The People's Perspective on Medicine

FDA Warns About Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics and Aortic Aneurysm!

At last the FDA is warning doctors and patients about a life-threatening side effect: fluoroquinolone antibiotics and aortic aneurysm. Did it take too long?
Explore laparotomy to Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm repair

There are side effects and then there are SIDE EFFECTS! A drug that causes headaches or heartburn can be annoying, but such symptoms are tolerable if the medicine is doing great good. Side effects that are potentially life-threatening are a whole different matter. On May 26, 2014 we warned readers of a really serious complication: fluoroquinolone antibiotics and aortic aneurysm. On October 26, 2015 we asked: “Did Levaquin Antibiotic (Levofloxacin) Cause Lethal Aortic Rupture?” A woman shared a tragic story about her father’s aneurysm after a fluoroquinolone antibiotic.

Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics and Aortic Aneurysm?

We discovered an article in JAMA Internal Medicine (online, Oct. 5, 2015) that established a connection between fluoroquinolone (FQ) antibiotics like ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin) and moxifloxacin (Avelox) and aortic aneurysm.

What is aortic aneurysm?

This is a life-threatening complication. When the main artery in the body, the aorta, ruptures or tears it is disastrous. Bleeding can be massive and lead to death. To say this is a crisis is an understatement.

Where was the FDA?

We were shocked to read on May 10, 2017 this statement from the FDA:

“As part of our ongoing review of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, FDA is informing the public that patient cases identified by the FDA and findings from published studies currently do not support reports that these medicines may result in detachment of the retina in the eyes, or bulges or tears in the aorta blood vessel called aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection.”

In other words, the FDA determined that fluoroquinolone antibiotics and aortic aneurysm were not a thing. Don’t worry, be happy.

More Evidence of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics and Aortic Aneurysm!

An article published in BMJ (March 8, 2018) reestablished a connection between FQ antibiotics and aortic aneurysm. We wrote an article about this serious complication on June 18, 2018. We shared another tragic story about a man who died after receiving levofloxacin. The diagnosis: ruptured aortic aneurysm.

We Contacted the FDA:

On June 5, 2018 we contacted the person at the FDA who is responsible for monitoring adverse drug reactions. We alerted him to the article in the BMJ and a meta-analysis in the American Journal of Medicine (Dec. 2017) that concluded:

 “Evidence from a small number of studies suggests that exposure to fluoroquinolones is consistently associated with a small but significantly increased risk of aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm.

We concluded our message to Dr. Gerald Dal Pan with a request to reconsider the FDA’s stance on fluoroquinolone antibiotics and aortic aneurysm:

“Perhaps now would be a good opportunity to update the public about aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection associated with fluoroquinolones.

“Thank you for your consideration.
Joe (and Terry) Graedon
The People’s Pharmacy

On October 8, 2018 we reported yet another case of fluoroquinolone antibiotics and aortic aneurysm.

The FDA’s New Warning About FQ antibiotics and Aortic Aneurysm

At last, the FDA has issued a new warning about fluoroquinolone antibiotics and aortic aneurysm. On Thursday, December 20, 2018 the FDA announced:

“A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review found that fluoroquinolone antibiotics can increase the occurrence of rare but serious events of ruptures or tears in the main artery of the body, called the aorta. These tears, called aortic dissections, or ruptures of an aortic aneurysm can lead to dangerous bleeding or even death. They can occur with fluoroquinolones for systemic use given by mouth or through an injection.”

“Patients should seek medical attention immediately by going to an emergency room or calling 911 if you experience sudden, severe, and constant pain in the stomach, chest or back.  Be aware that symptoms of an aortic aneurysm often do not show up until the aneurysm becomes large or bursts, so report any unusual side effects from taking fluoroquinolones to your health care professional immediately.”

