Tag Archives: Adverse effects of fluoroquinolones

Is Fluoroquinolone Toxicity “Real?”

What is required for fluoroquinolone toxicity to be “real?”

Most of the symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity are listed on the warning labels.

Tendinitis? Yup, listed on the warning label. Muscle weakness? Yup, that’s there too. Cardiovascular collapse, loss of consciousness, tingling, pharyngeal or facial edema, dyspnea, urticaria, and itching? They’re right there on the warning label. Liver failure is there too – that’s what “hepatic failure” means. “Convulsions, increased intracranial pressure (including pseudotumor cerebri), and toxic psychosis have been reported in patients receiving fluoroquinolones, including ciprofloxacin.” Serious central nervous system effects like, “dizziness, confusion, tremors, hallucinations, depression, and, rarely, psychotic reactions have progressed to suicidal ideations/thoughts and self-injurious behavior such as attempted or completed suicide” are also listed on the warning labels. Permanent peripheral neuropathy is listed too. So are musculoskeletal disorders—though the warning label only notes that those happen in pediatric patients—kids. Prolongation of the QT interval, renal impairment, phototoxicity and diarrhea are also listed.

Do the warning labels leave some symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity out? Sure. Even the FDA acknowledges that, “While most of the individual AEs (adverse effects) that exist within FQAD (fluoroquinolone associated disability) are currently described in fluoroquinolone labeling, the particular constellation of symptoms across organ systems is not.” The warning labels are a good place to start though.

If someone takes a drug, then develops side-effects that are listed on the drug warning label, it’s pretty reasonable to think that what they’re experiencing is an effect of the drug. It’s not only reasonable, it’s probable.

If thousands of people experience similar adverse effects after taking a drug, those adverse effects are likely caused by the drug.

Thousands of anecdotes certainly help to build a case, but they are still anecdotes, so scientific experimentation is needed to show that a drug is as damaging and dangerous as people claim it to be.

There are more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles about fluoroquinolones in the Research section of the Links & Resources page on this site. There is PLENTY of evidence that fluoroquinolones do a massive amount of damage to the human body.

There is PLENTY of evidence that fluoroquinolones damage mitochondria, increase ROS, deplete antioxidants, deplete iron, deplete magnesium, damage the microbiome, downgrade GABA, are endocrine disrupters, cause lysosomal disorders, form poisonous metabolites in the liver, activate mast cells and release histamine, AND MORE.

Can any one of those things cause a multi-symptom illness? Yes, of course they can. And fluoroquinolones DO cause multi-symptom, often chronic, illness.

Despite all that, there is not a diagnostic code for fluoroquinolone toxicity, and fluoroquinolone toxicity is not taught in medical school. Many doctors do not recognize fluoroquinolone toxicity when they have a patient who is dealing with it. (Though that is changing—more and more doctors are recognizing fluoroquinolone toxicity, and that is a very good thing.) And, despite all the damage that fluoroquinolones do to cells, there is no test that shows fluoroquinolone toxicity.

A diagnostic code and a test will likely be required for some people to believe that fluoroquinolone toxicity is real. We should fight for those things, because they’re important in getting the problem recognized and the solution sought.

Even without the diagnostic code or adequate test, fluoroquinolone toxicity IS REAL. It is acknowledged in FDA documents and backed up by hundreds of peer-reviewed articles. If someone chooses to ignore that evidence, well, they’re operating on faith in their notions of infallible doctors, not the real, scientific evidence that shows the damage that fluoroquinolones do to cells.

Regardless of what anyone thinks, your pain and your experience are real. I know that it hurts when people assert that your pain isn’t real, or that you’re imagining what you know to be true. It sucks, to say the least. But you know your body, and you know what happened to you. Your truth, and your experience, matter. Other people’s beliefs about your condition don’t.

 

 

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Progress Gained in Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Awareness

A lot of awareness of fluoroquinolone toxicity has been gained in the last few years.  In 2011, when I got floxed, the biggest facebook support group for “floxies” had about 600 members, news stories about fluoroquinolone toxicity were few and far between, and people seemed to be reluctant to share information about fluoroquinolones on their social media accounts. Today, the biggest facebook support group for floxies has almost 4,000 members (and many people have come and gone, so there have been more than 3,400 people who are aware enough of fluoroquinolone toxicity to join the group), news reports about the dangers of fluoroquinolones seem to come out on a weekly basis, and people are screaming about the dangers of fluoroquinolones in every way they can – through their social media accounts, telling their personal stories on web sites, commenting on news stories, and through talking to their families, friends, doctors and anyone else who will listen to them.

We’re making progress. We’re getting louder and stronger.

Even the FDA, the slow-moving behemoth that it is, has made some movement toward acknowledging the dangers of fluoroquinolones. In 2013 the warning label for fluoroquinolones was updated to note that PERMANENT peripheral neuropathy is a possible adverse effect of fluoroquinolones. The FDA stated that this change to the warning label was because of a review of AERS (Adverse Event Reporting System) data that found that many people were reporting disabling peripheral neuropathy as an effect of fluoroquinolones. AERS reports are patient reports. The FDA is listening to our screams.

The warning label change prompted a slew of lawsuits against Bayer (the maker of Cipro and Avelox) and Johnson & Johnson (maker of Levaquin), that hopefully will give some people justice and compensation for the harm that fluoroquinolones have done to them. Just having the door opened for justice is a step in the right direction – it’s progress.

In September, 2014 Dr. Charles Bennett filed two Citizen’s Petitions with the FDA asking them to change the fluoroquinolone warning labels to note “mitochondrial toxicity” and “psychiatric adverse effects.” The FDA’s response to those petitions is still pending, but the petitions themselves are valuable, both in that they are communications with the FDA, and that they give victims of fluoroquinolones credibility.

More than 60 news stories about the dangers of fluoroquinolones have aired in the last year. Each of these news stories was made possible by people reaching out to the news media. They wouldn’t have happened without people advocating for themselves and speaking up. With each news story, the word spreads about the dangers of fluoroquinolones, and the more people are aware of fluoroquinolone toxicity. With awareness of the dangers of fluoroquinolones comes avoidance of them, and that’s certainly progress.

One of the most influential news-stories about fluoroquinolones was “Local woman says popular antibiotic killed her husband” which aired on WSB-TV Atlanta. It had more than 135,000 social media shares, and Levaquin prescriptions in the Atlanta area dropped dramatically after it aired. It not only successfully spread the word about the devastating effects of fluoroquinolones, it changed prescription rates for fluoroquinolones. That’s huge! (Though, of course, it is horrible that Chris Dannelly lost his life. My eternal condolences to his family.)

A lot of progress in awareness of fluoroquinolone toxicity has been made through social media. When I first got floxed, people didn’t mention fluoroquinolone toxicity on their social media pages. There seemed to be a lot of silence, and even shame, around it. Now there are people who share information about the dangers of fluoroquinolones on their social media accounts regularly. With every “share” or “like” people are reached and progress toward awareness is made. Every little step rolls the ball in the right direction and gives us momentum. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who shares information about fluoroquinolone toxicity with their social network!

While it is sad to see the devastation that fluoroquinolones bring to every floxed individual, it is nice to see that the awareness of fluoroquinolone toxicity is reaching people, and that they are reaching out for support on facebook. The community of floxies helping and supporting each other in The Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Group has grown significantly. Each person who connects their health problems to fluoroquinolones is a step toward general awareness of fluoroquinolone toxicity. Everyone who joins The Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Group realizes the dangers of fluoroquinolones for themselves and their loved ones. Of course, I hate to hear of people getting hurt by fluoroquinolones, but with each new member to the group, awareness and support are gained.

Even this site has gained a lot of momentum. When it launched in 2013, Floxie Hope was getting about 5,000 visitors per month (which I was THRILLED with). Now 30,000+ visitors per month view Floxie Hope. I’m proud to be part of the movement toward awareness of the devastation that fluoroquinolones bring, and I hope to be part of movements to study fluoroquinolones and limit their use.

All of us who are telling our stories, supporting each other, and sharing information about fluoroquinolone toxicity are making progress. Thank you to all of you!

Admittedly, we have a long way to go before paradigms about the safety of fluoroquinolones shift in the general population.  There are still some doctors who are giving FQs out like candy.  There are still people who deny adverse effects of fluoroquinolones that are listed on the warning labels.  There is still a lot of research that needs to be done.  But progress has been made in the last year, and this post is to celebrate that progress.  Good job, friends!  Keep going!

 

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Off Label FQ Use – WTF are they thinking???

It has come to my attention that (some) doctors are prescribing Cipro to patients who are having adverse reactions to other drugs.

I am so flabbergasted by this that I’m close to speechless.

WHY would anyone think that it is appropriate to give a fluoroquinolone to someone who is experiencing an adverse reaction to a drug?!  NOWHERE in the literature for fluoroquinolones does it say that they should be used to treat adverse drug reactions.  It makes no sense.

