Monthly Archives: September 2015

Dr. Perlmutter Speaks About the Microbiome and Advocacy

Dr. Perlmutter Speaks About the Microbiome and Advocacy

Yesterday I went to a wonderful event at a Natural Grocers where Dr. David Perlmutter spoke about the importance of nourishing your microbiome with healthy foods.

According to his amazon.com bio, “David Perlmutter, MD, is a globally recognized leader in brain science. He is the recipient of the Linus Pauling Award, editor-in-chief of the global online and print peer-reviewed journal Brain and Gut, and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Grain Brain, The Grain Brain Cookbook, Brain Maker, The Better Brain Book, Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten, and Power Up Your Brain. He lives and practices in Naples, Florida.”

Dr. Perlmutter understands the connections between microbiome health and brain health. He speaks out about the connections between microbiome destruction via over-use of antibiotics, and chronic illness. He has acknowledged fluoroquinolone toxicity on news-casts, and has made videos about fluoroquinolone-induced peripheral neuropathy.

His presentation was wonderful and if you get the opportunity to see him speak, I recommend that you do so.

I had the opportunity to thank Dr. Perlmutter for the work he’s done speaking out about fluoroquinolone toxicity.

Dr Perlmutter and Lisa Bloomquist

I also had the opportunity to ask him, in the Q&A section in front of the whole audience, what can be done to encourage more doctors to understand that fluoroquinolone antibiotics are dangerous drugs that should not be used frivolously. He responded that speaking out was the way to bring about change, and that doctors and other people can be educated about the dangers of fluoroquinolones one person at a time.

Every time we share an article that connects microbiome destruction to chronic illness (several are linked to HERE), we encourage people to understand that microbiome health is critical for all areas of health, and that throwing a nuclear bomb into the gut with fluoroquinolones (information about the dangers of fluoroquinolones can be found HERE), can be devastating.

Dr. Perlmutter also spoke about how mitochondria are ancient bacteria, and every time we share information about how fluoroquinolones damage mitochondria, we are also increasing the chances of doctors and other people making the connections between mitochondria-damaging drugs and chronic illness.

The outreach advice I got from Dr. Perlmutter and Dr. Wahls (in Episode 14 of The Floxie Hope Podcast) was to keep screaming, keep telling people about fluoroquinolone toxicity, and one person at a time, minds will change.

For fluoroquinolone toxicity to be on the radar of someone as influential as Dr. Perlmutter is a HUGE step in the right direction for us. He reaches millions of people through his books, web site, journal, practice, and other contributions. If you get a chance to thank him for his fluoroquinolone toxicity awareness efforts, please do so. He is brilliant, thoughtful, interesting and a wonderful advocate. He has my respect and admiration.

 

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The Next Time Will be Worse: Cross-Reactivity of Fluoroquinolones

The Next Time Will be Worse: Cross-Reactivity of Fluoroquinolones

On every single warning label for each fluoroquinolone it says that if a person has experienced an adverse reaction to a quinolone, they should not be exposed to quinolones again.

The Cipro/ciprofloxacin warning label says:

“Ciprofloxacin is contraindicated in persons with a history of hypersensitivity to ciprofloxacin, any member of the quinolone class of antimicrobial agents, or any of the product components.”

The Avelox/moxifloxacin warning label says:

“Contraindications: Known hypersensitivity to AVELOX or other quinolones.”

The Ciprodex ear drop warning label says:

“CIPRODEX® Otic is contraindicated in patients with a history of hypersensitivity to ciprofloxacin, to other quinolones, or to any of the components in this medication.”

Yet these warnings are disregarded regularly. I often hear from people who tell their doctor that they are allergic to Levaquin, and their doctor prescribes them Cipro. Or they tell their doctor that they are allergic to Cipro, but are still prescribed ofloxacin eye drops. There seems to be a lack of understanding of the cross-reactivity or one quinolone with all other quinolones.

