This paragraph, in a 2013 New Yorker article entitled The Big Sleep, caught my attention:
“In a recent paper in the online edition of the British Medical Journal, Daniel Kripke, a professor emeritus at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, examined five years of electronic medical records collected by a health system in Pennsylvania. He compared more than ten thousand patients who had been prescribed a sleep medicine—most commonly Ambien—and more than twenty thousand patients who had not. After adjusting for age, gender, smoking habits, obesity, ethnicity, alcohol use, and a history of cancer, and after controlling, as much as possible, for other diseases and disorders, Kripke found that people who had taken sleeping pills were more than three times as likely to have died during the study period as those who had not. Those on higher doses of the drugs were more than five times as likely to have died.”
The drug featured in the article was a new sleeping pill called Suvorexant, and the quote is about Ambien, but it made me wonder–Can someone PLEASE do a similar epidemiological study for fluoroquinolones? I want to know how health outcomes are for those who take fluoroquinolones versus those who take other antibiotics.
The symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity are similar to the symptoms of autoimmune diseases like R.A., M.S., Lupus, scleroderma, and other autoimmune conditions–and several people have been diagnosed with those diseases after experiencing fluoroquinolone toxicity. Fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms are also similar to those of fibromyalgia, M.E./C.F.S., P.O.T.S., and other “mysterious” diseases of modernity. Fluoroquinolone toxicity, like those diseases, features peripheral neuropathy and central nervous system disturbances (like brain-fog, intractable insomnia, etc.). Psychiatric disturbances have been commonly reported among those suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity. Severe musculoskeletal problems among those taking fluoroquinolones have been reported (and actually studied). Frighteningly, some who have experienced fluoroquinolone toxicity have experienced symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases like A.L.S. and Parkinson’s.
The warning labels for fluoroquinolones are 43 pages long, and list many of the symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity. In the November 5, 2015 FDA meeting regarding fluoroquinolones, it was acknowledged that symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity are severe and that they resemble the symptoms of many diseases. Fluoroquinolones have also been noted as a source of permanent disability, and delayed adverse effects have been experience and documented. The FDA panel at the November 5th meeting noted that further studies of fluoroquinolones are needed.
YES, further studies are needed.
We need long-term studies that determine whether or not people who are given fluoroquinolones are more likely to be diagnosed with an autoimmune, neurodegenerative, psychiatric, or “mysterious” disease than those who don’t take fluoroquinolones.
I hope that someone takes a closer look at fluoroquinolones to see what the long-term health consequences of them are. Patients and physicians alike should know whether or not there are long-term consequences to taking a prescription drug–so they can adjust their actions accordingly.
Additional musings on this topic can be found in the December 14, 2015 post on Hormones Matter, “Dear Epidemiologists, Consider Fluoroquinolones.”