I thoroughly disagree with fluoroquinolones being used as antibiotics in cases where there are other, safer, remedies that can be used.  They are too dangerous and it is a violation of the oath to “do no harm” to prescribe fluoroquinolones when there are safer antibiotics available.   But at least fluoroquinolones do kill bacteria.  Most doctors aren’t aware of how dangerous fluoroquinolones are, and they use them for the purposes for which they are indicated – urinary tract infections, prostatitis, sinusitis, typhoid, anthrax, and other bacterial infections.  There are even some articles that indicates that fluoroquinolones can be used as chemotherapeutic agents to kill cancer cells.  But there is NO REASON to think that they should be given to people who are experiencing adverse drug reactions.  It’s insane and it’s dangerous.  What in the world are these doctors thinking?!

Why would any doctor who has taken the Hippocratic Oath prescribe a drug that has a 43 PAGE warning label and a black box warning, for purposes other than those for which it is proven to be effective?  Why would a doctor who has taken a pharmacology class think that it is okay to give a topoisomerase interrupter to someone who doesn’t even have an infection (or cancer – topoisomerase interrupters are really only appropriate for use to treat cancer)?  Why are they ignoring the serious and severe adverse effects that are listed on the warning label?  Why are they handing out Cipro like it is candy?  Why are they giving drugs that deplete liver detoxification enzymes to people who are having an adverse reaction to another drug?  WHY?

Here is a video from a guy (a Veteran) who was given a prescription for Cipro after he went to the VA doctor’s office with an adverse reaction to Finasteride:

Another case is illustrated in this comment, which, frankly, broke my heart:

“The baby reacted badly to each vaccination, screaming throughout the night each time, and the doctor prescribed her cipro drops after each one. She can’t taste, and has many delays in speech, reading, learning, and physical development, even though she started off being very advanced in certain ways.”

WHY?

Why would a child (A CHILD) be given Cipro after she has had an adverse reaction to a vaccine?  To completely shut down her liver?  To shut down her kidneys?  To destroy her mitochondria?  To obliterate her microbiome?  To make sure that the microbial protection that her microbiome should give her blood-brain barrier is completely destroyed and the aluminum in the vaccines gets deep in there? (See post-script for sources.)

What kind of masochistic doctor does that to a child?

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There seems to be a strange and disturbing trend to give people Cipro for no justifiable reason – just ‘cause.  Bayer donated (aren’t they sweet?) 3.7 million Euros worth of Cipro to the countries of West Africa to help them deal with Ebola.  Ummm….. Ebola is a VIRUS.  In case it needs to be said, antibiotics do NOTHING to treat viral infections.  In fact, they can make viral infections worse by killing off the good bacteria in the microbiome that are fighting the virus.  If the doctors in West Africa are giving the people who are fighting Ebola Cipro, they are doing them no good.  Cipro can do plenty of harm too.  The warnings on the 43 page warning label aren’t a joke, and they’re not temporary.

The Western Medicine doctors in West Africa wonder why people don’t trust them and would rather go to a local Shaman.  Shoot, I’d rather go to a Shaman than be needlessly pumped full of Cipro.  The Cipro would definitely kill me, at least I’d have a chance of survival with the Shaman.

We’re in this bizarro world of Orwellian notions of drug safety.  The most dangerous drugs, like fluoroquinolones, are pushed as having “an excellent record of safety and efficacy.”  Just ignore the permanent peripheral neuropathy, severe psychiatric disturbances, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular mineral chelation, antioxidant depletion, microbiome obliteration, etc. that they cause.  Those symptoms can happen weeks, months, or even years after administration of the drug, so it is pushed that fluoroquinolones are “safe” and that the multi-symptom, chronic illnesses that result from them are a “coincidence.”

Doctors are throwing Cipro at people who they don’t know how to deal with.  If you or your boyfriend/father/son is having bizarre psychiatric problems after taking Finasteride, or your child is reacting badly to a vaccine, they’ll be given Cipro.

Why?

I cannot for the life of me understand why.

Post Script – 

The findings published in Science Translational Medicine in the 2014 article, “The gut microbiota influences blood-brain barrier permeability in mice,” are fascinating and likely quite consequential.  The scientists/researchers found that gut microbiota influences blood brain barrier permeability.  Mice with a compromised (or nonexistent) microbiome showed more permeability in their blood brain barrier than mice with normal/healthy microbiomes.  Blood brain barrier permeability means that unwanted molecules and cells from the bloodstream can enter the brain.  Disturbing our microbiome with antibiotics, especially powerful chemotherapeutic antibiotics like fluoroquinolones, is quite consequential to the brain.

Here are some articles about the study:

Science Translational Medicine, “The gut microbiota influences blood-brain barrier permeability in mice

Translational Microbiome Research Forum, “Gut Microbiota Influences Blood Brain Barrier Permeability

NeuroScienceNews.com, “Gut Microbiota Influences Blood Brain Barrier Permeability

The Scientist, “Mother’s Microbes Protect Baby’s Brain: Bacteria in the gut of a pregnant mouse strengthen the blood-brain barrier of her developing fetus.

Karolinska Institute, “Gut microbiota influences blood-brain barrier permeability

 

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Don’t take Cipro, Levaquin or Avelox if….

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Post on Hormones Matter –

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/dont-take-cipro-levaquin-avelox-fluoroquinolone-toxicity/

In an ideal world, fluoroquinolones would be reserved for use in life-or-death situations. Until then, and until medicine can be completely customized and individualized, these groups of people should avoid fluoroquinolones:

1.  People who have reacted badly to a fluoroquinolone in the past.

2.  Athletes.

3.  People on steroids (corticosteroids).

4.  People who need to take NSAIDs regularly.

5.  Immunocompromised Individuals.

6.  People with Mitochondrial Dysfunction.

7.  Children.

 

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Forgetting the Pain of Floxing

Getting floxed was the most difficult thing that I have ever gone through.  Getting sick, and all of the struggles that went along with it, was difficult physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  To have my body suddenly fall apart was scary.  To have my mind fall apart along with my body, was terrifying.  Getting floxed tore down parts of me that I thought were solid.  It took what I thought were my greatest strengths, my physical and mental capabilities, and made them my weaknesses.  I had to find strength in a part of myself that I previously didn’t know existed, my spirit, in order to make it through.  Through trial and error, perseverance, dumb luck, support and probably some other factors, I made it.  I have recovered.

Getting floxed was also the most traumatizing thing that I have ever experienced.  It took me longer to get through the PTSD and shock of getting sick/poisoned than it took me to get through the physical or mental deficiencies.  The emotional turmoil involved in getting poisoned by a perfectly legal, prescription antibiotic was, well, traumatizing.  But I think that I have recovered from the trauma as well.

As life has gone on, as it has returned to normal, as I have gained my capabilities back and gotten over the pain and shock, I have started to forget what it was like to be sick.  I have forgotten the pain.  I have forgotten the desperation.  I am forgetting the fear.  Even the anger is leaving me.

It’s odd to forget.  It’s odd to not remember a big chunk of my life (from December, 2011 through August-ish, 2013).  It’s odd that something that defined my life is leaving my consciousness.  It’s odd that I am forgetting what helped me and what hurt me.  It’s odd that I am even forgetting the trauma, because it isn’t traumatic for me anymore.  I have recovered and it’s just… gone.

It went away.  All of it.  Even the memories.

It’s perplexing to lose the memories of my floxing.  I feel like I need those memories in order to do what I do – write about fluoroquinolone toxicity, advocate for change in how fluoroquinolones are thought about and administered, empathize and offer advice to those who are struggling, etc.  But the memories are fading.  They’re leaving.

It’s healthy to forget, I’m sure.  I’m sure that it’s best for my mind, spirit and even body to forget the pain, suffering and fear.  It’s best to let it go.

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But it is odd to lose my memories.  Of course I don’t miss the pain, fear or anger.  But I’m a little worried that in losing my memories I will lose my passion, my drive and my purpose.  Advocating for change in the policies surrounding fluoroquinolones is important, and I intend to keep doing it.  As time goes on and my memories fade, I fear that I will lose focus and that I will forget my passion.

I wish you all healing.  I wish you all hope.  I wish you all forgetting.  May you forget the pain.  May you forget the sickness.  May you forget the fear.   May you forget the anger.

But I encourage you to not forget the fight.  It’s a good and worthy fight.  Though I may forget how it felt to go through getting floxed myself, I’ll try to remember that there is nothing that is okay about other people going through it.  I will keep in mind that people are suffering needlessly – and that’s wrong.  I will keep in mind that these drugs are being given to innocent children and that they are being hurt.  It’s horrifying and it needs to stop.  I’ll keep fighting.  And I’ll keep reminding myself about why I fight through listening to your stories.

As you recover, when you see that light at the end of the tunnel and you know that a full recovery is on the horizon, please write down your story and, if you want to share it, send it to me to publish on Floxie Hope.  If you don’t write it down, you will forget it.  That’s not an altogether bad thing, but other people can benefit from your wisdom if you write down your story while it’s still fresh in your mind.

Forgetting the pain and sickness is healthy.  May you get well enough to let your floxing be a distant, faded memory.  The fight is different from the sickness.  You can forget about the sickness while still remaining in the fight.  IMO – it’s excellent to do both.

 

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Bring on 2014 – Happy New Year!

NYE 2013-2014.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Congratulations!  You made it through 2013!  For those of you who were sick in 2013, there were probably moments that you didn’t think you’d make it through.  You made it though.  You made it to 2014.  Congratulations and may there be many more years for you to look forward to!