We are glad that the FDA has finally acknowledged that FQ antibiotics can cause this potentially life-threatening reaction. In our opinion it took far too long. That said, we are glad that the FDA Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, has been very candid about this problem:

“Today we’re warning patients and healthcare providers that fluoroquinolones can increase the occurrence of rare but serious ruptures or tears in the main artery of the body, called the aorta, which can lead to dangerous bleeding or even death,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “Certain patients are at increased risk for aortic aneurysm, including elderly patients and those with a history of blockages of the aorta or other blood vessels, high blood pressure or certain genetic conditions that involve blood vessel changes. Although the risk of aortic aneurysm or dissection is low, we’ve observed that patients are twice as likely to experience an aortic aneurysm or dissection when prescribed a fluoroquinolone drug. For patients who have an aortic aneurysm or are known to be at risk of an aortic aneurysm, we do not believe the benefits outweigh this risk, and alternative treatment should be considered.”

What Do You Think?

Do you agree with us that it took too long for the FDA to take action? FQ antibiotics have been on the market since the late 1980s. It took decades for the agency to discover that these drugs could cause irreversible nerve damage, tendon rupture, retinal detachment and aortic aneurysm. We would like to get your thoughts on this serious situation in the comment section below.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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My father was a healthy, non smoking, non-drinking 75 year-old who died in surgery from Aortic Aneurysm and Dissection. I was denied the medical records. They took 5 hours in surgery for what was they said, “The worst case in Oregon they had ever seen!” The surgeon stated, “The aorta was so flimsy it just kept tearing and fell apart. The walls of the aorta were so flimsy and so thin, there was nothing we could do.”

My Dad bled to death on the operating table Dec. 18, 2018, two days before this FDA WARNING was released nationally and one week before Christmas where he was scheduled as the music director at church for 5 masses that weekend. He had a respitory infection, thus the prescription ordered to take not once but TWICE! But Dad was walking the dog every day, going to the gym twice a week, had lost 30lbs recently, was directing his church choir, playing tuba in a brass band, was starting a barbershop quartet, and really full of life with a strong voice and spirit. He played his guitar and led 7 different Catholic church congregations over 40 years with his Contemporary Christian music. He lived in Oregon for the last 10 years, but Minnesota was his home. He was quite a music legend here in Minneapolis, as he helped revive several Catholic churches. Many services, especially his holiday services were standing-room only. During the time when the Catholic church was collapsing, my Dad was brought in to lead a revival with his music and energy and Big Bang smile!

I did not get a chance to talk to my Dad that day at the hospital. He was lucid and doing fine and waited for over two hours to find a doctor who could do the surgery. Apparently their phones were not working in that area of the hospital, and the cell phones did not have reception except for texting. They warned after doing the tests, that the surgery had a 40% chance he might die. Dad was strong and full of life so there seemed to be no fear of this, going in. He died officially 5 hrs later. The doctor and surgical team could not believe how flimsy the aorta was and were quite shocked when they opened him up and started the procedure. They said, “It just kept tearing.”

On Thursday Dec. 20, I turned on the tablet computer which I rarely use except when my cell phone dies, and was just going to look for flights for the funeral. Then right on my screen in big black and red letters without any type of search, this message appeared on my screen: CNN Headline News 4:50pm, Dec. 20, 2018, “FDA Warns Certain Antibiotics Given to Respiratory Patients Cause Aortic Anneurysm and Dissection Leading to Dangerous Bleeding and Death.” I strongly believe that Dad wanted me to see this! I was not looking for it and had never heard the terminology before he died in surgery Dec. 18.

I got the call at 11am that day and will never forget that call from my brother, “Mike, he’s gone, Mike, Dad is gone”. We prayed all night, my brother and I prayed with hundreds of others praying for him while he was in surgery. My brother was in California, and I in Minnesota. Hundreds of people were in prayer teams praying for my father. This was a tragedy. It was not his time. These drugs and surgery killed my Dad. My Dad trusted doctors. He never questioned them. He just did what they said.

He was on his second “reissued” dose of antibiotics! He was on them for about 30-45 days leading up to his death. He was given another pill for a heart irregularity that the doctor said he should take if feeling a regularity issue. He took one of those also the day of his Monday hospital visit. I believe the combination was like a walking time bomb with the antibiotics weakening the walls of his aeorta and the heart irregularity pill exploding the vessel.

