Lisa’s Recovery Story – Cipro Toxicity

Lisa for Floxiehope

*The following is an individual’s story of surviving fluoroquinolone toxicity. It is not medical advice. Please see the disclaimer at the bottom of the story. Thank you, and please be cautious with all treatments. 

Lisa’s Story 

In the middle of November, 2011, I took Cipro to treat a urinary tract infection.  I took 2 pills (500 mg each, I believe) a day for three days.  I didn’t feel like the infection was gone, so I went back to the doctor and requested more antibiotics.  He gave me macrobid and the infection subsided within a couple of days.  Life went on as normal for the next couple of weeks, until December 2, 2011, at which time I got my period and started taking ibuprofen to help me to deal with the cramps.

Before I continue with my story, I would like to note that I had taken Cipro to treat a urinary tract infection approximately a year earlier.  I had no notable side effects at that time.  Though, looking back on things, I did develop an eyelid twitch at that time and some strange stomach cramping that came and went started then.  I didn’t think anything of the eyelid twitching or the stomach cramps.  I certainly didn’t think that they were tied to the Cipro.  I took ibuprofen regularly after taking Cipro with no adverse effects.

On December 2, 2011 my legs started to itch.  On December 4th I broke out in hives all over my body.  I went to the doctor and was told to take Benadryl.  I took more Benadryl than the box recommends and my hives got progressively worse.  On December 5th my feet and hands swelled to the point that I couldn’t use them anymore.  It was painful to walk, or even to just stand.  I went back to the doctor and was put on prednisone.  The prednisone suppressed the swelling and calmed the hives a bit.  On December 7th my left leg went weak.  For the next few weeks the following symptoms got worse and worse:

  1.  Weakness in my legs.  I could barely walk.  The steps that I could take took a tremendous amount of effort and energy.  I couldn’t stand for more than a minute.  I had to drag a chair into the kitchen in order to cook rice because I couldn’t stand to stir the pot.
  2. Tightness of the tendons in my legs.  I had inflammation, and possibly tears, in most of the tendons in my legs and feet.  My hips, knees and ankles, to simplify things, didn’t work right.
  3. Loss of use of muscles / loss of strength.  My muscles, especially the muscles in my legs, wouldn’t move like they used to.  All of my movements were slow and deliberate.
  4. Brain fog.  I couldn’t think straight.  I felt stupid.  I couldn’t concentrate.  It was a struggle to do my job.
  5. Loss of memory.  My short-term memory decreased significantly.
  6. Loss of peripheral vision.  Large, black floaters entered my peripheral vision.
  7. Loss of appetite and weight.
  8. Loss of flexibility.  I went from being able to do yoga several times a week to being unable to sit with my legs curled up under me.
  9. Loss of balance.
  10. Severe loss of energy.  I felt like the plug had been pulled from my energy source.  I wasn’t necessarily sleepy, I was just drained.  The feeling was similar to the feeling that I have when I have a cold – weak and like I just want to collapse.  Just slight exertion would drain me of my energy.  Walking would make me tired for a whole day afterward.
  11. Dry mouth.
  12. Anxiety.  I had an ongoing anxiety attack for the first couple of months after being floxed.
  13. Pain in my feet.  I felt like I was walking on hot coals with every step I took.
  14. Loss of reading comprehension.  I would read a page and have no idea what I had just read.
  15. Loss of social skills / connectedness.  I felt anxious and scared in social situations.  I lost confidence in both my physical and mental abilities.  I felt very alone despite having a wonderfully supportive family.

I felt as if I had aged 20 years in just a week or two.  I couldn’t move, think or eat.  My body and mind were falling apart and I had no idea why.  I didn’t think that the sudden decline in my health had anything to do with the Cipro.  After all, I had stopped taking it a couple of weeks before my body started to fall apart.  I thought that I had an autoimmune disease.  My symptoms seemed similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis.  I went back to the doctor and they ran every test imaginable on me.  I was relieved to find out that I didn’t have an autoimmune disease, but it was somewhat frustrating to hear that all of the tests were showing that I was normal and healthy when, clearly, I was neither normal nor healthy.  The doctors did not provide me with a diagnosis or a prognosis.  Though I was desperately seeking a diagnosis and prognosis, I am thankful, in retrospect, that they didn’t misdiagnose me.  If I had been mistakenly diagnosed as having an autoimmune disease, I may have treated it with pharmaceuticals that could have made me feel even worse.

I was desperate for some treatment, something to stop the downward spiral that my body, mind and spirit were in.  The traditional medical doctors I saw provided no relief, treatment or healing.  I started seeing an acupuncturist.  He was able to stabilize my condition, calm my nerves and keep me from spiraling physically or mentally.  After a few weeks feeling stable physically, I started to have days where I felt better than I had the day before.  Mentally, I kept going downhill for a while, but, eventually my mental health stabilized and started to improve as well.

Eventually, with the help of my acupuncturist, I connected my symptoms to Cipro.  Once the connection was made, I realized that all of my symptoms were consistent with those of others who have been poisoned by Cipro and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics.  I entered the scary world of being a floxie.

For about a year, I considered myself to be sick.  Though the symptoms listed above were improving, slowly but steadily, I was still sick, and a long ways from the healthy, active, energetic woman that I was before I took Cipro.  After a year, I started to put “sick” in the past tense.  Though I wasn’t back to the level of health that I was prior to being floxed, I was getting better and, as far as most people could tell, I was well.

Following is a list of things that I did to help me to get well, to heal.  I am not a doctor.  This is a description of my experience and what helped me.  I hope that what helped me helps you.  Everyone is different though.  What helped me may not help you.  One thing that I know helped me and that I know will help you is hope.  I hope that the fact that I have largely recovered helps you to have hope.  I hope that the other steps that I took to get well also help you to gain hope and healing.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns, or to share your story.