The lack of knowledge and understanding is not because of lack of documentation. In an article in Current Pharmaceutical Design entitled “An Update on the Diagnosis of Allergic and Non-Allergic Drug Hypersensitivity,” it is noted that, “cross-reactivity among quinolones at both the IgE- and T-cell level is clinically well documented. Therefore, patients with hypersensitivity reactions to any quinolone should not be re-exposed to any antimicrobial agents of that class.”

Additionally, in The European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology’s article, “Cross-reactivity between quinolones,” it is noted that, “We conclude that cross-reactivity between quinolone seems to be very important, and avoidance of any quinolone should be recommended to any patients who has suffered an allergic reaction to one of these drugs.”

When I told my doctors at Kaiser Permanente that I wanted fluoroquinolones to be put in my chart as a drug allergy, they couldn’t do it, because “fluoroquinolones” are a class of drugs, and they could only enter individual drugs into their system. In order to get all fluoroquinolones in my chart, I had to list every fluoroquinolone separately, because if I just said that I was allergic to Cipro, they would still give me Levaquin, or Avelox or Floxin. That’s a bit ridiculous seeing as it says ON THE WARNING LABEL that if someone has a history of hyper-sensitivity to one quinolone, they should avoid exposure to other quinolones. I’m sure that it’s easier said than done, but couldn’t there be some sort of cross-population of information that takes the “clinically well documented” cross-reactivity of quinolones into consideration? If someone has experienced a severe adverse reaction to Floxin, they shouldn’t take Levaquin—it’s not that difficult a concept. But systems are not currently in place to recognize, much less track or prevent, cross-reactivity or contraindications between drugs.

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If a person experiences a severe adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone and they feel as if a bomb has gone off in their body and mind, they know that they have had an adverse reaction to a quinolone. Going through one severe adverse reaction to a quinolone is enough for most people, and they are likely to realize that they should never take a quinolone again. However, there are many people who experience mild-to-moderate adverse reactions to quinolones who don’t realize that they have had an adverse reaction in the past.

For the people reading this who may have taken a fluoroquinolone in the past but haven’t had a severe adverse reaction, I encourage you to think about your health history. After taking Cipro/ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/levofloxacin, Avelox/moxifloxacin, or Floxin/ofloxacin, did you experience any of the following?

Insomnia
Anxiety
Loss of endurance
Muscle twitches
Tendon tears or ruptures
Depression
GI issues
Mild peripheral neuropathy

Those are all Warning Signs of fluoroquinolone toxicity. After the first time I took ciprofloxacin I had a twitchy eyelid and intermittent stomach cramping. I wish I had known that those symptoms were adverse reactions to the ciprofloxacin, and that I had known that I could no longer tolerate it. If I had known that I had experienced an adverse reaction to ciprofloxacin in the past, and if I had known that the warning labels say that people who have had a bad reaction shouldn’t take the drug again, I wouldn’t have taken it again and I would have avoided full-blown fluoroquinolone toxicity. There are a million “if only” scenarios around my adverse reaction to ciprofloxacin. I can’t turn back time and change anything though. I can only move forward and warn people. I hope that people heed my warning, and connect bizarre, seemingly innocuous symptoms like anxiety and sprained elbows, to the fluoroquinolone they took to treat an infection, and that they avoid future use of fluoroquinolones.

 

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Floxie Hope Podcast Episode 14 – Dr. Terry Wahls

Floxie Hope Podcast Episode 14 - Dr. Terry Wahls

It was an absolute HONOR to interview Dr. Terry Wahls for episode 14 of The Floxie Hope Podcast. Dr. Wahls has inspired millions of people with her personal story of putting progressive multiple sclerosis (M.S) into remission through diet and lifestyle changes. She is the author of The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat all Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles. In addition to reversing the course of various autoimmune diseases, the Wahls Protocol has helped thousands of people to recover from mysterious chronic illnesses like Lyme Disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome / M.E, and fluoroquinolone toxicity.

In this interview, Dr. Wahls and I discuss how mitochondria can be repaired through diet and lifestyle changes. We go over the basics of The Wahls Protocol diet, and we discuss how everyone who has been hurt by a mitochondrial poison can nourish their cells. Information about Dr. Wahls can be found on http://terrywahls.com/.