I wish you all hope and healing in the new year!  I have no idea how long your road will be, or if 2014 will be better or worse than 2013 for you, but I sincerely hope that it is better in every possible way.  I hope that it is a year of healing for you.  I hope that your pain subsides.  I hope that you get the support you deserve.  I hope that you either gain back what you have lost due to your illness, or that you come to appreciate what you still have.  I hope that you are able to access the people, methods or techniques that help you to move on from your illness.  I hope that you find peace, healing, love, happiness, patience, hope, etc.

For myself, I haven’t thought of any specific New Year’s resolutions quite yet, but I hope that this picture sums up my 2014:

Always wondered

2013 was an empowering year for me.  I started writing about FQ toxicity in June of 2013.  I truly had no clue that anyone would want to read the things that I wrote, but it turns out that people like what I have to say.  I don’t think that they like what I have to say because it’s pretty or because I’m anyone special (I’m not).  I think that they like what I have to say because what I write about is important.  It’s important that the word get out about the dangers of fluoroquinolones.  It’s important that people stop being hurt by the frivolous and foolish over-use of DNA damaging chemotherapy drugs that are being pushed as “safe” antibiotics.  It’s important that people make the connections between many of the mysterious modern diseases that plague us and fluoroquinolones.  Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, all autoimmune diseases, anxiety, depression, dietary intolerances, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, mitochondrial dysfunction, diabetes, Gulf War Syndrome and even autism can be tied to fluoroquinolones.  These are not little problems.  They are serious concerns and it’s important that they be addressed and fixed.  In bringing attention to the role that fluoroquinolones play in each of these diseases, I’m bringing attention to something important.

It’s quite empowering and, though I’m sure that what I just said sounds egotistical, I am humbled by it.  The over-use of fluoroquinolones is a big problem that leads to multiple levels of other serious problems.  The problems are systemic and difficult to bring attention to, much less solve.   Paradigm shifts and systemic changes are needed in order for meaningful change to come about.

It’s a big task, but someone has to do it.  That someone may as well be me.  It may as well be you too.  Even better, it should be all of us together.

We can do this.  We can make change happen.  We can stop people from getting hurt by fluoroquinolones.  We may not be able to save everyone today or even tomorrow, but we can try.  And in trying, we are doing something.  We are making the world a safer and more just place.

“Trying” can be something little or something big.  It can be handing out cards warning people about FQ toxicity, it can be attending the FQ Awareness Rally in Washington D.C., it can be starting a blog, it can be talking to your friends about what happened to you, it can be filing a lawsuit, it can be enacting legislation, etc., etc.

In 2014, I resolve to DO SOMETHING about fluoroquinolone toxicity.  I hope that change comes about.  But if it doesn’t, well, I have my 2015 resolution set, and I’ll keep trying until people know about the causal links between fluoroquinolones and chronic diseases, until the frivolous over-use of fluoroquinolones is stopped, and until they stop giving these poisonous drugs to children.

If you feel inclined, I hope that you feel empowered enough to do something about fluoroquinolone toxicity in 2014 too.  It will take all of us to bring about change.  We can do it though.  We have to be able to.  No one else will and it’s important.  So, bring on 2014.  Let’s get ‘er done.

 

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Truth Seeker or Conspiracy Theorist? You Decide.

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The disbelief that we face when telling people about our reaction to FQs is frustrating beyond belief. People assume that we’re wrong, or lying, or crazy conspiracy theorists when we tell them that an antibiotic caused our body to go completely hay-wire. We’re not wrong, crazy, lying, etc. The human body is just exceedingly complex and, unfortunately, poorly understood, and the effects of fluoroquinolones on our body are devastating. Here is an essay that I wrote about the topic of being thought of as a conspiracy theorist for shouting about the dangers of FQs. As always, shares are greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for reading it!

Truth Seeker or Conspiracy Theorist, You Decide

 

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Antioxidant Depletion by Fluoroquinolones

antioxidants

One of my favorite journal articles about the adverse effects of fluroquinolones is Oxidative Stress Induced by Fluoroquinolones on Treatment for Complicated Urinary Tract Infections in Indian Patients written by V. Talla and P.R. Veerareddy and published in the Journal of Young Pharmacists.  It’s a pretty damning article and it’s easy to read.  I highly recommend that you read it yourself.  Here is the link –

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249743/?report=printable

Even though it’s written at a level that most people can understand, there are a few terms that I’m assuming aren’t known by the average person reading this blog.  So, I have taken the main points from the study, as I see them, and explained them to the best of my ability.  Basically, I did the Google and Wiki look-ups so you don’t have to.

Here are the main points of the article:

1. “There is a significant and gradual elevation of lipid peroxide levels in patients on ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin dosage regimen but not with gatifloxacin.” What is lipid peroxide and do we want our levels to be high or low?  Wikipedia tells us that, “Lipid peroxidation refers to the oxidative degradation of lipids. It is the process in which free radicals “steal” electrons from the lipids in cell membranes, resulting in cell damage.”  (1)  Basically, lipid peroxidation is not something you want going on in your body.  You don’t want your lipids to be degraded via oxidation.  You don’t want cell damage.  Drugs that significantly increase levels of lipid peroxide are hurting you – at least on that level.


2. “There was substantial depletion in both SOD and glutathione levels particularly with ciprofloxacin.”  Superoxide dismutases (SODs) “are enzymes that catalyze the dismutation of superoxide (O2−) into oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. Thus, they are an important antioxidant defense in nearly all cells exposed to oxygen.” (2)  Additionally, “Within a cell, the superoxide dismutases (SODs) constitute the first line of defence against ROS.” (3)  SOD is “Present both inside and outside cell membranes, SOD is one of the body’s primary internal anti-oxidant defenses, and plays a critical role in reducing the oxidative stress implicated in atherosclerosis and other life-threatening diseases. Studies have shown that SOD can play a critical role in reducing internal inflammation and lessening pain associated with conditions such as arthritis.” (4) SODs are necessary for neutralizing the oxidative damage done by reactive oxygen species (ROS) (more on ROS below).

Glutathione is also depleted by fluoroquinolones.  Per Dr. Mark Hyman, Glutathione is “the most important molecule you need to stay healthy and prevent disease.”  (5)  Dr. Hyman notes that glutathione depletion “leaves you susceptible to unrestrained cell disintegration from oxidative stress, free radicals, infections and cancer.  And your liver gets overloaded and damaged, making it unable to do its job of detoxification.”  Glutathione is an extremely important antioxidant.

SOD and glutathione work together to neutralize oxidative damage done by ROS.  Here is a brief description of how SOD and glutathione work together:

SOD is responsible for catalyzing the conversion of superoxide to elemental oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. This transformation is called dismutation, hence the enzyme’s name. Although hydrogen peroxide is also a pro-oxidant compound, it is subsequently converted by the enzymes catalase and glutathione peroxidase to simple water and oxygen. (4)

Without the proper amount of SOD or glutathione in your body, ROS will wreak havoc on your system, causing oxidative stress and damage to every bodily system.   

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3. “On the 5th day of treatment, plasma antioxidant status decreased by 77.6%, 50.5%, 7.56% for ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin and gatifloxacin respectively.”  Antioxidants are molecules “that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death to the cell.” (6)  Oxidation is bad, antioxidants are good, cell death is bad – we want plasma antioxidant levels to be high, not low.  Decreasing plasma antioxidant status is bad for your health on a cellular level.

4. “In conclusion ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin induce more reactive oxygen species that lead to cell damage than gatifloxacin.”  The researchers also note that, “Several in vitro and in vivo study using animals revealed that fluoroquinolones induced oxidative stress by producing reactive oxygen species (ROS).”  ROS are described as follows:

Without oxygen, we could not exist. However, in the process of generating energy by “burning” nutrients with oxygen, certain “rogue” oxygen molecules are created as inevitable byproducts. Known as free radicals and reactive oxygen species, these unstable, highly reactive molecules play a role in cell signaling and other beneficial processes when they exist in benign concentrations.  But when their numbers climb, as may occur as a result of aging and other conditions, they may wreak havoc with other molecules with which they come into contact, such as DNA, proteins, and lipids. As such, these “pro-oxidant” molecules become especially toxic.

In fact, a prevailing theory of disease and aging states that the gradual accumulation of pro-oxidant molecules, and the harm they incur, is responsible for many of the adverse changes that eventually cause various diseases. These include cancer (possibly triggered by free radical-induced damage to cellular DNA) and inflammatory and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. While scientists have not yet reached consensus on the topic, accumulated evidence overwhelmingly identifies increased oxidative stress with age as a source of damage to cellular structure and function.  (4)

Additionally, the wikipedia article on ROS does a nice job of explaining the damage that ROS can do – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactive_oxygen_species

5. The authors of the study also note that, “The efforts of the endogenous antioxidant enzymes like SOD to remove the continuously generated free radicals initially increase due to an induction but later enzyme depletion occurs by 73.3% and 32.2% for ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin respectively, resulting in oxidative cell damage. Hence when the generation of reactive free radicals overwhelms the antioxidant defence, lipid peroxidation of the cell membrane occurs. This causes disturbances in cell integrity leading to cell damage/death. In the present study the repeated administration of CFX (ciprofloxacin) (recommended dosage regimen of CFX for UTI) resulted in increase free radical adduct generation by CYP450 mediated metabolism that cumulate and may result in increased ROS and substantial reduction in antioxidant defense.”

