Monthly Archives: July 2014

Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Damage Mitochondria – FDA Does Little

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The Pharmacovigilance folks at the FDA know that fluoroquinolones are damaging mitochondria.  Yet, they look the other way.  Adding a more severe warning about peripheral neuropathy to the warning label isn’t helpful.  People should know that they are increasing their risk of every chronic disease associated with mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress when they take a fluoroquinolone.  That would actually be helpful.

Here is the post, on Hormones Matter – http://www.hormonesmatter.com/fluoroquinolone-antibiotics-damage-mitochondria-fda-adds-warning/

 

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I HOPE for Change

This site was started to give hope for healing to those suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity. Stories of healing and recovery are shared on www.floxiehope.com so that the people who are going through the destruction done by fluoroquinolones that we refer to as “floxing” (as one Floxie noted, it’s cuter than calling it disability brought on by a chemotherapeutic drugs masquerading as antibiotics) can see that others have recovered – and so that they can learn lessons from those who have gone through fluoroquinolone toxicity and healed.

More than the lessons and techniques used for recovery though, I think that the important thing that the stories convey is hope – hope that recovery is possible. Recovery happened for the people who have shared their stories on floxie hope – so there is reason to hope that you will recover too. Sarah, Bill, Crystal, Ruth, Sharon, Brian, Keri and all of the other people who have shared their stories on floxiehope have recovered. If they can do it, so can you. There is hope in knowing that other people have emerged from this horrible toxicity syndrome. And HOPE, I believe, is healing. It helps to believe that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. It helps to know that it’s possible for the spiral of ill-health, and new, scary symptoms, to come to an end; and that recovery and a return to health is possible.

None of the effects of fluoroquinolones on the body or brain are “in your head” or a choice, but, with that said, the mind is a powerful thing. Having hope, and faith that this will pass, and that your health will improve, is important and powerful. HOPE is healing.

In many of the posts on this site, and articles linked to through this site, I have strayed from a message of hope for healing/recovery. I have posted essays that are angry, fearful, questioning and/or accusing, not hopeful. Some of these posts/essays have scared many of you. Some of them have probably pissed you off. Some of them have probably made you feel less hopeful about the prospects for your future health.

Understandably, I have gotten push-back from people in response to those posts. People have said, “I thought this site was supposed to be about HOPE, not ____” (fill in the blank with any scary, intimidating fluoroquinolone related topic). I’ve been thinking about the sentiment that they have expressed a lot lately, and these are my thoughts:

First, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for inducing fear and/or pissing you off. The fact that fluoroquinolones do really horrible things to cells, and that I am really angry at Bayer, J&J, the FDA, doctors, pharmacists and everyone else responsible for this mess, does not detract in any way from the fact that people can, and do, recover from fluoroquinolone toxicity. If it’s helpful, please skip my downer posts and just read the stories on this site. The stories are reason for optimism and hope. They are stories of perseverance, strength, optimism through adversity and healing. They are meant to convey HOPE for healing.

Second – I’m going to defend myself a bit – I think that the scary and/or intimidating topics are hopeful – they’re just hopeful in a different way. They’re not about hope for healing or recovery, but they are about hope for other things – like information, justice, answers, and stopping this insane system that allows mineral chelating, mitochondria destroying, multi-symptom chronic illness inducing chemicals to be given to people to treat urinary tract infections.

The way that things are now is not okay. Systems are broken and people are getting hurt by those broken systems.

I HOPE that the absurdity of people needlessly being hurt by fluoroquinolones is realized – by everyone.

I HOPE that doctors start realizing that the people who come into their offices with multi-symptom, chronic, mysterious ailments after a course of fluoroquinolone antibiotics are suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity. I HOPE that they realize that these reactions are not as rare as they have been led to believe. I HOPE that they think twice about prescribing fluoroquinolones again after they recognize fluoroquinolone toxicity in their patients. I HOPE that the information on this, and other FQ toxicity related sites, gives them the information that they need to see that fluoroquinolones are dangerous drugs.

I HOPE that people gain information from this site with which they can become empowered. I HOPE that the articles and posts on here give you the information that you need to understand what is going on in your body. I HOPE that you are able to take the information that you gather from this site and share it with your doctors, friends, family, etc. I HOPE that they are able to gain understanding of what you are going through from reading about fluoroquinolone toxicity.

I HOPE that the FDA quits being inept and more tightly regulates fluoroquinolones and other dangerous drugs.

