down the road, this drug can rear its ugly head and you will get all these weird symptoms happen to you. Just be aware of your body. If your eyes start to bother you or your tendons, muscles etc just know it was from those few pills you took. Be careful.

I was prescribed Valacyclovir lgm for shingles had it filled at my local supermarket. The manufacturer for the product was Cadista Pharmaceuticals. The seven day course of meds. did very little to help my symptoms. When additional blisters appeared I returned to my physician.

I had another script for Valacyclovir 1gm filled at a local small drugstore. The medication they gave me was manufactured by Roxanne Labs (same dose and duration). Within two days I had relief from most of the pain and itching.

Is it possible that all generics are not created equal?

UCSD Fluoroquinolone Effects Study

Have you taken an antibiotic such as Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Levaquin (levofloxacin), or Avelox (moxifloxacin)? Would you be willing to help in a survey-based medical research study?

Dr. Beatrice A. Golomb and her colleagues at the University of California, San Diego are conducting a new study to identify and describe side effects and risk factors for good and bad outcomes involving antibiotics in the fluoroquinolone class. Other example fluoroquinolones include Zymar (gatifloxacin), Floxin (ofloxacin), Zagam (sparfloxacin), Trovan (trovafloxacin), Tavanic, and Vigamox.

Whether you believe you have experienced side effects or you believe you have tolerated them, you are invited to participate in this voluntary study. Participants possessing English language fluency from all countries are accepted.

Study participants will be asked to complete questionnaire(s). By participating in these surveys, you can help us further understand the effects of fluoroquinolones and report findings to the medical community (including prescribing physicians) and the general public. Surveys will cover your overall health, well-being, fluoroquinolones taken, and symptoms; impacts on your life and career; and your personal story.

For those without side effects, there is currently just one survey taking 20-30 minutes to complete.

For those having adverse effects, there are currently 3 (voluntary) questionnaires that can be done separately, each taking approximately 40-90 minutes (time varies per individual). Each survey addresses a different set of concerns related to fluoroquinolone effects. More voluntary surveys may be available in the future. Compensation for taking the surveys is not available.

If there is a chance you are interested in participating, please visit our website at:
http://www.fqstudy.info

for further information on this important study.

If you know of anyone else who might consider participating, then please pass on our website address. We truly appreciate your participation and referrals.
-The UCSD Fluoroquinolone Effects Study

I have problems with asthma and infections in my lungs. If I didn't take Levaquin I don't know what I'd do. I usually end up taking it once a year. I don't usually read these types of things because I think they tend to put fear in people. Some people develop every single side effect they read about! I would suggest caution when reading these stories if you are such a person!

Looks like the two different Labs were producing the same drug with different ingredients (very scary!

I appreciate TMI on both sides of the issue. Thanks to all the people who wrote in. It has been very helpful to know; even though I have never had to take the drug.

I agree with on this, although I'm a pharmacy tech, but I'm against the use of medication for every little thing that arises with your body, people need to do their own research about everything concerning their health, and stop taking shortcuts with medications.

you can actually get some of that info from the prescription label like NDC # and manufacturer name. the other's gonna have to call the pharmacy you filled the prescription and ask for the lot # and other info off the bottle they used to fill the RX.

Since I have started reading your articles I have become healthier. When you get older... the md's just give you a pill. If that pill doesn't work... another pill... and on and on and on. I now read all of the papers on the meds also... question the MD. The younger MDs do not mind the questions it is the older generation that rather you not ask questions.


A year and a half ago I was hospitalized with severe gut pain. I was tested for various possible reasons and was given, among other medications, Cipro. Six months later I was undergoing leg wraps for lymphedema for three months. During this treatment my feet became numb. Pulling on compression stockings made my right arm begin to hurt. That has never stopped.

Now my shoulder and arm are hurting all the time, my feet are still numb, and I still wear compression stockings. After reading your article, I am quite certain Cipro was a contributing factor is these afflictions. Lymphedema, numbness in both feet, and pain in shoulder and upper arm muscle.

Six months ago I was given an antibiotic for an eye infection, but I don't know the name of that medication. Now I am very wary of all such antibiotics.

I developed weird joint pain in my legs on the next to last day of a z-pack (azithromycin) so didn't take the last dose. I was told the meds stay in the body for several days after taking them. The pain disappeared 5 days after halting the meds. Years ago, I took Cipro on several occasions for UTIs with no ill effects. Now, several years later, I have tendonitis on either side of both of my Achilles that are not responding to PT and/or new orthotics. I don't know if Cipro has a delayed reaction. I do know that the Z-pack gave me joint pain that disappeared shortly after stopping the meds.

