Sarah’s Story – Cipro Adverse Reaction

*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. 

In March of 2011, two months after my daughter was born, I was prescribed a flouroquinolone antibiotic called Cipro. I didn’t know that these antibiotics can cause severe adverse reactions that only get worse after you stop taking it and may last for years. In some cases, people can be permanently disabled. I had a very severe central nervous system reaction. These antibiotics attach and block GABA-A from the receptor. What I experienced was what I can only imagine the worst benzo withdrawal symptoms imaginable would be like. These antibiotics are not just dangerous to people on benzos–they can cause this benzo withdrawal reaction to people who have never ever touched a benzo before, like me!   Please do not ever take one of these antibiotics if you can help it.

Of course I had no idea what had befallen me, as my worst symptoms appeared a month after I had stopped the antibiotic. I had the worst insomnia a person could imagine. I was unable to sleep for days at a time. When I finally fell asleep, it was only for a few broken hours. The anxiety was so high I could barely function, and I had very severe peripheral neuropathy. I entered into a “5th dimension” where I could just barely function. All the while I had a two month old baby to take care of.

I sought out numerous doctors with no answers. I was finally pushed toward psychiatry, as I believed maybe I had a post-partum issue. I saw a very uncompassionate doctor who started me on my benzo journey. He started me on xanax XR. Within a few weeks I got much, much worse. I was then given ativan. That didn’t work either. I learned about benzos through this site and decided I wanted off. I tried to quit cold turkey and immediately experienced symptoms even worse than what I was already going through. I felt like someone was burning me all over with matches! I knew that my body had already become dependent in just a few months. I saw a new doctor who switched me to Klonopin and had me taper off in three weeks. Bad idea!

For many many months I was unable to sleep more than a few hours a night (on a good night!) I had terrible anxiety, myoclonus, muscle twitching, numbness, tingling, and buzzing sensations, heart arrythmia, shaking, sweating, tempurature issues, thyroid and sugar issues, and many other awful things. I have NO IDEA if all of these things were from benzo withdrawal or from quinolone toxicity. The symptoms are virtually identical. I think most of them were from the toxicity, but no doubt benzo withdrawal made everything so much worse.

Sleep was by far my biggest issue. I was so worn down. Insomnia consumed my life. I was miserable and in despair. I started seeing a sleep psychologist and started sleep restriction therapy. It worked wonders for me! I started sleeping 6, 7, even 8 hours a night! I was still sleeping in the guest room, but it was sleep! I learned how insomnia can start out biological and then morph into a psychological problem that causes it to continue.

In May of this year, I had a huge change. This next part may not sit well with everyone, and I sure hope it doesn’t offend anyone–please, that is not my intention!

I realized that I was being a really negative person. I was obsessing about my condition, being on the forums 24/7, talking about my condition all the time, and being utterly miserable. I decided one day that I was no longer going to let my symptoms consume me. i was going to try to live my life DESPITE what was happening to me. I started exercising, I started praying again, eating healthier, and I discontinued my memberships to the quinolone forum and took a break from benzo buddies for awhile. I started making a real effort to be positive in ALL my thoughts, not just about my symptoms. I literally did a 180. Many of my symptoms virtually disappeared. The anxiety is almost gone! Sleep isn’t perfect but it’s so much better than it was. Insomnia doesn’t scare me like it used to anymore. And the fear of not sleeping, or even the thought of it’s possibility–will keep you from not sleeping! It’s such hard cycle to live with, but it can be broken.

I still have a little peripheral neuropathy but I am confident it will eventually go away. I feel really good during the day now! I thought my situation was hopeless, but it turns out there was a lot of hope for me.

There were some books that really helped me during this journey: The Effortless sleep method (this book is the BIBLE for insomnia!), The power of positive thinking, and the law of attraction. I used to think your thoughts couldn’t make any difference in your health… but they can! They may not fix all of your physical problems but they can cause your brain to make important changes. At the very least, it can help you deal with your symptoms better.

All I know is that I’m so much better than I was–and I was REALLY REALLY bad. My GABA was hit very hard in two ways…and I know it can heal! I can’t say enough about exercise and positive thinking—not just thinking but believing.

Please don’t ever give up. No matter how bad your situation is, and I know there are those of you that had it worse–just don’t give up. I am so sorry each of you are suffering so much. Those memories are still very fresh for me. I haven’t forgotten any of you. I will continue to pray for your healing!