I find out now that heart irregularities can be CAUSED by the antibiotics, and another sign was about a month before he died he was experiencing nerve damage in his upper neck and shoulders going down through his arm and a constant pain and tingling, and they couldn’t figure out what was the reason. The warning sins were there a month before. These drugs were killing my Dad slowly, yet if the doctor had looked at the side effects or if my Dad had not trusted big pharma and his doctors to do their jobs then my Dad would be here today playing his guitar, and on Sunday I would have wished him Happy Father’s Day.

One year ago this weekend I saw him for the last time at my brother’s One Mile Bang charity road race for the homeless. He flew out and helped set up the course in Los Gatos California and sang the National Anthem. He was full of life and there is no doubt in my mind these drugs killed my Dad. The hospital in Oregon said he was the worst case they had ever seen! After two doses of these powerful killers, given to a 75 year-old, no wonder he was the worst case.

I want answers. I want an explanation. I want these drug companies held accountable for the death of my Dad! They did not release the records to me at the hospital and then flat out denied me the records in a letter in March. I’m the oldest son directly related and carrying his surname, am the stated next of kin. But I received a letter saying, “We are sorry, (my dad’s name), but we are unable to release your medical records.” How stupid is a letter like that? It made no mention of me, his son Michael and says only we are sorry (dad’s name)”. Hello! My Dad is dead, and on the request form his address is in Oregon, and their medical records are in Oregon listing him as deceased in Oregon.

What a stupid, ignorant and unlawful document. To hire a lawyer costs money. I don’t have it. I am his direct and oldest son, and we talked all the time and were very close. To honor my father and to protect others from the tragic death my Dad suffered, I’m writing this and hope it is read by hundreds of thousands warning them of the dangers, not just the side effects, but the very serious risks of nerve damage and of death from the heart valve, in plain terms, exploding!

After taking erithromiacin, 3 pills, Zpack in a factory sealed carton, not pharmacist counted and bottled generics as in the US, I am
taking daily 30 billion probiotics and still feel side effects. Big knots
on bottom of feet along tendons and some inside hands.
Podiatrist was useless, said to ignore it, hinting I would not be
around long enough for it to matter. I am a young, active 79 on
no meds which most docs find unbelievable. I will no longer be
his patient… not that he cares!

Another drug that can cause all kinds of problems, even death!! My mother had a aortic dissection, (no known cause), Jan. 1995. She was not given much time as she was taken from one hospital to a trauma center hospital that could deal with this kind of surgery. As she was wheeled into the hospital, she was taken straight to the OR bypassing the ER. As she was handed the consent to sign, she was told if she did not have the surgery, she would die within 24 hours, and if surgery was performed, she would have a 90% chance of paralysis if she survived the surgery.

A graft, from the aortic arch down to the abdominal aorta, replaced the damaged part of the dissecting aorta. She did survive the surgery! She was paralyzed from T7 downward. She did live as good as life as possible for 10 years after the surgery with me as her primary caregiver.

My mother did have allergies to several medications, and for years prior to the Aortic Dissection, she had been prescribed the Fluoroquinolone antibiotics for UTI’s, URI’s and other ailments. The antibiotics that she took most often were Levofloxacin and Ciprofloxacin. After her paralysis, she was still prescribed these antibiotics, including Moxifloxacin, for different illnesses.

During the 10 years after her surgery, she developed other problems, such as, Macular Degeneration, Gallbladder disease, High Blood Pressure, Crohn’s disease, and anxiety problems. My mother passed away in Nov. 2005.

Now, in 2018, the FDA states these drugs, the Fluoroquinolone antibiotics, can cause Aortic Dissection among other medical problems. I believe that it was these drugs that either caused or contributed to the Aortic Dissection and some of her other illnesses.

Since reading your articles on FQ (Cipro, etc.) I have refused to take Cipro when the MD’s wanted to give it to me. I keep a FQ ‘list’ in my wallet to make sure I refuse any of those meds. I have a friend whose MD prescribes Cipro for her too often urinary tract infections. I have warned her but am told her MD says that for a short period Cipro won’t hurt but will help the infection. Of course my friend won’t listen to me, as I am not an MD so how does one get through to these people???? Shouldn’t the FDA put these meds on a restrictive list

I took Cipro in 2003 and have needed 8 joint surgeries since. This antibiotic did permanent damage to my tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints – just 2 of the many FDA black box and strong warnings these antibiotics carry. An antibiotic that can do this and cause aorta aneurysms ???