You can listen to the podcast through these links:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/floxie-hope-podcast/id945226010

http://www.floxiehopepodcast.com/episode-014-dr-terry-wahls/

Please accept my sincere apologies for the horrible sound quality in the first 5 minutes of the podcast. It is better after the 5 minute mark, so please hang in there and listen past the fuzziness at the beginning.

Renee’s story illustrates how helpful The Wahls Protocol is for those suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity – https://floxiehope.com/renees-story-cipro-reaction/.

Dr. Wahls’ TED talk has been viewed more than 2.2 million times and has inspired and touched every person who has viewed it. I encourage you to listen to the podcast, buy the book, and watch Dr. Wahls’ inspirational TED talk

 

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Change the Warning Labels: Why it Matters

Change the Fluoroquinolone Warning Labels: Why it Matters

The warning label for Cipro/ciprofloxacin is already 43 pages long. It includes warnings about devastating adverse effects including irreversible peripheral neuropathy, destruction of weight-bearing joints, prolongation of the QT interval, seizures, severe hepatotoxicity, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, “psychotic reactions (that) have progressed to suicidal ideations/thoughts and self-injurious behavior such as attempted or completed suicide,” and more. Most of the symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity are already listed on the warning label. But when patients go to their doctors with symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity, they are often told that their reaction couldn’t be from the Cipro, Levaquin, Floxin or Avelox they took. To say that it’s frustrating that many doctors aren’t aware of the side-effects that ARE LISTED ON THE WARNING LABELS, is an understatement. It is shameful that the adverse effects listed on the warning labels aren’t known and quickly acknowledged by all medical professionals. It’s bad enough that many of those practicing medicine don’t know how to help people heal from fluoroquinolone toxicity, the fact that the symptoms that are listed on the warning labels aren’t often acknowledged, is horrible.

What’s the Point of the Warning Label?

It begs the question, if adverse-effects that are listed on the warning label aren’t being acknowledged, what is the point of the warning label?

One could argue that the only purpose of the warning label is to protect the pharmaceutical companies from being sued. After all, if you are hurt by a drug in a way that is listed on the warning label, most lawyers won’t take your case, and suing the drug companies for damage done is difficult to impossible.

Since patients are rarely given complete warning labels with their prescriptions for fluoroquinolones, and because the lengthy warning labels are still inadequate, and because the Learned Intermediary Doctrine makes it so that there are no requirements that patients even be informed about the consequences of taking prescription drugs, one could certainly argue that drug warning labels don’t protect consumers at all.

Citizen’s Petitions for Changing Fluoroquinolone Warning Labels

There are two citizen’s petitions that have been filed with the FDA asking for additional warnings to be added to the warning labels for Levaquin/levofloxacin (that would likely carry over to the other fluoroquinolones too). One of the petitions is for adding additional warnings of psychiatric adverse events, and the other is for adding “Possible Mitochondrial Toxicity” to the warning labels.

Since the existing warning labels are so inadequate for actually warning doctors or patients, and are actually counterproductive for patients seeking justice for the harm done to them, many people have asked, “What’s the point in adding anything to the warning label?” and they have asserted that adding more warnings to the labels isn’t what we should be aiming for.

In many ways, I agree with their assertions. If warning labels aren’t adequate or heeded, and if they actually get in the way of justice, we should be fighting for something other than more additions to the warning labels. We should be fighting for severe restrictions of these drugs, as well as true informed consent where all possible adverse effects are gone over with patients prior to administration of fluoroquinolones, similar to the restrictions put on Warfarin and Coumadin. We should fight for awareness of fluoroquinolone toxicity, so that doctors know about the possible harm they can do to patients with these drugs, so they can avoid doing that harm. We should fight for more research into fluoroquinolones so that the damage done by them can be more fully understood. We should fight for cures and assistance for those who have been hurt by fluoroquinolones. We should fight for justice, and more.

