Tag Archives: Adverse effects of fluoroquinolones

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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