What is wrong with the FDA that these antibiotics are still on the market? And, these adverse reactions are not rare everyone. People don’t link their torn tendon, nerve damage, heart problems… to the antibiotic they took days, weeks or months earlier. Read all of the warnings please before taking a fluoroquinoline antibiotic. Know the huge risk you are taking. Evaluate if the risk is worth it and if not, demand a different antibiotic because these antibiotics can ruin your life.

I’ll be contacting the FDA to report the side effects of Cipro that I experienced. In 2014 I was hospitalized for diverticulitis. I received Cipro antibiotic intravenously while there and a course of Cipro pills after I got home. A few days later I noted that my vision was getting worse & switched from my contacts to my glasses. I made an eye appointment for three days later. During the following days I started seeing a proliferation of small black floaters in my right eye. During my eye appointment my opthalmologist called a retina surgeon located around the corner from his office. I didn’t know what was happening. By the time I got to the retina specialist’s office, the vision in the lower half of my right eye had gone dark. I immediately went into surgery for a detached retina in my right eye.

In 2015 I had a second painful attack of diverticulitis. The ER put me on 7 days of Cipro, and I went home. The hospital advised me to visit my internist for follow up. She saw me right away, and I reported pain in my right shoulder. She decided that a 7 day course of Cipro wasn’t long enough and insisted that I pick up a prescription for 3 more days of Cipro. By the time I finished the extra 3 days, my left shoulder began to hurt.

Within days I was in so much pain in both shoulders that my internist had to help me get my shirt off to examine me. I couldn’t raise my arms past chest- height. The doctor referred me to a sports orthopedist right away.

The orthopedist conducted a sort of doppler ultrasound on both shoulders and diagnosed severe tendonitis in both shoulders. He told me that he had seen many patients with tendonitis after taking Cipro, including a 24 year old tennis player whose tendonitis was so advanced that she could no longer walk. She had taken Cipro like me.

After months of physical therapy, nitroglycerin patches on each shoulder to speed blood flow, and careful monitoring by this doctor I was lucky enough to finally get back to normal.

At that point I had researched Cipro and all of the dangers of the related class of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. I learned that doctors could prescribe any number of antibiotics that would have helped with diverticulitis outside of the class of fluoroquinolones, and that detached retina and tendonitis are two of the many devastating possible side effects of that class of drugs.

I immediately informed all of my doctors to list fluoroquinolones as an allergy for me. I posted what I knew on Facebook and discovered a Facebook support group for people injured by this class of drugs. It’s time for the general public as well as physicians to recognize the dangerous side effects of these drugs since they can cause lifelong disabilities. I was just lucky to recover from the devastation that these drugs cause.

Thank you for staying vigilant and helping to inform the public when the FDA falls behind on their job.

Perhaps the FDA could consider devoting more resources to the examination of problems with so called ” legitimate” medical products and less prosecuting purveyors of ” alternative ” health products. While clearly there are risks associated with Herbs and the like, the larger dangers continue to lie with those drugs and devices already approved and in wide distribution….

In 2007 I was prescribed Avalox for an upper respiratory infection. Almost immediately I was vomiting blood and had bloody diarrhea. We had to call an ambulance it was so bad. Since then it is in my medical record that I am allergic to this medication. Recently had a triple bypass and that info was on my hospital bracelet. Have never been allergic to anything in my life. Thank you for this life saving information!

Thanks for your perseverance! I shared the warning with my family and friends. What antibiotics should be prescribed instead of ones in this class?

As patient who was diagnosed with Giant Cell Arteritis three years ago, I am grateful to know about the FQ antibiotics. I also have a Factor 11 deficiency (13%). With the GCA having a good chance of affecting my aorta and the blood disorder keeping me from clotting well: I really have to be vigilant!

