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Dangers of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics (Levaquin)

Discussion in 'Antivirals, Antibiotics and Immune Modulators' started by Wayne, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hi All,

    I've done a fair amount of reading on the dangers of a class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones and have determined I would never take them myself. Too many people have become extraordinarily disbled as a result of taking only a single dose, and many more after taken more than one dose.

    I know many with ME have had difficulty with sinus infections, and this type of antibiotic is often prescribed for such infections. One person who used to post on the ProHealth board detailed how his own descent into ME/CFS/FM was initiated by a single dose of Levaquin.

    The following PBS segment aired last week

    Certain Antibiotics Spur Widening Reports of Severe Side Effects

    I thought this 10-minute video presented a very concise and accurate description of the situation regarding fluoroquinolone antibiotics. I think not only should we be concerned about it for ourselves, but also for family and friends. A single dose can irrevocably take down a completely healthy individual. Why take such a chance when other much safer options are normally available?

    One of persons featured in the video is a woman who was given this antibiotic as a "preventative measure" following sinus surgery. I can't understand why they don't recommend rinsing the sinuses with saltwater as a preventative measure. Too simple I guess.

    Best Regards, Wayne
     
  2. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    Interesting thoughts as always Wayne- I had to have 4 roots (teeth) removed following mouth/sinus problems and forced to take Amoxcillan for a week - mucked up my GI problems but I noticed Herpes viruses (whichever) suddenly came out again around the the mouth so the particular virus (cause) is not targeted.
     
  3. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    Some antibiotics are very toxic. I do not ever take mycin or micin med. Gentamicin is ototoxic. Very scary. The right antibiotic is life saving, but we have to be careful. Levaquin is very strong. I had to take it once for a terrible case of Diverticulitis. :worried:
     
  4. kday

    kday Senior Member

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    I will choose death over quinolones if that's my only option.

    I had a severe neurological ADR on top of my illness. I am doing better a year or so later, and since it produced similar neurological symptoms, it's hard to gauge exactly how much damage is because of the drug.

    If I had videos of myself for the many months of intense suffering after that drug, it would scare everyone.

    Just say NO.
     
  5. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Is Amoxcillan in that class of antibiotics? Somehow I thought it was in another class--related to penicillin?

    Thanks,
    Sushi
     
  6. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, Sushi.

    No, Amoxycillin in not a quinolone.

    The quinolones have the characteristic that there are two oxygen atoms in their molecules that are arranged so that they can produce a double bond (a chelation) with magnesium and several others of the essential minerals that have oxidation states of +2 or +3. This may be the beginning of their damage mechanism. They could be depleting the person of magnesium. Because magnesium is an important signaling substance in the mitochondria, this could cause the observed effect of quinolones on mitochondria. They have also been found to deplete glutathione. It's interesting to note that depletion of glutathione and low magnesium are two aspects of ME/CFS. If a person who already has low glutathione and low intracellular magnesium for other reasons is given a quinolone antibiotic, this doesn't sound so good. This may be why people with ME/CFS seem to be vulnerable to adverse effects from this class of antibiotics.

    Best regards,

    Rich
     
  7. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    If most doctors only knew to add supplements.... I take mag and Glut. and many people might be better with them, especially with that med.
     
  8. xrunner

    xrunner Senior Member

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    I used Ciprofloxacin for about 10 days and had to stop it due to tendon inflammation. It was quite effective though
    My sister had pneumonia that would not respond to abx but it clear after a week on Moxifloxacin but she did not experience any side effects.
    Responses vary and one has to thread carefully with this class of abx, with most actually.
    I have been on abx on and off for a couple of years (with breaks of months in between) and never had any problems except with Cipro.
    I would avoid this class of abx.
     
  9. Vegas

    Vegas Senior Member

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    Add me to the list of those who did poorly on fluoroquinolone antibiotics

    Levaquin and Cipro. Both worsened the infection.

    Rich, does this have any significance to methylation inefficiency?

    "Resistance develops to fluoroquinolones due to three possible mechanisms; alterations in topoisomerase enzymes, decreased permeability and efflux mechanisms. No quinolone-degrading enzyme has been identified. Resistance patterns have been show in strains of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Chlamydia trachomatis and Mycoplasma pneumoniae; Campylobacter jejuni; Burkholderia cepacia; Stenotrophomonas maltophilia; Neisseria gonorrhoeae; Staphylococcus aureus (especially oxacillin-resistant strains); Enterococcus faecium; and Streptococcus pneumoniae. Resistance to one quinolone usually confers resistance to the entire class. It has been shown that when there is a methyl or methoxy group in position number eight the topoisomerase enzymes must undergo mutations in two sights for there to be an effect on binding affinity."
     
  10. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, Vegas.

    Sorry, I don't understand this. I know that the fluoroquinolone antibiotics operate by binding to and blocking the type II topoisomerase enzymes of bacteria, so that they are not able to unwind their DNA to be able to reproduce. This seems to be referring to the way bacteria can develop resistance to this class of antibiotics by undergoing mutations in their topoisomerase, so that the antibiotic cannot bind to it. I don't know how the methyl or methoxy group gets onto position number eight (I assume that's a position on the topoisomerase molecule). I would guess that that is involved with the bacterial metabolism, rather than the human metabolism, so I don't think the human methylation cycle function would be involved, but I can't say I completely understand what is being discussed there.