Many people and organizations ARE fighting for these things. Media outreach efforts are raising awareness and the doctors who are reached by these media reports are using fluoroquinolones more prudently. For example, it was reported that prescriptions for Levaquin/Levofloxacin dropped significantly after “Local woman says popular antibiotic killed her husband” aired and was shared more than 135k times on social media. The Quinolone Vigilance Foundation (QVF) works with scientists researching fluoroquinolones. Many people have written letters to their Representatives, the FDA and the AMA asking that stronger restrictions be put on fluoroquinolones. Several law firms are suing Bayer and Johnson & Johnson on behalf of fluoroquinolone victims. These things are all moves in the right direction.

Throwing a Punch at the Drug Companies

Receiving a positive response from the FDA to the Citizens’ Petitions is also a move in the right direction. Adding psychiatric adverse events and mitochondrial toxicity to the warning labels is actually a huge weapon for floxie advocates. Warning labels themselves may be useless, but during the time when a warning label has things added to it, they can be a great tool, and a big gun we can use against the pharmaceutical companies. The ONLY times lawyers are willing to take cases to sue the drug companies are when warning labels change. For example, when the fluoroquinolone warning labels were adjusted in August, 2013 to note that permanent peripheral neuropathy is a possible effect of fluoroquinolones, several law firms took cases of those who are suffering from peripheral neuropathy after taking fluoroquinolones. Before the warning label changed, they wouldn’t take the cases, because, appallingly, you can’t sue drug companies for hurting you, you can only sue them for “failure to warn” of the harm they’ll do. It’s a really stupid situation and stupid system. BUT, the time when warning labels change is the brief period of time in which you can sue the drug companies for “failure to warn” and it’s the brief period of time when we have the chance to fight the pharmaceutical companies. Opening this window is a good thing, and I support the Citizen’s Petitions because they are wonderful “window openers.” I hope that the FDA responds positively to them, and adds both psychiatric adverse events and “Possible Mitochondrial Toxicity” to the warning labels for all fluoroquinolones.

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If the window for justice can be opened by the Citizen’s Petitions, we may be able to throw a big punch that actually hurts Bayer and/or J&J. If psychiatric adverse events are added to the warning labels, ANYONE who has suffered from a psychiatric illness who had previously taken Cipro/ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/levofloxacin, Avelox/moxifloxacin or Floxin/ofloxacin can sue the drug companies that produce fluoroquinolones. That’s a lot of people who can, potentially, take a chunk of change out of Bayer’s and J&J’s pockets.

Mitochondrial toxicity is linked to many diseases, including all autoimmune diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, fibromyalgia, autism, CFS/ME, cancer, psychiatric illness, obesity, etc. Adding mitochondrial toxicity to fluoroquinolone warning labels opens the possibility for a HUGE punch to the pharmaceutical companies. If it is fully acknowledged that fluoroquinolones cause mitochondrial toxicity, anyone who comes down with a disease that is linked to mitochondrial toxicity can sue the manufacturer of the drug that hurt them. If everyone who got sick with a chronic disease who had previously taken a fluoroquinolone was able to sue Bayer or J&J, the drug companies would take note, and change may even occur.

It will be difficult for the FDA to claim that “possible mitochondrial toxicity” shouldn’t be added to fluoroquinolone warning labels. After all, it is stated IN THEIR DOCUMENT entitled, “Disabling Peripheral Neuropathy Associated with Systemic Fluoroquinolone Exposure,” that:

Ciprofloxacin has been found to affect mammalian topoisomerase II, especially in mitochondria. In vitro studies in drug-treated mammalian cells found that nalidixic acid and ciprofloxacin cause a loss of motichondrial DNA (mtDNA), resulting in a decrease of mitochondrial respiration and an arrest in cell growth. Further analysis found protein-linked double-stranded DNA breaks in the mtDNA from ciprofloxacin-treated cells, suggesting that ciprofloxacin was targeting topoisomerase II activity in the mitochondria.”

THEY acknowledge that fluoroquinolones deleteriously affect mitochondrial DNA. The least they could do is put that information on the warning labels.