Thank you so much for your ongoing coverage of the fluoroquinolone disaster. In 2007 I had a HORRIFIC adverse reaction to Levaquin and I have been disabled ever since. I had all sorts of horrible vascular problems including bloated failing veins carved from 13 entry points so far with more surgeries coming. I also had blood clots, broken blood vessels, deep purple and yellow bruises for no reason and so on.

I had all sorts of other terrible things happen including spontaneous tendon ruptures, a cartilage transplant from a dead child, a hernia, torn lumbar muscle, collapsed lung, pulmonary edema, pleurisy, COPD, brain damage of some sort, anxiety attacks, balance problems, auditory distortions and tinnitus, hair loss, nails fell off, teeth crumbled away, visual problems of many kinds, insomnia, joint pain, muscle weakness, gastrointestinal distress, loss of bladder control, blisters, calluses, photosensitivity, dry mouth, racing heart, low blood pressure, palpitations, kidney lesions, non-alcohol fatty liver, hemochromatosis, seizures, spasms and twitches, wounds wouldn’t heal, neuropathy, and some serious depression.

That is the short list. There is probably nothing out there that can do more damage to our bodies than FQs. I urge everyone to read the other great articles in the collection and to follow up in google. Go where it leads. You need to know more about this. Doctors hand this stuff out like candy and then misdiagnose the damage they’ve done as a hundred or more wrong conditions. This is actually happening to people all over the place all the time. Please, protect yourselves with more information!

Thanks again!

Thank you to the Graedons for sounding the warning about Levaquin and related drugs. Where HAS the FDA been? I do applaud the current FDA head for finally declaring the risks of Levaquin to the public.

If this was a vitamin or herbal supplement causing these problems, would it still be allowed on the market?

I think not.

Levaquin is very dangerous. It caused great trouble with tendons in shoulders and especially legs, took many months to recover and still one leg not exactly right. Beware of this drug. Dr. told me it would not hurt me. Basically crippled for quite some time.

Have always depended on Cipro to cure urinary infections. I did not know that it was dangerous to take for any length of time, though.

November of 2017 I went to the corner “doc in a box” for a UTI. Since I had not been there since January, I told them I needed to update my files as I had cataract surgery in May and June and hip replacement in August. Also, my DOB was on the file clearly showing I was 72 years old.

I saw the doctor who wrote me a RX for Ciprofloxacin. Normally I read the pharmacy printouts right away but for some dumb reason, I left it on the counter for 2 days prior to picking it up and reading. I was shocked.

First line says, “this drug may cause very bad side effects”. It goes on to mention irritated or torn ligaments, nerve problems in arms, hands, legs or feet and nervous system. These side effects can happen hours, days, or weeks after starting this medication.

The real kicker was where it said people over 60 were more likely to suffer these side effects!

I immediately took the print out and the medication and went to the doctor’s office that had prescribed this medication to me. Told the front desk and then the nurse why I wanted to speak with the doctor. The first words out of his mouth when he came in the room was “you should not be reading those print outs”. I told him that as a former drug store manager I had been taught to always read those printouts. That I was more mad at myself for not having read it right away than I was at him for prescribing the drug when my profile clearly indicated I should not have been given this drug.

Moral of this story.. pay attention to what the doctor is prescribing. Do not assume they have read your file or even care if you should be taking a certain drug or not.

It sounds like there is no alternative prescription for these drugs, am I right? If there is an alternative, I would like to know about it!

Fluoroquinolones are destroying too many lives WORLDWIDE. It needs to end! So many people are wondering why they live in pain along with many autoimmune issues.

The generic to Levaquin – Levofloxacin- took my life as I knew it in 2013. I didn’t walk for 9 months was diagnosed with every autoimmune disease out there and changed the next visit to the Doctors (and I saw many).

I was told I was a medical mystery. No. I really have Fluoroquinolone Toxicity and only one Of those doctors put it in as a side not in my medical records and never mentioned it to me or even said what those were.

I have been labeled “Disabled” not by choice. I have fought to get a life back. Or sort of a life back. I can walk but am in constant pain. There is no medical cure so I don’t waste money on doctors anymore. What they ( Big Pharma) get away with is criminal. I have nothing left to take.

