Tag Archives: Antibiotic resistance

Consumer Reports Warns Patients About Fluoroquinolone Dangers

consumer-reports-0816

Consumer Reports has published several articles about the dangers of fluoroquinolone antibiotics (including Cipro/ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/levofloxacin, Avelox/moxifloxacin, Floxin/ofloxacin, and a few others). Their help in getting the word out to their readers about the risks associated with fluoroquinolone antibiotics is greatly appreciated!

The picture above, from the August, 2016 print issue of Consumer Reports, states:

These potent antibiotics are often prescribed to treat bronchitis, sinus infections, and urinary tract infections. But drugs such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin), and ofloxacin (Floxin) can cause irregular heartbeats, depression, nerve damage, ruptured tendons, seizures, and other serious side effects. The Food and Drug Administration issued an alert in May saying that fluoroquinolones should not be used to treat bronchitis, sinus infections, and UTIs, unless other options have not worked.

Avoid Problems. If your doctor suggests a fluoroquinolone, ask why. For sinus infections, you might need an antibiotic if your symptoms last more than a week or if you have a high fever, but the first option should be amoxicillin. For a UTI, fluoroquinolones are only necessary if the infection is resistant to other antibiotics or has spread to your kidneys. And they are necessary for chronic bronchitis only if you require hospitalization.

In Fluoroquinolones Are Too Risky for Common Infections: The FDA advises restricting use of popular antibiotics such as Cipro due to dangerous side effects, Consumer Reports notes that the FDA “is advising against prescribing fluoroquinolones, a group of antibiotics that includes drugs such as Cipro and Levaquin, to treat three common illnesses —bronchitis, sinus infections, and urinary tract infections.” The article also quotes Rachel Brummert, the Executive Director of the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation, and notes that her injuries from Levaquin include tendon ruptures and progressive nerve damage. The article also gives a guide of when to say no to fluoroquinolones. It’s an excellent article–please share it far and wide.

In Make Sure Your Doctor Prescribes the Right Antibiotic: There are safer, better options than fluoroquinolones and other frequently prescribed broad-spectrum drugs, the severe effects of fluoroquinolones are noted:

“For example, fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro and generic) and levofloxacin (Levaquin and generic)—which are frequently prescribed inappropriately for sinus infections in adults—can cause permanent and debilitating damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves.”

As the title of the article says, there are safer, better options than fluoroquinolones (in many situations).

In Surprising Remedy for Deadly Hospital Infections: New study suggests doctors cut back on antibiotics. Here’s what you need to know. it is noted that fluoroquinolone use can lead to c. diff infections:

“Research published in The Lancet, a British medical journal, shows that when doctors in U.K. hospitals cut back on prescribing Cipro, Levaquin, and other so-called fluoroquinolone antibiotics, the rate of deadly infections from the bacteria known as C. diff dropped a whopping 80 percent.”

Fluoroquinolones wipe out the good bacteria that keep c. diff bacteria suppressed. When those good bacteria are eliminated, c. diff infections can take over. C. diff infections can be deadly, and all healthcare professionals should take note of this (somewhat counterintuitive) study.

All of the articles linked to above also note that fluoroquinolone over-use is contributing to antibiotic resistance.

In Meds That Cause Blurred Vision, Hearing Loss, and More: Painkillers, antibiotics, and other common drugs can trigger surprising side effects Cipro is listed as a drug that can cause double vision.

In I Didn’t Know That Antibiotics Shouldn’t Always be Used to Treat Bronchitis, Mary H. describes how Levaquin (prescribed to treat bronchitis) led to Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which can be deadly.

All of these Consumer Reports articles are greatly appreciated, and I encourage you to read them, comment on them (where possible), and share them with your loved ones.

Consumer Reports has been a trusted source of information, and a strong advocate for consumer protection, since its founding in 1936. The articles linked-to above are from a highly respected source that is trusted by millions of people. It is a credible publication.

For a trusted and credible publication like Consumer Reports to be publishing information about the severe and varied health maladies that are associated with flouroquinolones is a huge step in the right direction. Their acknowledgement of the FDA’s updated warnings on fluoroquinolones, as well as the testimony of patients who have been hurt by fluoroquinolones, is appreciated immensely.

