Are Fluoroquinolones Causing Connective Tissue Disorders that are Leading to ME/CFS?

The symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity often mimic those of ME/CFS (Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome). Many people suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity experience debilitating fatigue, and some are bed-bound and permanently disabled from this symptom, along with all the others that come along with fluoroquinolone toxicity. Both fluoroquinolone toxicity and ME/CFS are multi-symptom, chronic syndromes that are poorly understood and often disregarded by those in the medical community. Research into the mechanisms behind both fluoroquinolone toxicity and ME/CFS show that mitochondria (the energy centers of our cells) are likely related to both diseases, and so is autonomic nervous system dysfunction, mast cell activation, metabolomics, epigenetics, immune system dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, and other areas of human biology. Both fluoroquinolone toxicity and ME/CFS also have significant overlap with other diseases such as Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS), Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and fibromyalgia.

The similarities between fluoroquinolone toxicity and ME/CFS may mean that they have a similar root mechanism…. or they may not. The root cause of fluoroquinolone toxicity is, of course, fluoroquinolones. (The mechanism behind fluoroquinolone toxicity is much more complex and the answer to the question of HOW fluoroquinolones hurt people is still being uncovered.) Most people who have ME/CFS don’t report that their symptoms started with fluoroquinolone exposure (though there is almost certainly some overlap, and there are likely some people who have been diagnosed with ME/CFS whose disease started with a fluoroquinolone prescription). There seem to be a variety of triggers that set off ME/CFS in previously healthy individuals, including, but not limited to, mold exposure and sensitivity, and exposure to a viral infection that the body never fully recovers from.

While it is possible that there are many cases of ME/CFS that were brought on by fluoroquinolones, and thus are “actually” fluoroquinolone toxicity (labels, shmables), it is also possible that both diseases/syndromes have a similar underlying mechanism despite different causes, and it is also possible that though the symptoms and features of both diseases are similar, they are actually different on a mechanistic and/or cellular level.

Though the possibilities for differences between fluoroquinolone toxicity and ME/CFS are potentially significant, the similarities are obvious, and it is likely that research that helps ME/CFS sufferers will help fluoroquinolone toxicity sufferers.

There is a theory about the mechanism behind ME/CFS that has recently come to my attention that could, potentially, tie it more directly to fluoroquinolone toxicity. The theory, in a nutshell, is this:

Some people with ME/CFS have an underlying predisposition for EDS, and thus collagen synthesis is disordered and connective tissues are weakened. The ligaments of the craniocervical junction (where your skull meets your first vertebra) become weak and this leads to craniocervical instability (CCI) and atlantoaxial instability (AAI) (together, CCI/AAI). When people suffer from CCI/AAI their neck ligaments don’t sufficiently hold up their head and their brain stems are compressed into their spines. This causes many symptoms of ME/CFS. (I’m not sure exactly how – ask someone who has done far more research into ME/CFS and/or CCI/AAI than me.)

You can read about how CCI/AAI relates to ME/CFS in these two links:

  1. MEchanical Basis
  2. A new diagnosis to add to the list: I have craniocervical and atlantoaxial instability

How does this relate to fluoroquinlones?

It is well known that fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro/ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/levofloxacin, Avelox/moxifloxacin, Floxin/ofloxacin, and a few others) damage connective tissues–including musculoskeletal connective tissues like tendons, cartilage, bone, and muscle, as well as other connective tissues such as ocular tissue (including the retina)eardrums, and cardiac/heart tissue. Multiple studies have found that fluoroquinolones are toxic and damaging to connective tissues. Given the wide differences in tissues that fluoroquinolones have been shown to deleteriously affect–from cartilage to cardiac tissue–it is reasonable to assert that they damage all connective tissues throughout the body. (Read any of the articles in the citations listed below for information about how fluoroquinolones damage connective tissues.)

Given that fluoroquinolones damage connective tissues (probably all connective tissues – see links below), it is possible that they weaken the tendons of the neck and thus lead to CCI/AAI. CCI/AAI then leads to multi-symptom chronic illness including all the symptoms of ME/CFS (which are too numerous to count).