My memory is shot, my body is shot, my life as I knew it is gone. I cope. That is my world! Oh and then they throw a steroid in the mix to top it all off…gained 60 pounds in 2 months and do you think any of the doctors thought to keep an eye on that??? Could they not see there was a bad reaction from that??? Remember I couldn’t walk so it wasn’t my fault.

The side effects from prescription drugs are so often ignored and NEVER addressed. I have lost two friends and almost lost a third from dying on the operating table from these drugs. Doc comes out and says “Sorry” their heart couldn’t take it… THEY HAD BEEN ADMINISTERED FLUOROQUINOLONES ON THE TABLE!!!! Wake up!

In November 2017 I had a suspected UTI infection so went to the local “Doc in a Box” just down the street from my condo. It had been almost a year since I had been there so I updated my medical record when I went in. Told them I had cataract removals in May & June and a full hip replacement in July. Updated my age so that they knww I was 73 years old.

Fast forward, I saw the doctor who prescribed Cipro. I usually read the printouts my pharmacy gives with the drugs, but this time I did not read it for 2 days. The first line said “this drug may cause very bad side effects”. Second line names some of the side effects – torn tendons, nerve problems in arms, hands, legs, feet, and nervous system. Third line says these side effects can happen alone or at the same time. Fourth line, they can happen hours to weeks after starting the drug. May not go away, may lead to disability or death! When I got to the part about people over 60 having a greater chance of ligament damage I stopped reading, put my coat on and went to the clinic. I explained to the gal at the desk and then to the nurse why I was there. They told the doctor. The first words out of his mouth when he came into the room was “First of all, you do not need to be reading those print outs”. At which point I informed him that I was a former drug store manager and had been taught to read those print outs years ago. I explained I was madder at myself for not reading it right away than I was at him for writing the RX but I would not be back there, and I would not be taking any antibiotic not approved by my orthopedic doctor again!

The moral to my story is – people have to be vigilant in what they take and not depend on doctors to know or care about your individual care.

A co worker of my husband was being watched for an aortic aneurysm. He devoloped walking pneumonia and was given Levaquin for treatment-by the same doctor “watching the aneurysm”. Two days later he was taken to the ER by ambulance. His aneurysm ruptured. He was told in less than five minutes he would’ve died. Doctors are Not keeping up with new information on these insidious drugs!

I received massive doses of Fluoroquinolone antibiotics in 2007 following emergency surgery for a perforated colon. At the time, we viewed the antibiotics as life-saving.
In 2011, during an annual check-up, almost by luck my physician noticed an abnormality in my chest X-ray. Further tests showed a small aortic aneurysm, which we considered familial — my mother had died suddenly of an aortic dissection (no prior diagnosis of an aneurysm) at age 72. From 2011 to 2015, annual tests showed steady growth in my aneurysm and in early 2016, it was repaired with a Dacron graft via open surgery. It would be interesting to see if the Ritter Foundation weighs in on this.

In late 2010, my active and healthy 73-yr-old husband was prescribed a 10-day course of levaquin to stop a tenacious, but low-key, bladder infection. The prescribing PA said, quite casually, “This could upset the INR reading for your coumadin [he has chronic a-fib that had for 12 years always had a stable INR reading], so bulk up your leafy green intake while you’re on this.”

Levaquin played havoc with the INR and it took 10 months to bring it back to stable state. Soon after the Rx, he started having peripheral neuropathy (foot-in-stocking pain and numbness) in both legs and feet. Always a golfer, he was now unable to walk for more than a city block comfortably. I never made the connection until, in 2012, I read my first fluoroquinolone side-effect story, and alarm bells went off in my head: I went to my husband’s files and, sure enough, the PN had set in soon after the levaquin regimen.

I then started reading and combing this column and was stunned at how many people were reporting terrible muscle and nerve damage (some of it irreversible) after taking short doses of levaquin or other fluoroquinolone drugs.