Thank you, Consumer Reports! Please keep it up, and hopefully other trusted news and consumer advocacy publications will follow suit.

 

 

How to Stop Overprescribing Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics

Overprescription of Antibiotics

I found this New York Times article, How to Stop Overprescribing Antibiotics, to be really interesting. Doctors know that antibiotic resistance is a serious problem–the word has gotten out sufficiently, but that knowledge hasn’t done much to change antibiotic prescribing patterns. Doctors are still overprescribing antibiotics, despite knowing that antibiotic resistance poses a significant threat to both modern medicine and human health.

I’m not sure what the root of this overprescribing is. It may be from a lack of knowledge of what ailments antibiotics should be prescribed for (many cases of prostatitis, as well as many sinus infections, aren’t bacterial), tradition (it’s the way it has “always” been done), a notion that antibiotics “can’t hurt,” patient pressure on the physician to do something, or if there’s another root to the problem.

Antibiotic overprescription IS a problem though. It’s a problem not only because of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, but also because of the links between antibiotic use and many of the diseases of modernity, and because some popular antibiotics (FLUOROQUINOLONES in particular, but I’ve heard from people who have been devastated by other antibiotics too) are causing multi-symptom, chronic illnesses that are devastating people’s lives.

Overprescription of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics

How can we get doctors to stop overprescribing fluoroquinolone antibiotics? The NYT article has some good insight and possible courses of action for floxie advocates.

“we asked a group of doctors to place a signed poster in their exam rooms pledging to follow standard guidelines on antibiotic prescription. This tactic, which pressured doctors to act consistently with their own publicly stated commitments, reduced inappropriate prescribing 20 percentage points relative to doctors in a control group who displayed a poster with generic information about antibiotic use.”

A 20% reduction in inappropriate prescribing is pretty good. At the very least, it’s a good place to start.

Guidelines for Prescribing Fluoroquinolones

What should the guidelines for fluoroquinolone (Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Floxin, and their generic equivalents) prescriptions be? My suggestions are:

  • Only prescribe fluoroquinolones for verified infections.
  • Only prescribe fluoroquinolones in life-or-death situations.
  • Only prescribe fluoroquinolones if there is no safer antibiotic that can be tried.
  • Review the warning label with the patient.
  • Review the black box warning with the patient. Notify the patient that black box warnings are the most severe warning possible before a drug is removed from the market.
  • Inform the patient that severe musculoskeletal problems have been experienced post-exposure to fluoroquinolones, including, but not limited to, tendon tears that occur months or years after exposure to the drug has stopped.
  • Note that, per the FDA, “A review of the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) was performed to characterize a constellation of symptoms leading to disability that had been observed during FDA monitoring of fluoroquinolone safety reports. This constellation of symptoms will be referred to in this review as ‘fluoroquinolone-associated disability’ (FQAD). While most of the individual AEs that exist within FQAD are currently described in fluoroquinolone labeling, the particular constellation of symptoms across organ systems is not. Individuals with FQAD were defined as U.S. patients who were reported to be previously healthy and prescribed an oral fluoroquinolone antibacterial drug for the treatment of uncomplicated sinusitis, bronchitis, or urinary tract infection (UTI). To qualify, individuals had to have AEs reported in two or more of the following body systems: peripheral nervous system, neuropsychiatric, musculoskeletal, senses, cardiovascular and skin. These body systems were chosen as they had been observed to be frequently involved with the fluoroquinolone reports describing disability. In addition, the AEs had to have been reported to last 30 days or longer after stopping the fluoroquinolone, and had to have a reported outcome of disability.”
  • Fluoroquinolones cause mitochondrial damage and dysfunction, and mitochondrial damage/dysfunction is linked to many diseases, including autoimmune diseases.
  • Fluoroquinolone effects include serious psychiatric problems.
  • Fluoroquinolones are a likely endocrine disruptor.

I suspect that if those guidelines were in every physician’s office, fluoroquinolone prescriptions would decrease significantly.

