Invest in ME Conference 12: First Class in Every Way
OverTheHills wraps up our series of articles on this year's 12th Invest in ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London with some reflections on her experience as a patient attending the conference for the first time.
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Can antibiotics/herxing be dangerous?

Discussion in 'Antivirals, Antibiotics and Immune Modulators' started by outdamnspot, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. outdamnspot

    outdamnspot Senior Member

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    Under the guidance of a GI I saw, I am planning to start taking ..

    Ampicillin
    Flagyl
    Nystatin (I think he prescribes this as a precaution to being on abx, though I do have a Candida issue)

    I have tried a lot of other approaches so far and I am just deteriorating, so want to see what happens if I tackle my gut infection head-on. However, I am little bit hesitant because garlic cloves alone pretty much had me bedridden, so I am anticipating a severe die-off reaction.

    I am just wondering -- can herxes every be actively dangerous, or will it likely be a lot of unpleasantness, with, hopefully, some improvement once I make it out the other side?

    I am concerned about taking two abx. at once but understand they can work better in conjunction?
     
  2. Cheesus

    Cheesus Senior Member

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    My health dropped from chronically poor to actual ME when an alternative healthcare practitioner told me that I needed to push through a herx. So yes, they can be dangerous.
     
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  3. outdamnspot

    outdamnspot Senior Member

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    What were you herxing on?
     
  4. Cheesus

    Cheesus Senior Member

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    To be honest I am not even certain it was a herx, but it was oil of oregano.
     
  5. Vojta

    Vojta Senior Member

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    I think it's very dangerous that doctors and patients call every worsening from medication herx. In reality it is usually side effect from drug toxicity. Antibiotics done permanent damage to me. I went from 25-30% chronic illness to 0-2% agony and it doesn't go away. It seems that they caused most likely some secondary mitochondrial dysfunction. One reckless known doctor also dismissed my complaints about toxicity as herx. Meanwhile it damaged my nervous system. He still doesn't give shit now because in his mind everybody has lyme and everything is herx.
     
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  6. outdamnspot

    outdamnspot Senior Member

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    But then how are we supposed to treat these infections? I think this gastro I saw is intelligent enough to know which abx. to prescribe, since gut dysbiosis is a strong area-of-interest for him. Isn't the issue more in taking random abx. and further messing up your microbiome? I don't know. I don't see what choice I have, to be honest.
     
    MEMum likes this.
  7. Vojta

    Vojta Senior Member

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    It depends on your reaction to atbx and how long you should take them. You should be very careful if it is anything longer than 1 month and most of the year. Important is to stop immediately if it makes you more or very sick.
     
  8. outdamnspot

    outdamnspot Senior Member

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    But doesn't killing bacteria make you feel sick anyway? I think this abx. course is only for 1-2 weeks.
     
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  9. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

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    Jarisch-Herxheimer reactions are only widely accepted as occurring when a specific type of bacteria, spirochetes, die off and produce endotoxins. A strictly-defined reaction consists of fever, hypotension, headache, and pains - similar to the immune reaction you get during a flu. It's sometimes argued that a similar reaction occurs in other situations or features other symptoms, but that is very much debatable.

    If not experiencing the normal symptoms, especially no fever or hypotension, it's probably not a good idea to assume it's a herxheimer reaction. Headaches are often a nasty side-effect of drugs, and can be a sign that something dangerous is going on with regards to blood pressure, etc.

    My own experience in treating Lyme with antibiotics was that I had fevers and hypotension around the same time every day. One antibiotic (doxycycline) made me nauseous in a motion-sick way 30-120 minutes after taking it, which was a side-effect I could tolerate if I didn't eat first and mostly kept my eyes closed.

    "Pushing through" negative side effects is usually a bad idea, and the existence of limited herxheimer symptoms in a specific context shouldn't be used as an excuse to push through other symptoms, or in a case where dying spirochetes aren't involved.
     
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  10. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Senior Member

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    I totally agree with you. I think people have been brainwashed into believing that we have to have a herx when we take medications, especially antibiotics. A "true" herx should only last one to two hours and usually occurs soon after taking the first dose of the antibiotic. And most infections don't cause herxing.
     
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  11. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Senior Member

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    No! Killing bacteria should not make you feel sick.
     
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  12. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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    @outdamnspot

    I took clarithromycin and flagyl for 10 days to treat an infection years ago and felt dizzy for a short while and a little sick possibly from flagyl at the start, but it eventually subsided.
     
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  13. outdamnspot

    outdamnspot Senior Member

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    But don't bacteria release endotoxins when they die? I'd read that in regard to Candida and definitely feel worse in a very specific way when I take anything that kills Candida. Then, typically, I have a bowel movement (with visible yeast) and feel much better afterwards.
     
  14. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

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    Only a few bacteria release endotoxins when they die. It's limited to spirochetes like Syphilis and Lyme.

    Candida is a fungus, not a bacteria. It definitely would not release endotoxins.
     
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  15. outdamnspot

    outdamnspot Senior Member

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    Someone told me it releases acetaldehyde when it dies. Is that incorrect?
     
  16. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

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    Acetaldehyde isn't an endotoxin, and exposure to it produces different symptoms. I'm not seeing a lot of good sources regarding it (a lot of blogs and candida cure sites), but it sounds like it is produced by living candida, not dying candida.
     
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  17. Mel9

    Mel9 Senior Member

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    It probably depends on what is causing the ME CFS.

    In my case, I am on multiple antibiotics for Borrelia infection and steadily getting better.

    My weekly Herx reaction after taking a biofilm 'buster' is worth it although very unpleasant.
     
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  18. Cheesus

    Cheesus Senior Member

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    Yup, i can't disagree with that.
     
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  19. outdamnspot

    outdamnspot Senior Member

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    So gut overgrowths like Streptococcus shouldn't produce a herx? In other words, if I herx on antibiotics can that be used as a kind of diagnostic tool to point towards what else might be infecting me?
     
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  20. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

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    No, only the death of spirochetes produces a recognized Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction. An untreated infection might produce symptoms, and the death of non-spirochetes might produce a reaction, but those are not a herx.

    Before blaming symptoms on a reaction to die-off, it's a good idea to fully look into whether such a reaction is known to exist for that infection. Otherwise we risk ignoring serious side-effects which should be avoided.

    If it fits the strict definition of a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, it would support the suggestion that there was/is an infection by a spirochete. Some people recommend trying doxycycline or a similar Lyme-killing antibiotic to determine if there is a Lyme infection, due to the widespread inaccuracies of standard Lyme tests.
     
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