Lisa’s Healing Tips

One of the many frustrating things about fluoroquinolne toxicity is that everyone’s body is different.  Everyone’s symptoms are different and everyone’s body reacts differently to treatments.  Following is a list of things that helped me.  I hope that what helped me will help you, but it may not.  I am including other people’s healing tips as well, in case their tips can help.  Of course, please read these tips with the typical disclaimer in mind – I am not a doctor or medical professional of any kind.  I am sharing my experience with the hope that others may find it to be useful.  Please ask your doctor, or other trusted medical professional, for medical advice, and before taking any of my advice.

In no particular order, here are the things that helped me to heal.

  1. Time.  With time, I have healed.  Each day is better than the day before.  Time will heal your wounds too.  Eventually, you will get better.  The poisonous reaction affecting every part of your body will eventually stop and you will begin to recover.  I have heard several stories of fellow floxies having a timeline similar to mine – slow, steady recovery for about 2 years.  Other people take more, or less, time to recover.  Time does help though, and most people do end up getting better as time goes on.  Very few people get worse and worse indefinitely.  There may be bumps in the road, but time is your friend.  Time will help you to return to a state of health.

Try to be patient with yourself.  It will take time for your body and mind to heal.  I see this whole ordeal of getting sick as a lesson in patience (and compassion, gratitude and health).  Pushing yourself too hard too soon can lead to pain, frustration and injury.  Try to give yourself the time necessary to heal, and, with time, your body and mind will, indeed, heal.

2.  Avoid NSAIDs and steroids like the plague.  Both NSAIDs and steroids are contraindicated with fluoroquinolone toxicity.  They will make your reactions and symptoms worse.  There are some published medical articles on PubMed about the contraindication between NSAIDs/steroids and fluoroquinolones.  Searching at the library or on Google will give you more detailed information than I can provide.  Anecdotally, I know that my reaction was triggered by taking NSAIDs (ibuprofen that I took to help me to deal with menstrual cramps) and it was exacerbated by taking prednisone (a steroid).  Please note that I did NOT take NSAIDs or steroids at the same time as Cipro.  I took ibuprofen 2 weeks after I finished taking Cipro and it triggered my toxic reaction and I took prednisone 3 weeks after I had finished taking Cipro, after my reaction had started.  I will never take another NSAID or steroid again.

Unfortunately, NSAIDs and steroids are the drugs that are the most commonly prescribed drugs used to “treat” fluoroquinolone toxicity.  This is because the combination of NSAIDs/steroids and fluoroquinolones does not always cause a toxic reaction, the toxic reaction of combining fluoroquinolones and NSAIDs/steroids can occur even when the drugs are taken weeks or months apart, doctors and other medical professionals don’t acknowledge fluoroquinolone toxicity and so they don’t look for the contraindications and because many of the symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity are treated with NSAIDs and steroids.  The pain killing qualities of NSAIDs and the swelling reduction qualities of steroids make them the drugs of choice for treating many of the symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity.  Don’t take them though!  In my nonmedical opinion, I suggest taking non-NSAID over-the-counter pain medicine like acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain (or marijuana – which is probably better for your liver), and antihistamines for the swelling.

Often, fluoroquinolne toxicity is misdiagnosed as an autoimmune disease.  In particular, it is often misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis.  Many of the drugs that are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis are NSAIDs.  Don’t take them.

3.  Acupuncture.  I credit my acupuncturist with saving my life.  I can only guess how I would have fared without my acupuncturist, but I imagine that I would have ended up in the emergency room, pumped full of steroids and antidepressants, having a massive anxiety attack and unable to walk.  That didn’t happen though and there really isn’t any point in surmising about what could have been.  I do know that acupuncture stopped my downward spiral and got me on the road to recovery.  Both the acupuncture needles and the herbs that he provided gave me immense relief.  I don’t know why or how acupuncture works, but I do know that it worked wonders for me.

4.  Supplements.  I have taken more supplements than I can remember.  90% of them had no noticeable effect on my health.  Here is a list of supplements that I think helped me.

Iron.  I take a low dose iron supplement – only 5 mg. – daily.  The brand of iron supplement that I use is Pur Absorb, but I’m guessing that other low-dose iron supplements will work equally well.  Within just a couple days of starting taking the iron supplement, my energy levels increased dramatically.  I could walk a mile without being exhausted afterward.  In addition to improving my energy level, the iron supplement seems to make my muscles and tendons more supple and malleable.  When my tendons are feeling tight, a dose of iron helps to loosen them up – within just a couple hours.  Too much iron is really bad for you, so please be careful with supplementing it (ask your doctor, yada yada), but it helps me immensely.

Magnesium.  I take 250 mg of chelated magnesium daily.  I don’t necessarily notice that it makes me feel better, but I do notice that I feel worse when I don’t take it.  My muscles twitch if I don’t take my mag.

Zinc.  I take zinc when I get around to it.  I remember feeling mildly better when I started taking it.  It doesn’t seem to affect my health dramatically though.

Chlorophyll.  I take chlorophyll about every other day.  It seems to help with my energy level and mental functioning.

I also take fish oils, resveratrol, a probiotic, a joint supplement, CoEnzyme Q10, vitamin B12, chlorella, glucosamine, brewer’s yeast and some other supplements.  They may help.  I can’t say that I feel a difference using any of them.

5.  Meditate.  Meditating has so many amazing, positive benefits for your brain, your life, your spirit, etc. that I can go on about it ad nauseam.  Meditation helped relieve a lot of the mental symptoms of my fluoroquinolone toxicity.  My anxiety, inability to concentrate, inability to connect with others, depression, loss of reading comprehension, decreased mental acuity, etc. were greatly reduced (or improved) through meditating.  I meditate about 10 minutes each day.  I should meditate more like 20-30 minutes a day.