** 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.

29 thoughts on “Sarah’s Story – Cipro Adverse Reaction

  1. Laura February 5, 2014 at 5:16 am Reply

    Hello Sarah! Thank you for your story. The way you look and think is so important and the forums can bring you down for sure. Ive been telling people this and felt like annoying them with my unwillingness to read everything about FQ and every bad story on the net. I dont want to because it scares me and it keeps me from living. And I love to live! Thank you for your story….May your nerves heal completly and may you live a happy and healthly life.

  2. Sarah February 6, 2014 at 8:34 am Reply

    How long did you take it for? So glad you are feeling better!

  3. Jocelyn March 15, 2014 at 7:36 am Reply

    Sarah- your symptoms are exactly what I have been experiencing after taking Levaquin in Dec. 2013. Some of the anxiety and insomnia have subsided. The one symptom which is truly driving me crazy is the muscle twitching in my legs when I sit or lie down (and occasionally in my arms and back). It was much worse initially and was one of my first symptoms. My ND thinks it is still magnesium deficiency. Did you twitching go away and how long did that take?? Did any specific supplements help the twitching and neuropathy? Thank you for sharing your story!

  4. Michelle April 10, 2014 at 8:33 am Reply

    Hi Sarah! I have noticed the similarities between gaba withdrawal and FQ toxicity, too. So happy to hear about your progress. Did you experience any strange vision symptom with your reaction? Thank you for any help.

  5. Ruth Young April 18, 2014 at 5:13 am Reply

    I think I am also experiencing GABA issues. Your story helped clarify what is going on with me. Up until now I thought everything hinged on the magnesium deficiency. But what about when you have enough magnesium and are still getting the crazy symptoms, like the insomnia? It’s got to be the GABA issue. My insomnia, luckily, comes and goes and sometimes I even get good, normal sleep. But last night and today I have had temperature issues, insomnia, panic attacks when I try to sleep, tightening of the muscles/tendons around my ankles, a sensation that I am vibrating, a feeling that my skin is burning and my blood pressure was elevated yesterday for awhile. I definitely have autonomic system dysfunction. I was hoping meditation/relaxation would have cured it by now, but I’m only two months in. I’ve been glad that my muscles and tendons weren’t too badly affected, but this constantly being flooded with adrenalin and not being able to sleep or relax is tough to take. Others have seen these symptoms disappear though.

  6. Terrie May 1, 2014 at 6:34 pm Reply

    My son is going through exactly what you went thru Sarah Thanks you so much for sharing. He has a long road ahead of him. He has had doctor’s laugh at him when he brought up CIpro.

    • Lisa Bloomquist May 1, 2014 at 9:35 pm Reply

      I’m so sorry for what your son is going through, Terrie! I hope that the road is shorter than anticipated as well. Rejection from doctors – who we trust to help and heal us – is incredibly painful and I am so sorry that your son experienced that! There are more than 100 peer reviewed articles about the dangers of these drugs on the Links & Resources page of this site. Also, I think that this post that I wrote is a good one to show doctors because it has so many citations – http://www.hormonesmatter.com/cipro-levaquin-avelox-fluoroquinolones-chemo-drugs/

      I hope that helps!

  7. Terrie May 2, 2014 at 9:01 am Reply

    Thanks Lisa for the reply and care. It is so hard to see a grown man cry, esp when he is your son, from lack of sleep, so exhausted he can’t even think.

  8. Terrie May 2, 2014 at 12:15 pm Reply

    Is there anyone out there that my son could talk with? He needs someone that can listen and hear what he is going thru aside from family and medical.

    • Ruth Young May 2, 2014 at 4:52 pm Reply

      I have been seeing an anti-aging doctor. He is an MD, but more open to new ideas than most doctors, so he believes me about the Cipro, really listens, and thinks of things that will help. You might want to try to find an anti-aging doctor. Some of the treatments they use for longevity work great for helping floxies heal.

      Have your son try L-Theanine. I can sometimes sleep even during a flare up after taking L-Theanine. It affects dopamine as well as serotonin. I have a theory dopamine helps GABA receptors replenish themselves. The Theanine seems to help!

      Dr. Whitcomb also put me on Calm PRT from NeuroScience. It has Rhodiola Rosea in it, which is an adaptagen– it helps the body adapt to a multitude of things. Athletes use it to recover better from heavy workouts. They must take it after they work out. I took the recommended dose and was too mellowed out to do anything. There are some other good things in that formula, but the bottle suggests to take it under the care of a physician only. It is my hope that it will help my body adapt and heal!