This weakening of tendons and subsequent CCI/AAI likely occurs more often in people with underlying connective tissue disorders like EDS. I suspect (though I have no proof of this) that there are many kinds of EDS that have not yet been identified, and that more people have the genes for a variation of EDS than those who can currently be diagnosed with the disease. It’s also possible that a genetic predisposition toward EDS is not necessary for fluoroquinolones to cause extensive connective tissue damage, and that they do so in everyone who is exposed to them (at varying levels, of course). Fluoroquinolones have been shown to damage dog and rat connective tissues, especially tendons, and human connective tissues exposed to fluoroquinolones have also shown extensive damage both in-vitro and through analysis of people exposed to fluoroquinolones. I have a hard time believing that all the rats, puppies, and people whose tissues were sampled all had underlying EDS prior to their tissues being destroyed by fluoroquinolones. However, it’s possible that underlying genetic predispositions, including those for EDS, determine how severely people are affected by fluoroquinolones. More research is, of course, needed.

Are fluoroquinolones causing CCI/AAI? And is CCI/AAI leading to ME/CFS? Given the large number of studies showing that fluoroquinolones destroy connective tissues and interfere with collagen synthesis, it’s quite plausible (even likely) that they cause CCI/AAI. How, and if, CCI/AAI is connected with ME/CFS is another question. But given the experiences of the authors of MEchanical Basis and A new diagnosis to add to the list: I have craniocervical and atlantoaxial instability, it’s a possibility that is certainly worth exploring.


Sources for the assertion that fluoroquinolones cause connective tissue destruction and disordered collagen synthesis:

Musculoskeletal Complications of Fluoroquinolones: Guidelines and Precautions for Usage in the Athletic Population. Hall, Mederic M. et al. PM&R , Volume 3 , Issue 2 , 132 – 142

Etminan M, Forooghian F, Brophy JM, Bird ST, Maberley D. Oral Fluoroquinolones and the Risk of Retinal Detachment. JAMA. 2012;307(13):1414-1419. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.383

Tsai WC, Hsu CC, Chen CP, et al. Ciprofloxacin up-regulates tendon cells to express matrix metalloproteinase-2 with degradation of type I collagen. J Orthop Res. 2011;29(1):67-73

Lee C, Lee MG, Chen Y, Lee S, Chen Y, Chen S, Chang S. Risk of Aortic Dissection and Aortic Aneurysm in Patients Taking Oral Fluoroquinolone. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(11):1839-1847. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.5389

Kaleagasioglu F, Olcay E. Fluoroquinolone-induced tendinopathy: etiology and preventive measures. Tohoku J Exp Med. 2012;226(4):251-258.

Adel Alrwisan, Patrick J. Antonelli, Almut G. Winterstein; Quinolone Ear Drops After Tympanostomy Tubes and the Risk of Eardrum Perforation: A Retrospective Cohort Study. Clin Infect Dis 2017; 64 (8): 1052-1058. doi: 10.1093/cid/cix032

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9 thoughts on “Are Fluoroquinolones Causing Connective Tissue Disorders that are Leading to ME/CFS?

  1. Patrick Jordan December 7, 2018 at 6:18 pm Reply

    Anyone want to speculate with me that the Flox chemical warfare agent might not have been developed in conjunction with the Lyme biological warfare agent to totally gut the connective tissue of everyone they touched? I was floored when I heard the words: Lyme eats collagen. If each are destructors on their own then it will be monstrous when they work together. The NIH will never link all of the diseases mentioned in this article to Lyme but the links between each of the named diseases is established in the article.
    see any overlap in the article above?

    • Tracy Whiteside December 7, 2018 at 7:42 pm Reply

      Shouldn’t the mass murdering monster, Margaret Hamburg be locked up in Prison, for the Securities fraud she has been committing for years, by earning billions of dollars from our hell, death, and, misery, The SEC met with her, and, her rotten AI expert, hedge fund owning husband, and, told them they could not own any pharmaceutical stocks, before she became head of the FDA# Funeral Directors Assn, so, they promptly invest 500 million into Johnson and Johnson, and, is still making billions off of her securities fraud, any civil rights attorneys want to help us ?

  2. Tracy Whiteside December 8, 2018 at 12:30 am Reply

    Why don’t we all put together paperwork,regarding Margaret HAMBURGS crimes against humanity, copies of her indictment for using Levaquin as her own personal eugenics program, copies of her being head of AAAS, a known eugenics organization, copies of her and Henry Schein poisoning children with mercury fillings, her massive securities fraud, stories of the horrors of floroquinolones, and, send them to FBIheadquarters and NYC FBI, and, see if they can’t lock this mass murdering monster up, we need to do it en masse, please, AAAS is her ninth eugenics organization, send stories about her parents both being former Presidents of The American Eugenics Society,we need to do this, her husband will be making the robots who are going to replace us, her massive securities fraud that the SEC refuses to do anything about, she’s a monstrous murderer, and, needs to be held accountable, please, let’s do this.