Meditating helped me to gain compassion for myself and my situation.  It also helped me to let go of the anger that I felt toward the pharmaceutical companies and the medical culture that allows fluoroquinolones to be on the market.  The pharmaceutical companies and the medical culture are both messed up and blame of them is justified, but anger and blame were not serving me mentally, emotionally, spiritually or physically.  I needed to let go of my anger and blame in order to move on with my life.  Meditating helped with that.

I learned to meditate through taking a class called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction that was offered by my health insurer.  It was an excellent class based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Many Buddhism centers offer Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction or Meditation 101 classes.

6.  Get off the internet.  Most of the information available on the internet about fluoroquinolone toxicity is horrifying.  Fluoroquinolone toxicity is horrifying.  It is scary.  It is completely unacknowledged by the medical community – the doctors, nurses, etc. who we go to in order to make sense of things when our body goes hay-wire – so we seek answers on the internet.  Unfortunately, most internet sites devoted to fluoroquinolone toxicity do not provide a balanced picture.  They show the harm and the horror of fluoroquinolone poisoning, but they don’t show the healing and hope that most people eventually experience.  I am writing and distributing this in order to provide the perspective of hope and healing.  Some people are permanently disabled from fluoroquinolones.  My heart goes out to those people and they have every right to scream their story on the internet.  However, their story is not your story.  My story is not your story either.  But if you’re going to look to the internet for a prognosis, it’s better to find a hopeful prognosis than one that is full of doom and gloom.

When I participated in the online forums for Floxies, I noticed that my anxiety levels increased significantly.  Even after I was 90% recovered and I thought I could handle it, my anxiety levels would go up simply by reading about people being floxed.  Inducing anxiety is one of the worst things that someone suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity should do.  Anxiety makes all symptoms worse.  I would slowly relapse and my symptoms would get worse every time I participated in the online forums.

Of course, the people participating in the online forums are seeking to help fellow Floxies, to commiserate and to participate in a support group.  It is not their fault that my anxiety levels increased when viewing their sites and/or support groups.  After all, most people on those sites are trying to be helpful and supportive.  However, the net result of participating in the forums for Floxies is that my anxiety levels increased and my health declined while I was on those sites.  I am healthier and happier not participating in the online “support groups” than I was while I did participate in those groups.  Of course, this is my experience only.  Many people find solace in the Floxie community and if it helps you, great!

The people who have worked hard to create a community of Floxies to support one another should be commended.  It is because of their hard work that thousands of people have realized what is going on with their bodies and that they are not alone.  The community of Floxies is full of wonderful people.  However, you need to do what you need to do to take care of your health and if you find that hearing other people’s stories increases your anxiety levels, get off the internet.  For you.

7.  Diet.  I lost 11 pounds in 18 days when I first got floxed.  My body was going hay-wire and it seemed like an allergic reaction.  I had no idea what I could possibly be allergic to so I stopped eating almost everything.  I didn’t eat sugar (including fruit), gluten, dairy, soy, anything non-kosher or anything spicy, or drink any alcohol or caffeine, for a month.  I only ate vegetables and organic meat.  It’s a highly effective way to lose weight, but I don’t think that restricting my diet severely helped me to heal.  Restricting my diet gave me a sense of control, and that’s not a bad thing when your body is self-destructing, but I don’t think that it made me feel any better physically.  After a month of only eating veggies and organic meat, I started to add normal foods into my diet.  As soon as I started eating an appropriate number of calories, I started to feel better.  Not only was I Floxed, I was also wasting away when I wasn’t eating normally.  Getting enough food is an important part of healing.  Of course, it’s generally good to be on the “don’t eat junk” diet, but I didn’t find that cutting my food intake significantly helped me to feel better.

Many Floxies develop GI problems.  I was lucky in that I didn’t have many GI problems.  Many people seem to be helped by cutting gluten, sugar and/or junk food out of their diet.

I notice that I feel slightly worse than normal when I consume sugar and/or caffeine.  I think that most people do, I am just now accustomed to paying closer attention to my body.

The only food that makes me feel noticeably better is beets.  For some reason, beets make me feel great.  I just boil them and eat them.

I’ve heard good things about the benefits for Floxies of eating broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables.  I love broccoli so I try to eat a lot of it.  Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’ve noticed that it makes me feel better.

8.  Swim.  My tendons and muscles feel significantly better when I’m in the water, and for several hours after I finish swimming.  Swimming in the ocean feels especially therapeutic.  There are so many minerals and trace nutrients in the ocean, I surmise that they’re helpful for healing.  Unfortunately, I don’t live near the sea, so I swim in a pool.  I feel better when I do so.

9.  Pilates.  I started doing Pilates about 7 months post-floxing.  Pilates strengthens the core, something that is generally important, and gently stretches muscles, tendons and ligaments, something that is particularly important for Floxies.  I started slowly and gently and didn’t push my tendons, muscles or ligaments too much.  I feel that gently stretching helped my tendons, muscles and ligaments to heal and return to (close to) their pre-floxing capacity.  Take it easy though.

10.  Healing arts.  I love to dance.  I’m not a good dancer, but I love to do it.  About 16 months post-floxing I started to dance again.  Dance has been healing for me.  I feel spiritual, strong and joyful when I dance.  I’m not sure if it’s the dancing itself that I find to be healing, of if it’s the joy that I feel when I dance that is healing.  Either way, it helps.  I surmise that other forms of expression would have similar healing qualities.  If you love to sing, sing.  If you love to paint, paint.  If you love to write, write.

11.  Attitude tips.

Try not to compare yourself to how you used to be.  I used to hike 20 miles in a day.  I can’t do that anymore, but I can hike 3 miles today and I couldn’t do that when I first got floxed. Compare yourself to how you were yesterday, not to how you were before you got floxed.

Do something – anything – to work toward healing, every day.  Walk a little further than you did yesterday.  Meditate.  Take an Epsom Salt bath.  Get an acupuncture treatment.  Do a puzzle.  Whatever makes you feel good – do it.  Every little step helps.