Movement…. Hopefully in the Right Direction

I obviously have a lot of conflicting feelings about changing the fluoroquinolone warning labels. I wish that we, as citizens who have been hurt by these drugs, had more opportunities for enacting change. I also wish that the warning labels were meaningful documents that were heeded by doctors and patients alike, and that they didn’t primarily serve the pharmaceutical companies. I also wish that more victims of fluoroquinolones were able to gain justice BECAUSE THEY WERE WRONGLY HURT BY A PRESCRIPTION DRUG, rather than making them jump through legal loop-holes about “failure to warn.” Until those things change though, we need to use the tools and opportunities we have. If enacted, the Citizen’s Petitions give us an opportunity to throw a big punch.

I hope that the FDA changes the warning labels to reflect what is known about fluoroquinolones causing mitochondrial toxicity and psychiatric adverse events.  If the warning labels change, and the punch behind the mitochondrial toxicity and psychiatric adverse events is big enough, maybe real change will occur. We can hope.

 

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The Mitochondrial Link – Fearless Parent Podcast #81

The Mitochondrial Link - Fearless Parent Podcast #81

In my first episode as a host of the Fearless Parent Podcast, I interviewed Dr. Chris Meletis about mitochondria, and how mitochondrial damage relates to health and chronic illness.  Dr. Meletis is brilliant and insightful and it was an honor to have him on the show!

You can learn more about the show, and download it, from this link:

http://fearlessparent.org/radio-blog-the-mitochondrial-link/

Or, you can get it through iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fearless-parent-radio/id761449886?mt=2

Information about Dr. Meletis and his practice in Beaverton, Oregon, can be found on http://www.drmeletis.com/.  Dr. Meletis is changing the world’s health, one person at a time, through books, lectures, podcasts and his practice of naturopathic medicine.

A couple of Dr. Meletis’s wonderful articles on mitochondria are:

Mitochondria Resuscitation: The Key to Healing Every Disease

Mitochondria: The Missing Link in Hormone Therapy

They are highly recommended.

What does this have to do with fluoroquinolone toxicity?  Fluoroquinolones have been shown to damage mitochondria, the energy centers of our cells, so mitochondrial health and fluoroquinolone toxicity are tightly linked.

Thank you for listening and for sharing this podcast!

 

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Quinolone Vigilance Foundation (QVF) Update

Quinolone Vigilance Foundation (QVF) Update

I asked Rachel Brummert, President of the QVF, to update the January, 2014 post about the QVF – https://floxiehope.com/2014/01/29/the-quinolone-vigilance-foundation-qvf/.  It turns out that a lot of updating needed to be done, so I’m making the update a whole new post.  Thank you to everyone involved with the QVF for all your efforts!  

There is a non-profit, charitable foundation devoted to raising awareness about the dangers of fluoroquinolone antibiotics and fluoroquinolone toxicity, advocating for victims, educating the medical community, and to funding research on fluoroquinolone toxicity. It is called The Quinolone Vigilance Foundation (the QVF) – www.saferpills.org.

Following is some information about the QVF:

History and Purpose

The QVF is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation established in 2009 and Incorporated in 2012. Its founders sought to establish professional credibility by reviewing the existing scientific literature that addressed adverse reactions from fluoroquinolones; recruited and networked medical researchers; and stimulated new research into this poorly understood issue. The QVF branched out in 2014 to educating the medical profession.

“Our mission is four-fold: Educating the medical profession about fluoroquinolones, advocating for victims of fluoroquinolone toxicity, raising awareness in the United States and abroad, and research. Advocacy, education, and research go hand in hand and gives a complete picture of the problem. Helping victims already affected and getting ahead of it so damage doesn’t happen in the first place is something we are very passionate about and we work hard to achieve,” explains Rachel Brummert, Executive Director of the QVF.