    Rich
     
  11. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Certain Antibiotics Spur Widening Reports of Severe Side Effects

    I consider this 10-minute PBS video to be almost "required watching" for anybody with ME/CFS, if for no other reason than because of the neurological damage fluoroquinolone antibiotics can cause. There's a transcript of the video at the above link, and the comment section at the end has over 200 comments, which are quite sobering to read.

    Best Regards, Wayne
     
    Little Bluestem likes this.
  12. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    I seem to tolerate them OK overall, but they seem to make my joint pain worse for a while. So I don't want to take them anymore either.
     
  13. penny

    penny Senior Member

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    I took cipro near the beginning of my illness, but it was about a month after I first went to the doctor for the unusual fatigue and a month and a half (I believe) after I started having muscle/joint pain and OI symptoms. It's all a bit hard to pin down though since my onset wasn't sudden. My body took a number of hits in a pretty short time period, but I wouldn't be surprised if cipro was one of them. Though oddly I felt really good for about four days after finishing the antibiotic (I remember washing all the windows!), before I nose dived again.

    But after reading about all the possible risks, and how much overlap there is between the bad fluoroquinolone side effects and ME symptoms, I'd have to be pretty sure my life was at imminent risk to take another antibiotic of that class.
     
    Wayne likes this.
  14. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Wayne, do you have any precise data on the statistical chances of serious disabling side effects happening from taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics?

    WIthout precise figures, warnings can be meaningless.

    For example, when you take a trip on a jet aircraft, your chances of a fatal crash are around 1 in 7 million . WIth these very low odds, most people are happy to board a plane. Similarly, if serious adverse effects from fluoroquinolones only occur once in a million patients or thereabouts, the concern would be minimal. But if it was say once in 5000, then you might start to worry more.
     
  15. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

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    In my opinion, antibiotics are necessary when there is an infection, and the kind of antibiotics depends on the strain of the bacteria involved.

    Saying no to a specific antibiotic is plain unwise, unless you are allergic to it and unless it is not needed.

    From a RN who has worked in bone marrow transplant, a very immunosuppressed population of patient, I can only say that antibiotics are not only necessary but lifesaving.
     
  16. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    From the above mentioned PBS video, there have been 45,000 reported instances of damage from fluoroquinolone antibiotics, and about 2,500 deaths. Both of these reported numbers are considered to be well below the actual numbers.

    They also say in the video that fluoroquinolone antibiotics are way overprescribed. One commenter said they are like "cannons" when quite often, only a "flyswatter" is needed. A woman profiled in the video was prescribed this "cannon", and she didn't even have an infection! It was given as a "precautionary" measure after sinus surgery. She's now totally disabled.

    I once visited a support forum for those damaged by flurorquinolones. One person described how his shoulder fell out of its socket the evening after he took his first dose. Many other horror stories on that site, including major brain and neurological damage after taking only a single dose. That's why they carry a black box label, the most extreme caution given to prescription drugs.

    For me, taking something like this would be akin to taking a vaccination, with a very poor risk/reward ratio. For pwME/CFS, it can be a very costly mistake if they're taking something they may not even need. It sure sounds to me that these high potency, high risk fluoroquinolones should be reserved for the most critical and acute situations. Sadly, that does not seem to be the case in the current medical environment.
     
  17. copi2k

    copi2k

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    The question is, if the side effects are caused by permanent damage through levaquin or if the levaquin "woke up" an illness. Many "levaquin toxic symptoms" sound very similar to lyme disease. people with lyme report, that they had an reactivated infection after taking some antibiotics for an another illness.

    i took levaquin 2x3 months and hat no problems with it. everybody is different, i dont think that just 1 pill will make you disabled 4 lifetime. you should listen to your body, if your body is hurting after taking the drug, you should stop immediatly.. thats the error.. many people take the drug anyway.. and complaining afterwards about symptoms which wont disappear.
     
  18. Mitch

    Mitch

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    I, unfortunately, can support the hypothesis that Levaquin should not be used if you have ME/CFS. I am currently finishing a seven day regimen, prescribed for a sinus infection, and have had ME/CFS for about seven years.

    Right now, since starting this drug, I can barely walk.

    My hips ache so badly that it just about brings this 50-something former construction worker to tears. I simply cannot understand how my internist, knowing all this, would prescribe such a drug for me. We WILL be having a discussion about it, though, and my chart will state "NO FLUOROQUINOLONES" in the future.

    An interesting question, I believe, is how the use of Quinine based drugs by military members (like myself) to prevent Malaria might affect long-term health. I had heard it was an "ototoxin" when I took it, but wonder if it may have had any role in my acquiring ME/CFS. Thank you for the topic thread; I hope my comments have been appropriate.
     
  19. Lala

    Lala Senior Member

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    This is herx, not neccessary bad thing. You should investigate which organism is behind such a reaction.
     
  20. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hi Mitch, so sorry to hear about your debilitating symptoms. I've heard many stories similar to yours over the years, and cannot believe these dangerous drugs are still being prescribed, especially for relatively non-urgent, non-life threating conditions like sinus infections.

    Regarding your experience with malaria drugs, I think the stress caused by some of these drugs could very well be at least partly responsible for your acquiring ME/CFS. There's a lot of information on this online; here's a couple of links for you to start out with. The second one has many comments by soldiers who've been through some pretty bad experiences with these drugs (Lariam, also known as Mefloquine).

    From FDA reports: Lariam and CFS

    Drug Ratings for Lariam
     

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