What is required for fluoroquinolone toxicity to be “real?”
Most of the symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity are listed on the warning labels.
Tendinitis? Yup, listed on the warning label. Muscle weakness? Yup, that’s there too. Cardiovascular collapse, loss of consciousness, tingling, pharyngeal or facial edema, dyspnea, urticaria, and itching? They’re right there on the warning label. Liver failure is there too – that’s what “hepatic failure” means. “Convulsions, increased intracranial pressure (including pseudotumor cerebri), and toxic psychosis have been reported in patients receiving fluoroquinolones, including ciprofloxacin.” Serious central nervous system effects like, “dizziness, confusion, tremors, hallucinations, depression, and, rarely, psychotic reactions have progressed to suicidal ideations/thoughts and self-injurious behavior such as attempted or completed suicide” are also listed on the warning labels. Permanent peripheral neuropathy is listed too. So are musculoskeletal disorders—though the warning label only notes that those happen in pediatric patients—kids. Prolongation of the QT interval, renal impairment, phototoxicity and diarrhea are also listed.
Do the warning labels leave some symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity out? Sure. Even the FDA acknowledges that, “While most of the individual AEs (adverse effects) that exist within FQAD (fluoroquinolone associated disability) are currently described in fluoroquinolone labeling, the particular constellation of symptoms across organ systems is not.” The warning labels are a good place to start though.
If someone takes a drug, then develops side-effects that are listed on the drug warning label, it’s pretty reasonable to think that what they’re experiencing is an effect of the drug. It’s not only reasonable, it’s probable.
If thousands of people experience similar adverse effects after taking a drug, those adverse effects are likely caused by the drug.
Thousands of anecdotes certainly help to build a case, but they are still anecdotes, so scientific experimentation is needed to show that a drug is as damaging and dangerous as people claim it to be.
There are more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles about fluoroquinolones in the Research section of the Links & Resources page on this site. There is PLENTY of evidence that fluoroquinolones do a massive amount of damage to the human body.
There is PLENTY of evidence that fluoroquinolones damage mitochondria, increase ROS, deplete antioxidants, deplete iron, deplete magnesium, damage the microbiome, downgrade GABA, are endocrine disrupters, cause lysosomal disorders, form poisonous metabolites in the liver, activate mast cells and release histamine, AND MORE.
Can any one of those things cause a multi-symptom illness? Yes, of course they can. And fluoroquinolones DO cause multi-symptom, often chronic, illness.
Despite all that, there is not a diagnostic code for fluoroquinolone toxicity, and fluoroquinolone toxicity is not taught in medical school. Many doctors do not recognize fluoroquinolone toxicity when they have a patient who is dealing with it. (Though that is changing—more and more doctors are recognizing fluoroquinolone toxicity, and that is a very good thing.) And, despite all the damage that fluoroquinolones do to cells, there is no test that shows fluoroquinolone toxicity.
A diagnostic code and a test will likely be required for some people to believe that fluoroquinolone toxicity is real. We should fight for those things, because they’re important in getting the problem recognized and the solution sought.
Even without the diagnostic code or adequate test, fluoroquinolone toxicity IS REAL. It is acknowledged in FDA documents and backed up by hundreds of peer-reviewed articles. If someone chooses to ignore that evidence, well, they’re operating on faith in their notions of infallible doctors, not the real, scientific evidence that shows the damage that fluoroquinolones do to cells.
Regardless of what anyone thinks, your pain and your experience are real. I know that it hurts when people assert that your pain isn’t real, or that you’re imagining what you know to be true. It sucks, to say the least. But you know your body, and you know what happened to you. Your truth, and your experience, matter. Other people’s beliefs about your condition don’t.