Present Alternatives to Antibiotics

The NYT article also notes:

“we showed that doctors tended to prescribe less aggressive medications when such options were presented more prominently (one by one, in a vertical column), with more aggressive options presented less prominently (grouped side by side, in a single category). Previous research suggested that listing alternatives individually made them appear more popular — and therefore more appropriate — than when they were grouped together. And indeed, we found that doctors were roughly 12 percent less likely to order more aggressive medications, such as antibiotics, if these options were grouped together, compared with when they were listed individually.”

I think that’s an excellent idea! Give the physician more information and the patient more options. Sounds great!

fluoroquinolone-lawsuit-banner-trulaw

Use Social Pressure and Physician Psychology to Achieve Goals

Another approach mentioned in the NYT article is:

“In one approach, doctors received a monthly email informing them of their performance relative to that of their peers. Those with the lowest inappropriate antibiotic prescribing rates were congratulated for being ‘top performers.’ Doctors who were not top performers were told ‘You are not a top performer.’ The email also included a personalized count of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions and the count for a typical top performer. This ‘peer comparison’ approach almost completely eliminated inappropriate prescribing: from 19.9 percent in the pre-intervention period to 3.7 percent during the post-intervention period — an 81 percent reduction.”

An 81% reduction is impressive and significant!

Peer comparison is powerful because it taps into doctor’s egos. For fluoroquinolones, I think that guilt should be tapped into as well, and with the low-ranking notification should be a story of someone suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity. These stories may be anecdotal, but they are real stories of people being devastated by these drugs.

Public Accountability

Another approach to curbing antibiotic use mentioned is:

“whenever doctors prescribed an antibiotic that was not clearly called for by the diagnosis, the electronic health record system asked them to provide a short ‘antibiotic justification note.’ The note would be entered into the patient’s medical record and would be visible to others. Introducing this speed bump into the work flow, along with the prospect of social accountability, reduced the inappropriate prescribing rate from 23.2 percent to 5.2 percent — a 77 percent reduction.”

Public accountability is a good thing. This could work well for curbing unnecessary fluoroquinolone prescriptions.

Start Curbing Antibiotic Overprescription by Curbing Fluoroquinolone Overprescription

The article concludes that, “Taken together, our studies suggest that simple and inexpensive tactics, grounded in scientific insights about human behavior, can be extremely effective in addressing public health problems.”

I think that the methods noted above could effectively cut fluoroquinolone use too.

Maybe trying to curb overuse of all antibiotics is too much to take on. Perhaps taking on overuse of one category of antibiotics at a time is an effective thing to do. I suggest that those who are interested in curbing antibiotic overprescription start with fluoroquinolones.

 

flu tox get help you need banner click lisa

 

 

Antibiotic Resistance – Can We Please Stop Being Stupid?

Can I just complain about how ridiculously STUPID the over-use of antibiotics in agriculture is?  Antibiotics are regularly used prophylactically in livestock in order to fatten up the animals and to compensate for the abhorrently unsanitary conditions in commercial feedlots.   Neither of those things are okay in the least.  They are appalling in themselves.

But if you don’t care that pigs, cows, chickens and turkeys are dirty and fat, you may say, “so what?”

The “so what” is that pathogenic bacteria are QUICKLY adapting to antibiotics and are getting stronger.  This is speeding up the process of antibiotic resistance among bacteria that can not only make livestock sick, but can also make humans sick.  When YOU get sick with one of these bacterial infections that is resistant to antibiotics, well, you may be screwed, because even fluoroquinolones don’t touch some of these nasty, antibiotic resistant, bacteria.

According to the CDC:

“Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection.”

For a while the CDC, FDA and others, led by the pharma and big-ag lobbies, tried to BS (lie to) us all by saying that antibiotic resistance in livestock had nothing to do with antibiotic resistance to humans.  The 2013 CDC Report on Antibiotic / Antibmicrobial Resistance settled that argument as it noted that:

“Antibiotics are widely used in food-producing animals, and according to data published by FDA, there are more kilograms of antibiotics sold in the United States for food-producing animals than for people… This use contributes to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in food-producing animals. Resistant bacteria in food-producing animals are of particular concern because these animals serve as carriers. Resistant bacteria can contaminate the foods that come from those animals, and people who consume these foods can develop antibiotic-resistant infections. Antibiotics must be used judiciously in humans and animals because both uses contribute to not only the emergence, but also the persistence and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

Here is a good article in Wired explaining the CDC report – “CDC Threat Report: Yes, Agricultural Antibiotics Play a Role in Drug Resistance.”

