Tag Archives: Cipro

Cipro is no better than a PLACEBO at treating chronic prostatitis / chronic pelvic pain syndrome

It is noted in the book, A Headache in the Pelvis, that, “Ciprofloxacin, one of the most powerful antibiotics, on a long-term basis proves to be only as effective as a placebo” for treatment of chronic prostatitis / chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS).

I just about fell out of my chair when I read that.

Ciprofloxacin, not only one of the most powerful antibiotics, but also one of the most dangerous antibiotics, is NO MORE EFFECTIVE THAN A PLACEBO for treatment of chronic prostatitis.  Despite their lack of effectiveness, “Quinolones, such as ciprofloxacin, are commonly used to treat CP/CPPS because of their excellent penetration into the prostate.”

Ciprofloxacin penetrates the prostate, and every cell in the body well, but that doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to give it out to the 9-12% of men who suffer from prostatitis if it is NO MORE EFFECTIVE THAN A PLACEBO in treating chronic prostatitis.

Let’s do a cost/benefit analysis of ciprofloxacin versus a placebo.

Placebo

Benefits:  Some potential alleviation of symptoms, as well as potential increases in physical and mental health scores.  (The placebo effect is amazing – it’s not the same as doing nothing.)

Costs:  The potential for “nocebo” effects exists – the experience of adverse effects based on the expectation of adverse effects.  A placebo is a sugar pill though, and the potential for adverse effects is negligible.

Ciprofloxacin

Benefits:  Some potential alleviation of symptoms, as well as potential increases in physical and mental health scores.  (Same potential benefits as the placebo.)

Costs:  Ciprofloxacin and other fluoroquinolones can kill people – DEATH is a potential effect.  If they don’t kill the patient, they can still structurally weakening of every tendon in one’s body, cause mitochondrial dysfunction and potentially increase the risk of all of the diseases related to mitochondrial dysfunction (including neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases), lead to serious central nervous system adverse effects including seizures, anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation and intracranial pressure, cause liver and kidney failure, PERMANENT peripheral neuropathy, and more.  There is a 43 PAGE warning label for ciprofloxacin.  Many things are missing from the warning label, and a list of some of the adverse effects can be found HERE.  When patients are given ciprofloxacin, they are not only risking a single adverse effect listed on the warning label, they are risking multiple, devastating effects that may be permanent.

Opting for the sugar pill seems pretty reasonable—better, actually.

It is criminal to subject people to a drug as dangerous as ciprofloxacin for a condition that it isn’t effective at treating.  It is NOT a benign drug.  It is a topoisomerase interruptera chemo drug – and it should NOT be used frivolously.  Ciprofloxacin, and all the other fluoroquinolones, should only be used in life-threatening situations and they should NEVER be used for conditions that they are not proven effective at treating.  They should NEVER be used in situations where they have been shown to be no more effective than a placebo.

This isn’t rocket science.  Don’t give people dangerous drugs that don’t even have the potential for helping them.  It’s not hard.  But men with CP/CPPS are given ciprofloxacin, and other fluoroquinolones, as if they’re candy, to “treat” their condition.  It’s absurd.

The study that found that CP/CPPS is no more effective than a placebo was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2004 and it was entitled “Ciprofloxacin or Tamsulosin in Men with Chronic Prostatitis / Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome: A Randomized, Double-Blind Trial.”  The article notes that:

“Chronic prostatitis / chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) is a common disorder and accounts for approximately 2 million visits to physicians annually in the United States.  The substantial impact of CP/CPPS includes bothersome lower urinary tract symptoms, sexual dysfunction, reduced quality of life, and increased health care expenditures.  The syndrome is diagnosed only on the basis of symptoms, principally pain or discomfort in the pelvis region.  No objective measures can help define the disease.  Although bacteria can infect the prostate, most men with prostatitis have a negative midstream urine culture, indicating that bacteria may not be the cause of their symptoms.”

“Because the cause of CP/CPPS is unknown, affected men receive many empirical therapies.  The 2 most common treatments prescribed by physicians are antimicrobial agents and a-adrenergic receptor antagonists, although there is little objective evidence to support their use.  Quinolones, such as ciprofloxacin, are commonly used to treat CP/CPPS because of their excellent penetration into the prostate and broad spectrum coverage for uropathogens and other organisms traditionally believed to be associated with the syndrome.” 