I think it’s a pretty damning article.  It’s easy to read and understand.  It doesn’t answer all questions about the damage done by fluoroquinolones, but it does a nice job at describing some of the issues that go on in the body when fluoroquinolones are ingested.  I suggest that you bring a copy to your next doctor’s appointment.

Sources:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipid_peroxidation
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superoxide_dismutase
  3. Alscher RGErturk NHeath LS., “Role of superoxide dismutases (SODs) in controlling oxidative stress in plants” Journal of Experimental Botany 2002 May; 53(372):1331-41. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11997379
  4. Dale Keifer, “Superoxide Dismutase Boosting the Body’s Primary Antioxidant Defense” Life Extension Magazine.  June, 2006 http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2006/jun2006_report_sod_01.htm
  5. Mark Hyman, MD, “Glutathione:  The Mother of All Antioxidants” 04/10/2010 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/glutathione-the-mother-of_b_530494.html
  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antioxidant

 

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Seeing through the Matrix

Do you remember that scene in The Matrix where Neo (Keanu Reeves) is offered the pills by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne)?  He has the choice, he can take the red pill and see the real world, or he can take the blue pill and remain in the façade world, the Matrix.  He takes the red pill and he breaks out of the fantasy façade world and enters the real world – a place of destruction and suffering.

I took the red pill.  I actually took 14 red pills.  I’m not sure which one triggered the reaction in my system that changed my perspective entirely, but I see the world differently now, as a result of being floxed.  It would be horribly narcissistic for me to say that I see the “real” world now and that few others do, and I don’t mean that.  What I mean is that I see the world differently now than I did before, and that there are some things that I believe to be true that never even occurred to me before.  I broke out of my own personal Matrix, with those pills; those 14 fateful, life-altering pills.

This perspective shift is not unique to me, or to being floxed.  Whenever people experience a betrayal, whenever something that they assume is safe and protective turns out not to be, their perspective changes and they see the world differently.  Usually this is a bad thing.  People become jaded and bitter, assuming that they are going to get hurt again because they got hurt in the past.  I would like to think that this hasn’t happened to me.  I’m still pretty trusting.  But I do see things differently.  I’ll let you judge for yourself if these things that I now believe are jaded and bitter or if they reflect the “real” world.

I now see:

  • No one is looking out for patients.  The FDA isn’t (duh).  Doctors, Pharmacists and the other people directly involved in the medical system aren’t.  The legal system isn’t.  No one is.  The medical system doesn’t get to be the 4th leading cause of death of Americans by having the proper checks and balances that focus on patient safety and protection.  (Of course, there are plenty of individuals who are looking out for the best interest of patients, but the system, as a whole, is not.)
  • Much of medicine relies on magic, not science.  Officially, the mechanism by which fluoroquinolones cause tendon, CNS, kidney, liver, etc. damage is unknown. (source 1)  Scientists and doctors state, most of them truthfully, that they have no idea how these drugs mess people up.  It is also claimed that much is unknown about the way these drugs work to kill bacteria – the thing that they are supposed to do.  If the mechanism by which a drug works, and sometimes doesn’t work, is unknown, the reliance is on magic and faith to get the desired outcome, not science.  Doctors claim that their pills and potions are backed up by science, but they’re not.  They’re backed up by faith in a broken system.  BTW – the mechanism by which fluoroquinolones both kill bacteria and damage every cell in a person’s body is by forming a poisonous adduct to DNA.  This was found, then immediately ignored, in 1998.  Here’s the article – http://www.jbc.org/content/273/42/27668.full (source 2)
  • Doctor’s rely on anecdotal evidence all the time, but patients aren’t allowed to.
  • No matter how many peer-reviewed, scientific journal articles show the danger of a drug, doctors will believe that the scientific evidence supports its use until it is removed from the market.  Similarly, no matter how sick a drug makes people, it won’t be taken off the market unless…. I’m not sure…. Because flat-out causing cancer isn’t enough to get Humira (source 3) and Enbrel (source 4) removed from the market.  Perhaps damaging the DNA of humans will be enough to get fluoroquinolones removed from the market (read source 1 and 2), but I doubt that it will be.
  • Fluoroquinolone damage is everywhere.  A large portion of the people who are diagnosed with autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, anxiety, depression, dementia, arthritis etc. are actually suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity.  (Of course, those diseases are real on their own, and there are many factors that cause them, but fluoroquinolone toxicity is one of the causes that isn’t even considered.)
  • If enough people repeat a mantra enough times, it will be seen as true, no matter what the evidence against it.  It almost makes me laugh, reading articles that point out the damage that fluoroquinolones can do to mammalian cells that follow that presentation of damning evidence with the conclusion that they “have an excellent safety record.”  (source 5)

I could go on, but I’ll leave it at that.

I have largely healed from getting floxed.  I fluctuate between 95-100% of my pre-floxing capacity.  Life has continued.  As I live my normal life, and feel fine while doing so, the memories from being sick fade.  Sickness is no longer my reality.  It is no longer shaping my day-to-day life.  It is no longer warping my perspective and shattering my trust in the medical system.  Normalcy has resumed and the trivial has, again, taken over.  It would be easy for me to go back into the Matrix, the façade world where I don’t understand how “mysterious” ailments occur, and to think that the systems that are in place to protect and sustain us are working as they should.  Undoubtedly, it would be healthier for me to leave my “Floxie” world behind and to go back to what everyone else considers to be the real world.  As a healthy person, I can do that if I choose to.

But I’m choosing not to.  I’m choosing to stay in the “Floxie” world.  I am choosing the version of reality, of truth, that I had when I was sick.  It may not be the healthiest thing in the world for me to do, but it feels like the right thing to do.  People are sickened by these drugs every day.  Their world is shaken to the core when their health, their pain-free, happy, trusting existence is brutally stolen from them.  It seems like the right thing for me to do to continue to see their pain, to acknowledge their struggles, and to fight the broken systems that are perpetuating the sickening of innocent people.  It feels right to stay in the dark and gloomy “real” world and fight the Agent Smith’s of the world who want to keep us trapped and sick.  So I will continue to do so.  The Matrix, with its niceties wrapped in naiveté, is enticing, but I prefer to know the truth.

Sources:

  1.  Sarah H. Elsea, Neil OsheroffST, and John L. Nitissll,  Cytotoxicity of Quinolones toward Eukaryotic Cells: IDENTIFICATION OF TOPOISOMERASE II AS THE PRIMARY CELLULAR TARGET FOR THE QUINOLONE CP-115,953 IN YEAST* Vol. 267, No. 19, Issue of July 5, pp. 13150-13153, 1992 THE JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY 0 1992 bv The American Societv for Biochemistrv and Molecular Bioloev. Inc. Printed inn.’S.A.  http://www.jbc.org/content/267/19/13150.full.pdf+html
  2. Arkady B. Khodursky and Nicholas R. Cozzarelli, The Mechanism of Inhibition of Topoisomerase IV by Quinolone Antibacterials*  10.1074/jbc.273.42.27668 October 16, 1998 The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 273, 27668-27677.  http://www.jbc.org/content/273/42/27668.full
  3. FDA warning label for Humira – http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2012/125057s232lbl.pdf
  4. FDA warning label for Enbrel – http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2012/103795s5507lbl.pdf
  5. Stahlmann R., “Safety profile of the quinolones,” Journal of  Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 1990 Nov;26 Suppl D:31-44. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2286589

 

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Dear Pharmacists Handing Out Prescriptions for Fluoroquinolones

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Perhaps I’m failing to see some grey area, but here are the options that I see for Pharmacists. Either they don’t know how fluoroquinolones work and how they are dangerous, and thus they are bad at their job, or they knowingly give dangerous drugs to children, and thus have the moral compass of invertebrates, or they think that all drugs have side effects and that side effects are rare, which is a fairly poor moral position even if it is fact, or they feel utterly unempowered, which is a poor reason for letting people get hurt under their watch. I am open to hearing other options.

Anyhow, this is an open letter to Pharmacists who fill prescriptions for fluoroquinolones.

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/open-letter-pharmacists-prescribing-fluoroquinolones-know/

 

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Legal Compensation for Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

I was floxed in the last months of 2011.  (I took the Cipro in November but didn’t react until December so my flox-iversary is debatable.)  For most of the time that I have been a “Floxie” the general word among fellow Floxies was that lawyers weren’t accepting fluoroquinolone toxicity cases.  It was only after the August, 2013 adjustment to the FDA warning label accompanying fluoroquinolones, that added the warning of permanent peripheral neuropathy, that I even heard of lawyers accepting fluoroquinolone toxicity cases.  Now there are at least 2 law firms that are taking fluoroquinolone toxicity cases.  I appreciate them both so I’m going to plug them:

Red Law, LLP

(310) 917-1070

http://www.redlawllp.com/

and

Nidel Law

(202) 558-2030

http://www.nidellaw.com/

There are a million personal reasons why you may or may not want to pursue legal recourse and I respect all of them.  It’s a very personal decision and I am not trying to pressure you in any way.  I do want to make sure that you know that the option is available though.  Both of the firms listed above are taking cases.