Our family doctor dismissively rolled his eyes when I took him an article that connected the levaquin with PN. The neurologist to whom he sent us told my husband he was stuck with PN for life, to get a cane. Their unacceptable reactions and advice drove us into the care of a talented functional medicine doctor who helped my husband use diet, nutrition and lifestyle modifications to reduce inflammation and nutritional deficiencies to reclaim his robust health. Within two months he started regaining feeling in his extremities, and today, with a great diet, excellent nutrition and daily lymphatic massage of his legs, he is active again and down to only a few numb patches on the soles of both feet. (And, yes, a urology scan in 2017 showed he has a small abdominal aortic aneurysm.)

In 2014, we asked an applied kinesthesiology expert to muscle test my husband for chemical sensitivities: he had an extraordinarily strong reaction to fluoride (fluoroquinolones are fluoride-based drugs), and he has several genetic variants that prevent him from detoxing well. Doesn’t take rocket science to connect the dots.

It is appalling that we must learn the truth about these strong drugs—that should have been restricted or removed from the market years ago—from Peoples Pharmacy (thank you!) and first-person accounts by or about citizens who sustained life-changing damage (or even death) from these drugs and not from our “federal watchdog” that was duly warned years ago.

This doesn’t surprise me. I belong to some facebook groups of people who got permanent adverse health complications from Fluroquinolone antibiotics – Cipro, Avelox, & Levaquin (including the hundreds of generics & meds for eyes, ears, children and pets.) It is a disgrace to humanity to think that these pharmaceuticals are produced, and doctors hand them out to humans and animals.

It is called Fluoroquinolone Toxicity, damages your Mito, permanent whole body damage…hushed up for 30 years….

I’ve had detached retinas in both eyes Now I’m really wondering if Levaquin helped those to occur.

That will be the next warning the FDA will add. May take them a few more years but definitely many people on in our FB groups have had retinal detachments.

Yes, there is absolutely no doubt that if you took Levaquin that it was a factor. Some problems are caused by the FQs and others existed already but are made worse by them. They are seriously toxic chemicals from a class of drugs normally used fr chemo so it’s not an allergy thing, everyone is affected, some more than others. Best wishes!

Perhaps the potential for extremely bad press, legal action, or some such finally outweighed the financial compensation or whatever other carrot/stick big pharma uses to control the FDA. It’s been clear for a long time the well-being of citizens is way down there on the list of considerations if it’s on there at all.

This is very interesting and disturbing. It makes sense that an antibiotic class associated with tendon ruptures could also be implicated in other problems such as arterial dissections/ruptures. Thanks for reporting this!! I try to discourage use of the FQ antibiotics for various reasons, but our ED prescribes them like candy.

Thank you so much for standing up to the FDA. Given their initial reluctance to recognize the dreadful damage FQ can do (and foot-dragging in so many other cases as well) it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Big Pharma is exercising too much influence on their decision-making process. I am grateful this Christmas season for your activism on behalf of others!

For what kind of conditions might these FQs be prescribed?

All sorts of infections: urinary tract infections (UTIs) and upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) are typical.

Very rarely does the FDA take a drug off the market and then it is only after the drug has killed many, many people – example, Vioxx.

I may have to have part of my colon removed due to an “anomaly” (non-cancerous) near a prior colon re-section 7 years ago. After the prior re-section I was prescribed Cipro for a surgical site infection and UTI I developed after surgery. Fortunately, I declined it after reading the possible adverse reactions. Now, as I consider whether to have another re-section, I have asked my colon doctor what antibiotic he will use if I have a post-surgery infection. His answer: Cipro. Reason he cited: he has had good success with it, and that it is one of the best antibiotics in use. He pretty much blew off any concerns I had with its use. After reading your article I now know that I will have to make sure he knows not to use fluoroquinolone, as I have an aortic aneurism. I will be sure he is aware of the article as well as my aortic aneurism. Thank you for your diligence and for spreading the word.

I continue to be dismayed by the negligence of the FDA in warning us of problems with certain medications. It seems that you and Terry are the only people looking after us patients!
Many thanks!

This took far too long for the FDA to warm the public about the complications of these drugs. Six years ago I was prescribed Cipro to clear up an infection. The result: a ruptured Achilles that was completely out of nowhere. These drugs are dangerous and in my opinion, need to be completely removed.