  3. Henk Noordhuizen December 8, 2018 at 4:30 am Reply

    Great information,again,Lisa.There is yet another link between FQ’s and ME:a magnesium defficiency.First supplement,advices on the (dutch) ME-website:magnesium. There is a growing list of medicines that cause a magnesium- and other vitamine and mineral defficiencies and I think the reason is that most of the synthetic/chemical medicines are seen and treated by the human bodies as a dangerous poison which has to be removed from the body as quick as possible.And therefore you need lots of magnesium and other minerals and vitamines.Orthodox medicines,by definitian,make you sick. They are a failed experiment to copy their sources;plants,bark and other natural sources.

    By the way: MAGNESIUM is,for good reasons,often called THE SECRET OF ORTHODOX MEDICINE.

    • Patrick Jordan December 8, 2018 at 5:03 am Reply

      ME and its analogs in the United States called fibromyalgia/CFS and a host of other things also has a connection with lyme. The organisms within that constellation of microbes like to EAT magnesium. So, we are back to the chicken or the egg of whether there was ever a deficiency of magnesium (how could that happen in the first place?) or if it was stolen from the host. Given that magnesium can be used as a food source by microbes in the same way that iron is, so supplementing with iron is contraindicated in anemia during an infection, then the question has to be examined if taking supplemental magnesium in the face of possibly cryptic infection might not do more harm. I know of many people who cannot tolerate magnesium supplementation. I took magnesium and got night sweats every time until I killed Babesia (northern malaria) with parasite herbs. Anyone with impaired kidney function can be harmed or killed by magnesium accumulation. I have moved from compartmentalized thinking to that of Continuum.

  4. Bronwen Duncan December 8, 2018 at 11:24 am Reply

    A book I came across helped me understand that there may be a connection between my fluoroquinilone symptoms and mitochondria (before I found your site): “Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – it’s mitochondria, not hypohondria” by Dr. Sarah Myhill. Interesting book with part of the puzzle.

  5. Steven L. Weyenberg December 9, 2018 at 12:59 pm Reply

    I have all these problems and often wondered why my neck is so messed up, sending weakness and pain throughout. I believe I have had some deformations with my skeletal system, (TOS syndrome X2), and those little irritating extra bones behind and outside of the knees causing problems already. Things of that nature among chronic fatigue/headaches already in-place, taking the fluoroquinolones really can and has upped the level of problems. I can no longer fight off oncoming allergie/sickness as well and with sleep disorder from those fluoroquinolones, it highly detrimental to quality of life. How many onset diseases and disorders are onset from these antibotics is surely astronomical.

    • Patrick Jordan December 9, 2018 at 1:19 pm Reply

      If someone could tell us the metabolic half-life/persistence of floxacillins it might go a long way to explaining persistence of symptoms. Liver cleansing and to the degree I have done will not be indicated for everyone (I’m not a doctor – not medical advice), however, I have been doing liver cleanses for nearly 4 years. All the way up to 2.75 years into it I was being poisoned by my own bile as it recirculated through my digestive tract until I broke that cycle. A lifetime of industrial chemicals were STILL ACTIVE in my bile so unless they were broken down and expelled from the body they could PERPETUALLY create the same poisoning symptoms everytime they passed the entero-hepatic circulation. So, if fluoroquinolones are not detoxified or have been run through Phase I re-dox and changed to even more toxic analogs yet have not been expelled through the bile and out the body, I wonder how many people are just auto-toxic after having stopped taking the chemical warfare agent?

  6. Mary December 11, 2018 at 11:08 am Reply

    I’ve been on this journey for two and a half years now along with cardiovascular problems.
    I have become very afraid of meds of any kind and have chosen more than once not to go for surgery.
    After my last visit with my cardiologist – who recommended surgery – I was so depressed and didn’t know what to do but pray for an answer.
    One night I was looking through youtube and I found a short piece by Dr. Raymond Francis, M.Sc.
    He gave me hope and I purchased three of his books.
    Please consider looking into all the information he offers. He knows first hand what it is to be poisoned by Big Pharm, a drug caused his liver to shut down.

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