Reading these comments makes me wonder: is it possible much of the problem is too high a dose? I just listened to a news report that concluded men and women should not be prescribed the same dosage of a drug.

Had a sinus infection that didnt go away after 10 days of 1,750 ml of Augmentin. Went back to Dr, gave me Levaquin to take for 7 days, 500 mls. Took one dose, felt better after a few hours, however, it gave me insomnia and felt like I was in a fog. Took the second pill then decided to do some research. I am terrified by what I found. I immediately drank a bunch of water, ate food, took Vitamin C, ate yogurt, and bathed in Epsom salts. I am 35 years old, no health issues. I am praying this will not affect me but I am so scared. It's scary to know that months down the road symptoms can start to appear. Is there anything else I can do to rid my body of this?

@Trish- interesting. I wish I had done more research when I was sick, but the operative word is SICK, & I was with walking pneumonia, very sick, no time or energy to do that, then you rely on the docs. I won't take that Levaquin again and steering clear of cipro too!
tx for the info.

Very good thought Trish, but I would think that the doctor prescribing the medicine would take that responsibility.

I was given levofloxacin 500 mg for a sore throat. After 4 pills, I woke up this morning with tendinitis in my elbow and experienced some light headedness, both printed symptoms, particularly for those over 60. I'm 66 and very fit, so the tendon problem is of concern. I've had Cipro in the past with no obvious side effects. I stopped the meds and will see where it goes, but I regret taking the medicine.

At age 45, I ended up with a staph infection (MSSA), and was prescribed Levaquin. I ended up with a rash on my chest and tight breathing. At my request, the doctor prescribed another antibiotic, doxycycline hyclate. The staph infection returned 4 months later (same location), so I was put on Bactrim DS followed by a Hibiclens 4% daily body wash and a Bactroban Nasal 2% treatment, and kept the location swabbed daily with alcohol and povidone iodine (2x per day). That did the trick. I had no problems with the doxycycline or Bactrim DS.

I have noticed that, since the staph infection, I regularly have burning in both legs and chronic insomnia. I also experienced a vitreous detachment in one eye and then, two months later, a retinal tear in the same eye.

I am 46 and on April 12, 2013 I was prescribed Levofloxacin 750 mg. for 10 days because the "doctor" couldn't figure out what's wrong with me and he was worried I had traveled abroad. So he threw a dart in the dark and prescribed me this "medicine"

After taking 7 pills I had mild sensation on back of my left heel, so Dr. ordered me not to take the remaining pills and stay off my left foot.

During the course of medication, I also had insomnia, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, but once I stopped the medication the psychotic effects all went away fairly quickly.

I completely immobilized myself for two full weeks, even though I was very active before, working out (cardio. and weight training) every other day.

However, my left ankle tendon got worst. I started feeling burning pain on the back of my heal and tingling and needles and pins feeling at the bottom of my heal. The pain is come and go, increases if I stand or walk and decreases if I rest and put no weight on it.

For two weeks I was on crutches (and wheelchair in airport) until I saw two orthopedic doctors (they did MRI and bunch of tests all neg.), who told me not to worry about tendon rupture and if I can bear the pain then it is OK for me to walk. Only, I need to wear high heal and place a heal support in my shoe and prescribed me anti-inflammatory medicine. At this point my pain is 1-3 in scale of 10.

I also have been taking multivitamin, magnesium 500 and Vitamin E.

After two weeks pain was worst, having pain 1-5 on scale of 10, and my right foot started having the same symptoms as I had on my left foot early on.

I had other issues too. One episode of sever pain in shoulder (first right then left), 3 cases of severe muscle weakness and muscle pain in my calf and the back of my tights, 3 episode of lightheadedness and almost fainting, and one case of right bicep tendon tenderness. But, they don't seem to be persistent and are fine now. Also, my left calf muscle size is visibly reduced by about 25% compare to my right calf. Dr. says it is because of me staying off of it (I hope he is right)

I try to keep in shape by swimming and doing stomach crunches, but despite my best effort my health and body are visibly degraded.

From January 2014, I lost all symptoms for almost full 3 months so I was very happy, thinking I have dodged the bullet. However, in April, again I started having off and on pain in my left Achilles tendon.

Things got worst. I have had sever and continuous pain/burning sensation on my left Achilles tendon for the past 3 weeks

It seems like I have to live with this pain for ever and I may well be permanently disabled.

It is hard to believe this drug is available. This drug should be only given in life and death situation. I have already filed a complaint on with FDA MedWatch and I encourage anybody who suffers from the adverse effects of this drug to do the same. I think the side effect for this drug is overtly under reported.

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