      Your son needs a doctor who will listen and will try non-traditional things. The Calm PRT supplement includes things from Chinese medicine. Dr. Whitcomb also taught me to meditate. Meditation does similar things for your brain as sleep. I can feel refreshed after meditation, as if I slept. It helps.

    • palua December 14, 2015 at 4:23 am Reply

      Hi Terrie please let him talk to me. I might have the worst problem. I have sleeping disability (not insomnia or sleep difficulty). I have not sleep for more than three months except one hour fake sleep with nightmares from nasty dangerous Benzo. Beside tons other nasty ones.I he can sleep for two or three hours s night without drugs, praise the lord. If someone offer me cure for only 3 hrs/night sleep without drugs, and if this person (angle) ask me two amputate my both legs from my tights to the bottom as an exchange for that 3hrs a night sleep. I will be more than happy to give away my legs. That’s is how terrible is my life with no sleep right now, because my immune system on it’s way to wrecked down right now from “no sleep no healing”. New illness emerged besides other old Cipro damages.

      • palua December 14, 2015 at 4:43 am Reply

        Many not severe sleeping problem people simply think that the problem is Cipro blocking the GABA receptors based from how Benzo playing a trick, but the forgot about the nucleus fluoride poison contained in this FLUOROguinolones especially them skinny man like me took 13000mg fluorides contain Cipro (500mgX2times a dayX13 days). Could imagine the damage of neuron in CNS (spinal cord, Thalamus, SCN-Suprachiasmatic Nucleus) mithocondria and many other neural, internal and physical ones. Too long to explain but that’s just my though as I failed of finding euthanasia. Check this video link as reference to how fluoride does to our cells

        I sometime druling for help but where?

    • palua December 14, 2015 at 4:49 am Reply

      Hi Terrie please let him talk to me. I might have the worst problem. I have sleeping disability (not insomnia or sleep difficulty). I have not sleep for more than three months except one hour fake sleep with nightmares from nasty dangerous Benzo. Beside tons other nasty ones.I he can sleep for two or three hours s night without drugs, praise the lord. If someone offer me cure for only 3 hrs/night sleep without drugs, and if this person (angle) ask me two amputate my both legs from my tights to the bottom as an exchange for that 3hrs a night sleep. I will be more than happy to give away my legs. That’s is how terrible is my life with no sleep right now, because my immune system on it’s way to wrecked down right now from “no sleep no healing”. New illness emerged besides other old Cipro damages.

  9. Brian May 2, 2014 at 2:31 pm Reply

    Sarah, your story sounds very similar to mine. I too was hit by the benzo/FQ double-whammy. I was taking clonazepam (ironically enough for sleep problems) when I was prescribed CIpro for a prostate infection. Apparently, the fact that FQs are contraindicated for those taking benzos is just one of the many things doctors don’t know about FQs.

    I went through everything you mentioned. My widely varying thyroid and blood glucose tests had my GP scratching his head. I didn’t even bother trying to convince him that it might be due to benzos and/or FQs. 1 year post-benzo and 1 1/2 years post-FQ, I still suffer from insomnia and mild tinnitus. The characteristics of my insomnia keep changing. I went from not being able to get to sleep at all, to falling asleep easily but waking up every few hours–sometimes with anxiety and sometimes not. I guess that’s some sort of progress 😉 I’m seeing another neurologist at the end of the month who is a specialist in sleep disorders and insomnia so I’m hoping he can help (without prescribing benzos!). The other side effects subsided except for some mild tendon pain every now and then when I overdo it in the gym. That could also just be age 😉

    How long would you say it took you before you were able to sleep reasonably well?

    • Joseph Anatra September 21, 2015 at 11:38 am Reply

      Hi Brian the same EXACT think happened to me with Ativan and cipro for a suspected prostate infection. Did your tinnitus ever go away? Did you have any eye issues?

  10. Lisa Bloomquist May 19, 2014 at 7:30 am Reply
  11. Charles Tooraen May 19, 2014 at 3:00 pm Reply

    Sarah, how are you now?? are you better with your PN??

  12. June March 19, 2015 at 5:05 pm Reply

    Hi Sarah,

    I recently was flocked to. I was also taking painkillers and antibiotics. I’m slowly recovering but have developed some scary symptoms. What hurts the most is the thought that I may never have anymore children. I’ve been unable to find any stories of people having children after….

  13. Natalie Tauriac April 28, 2015 at 8:06 pm Reply

    Here’s a article for you to read.