Don’t kill yourself.  Have hope.  You will get better.

You’re not crazy.  You’re sick.  Have hope.  You will get better.

You’re not stupid.  You’re sick.  Have hope.  You will get better.

Try not to identify yourself as sick.  The mind is a powerful thing so try to stay positive. It’s hard, I know.  But try, because it’s worth it.

You will have bad days.  They will pass.  This all will pass.  It is not permanent.  You are strong –  present tense.  You were knocked down, but you weren’t killed.  You will get better.

Don’t quit your job.  Try to maintain as much normalcy in your life as you can.

It is not your fault.  Even if you knew better, even if you demanded the most powerful drug possible from your doctor, even if you self-medicated, even if you coerced your doctor into giving you the fluoroquinolone antibiotic, even if the infection that you were treating was something that you got because of doing something stupid, or from sex, even if you continued to take it after you started to get sick, even if you floxed your child/parent or other loved one – IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.  You are sick.  You are poisoned.  You are not to blame for your sickness or for the fact that you are poisoned.  Who to blame is a discussion that I don’t want to get into because I want this to be positive, but it is not you.  You are not to blame.  You are a victim.  It is not your fault.

Lisa’s Life now

Life is good.  I don’t consider myself to be sick any more.  I’m not quite up to my pre-floxing capacity in a couple of areas.  I don’t have the endurance, energy, strength or flexibility that I used to.  However, I’m pretty close to my pre-floxing capacity in those, and other, areas.  I’m about 99% better.  Not being capable of intense exercise since December, 2011 has left me a bit out of shape, but I’m working toward being able to exercise intensely again and my stamina, strength, energy, etc. are increasing.  I can’t hike 15 miles with a backpack on quite yet (something I could do before I was floxed), but I am capable of most physical and mental activities that would put me in the “normal” or “not sick” categories.

I can work full-time.  I am grateful for the fact that I have a job that is not too demanding physically or mentally because I was able to hold onto it through my worst times.  My boss and coworkers were wonderfully understanding and they claim not to have noticed that I couldn’t think straight for about a year.  I even  got a promotion about a year post-floxing!

I can do Pilates 4 times a week, swim 2 times a week, dance once a week and walk daily.

When I was unable to walk a block I told myself that I would consider myself to be “better” when I could dance all night in heels (my feet hurt like hell when I was sick), I can do that now.  I never liked high heels, but I can wear them now.

My memory isn’t quite what it used to be, but it’s good enough to do well at my job and to maintain my relationships.

In many ways, I’m a different person than I was before I got floxed.  This has been perplexing for me and my loved ones, but it’s not an altogether negative thing.  I’m a much more spiritual person than I was before I got sick.  I was a pretty firm Atheist before I was floxed.  Now, through meditation, dancing, believing in alternative therapies that focus on energy, etc., I’m finding some spiritual outlets that I didn’t have, need or want in the past.

I have become a more compassionate and patient person.  I now empathize with people who have mystery diseases.  I used to have the attitude that I now find so frustrating in medical professionals – that if there isn’t a way to diagnose or treat an ailment, it doesn’t exist.  Now I know that people are genuinely suffering and that there is a real cause for their pain – regardless of whether or not it is acknowledged by the medical community.  My heart goes out to those in pain.

I had to become more compassionate and patient with myself as well.

I like some things that I didn’t like before I was floxed and I don’t like some things that I used to like a lot.  I hated swimming for the first 32 years of my life.  Now I love it and consider it to be an important aspect of my healing.  I used to like working out in an intense way that got me dripping with sweat.  Now I like to do exercises like Pilates that are focused, slow and deliberate.  I used to love hiking, camping and backpacking.  I miss loving those things so I’m going to try to get back into them, but I’m not sure that they’re my passions any more.  Drinking used to be one of my favorite pastimes.  My tolerance for alcohol is shot now and I don’t really enjoy it any more.  I missed it for a while even though I knew that it was for the best that I wasn’t drinking like a fish.  My appetite has changed as well.  I used to be able to eat a lot of food and I loved to eat.  I still eat, of course, but I don’t eat as much as I used to and I don’t eat with as much gusto.  This is probably a good thing seeing as I’m not into exercising intensely any longer.

Even though I would do just about anything to turn back time and not take Cipro, the place that I am in life isn’t bad, and I probably would be someplace different if I hadn’t gotten sick.  It sucks that I had to gain empathy for people who suffer from pain, mystery ailments and debilitating fatigue, but it’s probably a good thing that I now have more empathy.  I would like to think that I’m a better person from going through this.  I’m not a stronger person, but maybe I am a better person.

I hope that my tips and words of advice are welcome and helpful.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

** The story above is truthful, accurate and told to the best of the ability of the writer. It is not intended as medical advice. No person who submits his or her story, nor the people associated with Floxie Hope, diagnoses or treats any illness. The story above should not be substituted for professionally provided medical advice. Please consult your doctor before trying anything that has been mentioned in this story, or in any other story on this site. Please also note that people have varying responses to the treatments mentioned in each story. What helps one person may not help, and may even hurt, another person. It is important that you understand that supplements, IVs, essential oils, and all other treatments, effect people differently depending on the millions of variables that make each of us unique. Please use appropriate caution and prudence, and get professional medical advice.

2,107 thoughts on “Lisa’s Recovery Story – Cipro Toxicity

  1. Kristina May 16, 2017 at 9:02 am Reply

    I absolulutly love this and cried as I was reading the whole thing. THIS IS MY STORY!

    Reading this has made me feel better because you understand. Finally. Thank you so much

  2. sheri May 17, 2017 at 12:58 am Reply

    How do you know what acupuncturist to go to? Does anyone know of one in the Ventura County area for this situation? This story sounds so much like mine except I also developed Mitral valve failure, Heart failure, and 80% of my hair fell out (my first symptom). All in all I got everything Lisa described + what I mentioned. It’s been 6 months. I’m a wreck. I don’t know where to go. They’re doing a muscle biopsy at a surgery center in 6 hours to see if it’s dermatomyositis. Anyone have any advice?

