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Antibiotic Ended His Participation in Basketball

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

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?

A. Cipro belongs to a class of antibiotics called quinolones. This includes ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin) and moxifloxacin (Avelox). Although such medications have been sold for decades, in July, 2008, and August, 2013, the FDA issued safety warnings about tendinitis, tendon rupture and possible permanent nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy). We know of no antidote for these complications, though time may help.

EDH also had problems with this drug:

I have taken Cipro a number of times for diverticulitis with no problem and great results – BUT – 2 weeks ago, I had a flare up and my doc put me on it again. After just 2 days,  I started to get pain down both legs, from my butt all the way down to my calf. My wife – who is an English trained diagnostic nurse – ordered me to stop taking the pills immediately and told me to tell my doc I wanted to change to something else. He wanted to see me first, but agreed to my request. Thank goodness!! My wife told me I could have had permanent damage and maybe even become crippled by the drug!”

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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