  14. Victoria Turrentine May 20, 2015 at 12:23 am Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. It gives me so much hope that you got better. I am a 22 year old who is also 7 months pregnant. I took cipro for a uti that would not go away at about 4 months pregnant. Doctor said it was safe to take after first trimester. I told her I didn’t feel comfortable with it, but she insisted that it was better than having the infection. Had no idea that it could cause these problems. While taking cipro my urinary frequency had increased to where i was feeling the urge to go about every 20 seconds. It was excessive and I assumed the uti didn’t go away but after more cultures the bacteria was gone and these bladder symptoms remain. The urge is intense and frequent. It is better with bladder training now. Two and half months later I am getting sharp shooting pain in my feet, legs, ankles, hands, arms, back, and shoulder. I am extremely weak and anxious. I would be very hopeless and would just stay in bed all day if it wasn’t for my unborn baby. I am worried I’ve gotten cipro poisoning, and am praying I don’t get much worse, but most of all that the baby is alright. I’m going to start taking magnesium and am also going to take a trip to the Progressive Medical Center here in Dallas. Hopefully they can help.

    • Lisa Bloomquist May 20, 2015 at 7:12 am Reply

      Hi Victoria,

      I’m so sorry for what you’re going through! I hope that you recover quickly and that your baby isn’t affected by what you’re going through.

      Please know that I don’t suggest this lightly, but I think that you should look into suing your doctor. He or she is dangerously ignorant and put both you and your child in danger because of ignorance.

      It says on the warning label for cipro:

      “THE SAFETY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF CIPROFLOXACIN IN PREGNANT AND
      LACTATING WOMEN HAVE NOT BEEN ESTABLISHED. (See PRECAUTIONS:
      Pregnancy, and Nursing Mothers subsections.)”

      and

      “Teratogenic Effects. Pregnancy Category C
      There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Ciprofloxacin should not be used during pregnancy unless the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to both fetus and mother (see WARNINGS). An expert review of published data on experiences with ciprofloxacin use during pregnancy by TERIS – the Teratogen Information System – concluded that therapeutic doses during pregnancy are unlikely to pose a substantial teratogenic risk (quantity and quality of data=fair), but the data are insufficient to state that there is no risk.9 A controlled prospective observational study followed 200 women exposed to fluoroquinolones (52.5% exposed to ciprofloxacin and 68% first trimester exposures) during gestation.10 In utero exposure to fluoroquinolones during embryogenesis was not associated with increased risk of major malformations. The reported rates of major congenital malformations were 2.2% for the fluoroquinolone group and 2.6% for the control group (background incidence of major malformations is 1-5%). Rates of spontaneous abortions, prematurity and low birth weight did not differ between the groups and there were no clinically significant musculoskeletal dysfunctions up to one year of age in the ciprofloxacin exposed children. Another prospective follow-up study reported on 549 pregnancies with fluoroquinolone exposure (93% first trimester exposures).11 There were 70 ciprofloxacin exposures, all within the first trimester. The malformation rates among live-born babies exposed to ciprofloxacin and to fluoroquinolones overall were both within background incidence ranges. No specific patterns of congenital abnormalities were found. The study did not reveal any clear adverse reactions due to in utero exposure to ciprofloxacin. No differences in the rates of prematurity, spontaneous abortions, or birth weight were seen in women exposed to ciprofloxacin during pregnancy.9,10 However, these small postmarketing epidemiology studies, of which most experience is from short term, first trimester exposure, are insufficient to evaluate the risk for less common defects or to permit reliable and definitive conclusions regarding the safety of ciprofloxacin in pregnant women and their developing fetuses. Reproduction studies have been performed in rats and mice using oral doses up to 100 mg/kg (0.6 and 0.3 times the maximum daily
      human dose based upon body surface area, respectively) and have revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus due to ciprofloxacin. In rabbits, oral ciprofloxacin dose levels of 30 and 100 mg/kg (approximately 0.4- and 1.3-times the highest recommended therapeutic dose based upon mg/m2 ) produced gastrointestinal toxicity resulting in maternal weight loss and an increased incidence of abortion, but no teratogenicity was observed at either dose level. After intravenous administration of doses up to 20 mg/kg (approximately 0.3-times the highest recommended therapeutic dose based upon mg/m2 ) no maternal toxicity was produced and no embryotoxicity or teratogenicity was observed.”

      Because of the learned intermediary doctrine, it is your doctor’s responsibility to know what is on the warning label of the drugs that he or she prescribes. S/he should know that cipro has never been tested on women who are in their second trimester, much less proven to be safe. To deem that it is “necessary” to give you a dangerous drug like cipro while you are pregnant for a simple UTI (was it even proven that it was a UTI or is it an irritated bladder?) was willfully ignorant and dangerous to both you and your baby.