I have no reason to think that either firm is better than the other.  I have been in contact with both the Red Law attorneys and Chris Nidel, the principal at Nidel Law.  They all seem competent and professional.

Legal pursuits are probably the only way that the system is going to change; that people are going to stop being needlessly poisoned by fluoroquinolone antibiotics.  It’s not your responsibility to be part of the change in the world that keeps others from getting hurt, but it may be some consolation as you go through the pain of a lawsuit.

I could complain ad nauseam about how the legal system isn’t set up to compensate victims of fluoroquinolone toxicity, but I’ll refrain because it’s pointless.  We have to start with where we are, with the system as it is.  I wish you all the best of luck in getting your cases accepted, getting the compensation that you deserve, and changing the world for the better.

 

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The Silence Around Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

I posted this – http://www.hormonesmatter.com/epidemic-silence-adverse-drug-reactions/ on Hormones Matter on October 17, 2013.  It was originally similar to the post below but I changed and edited it until it became what I submitted to Hormones Matter.  I still like the earlier draft and since it’s more Flox focused, I thought I’d share it on here.  As always, thanks for reading!

The Silence Around Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

One of the more bothersome feedback loops that keeps the dangers of fluoroquinolones from being recognized is that people stay silent about their pain and suffering, and therefore their pain and suffering is not recognized or appreciated, and everyone in the medical field gets to continue to think that these drugs are safe and that adverse reactions are rare. Seeing is believing and they don’t see it, in part because people aren’t screaming. Of course, there are people who are screaming at the top of their lungs about the pain and suffering caused by fluoroquinolone antibiotics who are systematically disregarded, and that’s a problem that has bothersome consequences and feedback loops as well, but it’s a topic for another post. This post is about people suffering in silence about the pain that Cipro, Levoquin, Avelox or Floxin has caused them.

People stay silent for a variety of reasons. There is a lot of shame associated with getting sick. People feel bad about what they can no longer do. They feel responsible for the role that they played in taking those pills, or insisting on them from their doctor, or administering them to their child, and they hide in shame. Also, a lot of the adverse effects of fluoroquinolones are CNS related, meaning that they can adversely effect many areas of mental health. People are notoriously ashamed and silent about mental health issues. It is easier to deal with anxiety, memory loss, depression, panic, etc. alone, in silence, than it is to speak up about what happened. After all, if you speak out about experiencing mental health issues, you run the risk of being labeled as crazy. Additionally, Fluoroquinolone toxicity takes its toll on every system in the body and therefore it is difficult to describe what is going wrong. How does one explain, to anyone, that EVERYTHING is going wrong? It’s too difficult and people sound and feel crazy, so they stay silent. When people ask their doctor about the possibility that the drug that they took caused the myriad of symptoms that they now experience, and the doctor denies that it’s possible that the drug that they prescribed could do what it has done, people assume that their doctor is right, or that they at least aren’t entitled to question their doctor’s expertise. After all, their doctor went to school for a long time and knows what they’re talking about… right? So people assume that they are wrong, their doctor is right, and they stay silent. There are a variety of other reasons why people stay silent about the travesty that is Fluoroquinolone Toxicity. All of them feed into the real risks of these drugs being under-recognized. The silence is, sadly, as much of an epidemic as the pain.

A friend of mine went to a Psychologist to help her to get through the mental and emotional trauma of being Floxed and she told me that, as she was telling the Psychologist her story, the Psychologist started to cry because a few years ago her (the Psychologist) knee swelled up and she experienced over-all tendon inflammation after taking Levoquin. When she asked her Doctor about it, her Doctor told her that the Levoquin couldn’t possibly be the cause of her pain. She knew differently but didn’t say anything. She recovered and didn’t think much of the period that she went through with painful, inflamed tendons much again. My friend’s experience and story validated the Psychologist’s pain, suffering and notion that Levoquin was the cause of her tendinitis, and it freed her to be able to acknowledge that she too was a victim of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Before my friend visited her, the Psychologist thought that she was wrong, or the only one, or that her Doctor must know better, or that her story didn’t matter enough to scream about it – after all, she did recover – and she suffered in silence. She didn’t get the support that she deserved. She didn’t get the acknowledgment that she deserved. No one saw her pain and suffering because no one, including her, acknowledged that it existed.

I went out on a date a few months ago with a guy who was clearly Floxed but he didn’t know it until I told him my story. He had been treated with multiple types of antibiotics for a “chest infection” that was really acid reflux that was making him cough incessantly. He kept going back to his doctor for more and more powerful antibiotics because the mild antibiotics that he was given didn’t get rid of his cough – of course, because it wasn’t from an infection. His doctor eventually prescribed him Cipro and he had an adverse reaction to it. Most of his adverse reaction was mental (but he also lost his endurance and had an increased heart rate that he struggled to get down). He had a severe anxiety/panic attack and he thought that he was about to die. His sister flew to the U.S. from Sweden to be at his side because he thought he was dying. He lost his memory. He lost his composure and was barely able to do his job in software sales. He was clearly sick. But he stayed silent because he was ashamed of having mental issues. He never connected his sudden onset of mental health issues and the antibiotics that he took, and thus his doctor got to continue to think that he was a healthier than average person and that Cipro was a perfectly safe drug.

I have always talked about what was going on in my body and mind. Silence is not something that I have ever been afflicted with. I have always felt the need to be understood, to be recognized and for my pain to be acknowledged. I am lucky enough to have friends and family members who listen to me. Despite being a talker, I still felt like I lost my voice for a while. I felt like I couldn’t really explain what was going on. I felt like there was a wall between myself and those that I was trying to talk to. I think that feeling socially isolated is a symptom of being Floxed and that it’s really difficult to explain something like Floxing to people. It is ABSURD that a prescription antibiotic that is used all the time could cause my body and mind to explode like it did. I knew that what I was saying sounded absurd, and that people didn’t understand what was going on, so there was that barrier to my voice being heard. It didn’t stop me from yapping though. 🙂

I hope that all of you who are afflicted with silence start screaming about your reaction soon. It’s not okay that you were hurt by a prescription antibiotic. It’s not okay for these drugs to take away your ability to walk, your ability to think, your ability to speak, etc. I hope that you all gain your voice back, that we are all heard, and that this absurd situation starts to change.

 

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Fluoroquinolones and Autism2

After reading the article entitled Topoisomerases Facilitate Transcription of Long Genes Linked to Autism, published in the September, 2013 issue of Nature – http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v501/n7465/full/nature12504.html – I wrote the following post on Collective Evlolution – http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/09/18/a-horrifying-cause-of-autism-dna-damage-from-synthetic-antibiotics/.

A writer for the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI.ORG) wrote this post about the same article – http://sfari.org/news-and-opinion/news/2013/autism-genes-are-surprisingly-large-study-finds.  It was republished on the Scientific American web site – http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=genes-associated-with-autism-are-suprisingly-large.  Basically, I think that the writer asked the wrong questions, drew the wrong conclusions and mis-read the Nature article.  Here is a letter to the editor that I wrote to both the SFARI and the Scientific American folks.

Dear Editor,

In the SFARI article entitled “Autism genes are surprisingly large, study finds” written by Virginia Hughes and published on September 16, 2013, Ms. Hughes did a disservice to those who are interested in finding out a cause for the marked increase in Autism rates over the past 30 years by focusing on the less consequential aspects of the study entitled “Topoisomerase Facilitates Transcription of Long Genes Linked to Autism” published in the September 2013 issue of Nature. The significant finding of the study was not, as Ms. Hughes focused on, that Autism genes are larger than other genes. The significant finding of the study was that pharmaceuticals that interfere with topoisomerase “profoundly affect the expression of long ASD candidate genes.” The conclusion of the study is:

Our data suggest that chemicals or genetic mutations that impair topoisomerases, and possibly other components of the transcription elongation machinery that interface with topoisomerases, have the potential to profoundly affect the expression of long ASD candidate genes. Length-dependent impairment of gene transcription, particularly in neurons and during critical periods of brain development, may thus represent a unifying cause of pathology in in many individuals with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders.”

In focusing on the interesting fact that ASD related genes are unusually large instead of on the important finding that pharmaceutical drugs are influencing the expression of these genes, Ms. Hughes steered the reader away from the implications of the study. She quoted Dr. James Sutcliffe, “the implications are really quite fascinating.” Too bad none of the questions that would lead us to uncover fascinating implications were asked by Ms. Hughes.

The drug studied in “Topoisomerase Facilitates Transcription of Long Genes Linked to Autism,” Topotecan, a TOP1 inhibitor, is the chemical that impairs topoisomerases and “profoundly affect(s) the expression of long ASD candidate genes.” According to the study, a pharmaceutical is influencing the expression of ASD candidate genes. None of the potentially fascinating implications of a drug being indicated in triggering the expression of ASD related genes was explored in the article.