  3. Linda May 18, 2017 at 11:06 am Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. First of all, I’m so glad you are healed. I was prescribed Cipro in the for a UTI 01/01/17. On the 3 rd day of taking it, I woke up severely nauseous, I tried to sit up but the room was spinning, the light hurt my eyes. I almost fell when I got up to use the bathroom. Had to hold onto walls. I was due for a follow-up with my doctor that day and literally was delivered to his office in a wheelchair. He immediately gave me something under my tongue for the nausea and took me off Cipro. It took another 3 days before I begin to feel normal. Now, nearly 4 month’s later. I am experiencing muscle weekness, achy joints, eye pain, loss of energy and most of the other symptoms you spoke of. I’m particularly thankful for your warning about steroids cause when I saw my doc 2 days ago, he admitted he didn’t know anything about how to treat symptoms of Cipro poisoning but that it might compromise the immune system and that a regiment of steroids might reverse it.
    He is however very open minded and believes in using natural, holistic treatment over prescription medications.
    I am trying to remain positive . The hardest thing for me is the brain fog as I am 70 and primary caregiver to make husband.
    Again, thank you
    Linda ld

  4. Karen D May 25, 2017 at 7:36 am Reply

    It was so very informative to read both the original article and these comments. Thank you all.
    I was prescribed cipro for UTI , which I have never had before. I am 66 years of age. I also routinely take Advil for muscle and nerve pain. I took ONE cipro tablet and within 5 hours am having extreme side effects. I am shaky, tingling, dizzy and will not take another tablet. This is ghastly. I’m praying this will wear off very soon. My legs are weaker than normal. I recently had failed back surgery which left me without leg muscles after losing 25 lbs. I have been going to physical therapy three times a week for the past six months to learn to walk again. I was in a wheel chair for the first two months. I used to be Extremely active and physically active.
    Why are these drugs prescribed without the physician paying attention to the patients history ? This was done by my GP who I have seen annually, sometimes more, for the past twenty years.

    • Bob May 25, 2017 at 3:25 pm Reply

      They don’t do research. They don’t spend more than a few minutes with the patienthe. They dont tell you about side effects. I saw neurologist today and he wanted me to do the EMG test and the “sweat” test. I asked him what difference that would make for the treatment. He said no difference. They want to test you but the don’t know what to do with the results. He told me anything he could tell me I already knew. And they wonder why people are going to ND’so.

  5. Nikki Frampton May 30, 2017 at 8:14 am Reply

    Hi Lisa, Thank you for sharing. Your story is almost mine exactly. I became sick in 2014 and it took 2 years for me to no longer feel ‘sick’. Your symptoms are very similar to mine. However, I had severe GI issues and not tendon issues. I felt at the time that the steroids and NSAIDs I was also prescribed made my toxicity much worse. I have not taken an antibiotic in 3 years now and I use mag for the twitches and zinc also makes me feel better. I’m not the same person now. I don’t have the same level of stamina or strength, but life goes on and I am now employed once again and am very happy in life.

  6. Tigerz June 1, 2017 at 1:29 pm Reply

    I’m currently taking Cipro 250mg and have read the horror stories. I have a uro/bladder infection from hospital cath. The first scrip they gave me was for Macrobid. The warnings on that scared me worse than cipro. I’m going to try to get through the 6 pills then immediately do a body/liver/kidney cleanse. I’m saying my prayers and wondering why isn’t there a strong herbal formula for bacterial infections? I’m never sure how much echinacea is too much, how much ginger is too much but I would prefer natural to chemical.

    • Bob June 1, 2017 at 3:13 pm Reply

      You can do what you want but you are taking your health in your hands by taking any more cipro. All you need is 1 pill to put you over the edge. I took 7 250 my pills with no problems and the 8 set a bomb off. Now I have level 10 pain in my feet every day after 4 years and thousands of dollars trying to cope with the damage. There are some people on this website that have a protocol for urinary infections. Cipro destroys your mitochondria as if it were bacteria. I took cipro out of fear and I trusted g the doctor. Don’t make the same mistake.

      • Pam U. June 9, 2017 at 10:38 am Reply

        Bob, I was left with a neuroma in my foot, which I’ve had for 14 months since I took cipro. A few weeks ago my acupuncturist, Josh Jimenez, did electrical stimulation through the needles he put in the joints on the top and bottom of my foot. After 3 treatments it’s feeling so much better! I hope this treatment helps you, as well!

        • Bob June 9, 2017 at 3:32 pm

          I had a lot of acupunature several months after I got floxed a d it helped a lot. My nerves don’t seem to tolerate it anymore.

        • Pam U. June 9, 2017 at 8:03 pm

          I’m sorry to hear that. What a terrible drug!

    • Heather Conway June 9, 2017 at 9:32 am Reply

      I would HIGHLY recommend not taking fluoroquinolones. Not everyone is floxed by it, not everyone is floxed right away. But you are taking a huge risk. Too many doctors are getting away with ignoring 2016s Black Box Warning. These antibiotics are meant for life or death situations when no other treatment has worked. Yet, they still hand them out like cough drops and the pharmacies do a great job in covering the doctors’ butts. Personally, I had a slow onset of symptoms for three years before a major, heavy, extended round of NSAIDs and steroids triggered what lay mostly dormant. For almost 3 years I was in hell.. no, I would’ve rather been in hell. The medical community was no help until late last year when I finally began recovery.
      I’m telling you this, not to tell you how to live your life but, because it’s my duty to spread awareness.
      I wish you well.