      I’d find a lawyer.

      This lawyer has written about FQ toxicity in the past. She’s in Dallas – http://www.vanweylaw.com/. I don’t know much about her, but she is at least somewhat familiar with FQ toxicity.

      Fluoroquinolones are topoisomerase interrupters. If ANYTHING is wrong with your kid because of messed up gene expression, your doctor should be held responsible.

      I’m mad–obviously. I don’t want to scare you though. There are women who have gotten floxed while pregnant that have had healthy kids. I hope that you recover quickly and that your baby is 100% healthy and happy.

      Even if you and your baby are both healthy and unaffected by this mess in a few months, I still think you should sue your doctor. The only way they are going to get the message that endangering people with their ignorance about the drugs they prescribe is not okay is for it to hit them in the pocket.

      I hope that the folks at Progressive help you! The Progressive Medical Center in Atlanta has helped several floxies. I hope that the one in Dallas is good too!

      Regards,
      Lisa

      • Victoria May 23, 2015 at 4:38 pm Reply

        Hi Lisa,

        Thank you for your reply. I have read all these studies. I’m terrified something will be wrong with the baby but hoping that there won’t of course. Don’t know what I’d do if so. I am going to look into the link you gave me for the lawyer. You say that you know of other pregnant women whose babies were okay? Do you know any more details about them or how they are doing or if still good? Would love to also talk to others who have been in my exact position. Thank you again

  15. Chris Butler September 22, 2015 at 5:42 am Reply

    Sarah, I was so happy to see that you decided to make change. I agree, being on the group forums was full of negativity. Like you, I had an epiphany and chose to do something about it. The first thing was to remove myself from the majority of the groups. I did all the research to find out what would work, and kept coming back to the food I am eating.
    I searched for that “magic pill.” Eventually, I came to realize that I can’t dwell on what happened, I realized I can change that. What worked for me was a change to organics. That brought the Ulcerative Colitis under control. I developed Afib, but that change to organics, and exercise has made that a non-issue. I still live with pain daily, nothing can change seven tendon tears except exercise and being cautious.
    Thanks so much for letting everyone know that change is possible, that we can recover from the damage. I work to make change at the FDA. Not just because of these drugs, but the policies that put these drugs on the market.
    I work to change the attitudes of others toward our “Pill attitude” (something hurt? take a pill). Hippocrates said it best – Let they food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be they food. It’s what we’re putting in our bodies that will make a difference.

  16. jiwa January 22, 2016 at 7:06 pm Reply

    So what cause your inability to sleep is your anxiety and depression from, not the damage to your thalamus and CNS like my case. That is why you can get off the benzo and able to sleep without drugs after seeing psychologist.

    • jiwa January 29, 2016 at 4:15 am Reply

      5 months already with no sleep, nothing and my body is deteriorated. I don’t need any smarty that just want to show off or guru whatsoever. I just need someone to spread this to be become more viral. Many Some famous Prof and Neurology Doctor refuse me. Most scientist just want to have “orgy” with mice. Sorry for being negative. If you see the video please read the description before saying anything. My target is the most advanced financial support/help and treatment. I want them to watch and see if human still have soul or desire to help with humble heart. Here is the link. https://youtu.be/BomKqeQZwVk

  17. Denise February 2, 2016 at 12:55 pm Reply

    You are fortunate that you are able to deal with the toxicity. My husband had all of the same. He started seeing a psychiatrist and a week later took his life. The doctors were clueless. Don’t stop fighting!!

  18. LUCERO ROJAS June 19, 2016 at 5:38 pm Reply

    Hi Sarah

    Thank yoh for writing this hopeful story. I want to ask you what type of sugar problems did you have? Was your sugar readings high? My sugar levels are a but high but everything else if normal. But I was informed that been anemic also plays an important factor in those readings.

    Thank you

    • sophie March 11, 2017 at 1:50 am Reply

      Hello Lucero!
      Have your sugar issues improved? Mine is too low.
      Take care.
      Sophie

  19. Graham April 22, 2017 at 7:18 am Reply

    Hi. I had osteomylitis of the pelvis after a prostate cancer operation was botched.

    I had a six weeks course of the strongest Cipro available . I had insomnia for three months and ever since had disturbed nights and pain in the thighs. When my bladder seized up I was given a supersonic catheter but several infection later, treated not by Cipro bit another antibiotic , I often find myself exhausted.

    Ciprofloxacin saved my life but I am left with permanent after effects, even 5 years later.

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