Advocacy and Outreach

  • In the spring of 2014, the QVF began educating doctors in local practices and major medical centers.
  • QVF has held six fundraisers since 2013 to raise funding for advocacy and education, and for the University of Rochester research study.
  • QVF sells awareness merchandise:

www.cafepress.com/quinvigil

https://www.bravelets.com/bravepage/fluoroquinolone-life-qvf

http://konectidy.com/charity/quinolone-vigilance-foundation/

  • QVF is in early stages of bringing in two new research studies.
  • QVF attended two FDA Hearings
  • QVF continues to work with media outlets to warn viewers of the dangers of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. We provide information to reporters and assist in finding victims to be interviewed.
  • QVF receives many requests from doctors offices and pharmacies for brochures and awareness cards to display. We also offer free brochures to anyone who wishes to pass them out in their communities. In addition, we offer downloadable brochures on our website under the Resources tab for anyone who wishes to print them out themselves. http://www.saferpills.org/print-download/
  • Author, actor and international speaker Josh Rivedal asked QVF to participate in the i’Mpossible Project and the upcoming book The i’Mpossible Project: Volume 1 Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You due to be released on January 13, 2016 and available for pre-order on September 16, 2015. Per an agreement with the publisher, 100% of proceeds made from our contribution to the book will be donated to QVF and no person shall personally gain from the book. QVF has been approached by several media outlets to discuss the book and about the topic of fluoroquinolone toxicity. The book will be available in paperback and e-book, at major bookstores like Books A Million, Barnes & Noble and Amazon, and online as an ebook at BN.com, Kindle, iTunes, Nook, and Google Books. The i’Mpossible Project is a collection of powerful stories. The stories in this first volume are all about overcoming obstacles, reengaging with life, and creating new possibilities. Among the other authors are Academy Award Winner James Lecesne, and actress Ali Stroker of Fox’s GLEE. We are honored to participate and to bring fluoroquinolone toxicity awareness to an international audience.
  • QVF produces awareness videos which can be readily shared to spread awareness and participates in podcasts and radio shows.

Television Media stories featuring QVF volunteers

Arizonahttp://www.abc15.com/news/local-news/investigations/experts-top-antibiotic-carries-hidden-side-effects-not-listed-on-the-label

Arizonahttp://www.azcentral.com/videos/news/local/arizona/2014/11/04/18450053/

Michiganhttp://www.wxyz.com/news/local-news/investigations/experts-top-antibiotic-carries-hidden-side-effects-not-listed-on-the-label

Indianahttp://www.theindychannel.com/news/u-s-world/experts-top-antibiotic-carries-hidden-side-effects-not-listed-on-the-label

Florida- http://www.wptv.com/money/consumer/experts-top-antibiotic-carries-hidden-side-effects-not-listed-on-the-label

Ohiohttp://www.wcpo.com/news/health/healthy-living/levaquin-popular-antibiotic-carries-side-effects-not-listed-on-label

Californiahttp://www.10news.com/news/investigations/patients-experts-popular-antibiotics-could-cause-permanent-damage-11242014

Georgiahttp://www.wsbtv.com/videos/news/channel-2-investigates-complaints-about-popular/vDDZZS/

Georgiahttp://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/patients-suffer-devastating-side-effects-popular-a/nj4Br/

Georgiahttp://www.wsbtv.com/videos/news/another-widow-says-medication-killed-her-husband/vDD6mw/

Californiahttp://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2015/03/04/southland-firefighter-says-popular-antibiotic-stripped-him-of-his-career/

Missourihttp://www.kctv5.com/story/28170151/fda-evaluates-popular-antibiotic-that-patients-say-makes-them-sicker

Virginiahttp://wric.com/2015/04/21/8news-investigates-could-this-antibiotic-permanently-damage-your-health/

Virginiahttp://wric.com/2015/05/20/8news-investigates-doctors-left-in-dark-about-prescription-drug-dangers/

Articles featuring QVF

Care Novate: http://carenovatemag.com/personal-account-prescription-destruction-black-box-warning/

United Kingdom: http://born-in-newyork.com/ciprofloxacin-antibiotic-resistance/

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/it-pays-to-read-the-warnings-when-you-open-up-a-prescription/2015/08/03/a29e11b4-d70e-11e4-b3f2-607bd612aeac_story.html?tid=hpModule_9d3add6c-8a79-11e2-98d9-3012c1cd8d1e

Tulsa World: http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/idelle-davidson-the-risky-business-of-taking-antibiotics/article_bcce562a-bd78-5d92-b156-6926115be61c.html

Connecticut- http://www.courant.com/consumer/hc-ls-antibiotics-drug-reaction-20150821-story.html

Italy: http://m.ilgazzettino.it/m/gazzettino/articolo/NORDEST/1270894

QVF Staff/Volunteers

The QVF is comprised of a board of directors, non-board volunteers, and ambassadors/advocates from all over the world: The United States, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Australia, Algeria, and Italy.