I HOPE that we all gain answers to the question of, What in the world is going on in my floxed body??? I HOPE that I (or other people) am able to gather up the articles and information that is necessary to answer that question. And, with that information, I HOPE that a protocol is established that helps people to heal from fluoroquinolone toxicity.

I HOPE that we all gain justice. I HOPE that Baron & Budd, or any other law firm that brings a suit against Bayer and Johnson & Johnson for the damage that their drugs have done to people, wins and that all victims of fluoroquinolones are adequately compensated for their pain and suffering. I HOPE that the lawyers generally stop pussy-footing around with lawsuits for individual symptoms and start bringing lawsuits against FQ producing corporations for inducing multi-symptom, chronic illness in victims. Because that’s the truth – it’s what’s happening. I HOPE that the top executives and scientists at the corrupt pharmaceutical and big-ag companies that are poisoining us all are charged with, and found guilty of, crimes against humanity. I HOPE that justice is served – in every way possible.

I HOPE that all of the people and institutions that are supposed to be keeping the pharmaceutical industry in check (the FDA, the media, the justice system, conscientious doctors, etc.) – who are currently failing – start DOING THEIR JOBS.

And of course, still, I HOPE for your healing. I HOPE for your recovery. And I HOPE for the continued wellness of those who have healed.

This site is about HOPE. It’s about HOPE for change in just about every area to do with fluoroquinolone toxicity. It’s about HOPE for individual change – mainly the healing kind. And it’s about HOPE for institutional change. I HOPE it comes soon – because too many people are getting hurt by cipro/ciprofloxacin, levaquin/levofloxacin, avelox/moxifloxacin and floxin/ofloxacin. It’s not okay. It needs to change. I HOPE it changes.

 

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“Side Effects” or collateral damage? Is there a difference?

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The mantra of “all drugs have side-effects” has been so ingrained in us that we seem to have forgotten that these “side-effects” are deadly or devastating assaults on the health of those who suffer from them.  It is seen as a necessary evil that the medical/pharmaceutical industry has collateral damage and, rather than working to minimize the number of casualties that it has, we have accepted that they must happen and we look the other way.

When did this become okay?  When did it become okay for PEOPLE – sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, loved human beings – to become collateral damage in the quest for big pharma’s profits?  Even if you’re not feeling cynical enough to agree with the last sentence, we should still ask, when did it become okay for people to become collateral damage in the quest for minimizing disease and infection?

It is assumed that a certain amount of collateral damage (“side-effects” sounds nicer, but the truth is that some people are sacrificed) is necessary.  But is that assumption true?  It may be true sometimes.  The benefits of a dangerous drug may outweigh the risk of adverse effects in some cases.  But for dangerous drugs, where severe damage to the people who take them is a possibility, collateral damage should be minimized.  Policies should be put in place to minimize the number of people who are exposed to dangerous drugs.  Protocols should be established to ensure that patients are aware that the drugs that they’re taking are dangerous so that true informed consent can be established prior to administration of a drug that has severe adverse effects.

This is common sense.  So why isn’t it being done?  We could all go down the path of conspiracy theories about pharmaceutical companies creating customers instead of providing tools that will actually help and heal people, but, well, I don’t want this article to get lost down that rabbit hole.  But it is still shameful, and a collective tragedy for humanity, that the real dangers of drugs are not realized and recognized and that proper policies and protocols are not in place to minimize the damage caused by them.

I’m guessing that most of you agree in theory, but to really see that it’s a problem, you need an example.

Fluoroquinolone antibiotics, Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, etc. are DANGEROUS drugs.  These popular antibiotics, 26.9 million prescriptions for fluoroquinolones were written in 2011 (per the FDA), can cause damage to connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, cartilage, fascia, etc.) throughout the body, damage to the nervous systems (central, peripheral and autonomic), and more.  They disrupt and damage mtDNA, cause mitochondrial malfunction and increase oxidative stress throughout the body.  They cause a massive decrease in important antioxidants like glutatione and superoxide dismutase (SOD) and increase production of lipid peroxide and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that result in cell death.  CELL DEATH.  There is no known cure or treatment for those who are suffering from the adverse effects of these drugs.

When someone does have an adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone antibiotic (again, Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, etc.) it can be devastating.  In 2001 Dr. Jay S. Cohen did a study on those who are suffering from severe Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome and he noted that:

“It is difficult to describe the severity of these reactions. They are devastating. Many of the people in my study were healthy before their reactions. Some were high intensity athletes. Suddenly they were disabled, in terrible pain, unable to work, walk, or sleep.”