Amen to that, Gayle. People’s pharmacy is right on top of these things.

If the evidence has been available to the FDA and they have not acted upon it appropriately then yes they waited far too long. Quinolones are excellent drugs when used appropriately and physicians have the information needed to prescribe to appropriate patients. Thank you for your work on this topic.

The FDA was being, at best, lazy. If others can find and review research articles, what is their staff doing that they miss these updates?

I was given Cipro on three different occasions , I was told I had an aortic aneurysm, but it wasn’t a problem, at my age 84, I would probably die of something else before the aneurysm, I also developed nerve damage in my legs.

These drugs have terrified since my sister’s experience with rupture of both achilles tendons, significant surgery, rehab, then near death thanks to cdiff infection caught in the hospital. Took her about 1 year to recover, but she has never been the same. Unfortunately, my husband just took 30 day supply of this drug because the doctor convinced us there was no other choice. My question to you-how long after you are off these drugs do these increased risks of tendon ruptures, aortic dissections, or ruptures of an aortic aneurysm last? I’m really worried about my husband and want to know how long we have to be vigilant about watching for such complications……. Thank you.

That’s the same question I’m asking because I only took a minimum dose for a lung infection for about one week, and that was all. Would love to see what the Gradeon’s have to say about this “time lapse” because it feels like we’re waiting for a time-bomb to go off. Is it “years later” or does the risk lessen with time?

Because Dr. Sidney Wolfe’s book on drugs advised against it, I had it put on my chart that I was allergic to it. Book advises against many drugs for older folks because it stays in your system longer. Book: Worst Pills, Best Pills.

I used to get your program and listened to it faithfully, but the public station had to cut back. I am grateful for your info online, sometimes buy the disc, pamphlets etc. that you offer.

The FDA hates to admit they missed something and lose credibility. The same situation exists with lisinopril. The drug can have deadly reactions even after the patient has been taking it for years. Why no Black Box by the FDA regarding this deadly issue.

As someone that has been vastly affected by these drugs and am fighting the battle everyday to live as normal a life as I can. This is one other thing to have to take into account. My father died of an aortic aneurysms. My uncle, his brother also had one. This new addition to the effects of this is worrisome. I have already torn my rotator cuff and fractured 3 toes due the the balance issues it has created and now this. I’m wondering if the nightmare will ever end.

Vindicated! Validated! Since 2015 after the first research article came out about aortic aneurysms and fluoroquinolones I personally have been on the bandwagon telling doctors about this. The problem was that the FDA shot down much research and even wrote in May 2017 that fluoroquinolones do NOT cause ruptures, dissections or retinal detachments.

My dad died in 2011 six weeks after taking IV Levaquin when his aortic aneurysm ruptured. I knew the Levaquin caused it as I have been affected with other health issues from these drugs but no doctor would believe me.

The problem I find with this new warning is the FDA is limiting their guidelines of which patients are at risk. There are so many people walking around with aortic aneurysms who don’t even know they have one until either they rupture or they have a test for another issue and the AA is found incidentally. If you take fluoroquinolones these AAs may grow and it can take several years to rupture.

I am willing to bet that in a few years the FDA will warn us about the retinal detachments which is a REAL side effect that they refuse to acknowledge.

I am also hopeful that in my lifetime and I am 67 that the FDA will also acknowledge that the fluoroquinolone ear and eye drops will be added to their list as harmful because they truly are.

So, FDA expects me, or my doctor, to know if I am “at risk of an aortic aneurysm”. Only after my death from aneurism that would become known.

There is an ultrasound test for aortic aneurysm. My husband’s father, grandmother, and two uncles died of aneurysms, so he has made it a point to check on his own aorta.

Please be aware that levaquin in addition to the mentioned concerns can also cause tears in the achilles tendon, even years after taking this medication. Had a minor outpatient nasal surgery, and was prescribed leviquin. While recovering, I read the handout that came with this medication. Mentioned that it could attack the achilles tendon. Several years later I developed a tear, and had to wear a boot and use a scotter so as not to bear weight on that foot.

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