Is Fluoroquinolone Toxicity “Real?”

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.



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14 thoughts on “Is Fluoroquinolone Toxicity “Real?”

  1. bjacob131 October 30, 2015 at 9:59 am Reply

    Lisa, has anyone in the fq community applied for a cpt code?

    • Lisa Bloomquist October 30, 2015 at 10:13 am Reply

      I don’t know. I haven’t. If you, or someone you know, knows how to do that, it would be wonderful!

  2. Barbara October 31, 2015 at 4:26 am Reply

    What is a cpt code? Sorry about my ignorance

  3. nabur November 1, 2015 at 3:17 pm Reply

    I would really love to forward “Is Fluoroquinolone Toxcicity Real,’ to at least one of my relatives who see’s my suffering as nothing more than hypochondria. Unfortunately, I can’t send it as it is, because I’m sure that, being a doctor, she would be insulted to see the part of the message, in purple, that mentions “medical expertise.” I guess I could copy and paste, but then she would think the words came from me, and they wouldn’t matter.

    I was poisoned by Ciprofloxacin, about a year and a half ago when it was prescribed, as it was for so many others, to treat an ‘imaginary’ urinary tract infection. I had gone in for a simple health check, and as general procedure it turned out that, that office asked for a urine sample. The doctor thought it looked “a little cloudy.” It looked normal to me, but she thought it “wouldn’t hurt to take an “antibiotic ,just in case…. and make sure you take every last pill!” The prescription was for 500mg ciprofloxacin 2x/d, for one week.

    I had no health problems whatsoever at the time, but if I were to type, here and now, all the things that have gone seriously wrong with me since that first fatal pill, I would fall off this chair and die, albeit mercifully, from lack of rest – the list would be that long. And, anyway, you all know what the list would say.

    I don’t know how I’ve survived this long….well, yes I do, really. It’s all due to the love of my little dog, Maggie. She’s very old, over twenty now, and she requires constant love and encouragement just to continue on. I’m certain she could not survive long without me….and I know she would be very frightened. I need to hang in there until she goes, then I think I will finally be able to give in to all this misery, and die.

    It’s funny….well, not really funny,but strange, that before that doctor destroyed everything good in my life, I had been enjoying a series that many of you are probably familiar with; “The Walking Dead.” I felt SO sorry for all those poor souls who were afflicted…sick and tired, but unable to rest. Little did I know that I would very soon be one of them, dead, ugly, but still moving – sometimes, moving.

    • Lisa Bloomquist November 1, 2015 at 6:42 pm Reply

      Sorry for the snide quote in the pic, Nabur! I’m even more sorry for the disregard that you’re getting from your family member, and even more sorry for the pain you’re experiencing! I don’t know why anyone would think that people would choose this. You don’t go from being perfectly healthy to having multiple disabling ailments for fun. No one would even consider doing that. She blames hypochondria? That’s ridiculous. Not only is there no evidence that there is no hypochondria involved in this, there is no reason that anyone would choose this. Being chronically ill with an unrecognized illness isn’t something that people do for fun.

      I’m glad that Maggie is giving you strength and I hope that she leaves some strength behind for you when she passes. You were perfectly healthy before you were poisoned and you will be perfectly healthy again – some day – after a long process of healing. Please try to believe it and don’t give up.

      It sucks to be able to empathize with zombies. Seriously, it’s ridiculous. I’m sorry that you can empathize with them now. I hope that this passes and that you will no longer be able to empathize with them soon.


    • Nat April 27, 2018 at 9:54 am Reply

      Of all the things I’ve seen in comments.
      This is solid. Gold.
      Nabur if nothing else, you’ve retained some humor. Thanks.

      “I had no health problems whatsoever at the time, but if I were to type, here and now, all the things that have gone seriously wrong with me since that first fatal pill, I would fall off this chair and die, albeit mercifully, from lack of rest – the list would be that long. And, anyway, you all know what the list would say.”

  4. Barbara November 2, 2015 at 7:52 am Reply

    Hi Lisa, Can you tell me what you know about mito q and if you think it would be a good suppliment to take, as I have read it is 847 times more effective than CQ10. Also what is a cpt code?
    I am in my 13th month of being floxed and I have been on The Levaquin Solution protocol, plus some homeopathy treatments. I am soooo much better now and almost feel like myself. I feel It’s important to just keep taking the protocol, and any new products that may help with the final push, such as mito q. I would like my floxie friends to know that I am 72yrs young and should never have been given cipro for a bout of bronchitus, but not only that, I was given cortisone injections at the same time. If I, at my age
    can recover then so can those of you who are much younger.
    Keep going and Never Give Up, you will get there
    Watch this Space love Barbara x

    • Sally November 4, 2015 at 4:21 am Reply

      Hi Barbara,
      An ICD.9 code is a diagnosis code. It is used in billing.

  5. Barbara November 4, 2015 at 7:49 am Reply

    Hi Sally, thanks for your answer but I’m even more confused, is a cpt code the same as an ICD.9 code ? Why would Lisa think that would be wonderful if some-one know’s how to apply for one. I am British so it could be indicative to the US, either that or I’m a bit dim heh heh.

  6. Barbara November 9, 2015 at 4:20 am Reply

    Is anybody out there ?

    • Lisa Bloomquist November 9, 2015 at 12:35 pm Reply

      Hi Barbara,

      I’m not an expert on medical billing or insurance, but I think that they’re both diagnostic codes. Without a diagnostic code, illnesses fall through the cracks and aren’t recognized – most often.


  7. Martin Spencer August 15, 2016 at 1:19 am Reply

    AMEN!! I’m not a religious person but this is ‘not in my head’ or anxiety and depression that the neurologist claimed. I’m a recent floxie who’s had numerous visits to numerous doctors, all of which dismiss the idea. The only person who said it was ‘likely’ that Cipro caused these symptoms is a close friend and leading cancer consultant in the UK. He should know, he deals with Chemotherapy drugs ever day! I may send this to my urologist so he can understand the frustration that I’m feeling.

    Keep up the good work Lisa.


    • Deb November 7, 2018 at 10:56 pm Reply

      I goninto anaphylactic shock every time I eat anything. I’ve lost 70’pounds in 31/2 months and they think it’s mast cell activation syndrome! I was fond hd taken cipro twice for kidney infection. Went to dinner came home started throwing up Nd then full blown anaphylaxis! 17 trips to the ER and since July no doctor has diagnosed me or helped. Today I was told to take 180 ml of Allegra a day!!! Plus two Pepsid within 10 hours of each other with larazapam and omeprazole!!
      This is nuts!
      How about someone diagnose me so o can get well. I feel like I’m dyeing! Hair falling out, nauseated all the time and I can’t eat I’m starving. What’s wrong with me?

  8. Roxanne April 25, 2019 at 5:43 am Reply

    Just reading this article makes me feel better. I was floxed 14 months ago by Cipro, that was given for a UTI. Although struggling with the many side effects it has caused, and the alterations it’s made on me, I think one of my worse effect was not having the support of my family, friends, and doctors. Not having anyone understand or acknowledge what you’re going through is as bad as the pain and suffering this dangerous drug has caused.

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