The reports are in.  The scientific consensus has been stated.  Over-use of antibiotics in agriculture is hurting humans.  So, perhaps we should stop over-using antibiotics in agriculture.  That seems like a good idea.  Too bad the big-ag and pharma pockets are deep and they control the hearts and minds of legislators.  More info on that can be found here – http://www.healthline.com/health/antibiotics/politics-pork-and-poultry-why-legislation-has-not-passed

As bacteria in livestock become resistant to penicillin and sulfa antibiotics, fluoroquinolones will be used more frequently.  Fluoroquinolones already are being used in livestock, just not as frequently as other, safer, antibiotics.  But as bacteria become resistant to safer antibiotics, fluoroquinolone use will surely increase.  For humans as well, as antibiotic resistance increases, fluoroquinolone use will increase.  Doctors will have to pull out the “big guns” because the smaller ones will no longer work.

Antibiotic resistant bacteria are not only harming livestock and people, they are harming the earth itself.  The animals that are given antibiotics excrete those antibiotics (everybody poops – and pees) and the antibiotics go onto the earth / the soil.  This messes up the microbiome of the soil (yes, soil has a microbiome) and more antibiotic resistant bacteria thrive in the soil.  That’s the topic of THIS POST.  Our earth is, literally, getting floxed.  It’s going to get worse too, as stronger and stronger antibiotics become preferred in agriculture, because the traditional ones are no longer doing the job.  The fluoroquinolones will hurt the animals that they are given to, destroy the microbiome of the soil, and leave us Floxies with nothing to eat.  Great.

I wish I didn’t think this was going to happen in my lifetime, but I fear that it will.

The antibiotic arms race will likely continue, with increasingly powerful antibiotics being developed to compensate for antibiotic resistance.  Those synthetic antibiotics will likely have the same, or worse, devastating “side-effects” as fluoroquinolones.  Destruction of the microbiome and destruction of mitochondria is consequential for human health, animal health, and the health of the earth itself – the soil.  Though the importance of the microbiome is starting to be recognized, it may be too late to stop destroying our microbiome with antibiotics.  (The alternative is to fight pathogenic bacteria with helpful bacteria.)  We are accustomed to turning to drugs, and to wantonly killing bacteria.  I don’t see us stopping any time soon.

The bacteria will die – because there isn’t any political will to stop being foolish with antibiotics.  The insects (pests) will die – because there isn’t any political will to protect them from pesticides.  The bees will die – because corporate profits are, apparently, more important than our food supply.  The frogs will die – because no one understands non-linear hormonal responses.

Perhaps, with a painful number of human deaths from this ridiculousness, we’ll, collectively, stop being so stupid.  Maybe.  Because 23,000 human deaths per year (from antibiotic resistant bacteria) haven’t made policy-makers do squat about the over-use of antibiotics in agriculture.  Recommendations for prudent antibiotic use are put into place, but no actual changes are made.  Recommendations.  Recommendations will do nothing to solve this problem – nothing.

P.S. – Sorry for not being hopeful.  Here’s something I hope – I hope that the canaries in the coal mine are listened to.  That’s what we are – canaries.  Is anyone listening?

 

flu tox get help you need banner click lisa

 

Is Our Meat Floxed?

My favorite theory about the pathology/cause of floxing (of course, fluoroquinolone use is the CAUSE of floxing, but not all people who use fluoroquinolones get floxed – something goes horribly wrong in the bodies of the people who do), is that a neurotoxin is produced by the damaged bacteria within the body and that neurotoxin is the actual cause of the health problems that Floxies experience. More information on this theory can be found on https://floxiehope.com/2013/06/20/test-post/ and at the bottom of this page.

This theory, that neurotoxins are produced when fluoroquinolones mess up the bacteria, makes me think about a lot of things. One of these things is our meat.