Here are some potentially interesting questions that could have been raised in an article covering the study:

  • Do topoisomerase interrupting drugs change gene expression of the person who takes them, the offspring of the person who takes them, or both?
  • Do topoisomerase interrupting drugs increase a person’s chances of having a child with Autism? How?
  • If a person takes a topoisomerase interrupting drug, is their DNA altered? If so, how?
  • Are some people’s genes affected by these drugs more than others? What factors determine whether or not an individual’s genes are affected?
  • Are DNA/gene alterations triggered by pharmaceuticals reversible? If so, how?
  • What, if anything, can people who have taken these drugs do to discourage the expression of the ASD related genes?
  • When would the administration of the drug happen to influence genes in a way that could trigger the genes associated with Autism – when a mother is pregnant or at any point before the child is conceived?
  • How is the mitochondrial DNA affected vs. how is the rest of the DNA affected? Do topoisomerase interrupting drugs influence both mitochondrial DNA and the rest of DNA or one or the other?
  • Do these drugs change gene expression in the ways that diet and music change gene expression or do they adduct to DNA like Agent Orange?

And, the most important question of all:

  • What drugs, other than Topotecan, are topoisomerase interrupters that also may have an influence on expression of ASD genes?

Answer: Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics. Per the FDA datasheet on Ciprofloxacin (Cipro – a Bayer pharmaceutical), the mechanism for action for Ciprofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, is “The bactericidal action of ciprofloxacin results from inhibition of the enzymes topoisomerase II (DNA
gyrase) and topoisomerase IV (both Type II topoisomerases), which are required for bacterial DNA
replication, transcription, repair, and recombination.” Other fluoroquinolones, including Levofloxacin (Levoquin – Johnson & Johnson) and Moxifloxacin (Avelox – Bayer) have the same mechanism for action.

The study notes that the UNC researchers examined TOP2 inhibitors (fluoroquinolones are TOP2 and TOP4 inhibitors, as noted in the FDA insert) have the same effects as the TOP1 inhibitor studied, Topotecan. The study notes that “Thus, TOP1 (topoisomerase I) and TOP2 (topoisomerase II) enzymes regulate the expression of many of the same genes.”

Of course, the precise influence on Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics on ASD related genes needs to be verified, but putting together the findings of the study with the basic mechanism for action of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics should raise all of the questions listed above for anyone who has ever taken a Fluoroquinolone Antibiotic. (26.9 million prescriptions for fluoroquinolone antibiotics were filled in 2011 alone. It is quite important that these questions be answered.)

Ms. Hughes and the editors at SFARI, along with the editors of Scientific American who republished Ms. Hughes’ article as is, FAILED to ask the questions that would point readers toward the interesting and consequential implications of the UNC study. In doing so, they disregarded a study that may have profound implications for determining at least one of the causes (admittedly, Autism is an incredibly complex disorder) of the drastic increase of ASD rates in the last 30 years.

I highly recommend that both SFARI and Scientific American revisit the study and communicate the important implications entailed in it. Topoisomerase inhibiting drugs are passed out like candy. If we are being genetically altered by them in ways that are affecting our children, we deserve to know about it.

Sincerely,

Lisa Bloomquist

Lakewood, Colorado

Lisa.bloomquist@yahoo.com

www.floxiehope.com

 

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Surviving Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

One of my first symptoms of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity was that my hands and feet swelled up and were incredibly painful.  My feet hurt more than my hands.  I could type without pain, but walking was agony for a while.  I wore Crocs everywhere for about 9 months because they were the only shoes that didn’t make my feet scream in pain.  Because painful feet were the worst physical symptom that I had, I told myself that if I could ever dance in high-heels again, I would consider myself to be healed.  About 18 months after I got Floxed, I could dance in high-heels again.  After that, I wrote my recovery story and started Floxie Hope.  I considered myself to be 99% of my pre-sickness capacity.

I still had some lingering symptoms though.  My memory and reading comprehension were still diminished.  My heart rate was increased.  I didn’t have much endurance.  My bladder control left a bit to be desired.  I could deal with each of these things though.  They weren’t that big of a deal.  Lots of people who consider themselves healthy deal with feeling worse than I did.  I certainly wasn’t sick any more.

But the fact that my heart rate was increased, and I suspected that my cardiovascular system was adversely affected, scared the crap out of me.  I knew that my autonomic nervous system had been adversely affected, hence the heart rate and bladder issues, and the notion that the FQ damage to my autonomic nervous system may have damaged me fatally was stuck in my head.  I couldn’t seem to shake the notion that the damage that Cipro did was eventually going to lead to my death.  How could it not lead to my death?  Cipro damaged my AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM.

However, I suspected that being convinced that Fluoroquinolone related issues were going to kill me was part of the process, part of getting sick and even part of getting better.  I considered the notion of my impending death from FQ toxicity to be a symptom, just one more thing to get over, and that once I no longer thought that I was going to have a heart attack from it, that I would consider myself to be 100% better.

I think I’m there.  I think that I’ve finally disabused myself of the notion that this is going to kill me.  I think that I may actually live just as long as I would have if I had never taken Cipro.  It’s possible.  Of course, it’s also possible that I will indeed have a heart attack in my 40s that is a direct result of the damage that Cipro did to my cardiovascular system.  But I’m leaning significantly more toward the possibility that I will live a long and full life.  As they always say, you (I) could get hit by a bus tomorrow.  None of us ever has any idea what the future may hold.  But it’s really nice to have finally let go of the notion that this is going to kill me.  It was my last remaining symptom.  Now I can say that I’m 100% recovered.  The last 664 days (12/2/11 through 9/26/13) were rough, but I think that I made it to 100%.  Cheers to that.

 

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Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics and Nerve Damage/Malfunction

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This post about how fluoroquinolones are associated with Central, Peripheral and Autonomic Nervous System Damage was published on Hormones Matter on 09/09/2013.  

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/fluoroquinolone-antibiotics-associated-with-nervous-system-damage/

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Permanent

I really appreciate that the FDA has put the word “permanent” on the warning labels of fluoroquinolones.  “The nerve damage may be permanent” is now stated under the peripheral neuropathy section of the side-effects listed.  Permanent.  Physicians may take note; they can do permanent damage to their patients with these drugs.  It may make them think twice.  It may make them realize the severity of the adverse effects of fluoroquinolones.  They may see that they can do damage with these drugs that they can’t fix.  Permanent damage.

While it is wonderfully validating to see the words “The nerve damage may be permanent” on the updated label for Cipro, there’s a part of me that hates that word – permanent.  It’s a word that steals people’s hope.  It’s a word that feeds into fear, hopelessness and suicidal ideation. It’s a word of doom.

You are not doomed.  There is nothing about you that is permanent.  Nothing is permanently damaged.  Nothing is permanently perfect.  We are all in a state of flux, all the time.  Sure we’re all decaying a bit, it’s the nature of living things, but we are also growing and healing.  People recover from this.  They do.  I did.  Lots of other people have recovered too.  There are stories of hope and healing on this site.  Sure, it’s not a huge number of stories right now, but the site has only been up for a couple of months and, well, the people who have healed have moved on with their lives.  If I may be so audacious, I would say that MOST people recover, with time.  It’s a really long, rough, painful, scary road, but people get down it.  People get to the end.  They recover.  I hope that you can find the strength to believe that you will recover too.  If you can’t find that strength today, I hope that you can find it tomorrow.  Because this life is worth fighting for.  Not only your health, but your hope and your spirit are worth fighting for as well.

As someone said in one of the fluoroquinolone victim support group sites, “no side effect can be proven permanent until you’re dead.”  True.

So hang in there folks.  I know that it’s a trite thing to say, and I apologize for that, but I mean it.  Just take one breath at a time.  You can get through this.  Bayer and Johnson & Johnson may have kicked you, but they didn’t kill you.  You’re still here.  You can recover.  Have hope.  Try.  ‘Cause it’s only permanent if it kills you, and it didn’t.

 

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Fluoroquinolones 101

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I wrote the following article for Hormones Matter:

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/fluoroquinolones-101-antibiotics-to-avoid/

Thanks for reading it!

-Lisa

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Adverse Reactions to Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics and Gardasil

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I wrote an article for another web site, Hormones Matter about what Gardasil and Fluoroquinolones have in common.  Here’s the article –

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/fluoroquinolone-antibiotics-gardasil/

Here are some tragic stories of how young women have been hurt by Gardasil –

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/life-of-alexis-wolf-post-gardasil/

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/five-years-after-gardasil/

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/before-and-after-gardasil/

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/day-in-the-life-post-gardasil/

These stories matter.  These young women deserve to be heard.  Please read their stories with an open mind and heart.

Thank you.

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Is Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Rare?

I’ve come to hate the word rare. As in, “your reaction is rare,” or “those side-effects are rare,” or “it’s rare for someone to suffer from adverse effects from fluoroquinolones.” It’s such a dismissive thing to say. As if it’s okay for this to happen as long as it’s “rare.” As if it’s okay for a certain number of people to be collateral damage as long as the devastation that they experience is “rare.” As if it’s okay for there not to be any research or resources or justice or answers to questions because the problem is “rare.” As long as what you experience is labeled as “rare,” it doesn’t matter. Your experiences, your pain, your health, stops mattering. You become statistically insignificant.

It’s not a very nice thing to say to people. People who are trying to tell their stories. People who are trying to be heard. People who are trying to get answers, justice and cures. People who have been attacked and who need their pain and suffering to be acknowledged. Telling them that they are insignificant, rare, is just mean.