  7. vickiwall June 9, 2017 at 1:28 am Reply

    Thank you so very much for this share.. Gives me hope! I’m so very glad you are healing! 🙏✨💗💚💜👌✌🙏

  8. Heather Conway June 9, 2017 at 9:20 am Reply

    As an (unfortunate) fellow floxie i just want to say, AMAZING JOB, Lisa !
    I experienced, and still experience, a lot of which you described. You were dead on with the support group bit. I joined one, that was helpful at first, but later found to be drab and in a constant circle of ‘being ‘ ill. Since then, I’ve started my own group. It’s to focus on what can be right, research for treatments and cures, and ‘personal’ counseling for those who need it (not blasting everything in a post for hundreds to comment) . We’re pushing the medical community AS a community to do more and better research. We have an illness; the illness doesn’t have us.
    I’m very glad your story was successful. You’re right, time heals.. we might not ever be the ‘same’ but we WILL get better. We HAVE to look at what we are able to do, not what we can no longer do.
    Thank you so much for sharing this story.

    • Lisa June 11, 2017 at 6:36 am Reply

      <3! Thank you so much, Heather! 🙂

  9. Andrew R June 13, 2017 at 9:18 pm Reply

    It’s been almost 2 years since i first visited this site. Unfortunately the last time i was reading this I was in a ton of pain and very upset, but I am very happy to say that this time I consider myself to be in good health. I can do just about anything i could do before i took cipro. The key was to not let this pain and damage control me, i decided i WOULD get better and eventually i did.

    • Claude Jacques Roy June 20, 2017 at 5:49 pm Reply

      Quelques problèmes nouveaux je te reviens bientot mon ami

      Envoyé de mon iPhone


  10. Bethany Upton June 24, 2017 at 10:39 am Reply

    Thank you for this article. I too became etremely anxious reading about what flouroquinolones can do.
    I suspect it may be what triggered my long term disability.
    But you’re right, there is much you can do to heal and I am well along that road.
    Getting angry/anxious will not help my journey.
    Thank you.

  11. Thiago June 27, 2017 at 7:15 am Reply

    Hi, Lisa. Hi everyone.
    Sorry for my bad English from Google translator. English is not my mother language.
    I also had a bad experience with cipro a one year and a half ago. I had many horrible symptoms and Ruth helped me a lot. At one time I considered myself 90% well enough to judge myself healed. I had put my illness in the past tense and returned to live almost normally. I tried to go back to bodybuilding and I had some symptoms back a month later. Tiredness. Mental confusion. Dizziness. Tingling and burning between the ribs. Heart palpitation. All of them much less intense than the first time, it’s true. But that scared me. I read that quinolones affect mitochondrial DNA. That would be a likely answer to my problems. My question is: can mitochondrial DNA repair itself? Even if it takes time, can it be repaired or is the damage permanent? Is there anything I can do to help? I got to feel more than 98% well enough to forget the symptoms. I’m very worried today. I’m 33 years old. Do you who have researched much more than I on the subject know if there is a possibility that the mitochondria will work again well after the quinolones even if it takes time? Is it possible that DNA damage is repaired? Many thanks to all and again excuse my lousy English.

  12. Martha June 29, 2017 at 4:58 am Reply

    I was flexed twenty months ago. Took levaquin for a uti. In three days I went from healthy to very sick with neuropathy and weakness. It took four months for this to resolve. I consider myself healthy now but get tired faster and still have not regained all prior strength but this is improving monthly. It was a horrible experience. My doctor was very sympathetic and helpful. He helped me find alternative therapies like acupuncture. The one thing now is that drugs of any kind scare me. I have a slight bulging disc that is giving me pins and needle feelings . Dr prescribed prednisone to help reduce inflammation but even after all this time I am wary of taking it. It’s been a long time but has anyone had an issue taking prednisone many months after recovering from being floxed? I am inclined to do alternative stuff instead. Any thoughts?

    • No cipro June 29, 2017 at 6:15 am Reply

      I wouldn’t take it personally. I took it plus Advil for a pinched nerve and it brought all my symptoms back last August and I was floxed in 2013!

      • martha June 29, 2017 at 7:41 am Reply

        Thanks so much. That is what my instincts tell me too. I see the Dr tomorrow so will discuss with him and look at alternatives. He is not aware of my floxing or the relationship I don’t think between the two drugs. Will go for alternatives because i have very mild bulge that is setting off inflammation response. Really appreciate hearing from you and I hope you are all better!

  13. Marc June 29, 2017 at 3:54 pm Reply

    Hi Lisa, thank you for sharing your story. I have chronic fatigue and taking the cipro for kidney infections in both kidneys has made me feel like I’m experiencing a massive flare up!
    I stopped taking cipro after two doses as I had pins and needles and my fingets and toes were freezing cold. I saw an emergency doctor later that night who said this was not a side effect though the patient information blurb said it was.
    A week on the effects have not dimished. Legs and feet aching. Depression, no appetite, blurred vision etc.So I saw another doctor today who had no clue, made me feel I was crazy and said it was B12 deficiency.
    I researched to discover B12 is created by bacteria. Cipro attacks and destroys all the bacteria in the body at mitochondrial level. This drug is used against Anthrax. It’s powerful stuff.
    Could it be some side effects of cipro are depletion of B12? I’m upping my B12 intake and having blood tests next week.
    Thank you for relating your positive outcome. Gives others hope. There’s more outcry in the U.S. than here in the U.K.