Fluoroquinolones are used rampantly in agriculture, even though there has been some regulation limiting their use. If fluoroquinolones cause the production of neurotoxins, could it be possible that these neurotoxins are in the flesh of the animals that are exposed to fluoroquinolones – the meat that we eat? If so, what are the health consequences of this to the humans who eat that meat?

I believe that meat is tested for antibiotics and other agriculturally utilized pharmaceuticals before it goes to market, but if the meat is actually contaminated with a neurotoxic byproduct of the pharmaceutical, as opposed to the pharmaceutical itself, then maybe the wrong thing is being tested for. Is our meat contaminated with neurotoxic byproducts of fluorquinolone antibiotics? I don’t know, but it’s something that is definitely worth looking into.

Admittedly, this line of thinking involves a lot of unproven jumps and assumptions, but I don’t think that I’m being completely unreasonable. The theories described below seem more than reasonable, they seem right, and I think that looking into the health consequences of eating meat that is from animals that have been floxed is something that we should do. Question everything. It’ll keep you safer and make you smarter.

There are many good reasons not to use fluoroquinolone antibiotics on livestock animals. Antibiotic resistance is becoming a bigger and bigger problem and the thought that we may be breeding antibiotic resistant bacteria in our feedlots is appalling. This problem, though not without controversy, is generally acknowledged and some regulation is being put into place to try to prevent an atrocity from happening. However, humans are slow to change the status quo unless there is an emergency and I doubt that real, meaningful regulation will come about until an antibiotic resistant bacteria is bred in feedlots and that bacteria infects people. Antibiotic use in livestock also enables ranchers to keep their animals in dirty, unsanitary, inhumane conditions – something that is also appalling. Even though I haven’t done a whole lot of research into the topic, I think that with the research that has been done, we can add potential contamination with neurotoxic byproducts to the list of reasons that antibiotics generally, and fluoroquinolones specifically, should not be used in livestock.

I like meat and I eat it, but I’ve tried to exclusively consume organic meat since I got floxed. I’m going to try harder now. I suggest that you do the same.

From https://floxiehope.com/2013/06/20/test-post/

Is a neurotoxin produced by the damaged/bad bacteria after exposure to fluoroquinolones (or the die-off of the “good” bacteria that keep the bad ones in check)?  There are several interesting things noted in Beyond Antibiotics by Michael Schmidt.  Dr. Schmidt points out that both tartaric acid and tricarbalyte are noxious compounds produced by bad gut bacteria when good gut bacteria in the gut are not available to keep them in check.  Tartaric acid “is a known poison of the energy system of mitochondria,” and tricarbalyte “binds to magnesium and may reduce the availability of dietary magnesium.”  (pages 28-29) Dr. Schmidt also says that antibiotics cause the production of clostridiam which is a known neurotoxin producing organism (p. 44). And, on page 47 he says, “Whever a CPY enzyme is blocked or slowed, its ability to detoxify other drugs can be impaired.”  My thought on this is that the fluoroquinolones slowed our CPY enzymes then the NSAIDs, steroids, other toxins in our system, did other damage – and maybe that’s why each of us have so many different symptoms.

Also, John Travis reported in Science News (July 2003;164) that research performed by John F. Prescott found that certain antibiotics, such as the fluoroquinolones, the class of antibiotics that includes the name-brands and generic brands of Levaquin[R], Cipro[R], Tequin[R], and Avelox[R], actually are known to trigger a type of virus called bacteriophages (viruses that can infect bacteria) to change the genetic sequencing of the bacteria, causing the bacterium they have infected to start producing toxins. These viruses can act as genetic delivery vans, invading bacteria, such as spirochetes, often lying dormant, until activated by a change in the host (your body’s) environment. Once activated, these viruses insert their toxin-generating genes into the bacterial chromosomes. These viruses can turn basically harmless bacterium into killers through this genetic sequencing of toxins (Travis 2003).  Not only are these toxins released through bacteria die-off and not only can antibiotics actually increase the production of the toxins, but these viruses can cause the bacteria to rupture, spilling their toxins into the body (Waldor 2004).  http://www.benbrew.com/lb/lyme5.pdf

* I haven’t had the time to do a whole lot of research into this theory, so if anyone has any articles about it, please forward them on to me.

flu tox get help you need banner click lisa