And is it true? Are adverse effects of fluoroquinolones really rare? How, I wonder, would anyone have a clue? Seeing as there is no recognized diagnosis of (name for) Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome / Floxing, most people who suffer from it are misdiagnosed. They are either told, as I was, that there is nothing detectable wrong. There was definitely something wrong with me, but “I don’t know” is the most benign wrong answer possible, so I’m thankful for it. Other people who have doctors who are less willing to admit that they don’t know are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic lyme disease, leaky gut syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, rheumatoid arthritis, M.S., lupus, sjogren’s disease, or, in children (shudder), autism or autism-like symptoms.  Plenty of people who are floxed end up with one of the diseases listed, and fluoroquinolones may (um did, but that’s a bold assertion when I have no proof) have even caused those diseases to emerge.  (All of the diseases listed are complex diseases with multiple causes – fluoroquinolones are NOT the only cause of them and they are not the only cause of symptoms like those of the diseases listed above.  I’m just saying that sometimes, possibly often, people who are suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are misdiagnosed with those diseases, and for some of the autoimmune diseases, fluoroquinolones may contribute to them.)  So people who should have at least a partial diagnosis of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome / Floxing / whatever it ends up being called, end up being put into a different disease category and everyone gets to remain willfully ignorant, thinking that adverse effects from Cipro, Levaquin and Avelox are “rare.”

The fact that adverse effects of fluoroquinolones are often delayed makes the connection between the cause (fluoroquinolone antibiotics) and effect (bomb in body and mind) difficult to see. Patients and doctors alike are failing to make the connection between fluoroquinolones and the symptoms that are the manifestation of an adverse reaction to them.

As far as I know, there has never been a study of fluoroquinolones that takes into account the delayed adverse reaction to them that many people experience. Another thing that I have never seen taken into consideration is the fact that there seems to be a threshold for fluoroquinolone tolerance. Some people react negatively to their first pill, but most people tolerate fluoroquinolones for a while (some people can take 5 pills, some can take 500 pills) then, once their threshold is reached, they have a severe adverse reaction. If neither delayed reactions nor thresholds (nor cumulative effects) are being studied, how in the world would anyone have a clue how often adverse reactions truly occur?

The less noticeable adverse effects of fluoroquinolones, effects like mild insomnia, memory loss, urgency of urination, painless muscle spasms, etc. (a list can be found here – https://floxiehope.com/2013/07/10/warning-signs/ ) can even be mis-attributed to aging, dehydration, etc. Though these effects are mild and nothing compared to the triggering of an autoimmune disease-like reaction like full-on floxing is, they’re still adverse effects and they’re still damage done to people by fluoroquinolones. I doubt that these effects are rare. They probably happen to most people who take fluoroquinolones. But they are rarely reported and rarely connected to fluoroquinolones, and thus, everyone gets to continue to think that adverse reactions are rare.

No one really knows how frequent adverse effects of fluoroquinolones are because no one is looking at the full picture and no one is asking the right questions.

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Of course, I’m a bit biased, but I see adverse effects of fluoroquinolones everywhere. I don’t have a large number of friends – I’m certainly not a “connector” – yet I have 4 friends (not including facebook friends) who have been adversely effected by a fluoroquionlone. I also went out on a date with a guy the other day who was telling me that he had a rash, an irregularly high heartbeat, loss of endurance, an anxiety attack and leaky gut syndrome after taking an antibiotic. I bet you a buck he was floxed.  He didn’t know, his doctor didn’t know, the FDA didn’t know and the pharmaceutical companies didn’t know, so everyone gets to go on thinking that his reaction didn’t happen, and the number of reported adverse reactions remains lower than the number of actual reactions.  A lot of people have been adversely effected by these drugs. Most of them recover, thank God. But suffering from any adverse effects from a drug when there are safe alternatives that will get rid of the infection, is wrong. And it isn’t RARE.

 

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Communicating With Doctors about Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

As soon as I realized that a pharmaceutical had hurt me and that there was nothing that doctors could do to cure or fix me, I stopped going to doctors. I figured that they could hurt me and they couldn’t help me, so I wasn’t going to consult with them any more. I was angry with the system that hurt me. I was angry with the doctors that prescribed these drugs. I was angry with the doctors who told me that my symptoms couldn’t possibly be from the Cipro that I took. I figured that they were wrong (they were, the Cipro caused all of my problems), that they didn’t know anything useful (I don’t know because I didn’t ask), and I opted out of the system.

I don’t think that my reaction was entirely unreasonable. The anger and bitterness probably weren’t helpful, but I don’t think that they were unwarranted. It made me pretty angry to get seriously damaged by a pharmaceutical then dismissed by doctors when I asked about the possibility that the Cipro was what was making my body go hay-wire (it was). Opting out of the system that caused me harm seemed like a fairly reasonable and rational decision, especially since alternative medicine, acupuncture and supplements, were helping me.

But now I’m starting to see that I didn’t help the system at all by opting out of it. None of my doctors have any clue what Cipro did to me. They have no idea that it caused me to barely be able to walk for several months. They have no idea that it sucked out all my energy so that I could barely stay awake through the day. They have no idea that it caused me to lose important parts of my mind – my memory, my reading comprehension, my ability to connect with other people, my ability to communicate verbally, etc. They have no idea that Cipro caused a syndrome in me that did severe damage to all systems of my body. They have no idea because I didn’t tell them.

So I can’t really blame them for not knowing, for not noticing my pain. I can’t blame them for not doing something about the travesty that is the system that let fluoroquinolones be a first line of defense for minor infections, if they don’t know about the consequences of their actions. I can’t blame them for incorrectly assessing the frequency and severity of adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones if a sizable portion of the population who has an adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone does exactly what I did, opt out of the system and fail to communicate with them. They have no idea. And that’s partly my fault.

Even if I had felt inclined to continue to go to M.D.s for treatment, I suspect that it would have been an uphill battle. The system isn’t set up to recognize, or to treat, issues like Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome / Floxing. First off, “Floxing,” or even Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome, isn’t even in the doctors’ handbook of recognized diseases/syndromes/things. So, if it doesn’t have a NAME, it’s not going to be recognized. Second, it would have been a waste of everyone’s time and energy for me to keep going back to the doctor with each new symptom, and new ones kept popping up for a few months, just to let them know, when there is nothing that they could do about any of them. The Western medical system is set up to name and fix things. Naming diseases and fixing people is important, and I want both, but when neither are available really bad things tend to be done – labeling patients as difficult or crazy, or, worse, throwing random treatments at them with the hope that they’ll get better – though sometimes they get worse as a result of the treatments. I didn’t want either of those things so I didn’t go back to my doctor. Seeing as I’m largely recovered, I think that my strategy was a good one for my health. However, it kept doctors from noting what was going on with me and thus, it didn’t get put on their radar that change is necessary.

I should tell them. I should tell them my story. We should all tell our doctors our stories. Not to get an answer from them. They don’t have the answers. We should tell them just so they know. So that they can know about the devastating effects of the drugs that they prescribe. If they know, maybe they’ll change their actions. Maybe they won’t prescribe fluoroquinolones in inappropriate situations. Maybe they’ll recognize the symptoms of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome / Floxing in someone else so they will at least know how to avoid doing more harm to that person (they can avoid NSAIDs, steroids and, of course, other fluorouqinolones in the future for that person).

As for how to do this, I think that Dr. Rob has some valuable advice in this post – http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=18247 . Approach the good ones like they’re humans, they are, and leave the jerks behind (they’re humans too, just not humans that you should deal with).

So, it’s now on my to-do list to respectfully and kindly talk to my doctor about what I went through and how she may avoid putting another person through similar pain. I wonder if Kaiser will waive the co-pay for an informational session where the information goes from patient to doctor. I doubt it. It’s worth asking though.

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Warning Signs of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

Almost every time I mention how Cipro messed me up, I get the response, “Oh yeah, I’ve taken that – it doesn’t affect me.”  To which I respond, “I took it several times before I reacted to it too. My body went completely hay-wire the second time I took Cipro. Don’t take it again.”

Adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones aren’t allergic reactions, they’re something else. The pathology of adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones is unknown – to anyone (or, if someone knows, they’re not publishing research papers about it). My guesses to the pathology can be found at https://floxiehope.com/2013/06/20/what-is-fluoroquinolone-toxicity/.

Unlike allergic reactions, adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones often occur long after the fluoroquinolone use has stopped. Antihistamines do nothing to stop an adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone (though they may be able to help with some of the inflammation symptoms and they don’t seem to hurt most Floxies).

Though some people react to their first dose of a fluoroquinolone, many don’t, which leads them to falsely believe that these drugs are safe and that they won’t react to them in the future. Unfortunately, an adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone can occur even if (maybe especially if – because there is (anecdotal) evidence that fluoroquinolones accumulate in the body and that there is a “tipping point” at which the body overloads) they have been taken with no adverse reaction in the past.

Looking back, I had some of these warning signs after I took Cipro the first time, in 2010. My eyelid twitched and I developed strange, but passing, abdominal cramping.  I experienced a “weak bladder” that I attributed to genetics and age. I had itchy legs at times and just thought it was dry skin. I didn’t connect any of these things to the prescription antibiotics that I took to treat a urinary tract infection.

If I had connected those symptoms to the fluoroquinolones, I may have been able to avoid taking Cipro again, and I may have avoided the pain and suffering that I went through starting in December, 2011.  (https://floxiehope.com/lisas-story/). I hope that this list of minor symptoms serves as a warning to you.  Please don’t take any fluoroquinolone antibiotics no matter what, but especially if you are experiencing any of the following, heed your body’s warnings and stay away from these drugs!