On my 32nd birthday I took Cipro to treat a urinary tract infection.  It damaged me.  I experienced peripheral neuropathy (an effect that the FDA just acknowledged on August 15, 2013 – http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm365050.htm) that made it painful to walk for months, my tendons were weakened and inflamed for a year, I lost my memory, concentration and reading comprehension, I suffered from anxiety and depression, I have heart palpitations and my heart rate has increased.

I was lucky.

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Greg wasn’t as lucky as me.  3 years after taking Cipro for the third time (his reaction was minimal the first two times) he is still unable to walk more than a couple hundred yards because his tendons have disintegrated and torn.  For years after having an adverse reaction to Cipro, he used an electric scooter to get around (a traditional wheelchair isn’t an option when the tendons in your arms are torn too.)  He has had to leave his profession as a professor.  He continues to struggle with his health on a daily basis.

25 year old Zachary says of his condition after taking Cipro, “My tendons, cartilage and nervous system have been chemically torn apart from the inside out. The pain that this causes me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is excruciating beyond words and I have suffered through it without reprieve, alone, for almost half a year now. I have gone from being nearly 190 lbs, a martial arts teacher and body builder to under 160 lbs, crippled, unable to exercise at all and barely able to walk most of the time; all because I was given a drug that I never needed, that no one really needs, for a suspected infection.”

Though these three examples are of the damage done by Cipro, the other fluoroquinolone antibiotics, Levaquin, Avelox and a few less commonly used ones, are just as devastating.

One woman posted in one of the fluoroquinolone toxicity support groups that if she were an animal, she would get put down.  Think about that for a second.  She is a person, a daughter, maybe a mother and a wife, who thinks that the most humane thing to do is to put her down.  That’s how tortured she feels.  Of course, we don’t put down people and I’m not advocating that we do, I just think that it illustrates the point of how damaging and cruel these drugs are to their victims.

Zach’s words are illustrative of the inhumane torture that people feel when they are suffering from an acute adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone, “The pain that this causes me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is excruciating beyond words and I have suffered through it without reprieve.”  That is torture.  It’s cruel and it’s wrong.  We know that torture is wrong when it comes to prisoners of war, yet when Bayer and Johnson & Johnson chemically torture people we call it “side-effects” and look the other way.  It’s not okay though.  There is nothing that is okay about innocent people having system-wide breakdowns that are torturous, cruel and unnecessary.

You may be thinking, out of 26.9 million prescriptions, only a handful of people have been disabled by it, that’s okay.  But think about it, is it really okay?  Even if the number of people who are severely adversely affected by these drugs is small, and I would argue that it’s not, is it really okay for an ANTIBIOTIC to cause people to be disabled and to suffer?  The people who have been hurt by these drugs have lost so much of themselves – their ability to move, their ability to think, their ability to relate to other people, their livelihood, etc.  They lost these things when there were other, safer, drugs available that could have gotten rid of their infection.  No other class of antibiotics even has the potential for this much harm.  Penicillins, tetracyclines, cephalosporins – they’re not perfect, but they won’t cause a long-lasting, severe syndrome that tears apart connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, fascia, etc.) and damages the nervous systems (central, peripheral, autonomic).

Greg, Zachary and I are collateral damage, but we didn’t need to be.  The damage done to us could have been prevented.  A safer alternative drug could have, and should have, been given to us.  We could have been properly warned of the dangers of these drugs before they were administered.  A protocol could have been established to determine whether or not these drugs were absolutely necessary before the prescription was written.  Suffering could have been diminished with the use of a safer alternative drug.

It is a tragedy that people are needlessly suffering from preventable adverse reactions to unnecessarily strong and dangerous drugs.  Please be compassionate toward those who are hurt.  Please shift your thinking from, “all drugs have side-effects” to “side-effects should be minimized in every way possible because they are unacceptable.”  Just as importantly, please don’t become a victim yourself.  Don’t take Cipro, Levaquin or Avelox.  There are safe alternatives in almost every situation.

In closing, here are some wonderfully scathing words of Zachary’s on the topic of fluoroquinolones:

“Fluoroquinolone antibiotics have no place in the practice of medicine unless you agree that experimenting on human beings by irreversibly altering their DNA with purposefully unpredictable results and thus indefinitely crippling them unwittingly is something that falls under the definition of “health.” I’m thinking more in terms of “nauseatingly inhumane,” but that’s just me.”

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