  14. Gina Blickenstaff July 2, 2017 at 5:58 am Reply

    Thank you for the hope! It is appreciated!8

  15. Martha July 6, 2017 at 12:15 pm Reply

    Lisa and all,
    This site gave me such hope and support in the fall of 2015 when I was floxxed by Levaquin. I had Neuropathy and brain fog and muscle weakness. The neuropathy was the worst part because it really impacted my work and personal life. I am very grateful that the issue resolved in about 4 months. So hopefully this will go away for you too – but I am not sure it ever fully resolves so Lisa here is my question. I have a small herniation in my C5 cervical disc. I was stupid and lifted something too heavy. SO of course I injured myself. My physician who is an expert in this field wants me to take a Medrol dose pack. This is a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation. My fear is that this drug will somehow cause a relapse. I did take Prenasone for an allergic reaction to amoxicillin with no issues last May 2016 but it was small – SO is there any evidence that months or years later taking a drug like this could cause a floxie problems? Thanks so much and take care all, be patient although I know its very hard.

    • Pam U. July 7, 2017 at 8:28 am Reply

      I used Meriva 500, which is a strong turmeric capsule, to help me with inflammation, and I was amazed how much it helped, even after being rear-ended and having whiplash. It’s quite pricey, unfortunately, but it didn’t cause any cipro pain, cramping, twitching, or anxiety relapses. I hope it helps you as much as it did me. –
      By the way, I toss a little black pepper in my mouth and wash it down with water to help maximize the turmeric’s effect.

      • martha July 7, 2017 at 11:04 am Reply

        Thank you Pam. I will look into this. My instincts on this just tell me to say No and use of NSAIDS or Corticosteroids. I consulted three doctors on this and they really do not understand. I am grateful for the continuing support of this community. I have learned that once a floxie always a floxie. Have a good rest of your summer.

  16. Lynn boomgaarden July 11, 2017 at 11:34 am Reply

    Please email me I’m in hell I feel like I’m reading the last 3 was I’m 56 I’ve aged it feels like 20 years. I’m

  17. Lisa July 14, 2017 at 12:10 am Reply

    Lisa- I am going through everything you mentioned.
    I took same antibiotic as you and have been
    Deteriorating ever since!
    This is my second major toxicity to an antibiotic in this family of antibiotics. First time around drs thought that I had MS. My pains in my legs were so unbearable I could hardly walk. Went to endless drs. No one diognosed it properly. There were shorting leg electrical feelings that were unbearable the first time through. Trying to remain hopeful that all my itching, exhaustion, leg pain and electrical feelings, brain fog , pain in rotater cuff so bad I can hardly lift my hands because of pain ,pains in all my tendons and I am opening a business in next few weeks… so maybe done stress. 😳
    These medicines should never be on the market. I had a UTI. I am severely sick from sonething that was trying to make me better.
    Thanks for the hope you send. I got through this once. I’m going to get through it again!

    Thanks for posting.

    • martha July 14, 2017 at 7:41 am Reply

      Lisa I am so sorry you are going through this again! I can’t imagine going through this twice. I really changed my approach to working with doctors through my experience.I claimed my toxicity and insisted they listen to me. I even sent them links to articles about this kind of toxicity as well as the hospital emergency room where it was given to me for a UTI. Not sure they listened but now when I see a doctor and meds of any kind are involved I research them first and sometimes reject taking them. I recently was prescribe Medrol for back pain, Medrol is a corticosteroid. I knew of fhe potential link between NSAIDS and Corticosteroids. In fact I had been on one for an allergic reaction one month before the UTI – To this day I think it was the combination that sent me into toxicity. Anyway I rejected this medication even though I knew it would help at least temporarily. I decided to take the long road with acupuncture, hyrotherapy and rest and Tylenol. One other thing I did that I think is of great importance is to have it on all medical records that I am severely allergic to ALL FLUOROQUINOLONES and that they are never to be used with me. I even have an emergency tag and card in the wallet with this medical alert. I know this does not help you with your recovery but it can help you in the future. Good like with your new business and i hope your issues begin to abate soon.

  18. Michael Owens July 17, 2017 at 5:41 pm Reply

    My mother in law is bed ridden and cannot walk. She had surgery on her to allow her to straighten her feet
    No doctor could discover the cause of her symptoms until a physical therapist asked if she had taken Cipro. She had taken Cipro for more than ten years to combat chronic bladder infections. Her symptoms align with cipro toxicity.

  19. Azz July 30, 2017 at 6:08 am Reply

    Im suffering at the moment I’m glad you’ve given me some hope I will try to keep it in mind. But do u know for sure it will eventually go? I’m constantly reading 30% of the time it’s permanent.

  20. Maureen July 31, 2017 at 6:19 am Reply

    I took 2 cipro tablets last week for a uti..but immediately felt things werent right…no sleep, tingling etc. Went to doctor and stopped and am now on day 4 od therapy with ceclor for my uti.Today i have muscle like cramps in my leg calfs …..and my digestive system is not so good…constant need to empty my bowels. I was putting this down to either the infection itself or the ceclor but now I believe it could be reaction to the two cipro tablets….do u agree…can two tablets do damage? I am taking a daily probiotic capsule too

    • Pam U. July 31, 2017 at 9:39 am Reply

      Maureen, If I were you, I would quickly begin taking magnesium (I took ConcenTrace trace minerals) for the muscle cramps, boron to help remove the fluoride, a good vitamin C (liposomal, which you can make for cheaper) which should help keep your white blood cells from attacking your joints, and a probiotic from the refrigerated department of the store that is enteric coated so it can make it all the way to your intestines without being killed by stomach acid) . These are things I did about 2 weeks later, and I really wish I had done sooner. (I’m 16 months out from taking the cipro.)

      Next, read some of the encouraging success stories, as well as what other people did that helped them. Stress affects your healing, so avoid the negative websites!

      – Wishing you the best!

    • Bob July 31, 2017 at 3:13 pm Reply

      Start taking calcium. It binds to cipro for detox.