What FQ can do (HINTS AND CLUES THAT MIGHT SAVE YOUR LIFE)

Perhaps you have taken quinolones in the past and you think that they worked well and that you did not react negatively to them. Check the following subtle symptoms of the beginning stages of a quinolone intoxication from an earlier treatment and the normal interpretations that people make of them.

* You had a strange bout of tendinitis, for instance in the outer tip of the hip, normally diagnosed as trochanteric bursitis caused by tight belts or resting on you side at night. The same applies to other areas of the body, like the elbow (epicondylitis) diagnosed as an overuse of your tennis racquet or gardening practices, but you remember that you had never had it before.

* It takes you longer to recover after exercise. It is not alarming and you have not paid much attention to it.

* You sleep worse than before; it seems normal as you have a lot of pressure at work.

* From time to time you have some small throbbing pains in different parts of the body. They last only for a few seconds, so there is nothing to worry about it.

* It is strange- but you have occasional twitching in an eyelid, or any other part of the body. It is not painful.

* Some nights you feel some mild itching migrating along your body. One brief itch here, and another there. It is more intense in the scrotum or groin. Instead of identifying it as a peripheral neuropathy, you conclude that your clothes, your perspiration or the new brand of soap that is more irritating must be causing it.

* You feel some stiffness, and your range of movement is not as full as before, especially in one or both legs, but it is normal because you are getting older.

* You do not tolerate coffee as well as before. Now you have to reduce the amount of coffee that you used to drink.

* Your memory is not as good as it used to be. The cause may be too many things to think about and too much stress. And you are no longer a young person.

* There is an urge to urinate when the bladder is partially full. When you feel the need to urinate you have to rush for the toilet. Most urologists think that it is due to a dysfunction associated with a benign enlarged prostate but in reality it is a neurological deficit caused by the prescriptions of quinolones that they gave you.

* You cannot flex fully, or strongly, your big toe (one or both), or sustain the flexion for more than a few seconds. This is an indication that your large nerves (anterior tibialis) have started to fail due to the toxicity. This sign is a strong warning that your body will not tolerate more quinolones.

* Sometimes, you have nightmares while falling asleep that scare you. How strange you think. They are toxic panic attacks that reflect toxic damage to your brain.

If you have experienced some of these symptoms since you took your first quinolone, perhaps you have reached your first threshold of tolerance, that -once surpassed- can result in the destruction of your life soon thereafter if you take more quinolones.

 

 

Wish List

Here is a list of things I want. I figure that it can’t hurt to state my wishes. People generally try to give you what you want, if you ask for it. So…. hereyago –

  • I want them (the doctors, pharmacists, etc.) to stop giving fluoroquinolones to children.
  • I want for fluoroquinolones to only be prescribed/administered after all other viable options for cures of infections have been exhausted.
  • I want the FDA to do independent investigations and studies on every one of the top 10 drugs that are complained about in their adverse event reporting system.
  • I want there to be a process through which accurate and complete information about all of the possible risks associated with a drug are communicated to patients in a way that ensures that true, honest INFORMED CONSENT is given prior to the administering of any prescription drug.
  • I want pharmacists to truly be gatekeepers and to refuse to fill prescriptions that are unnecessarily dangerous.
  • I want doctors to listen to people other than other doctors.
  • I want nurses to speak up when they see something in the system that is wrong.
  • I want all Floxies, and Floxie friends and allies, to rise up and fight these pharmaceutical companies that have hurt us, who have disregarded our worth as humans so that they can have profits, and I want us to bring them down to their knees, to force them to change.
  • I want everyone who is suffering from an adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone to find healing, peace, hope and happiness.
  • I want a cure.
  • I want to know what makes some people more susceptible to being floxed than others.
  • I want floxing to be acknowledged – by everyone.
  • I want for the attitude of – if it can’t be tested for, and if there isn’t a cure, then the problem doesn’t exist – to go away.
  • I want all of the victims of fluoroquinolone toxicity to win lawsuits against Bayer and Johnson & Johnson and for all of us to be compensated for the damage that they have caused us.
  • I want studies to be done establishing whether or not there is a connection between fluoroquinolone use and fibromyalgia, chronic lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Desert War Syndrome, anxiety, depression, suicide, plantar fascitis, autism, leaky gut syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, M.S., Lupus, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. Then, once a connection is established, I want a study to be done that firmly establishes a causal relationship between fluoroquinolone use and fluoroquinolone toxicity (in all its various incarnations and misdiagnoses) to be done.
  • I want the stock of Bayer and Johnson & Johnson to crash.
  • I want this anger that I feel to serve a purpose for both me personally and for humanity generally.
  • I want an article in The New Yorker to be written about fluoroquinolone toxicity.
  • I want to do a TED talk about floxing.
  • I want to make a living advocating on behalf of victims of the pharmaceutical industry.
  • I want the pharmaceutical industry to have a lot fewer victims – zeroish.
  • I want an apology letter from Bayer.
  • I want to know the pathology by which these drugs messed me (and others) up.
  • I want pharmaceutical companies to have a lot less power.
  • I want people to take side-effects of all drugs seriously.
  • I want everyone to treat everyone else with compassion, caring, respect and love. I want everyone to treat everyone else as if their health matters – because it does. I especially want doctors, nurses and pharmacists to treat everyone that they see as if they matter – because they do – regardless of their disease, their mental state, their hygiene, etc.
  • I want there to be a societal shift away from thinking that it’s okay for people to be sacrificed in exchange for money.
  • I want universal sympathy for those who are suffering.
  • I want this blog to go viral.
  • I want my mind fully back – my memory, my reading comprehension, my concentration, my ability to connect with others – I want it to be back completely.
  • I want a boyfriend/husband, good sex and a baby – in approximately that order.
  • I want a fully loaded, brand new Tesla.

Okay, so those last four may be a bit selfish. Seeing as I’m able to live a normal/good life, while other people who have been Floxed are bed-ridden for years and only want a normal/good life, I feel a little bad about asking for those things. But I do want them… 🙂

 

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Adverse Reactions to Fluoroquinolones are Like Earthquakes

I first wrote this essay about 4 months post-floxing.  My perspective has changed a bit since I wrote it, but a lot of it still rings true –

I’ve come to think of bad fluoroquinalone reactions like earthquakes.  They’re both scary, the world as you know it shakes and destruction and tragedy can occur.  Like earthquakes, they also vary in severity.  Some are minor, like the August 23,2011 earthquake in Washington D.C. that caused little damage to infrastructure and no fatalities – but you can certainly be sure that it was scary to those who lived through it.  Some are major and devastating, like the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti that left hundreds of thousands dead and destroyed billions of dollars of infrastructure.

Most of the stories that you read about on the internet about horrific fluoroquinalone interactions are Haiti-like in intensity.  Lives have been ruined by fluoroquinalones.  People are unable to walk, work, sleep, etc.  Some are in constant pain.  My heart goes out to those people.  Through no fault of their own, their life was shaken to its core, and, in many cases, their world came tumbling down around them.  I certainly don’t want to take anything away from them or the tragedy of their situation by mentioning that there are others out there who have more minor, D.C.-like, reactions.  However, I do want those who are new to researching fluoriquinalone toxicity on the internet and scared for their life that a more minor, non-devastating, reactions are possible.  I know that I needed to hear that when I first got sick.

You might be okay in a couple of months.  You might not.  I hope and pray that you are one of the people who recovers quickly and completely.  Know that it is possible and have hope.

I was lucky enough to have a D.C.-like reaction.  (June 2013 revision – I wrote this before I recognized a lot of my mental issues and before I went through some cycles of feeling pretty lousy.  I now think that I had a reaction that is more like the 1989 San Francisco earthquake.  Still scary, but San Fran has recovered, as have I.)  I don’t know that I’ll ever reach 100% of my pre-fluoroquinalone poisoning capacity.  I have lost some abilities that I may never gain back (my memory, flexibility, balance and immune system reactivity aren’t what they used to be), but I can deal with the level that I am at now.  I can still work, walk, interact with my loved ones, etc.  It is possible that fluoroquinalone toxicity did some damage to my system that I’m not seeing right now.  It’s possible that there’s a fissure in my infrastructure and that my world may come tumbling down around me at some later time as a result of the earthquake that was my bad reaction to fluoroquinalones.  I hope not, but it is possible.  Each day is better than the last though, so, at this point, I have no reason to think that I won’t be fully recovered 6-12 months after my initial reaction.  I hope so.

June, 2013 addition –

For those of you who have been shaken, whose world has been rocked and who are facing the rubble, now you have the chance to rebuild.  It is a chance – an opportunity.  You never asked to be knocked down and you certainly didn’t deserve it.  But since the earthquake happened, you can view the opportunity to rebuild as a gift.  You can make yourself amazing.  You can build skyscrapers and bridges and arches – you can shine and scream and let your greatness be known.  You can build a tiny little house in a meadow, ’cause you didn’t need all that crap in the first place.  You can build a safe house in the suburbs, where your family will be protected, ’cause you’ll never let an earthquake knock them down.  You can rebuild yourself to be awesome, and beautiful, because you are.

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