The current volunteer staff positions are as follows:

Board

Rachel Brummert – Executive Director and President

Matthew Arnold – Vice President

Donna Schutz – Assistant Director and Ambassador Coordinator

Leslie Day – Corporate Secretary

Christina Manthos -Sorrell – Treasurer

Dr. Deanna Minkler – General Board Member

Dr. Joe Hudak – General Board Member

Non-board

Victoria Chiovare – Assistant Fundraising Director

Jenny Frank- Public Relations Director

All QVF positions are staffed by volunteers who generously donate their time and talents to promote the mission and values of the organization. No one within the organization receives compensation of any kind.

More information about the QVF can be found on www.saferpills.org and you can sign up for quarterly newsletters to keep up to date on QVF projects and activities.

To donate to QVF: donations@saferpills.org. All donations are tax deductible.

 

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Healing is a Journey

Healing from Fluoroquinolone toxicity is a Journey

One day I was doing Crossfit and the next I could barely walk.  The flox bomb went off in me quickly.  I had a slightly delayed reaction – my body exploded 2 weeks after I finished taking ciprofloxacin (when I started taking ibuprofen and when I got my period – both the contraindicated NSAID and the hormonal shifts probably played a role) – but once the fuse was lit, the bomb detonated quickly.  Suddenly I was unable to do the things I used to do with ease.  I was barely able to walk, much less hike up a mountain.  I was barely able to think, much less go to school while working full-time.  

In some ways I’m grateful that I didn’t fall apart gradually.  If my health had declined slowly I may have thought that I was just getting old, or I may have thought that I was coming down with one of the named mysterious diseases like fibromyalgia or CFS/ME.  I did think I had an autoimmune disease, not knowing whether or not they could strike a person suddenly.  All of the tests for autoimmune diseases came back negative though, and it wasn’t long before I realized that my symptoms were those of fluoroquinolone toxicity.  Because I went from well to sick so suddenly, it was not only plausible, it was clear that I was poisoned.  

But having my health suddenly stolen from me was terrifying, traumatic and, frankly, it felt unfair.  I had worked out regularly.  I had always eaten decently.  I was only 32.  I was healthy and strong.  How could I get poisoned?

The thing that felt most unfair about the situation was that there was no magic pill to put me back together again.  A pill could mess me up, but there wasn’t a pill to heal me.  I could suddenly be sickened, but I couldn’t suddenly get well.  Doctors could prescribe pills that could tear apart my cells, but they didn’t seem to have any advice for how to put my cells back together.  

It sucked.  

It sucks, and is unfair, that there isn’t a pill (whether it be a pharmaceutical or a supplement) that can reverse the damage done by fluoroquinolones.  It sucks, and is unfair, that the damage can be done suddenly, but the repair – the healing – takes time.  

As unfair and sucky as it is, the process of healing is not instantaneous – it takes time.  Healing is a process that requires patience, compassion, forgiveness, surrender, hard work, luck, nutrition, movement, tenacity, support, and love, among other things.  Perhaps the time healing takes is an opportunity to gain those things.  We all need more patience, compassion, forgiveness, surrender, hard work, luck, nutrition, movement, tenacity, support, and love in our lives.  Getting poisoned is a lousy way to come by those things.  But while you’re going through the trenches of fluoroquinolone toxicity, I encourage you to look around for those silver linings.

It took me a long time to get over anger about my health being stolen from me by Bayer/Cipro.  I’m still not completely over it and maybe I never will be.  But finding some appreciation for the journey has been helpful.  It has been healing.  

Healing is a journey, and the journey is healing.  They go hand in hand.  

I have learned that lesson.  Perhaps it’s what the storm is about.

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” -Haruki Murakami

 

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