  21. Chris August 1, 2017 at 2:35 am Reply

    Very good read. I took over 60, 500 mg Cipro tabs over 30 days and have a story very similar to yours. I had so many doctors involved and the only one that new exactly what was going on was my gastroenterologist. One of the top 3 in California. He told me the truth about Cipro and what the public does not know and me being a former medic in the military for 20+ years I understood everything. I was not in shock but knew I was floxed. He went on to tell me that many doctors in the US have been watching this family of drugs for 6-7 years and time and time again people were becoming very ill and disabled and the only thing I can do to start the healing process was a list of things like yours. I can say it has worked and I am at 97% now and it’s been 16 months. The one thing that helped more than anything for me was VSL3 probiotic. Without question within 2 weeks everything started to heal and I was so shocked that I thought I was getting sick with something else but it was my body healing. I wasn’t use to not being sick. Day by day, week by week I started to heal. I responded to the other guy who had the “cipro is poison” page and told him CSL3 and getting out and actually moving are your best two things to do and get your mind on other things. Read a book at the beach. Walk your dog for a mile or two a day but just don’t lay in bed. Being active with baby steps, VSL3 and drinking plenty of water with fruits has been my key. When my mind gets occupied with other things I have no issues. I can drink soda again but for a long time I would get sick with just a sip of soda or 7up. Shoot me a response if you want to know what my gastroenterologist said. Glad some of us are healing and others will too. Oh, last thing… he told me if I have to take any antibiotics again I should to take CSL3 with them. That’s a Zpack to whatever. I asked how long and he told me for the rest of my life. That was his recommendation. Anyway I am off to finish a book!

  22. Chris August 1, 2017 at 5:55 pm Reply

    Forgot to add that I have a few things lingering and thats the reason I am not 100%.
    1) Healing of simple cuts is still prolonged. What took a few days now takes 3-4 weeks.
    2) I can walk miles but not 10-20 miles a day.
    3) I can take NSAIDS or steroids, they don’t bother me anymore and don’t trigger a reaction. That took 14 months.
    4) Very slight tenderness behind my eyes still. That’s lingered a long time. No detached retinas.
    5) Insomnia is still there. That’s been the worst.
    6) Dreams every night. That’s the weird thing. Before being floxed I would get 1 dream every 5 years. After floxed it was 5-7 a week.
    7) Bowel movements are still a little irregular. Much better being on VSL3 though.

    That’s about it. Sounds like a lot but in reality it’s down from 30+ issues.
    Remember this was after taking 60+ tabs of Cipro 500mg tabs over 32 days. Floxing symptoms started a week after starting.

    • Lisa August 1, 2017 at 8:56 pm Reply

      Hi Chris,

      I’m so glad that you have come so far! That’s wonderful that the VSL3 and your gastroenterologist have helped you so much! If you want to share your story as a recovery story on this site (on its own page), please let me know through the contact link above. Thanks, and congratulations again.


      • Chris August 6, 2017 at 2:11 am Reply

        Thanks Lisa! You can post my story.

        The craziest thing my doctor told me is now I have first hand experience of what cancer patients feel daily with stage 4 and why some don’t want to live because their sickness will never go away. That’s awful.

        One last thing I forgot to mention was I ended up with my first kidney stone because I couldn’t eat or drink fluids about 6 months ago and I can say with 100% certainty that a kidney stone pales in comparison to the worst pain of being floxed. I told my doctor I would take 10 kidney stones back to back to back over 16 months of being floxed and bedridden. To me a kidney stone was like having a tooth pulled compared to being floxed. But don’t let that scare you. Kidney stones and being floxed will eventually heal!

  23. Martha August 2, 2017 at 7:38 am Reply

    What suggestions does anyone have for the types of anti inflammatories that can be used post floxing other than steroids and nsaids? Hate taking Tylenol because of the impact on the liver. I seem to struggle with medications and supplements sometimes – I wonder if I still need to be on a regimen of things that helped during acute floxing stage. Any ideas? Keep the faith everyone. We are all in this together

    • Pam U. August 2, 2017 at 9:55 am Reply

      Merriva 500 absolutely saved me from the joint pain and inflammation. It is amazing stuff. The downside is the expense. Other turmeric capsules didn’t help quite as much, but they did help too. Best wishes to you!

  24. Bonita August 5, 2017 at 4:14 pm Reply

    I have read this story countless times and it gives me hope. No one will ever tell me that my problems are not caused by the three rounds of Cipro I have been on in the last nine months. The worst symptoms for me are anxiety, insomnia and restless legs. I have started acupuncture and praying that as well as time passing will help.

    • Pam U. August 5, 2017 at 6:09 pm Reply

      Magnesium helped me with the muscle cramps and joint pain, and Boron drops still help me with the anxiety, which seems to come up again when I eat food cooked with fluoridated water or I’m stuck with no pure water to drink. (I never was sensitive to tap water before the Cipro.) It’s the TraceMinerals magnesium with other minerals added that works the best for my digestion, too.
      Wishing you the best!

    • Chris August 6, 2017 at 1:38 am Reply

      I have noticed time heals and in this case it’s so far been a healing process day by day. You should get better but it takes time.

  25. elena August 10, 2017 at 2:56 am Reply

    I have been having uti for over 5 years now. tryed all types of antibiotics, including cipro several times for weeks even, and all kinds of natural remedies, but nothing seems to work. i still have a painfull uti that it’s killing me from all persppectives (had to quit the job, no social life, no availability to event do broceries or such).
    i was just thinking of trying cipro again, but then i came across your post … so i might re-think my options, but then again i don’t really have any options than i haven’t tried 😦

  26. Emily August 11, 2017 at 7:31 pm Reply

    I am five years Post heart double lung transplant. I have Pueudomonas a lung fungus that can effect lung tx patients. The treatment has been Cipro and Levaquin. (And other additional meds at times.). As a transplant recipient prednisone is manadatory for life. Father this last treatment I now have neuropathy, weakeness, and ruptured calf tendons. I was warned it could cause the tendon ruptures but nothing else. Thank you for sharing your story. You are a fast learner. I lived my whole life with serious health problems and it’s taking me a long time to learn to be patient with myself. Thank you for sharing.

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