After completing a randomized, double-blind trial on men suffering from CP/CPPS, and comparing those who received ciprofloxacin, tamsulosin, a combination of both ciprofloxacin and tamsulosin, and a placebo, it was concluded that, “Ciprofloxacin and tamsulosin did not substantially reduce symptoms in men with long-standing CP/CPPS who had at least moderate symptoms.”

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Ciprofloxacin, and other antibiotics, are given to men with non-bacterial prostatitis for no good reason whatsoever.  They are often given long courses as well – 6 to 12 weeks of the drugs.  That’s a long enough course for many of the men who are given these drugs to cross their tolerance threshold for the drugs and get floxed.

If ciprofloxacin was effective at treating CP/CPPS, perhaps it would be worth the risk of getting floxed.  But ciprofloxacin isn’t effective at treating CP/CPPS.  It’s no more effective than a sugar pill and it is beyond ridiculous and wrong to expose men to a dangerous drug that doesn’t even help them.

CP/CPPS has been shown to be treatable through the techniques outlined in A Headache in the Pelvis: A new understanding and treatment for prostatitis and chronic pain syndromes.  The effective treatments include trigger point therapy and concomitant relaxation training.  More information about the treatments can be found in the article, “6-Day Intensive Treatment Protocol for Refractory Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome Using Myofascial Release and Paradoxical Relaxation Training,” as well as on the web site http://www.pelvicpainhelp.com/.

Many symptoms of CP/CPPS, and other pelvic pain syndromes, react well to relaxation training and appear to be a response to stress and anxiety.  “Chronic pelvic pain reflects tension in the pelvic floor, initiated or exacerbated by cycles of mental tension, anxiety and stress.”  Pelvic pain syndromes are no more a choice than other bodily manifestations of stress such as heart attacks, back pain or tension headaches.  The pain is real and it is not “in the patient’s head.”  The brain is not separate from the body though, and what is going on in the head can have bodily manifestations.

The effects of ciprofloxacin, and other fluoroquinolones, on neurotransmitters may exacerbate CP/CPPS and other diseases related to stress and anxiety.  Fluoroquinolones block GABA-A receptors.  GABA receptors are the neurotransmitters that induce a calming response.  When GABA receptors are blocked by fluoroquinolones, anxiety, insomnia, fearfulness, loss of confidence, loss of self, psychiatric illness and even seizures can result.  Floxed patients often report being unable to relax, a reduced threshold for stress, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, and other symptoms of GABA neurotransmitter dysfunction.  Fluoroquinolones activate the sympathetic nervous system and disrupt the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

If CP/CPPS is primarily a response to anxiety, stress and disregulation of the sympathetic/parasympthetic nervous systems, ciprofloxacin may not only fail to improve chronic pelvic pain conditions, it may exacerbate them.

Prescribing ciprofloxacin, or any other fluoroquinolone, to patients with chronic pain and non-bacterial prostatitis, is not only not helpful – IT IS HARMFUL, and may exacerbate the condition it is prescribed to treat.

Post-script note – Many people, especially elderly women, are given fluoroquinolones to treat asymptomatic urinary tract infections after a urinalysis shows bacteria in their urine.  It has recently been noted that URINE ISN’T STERILE.  And again, people are getting floxed for no good reason.

Sources:

A Headache in the Pelvis, a New, Revised, Expanded and Updated 6th Edition: A New Understanding and Treatment for Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndromes by David Wise and Rodney Anderson

Alexander RB, et al. “Ciprofloxacin or tamsulosin in men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: a randomized, double-blind trial.” Annals of Internal Medicine, 2004 Oct 19;141(8):581-9.

Anderson RU, et al. “6-day intensive treatment protocol for refractory chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome using myofascial release and paradoxical relaxation training.” The Journal of Urology, 2011 Apr;185(4):1294-9. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2010.11.076. Epub 2011 Feb 22.

“What is the mechanism by which the fluoroquinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, gemifloxacin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin) can increase a patient’s risk for developing a seizure or worsen epilepsy?Pharmacology Weekly, ©2008 – 2014 Pharmacology Weekly, Inc.

 

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The Ciprofloxacin Song

This is adorable and sad at the same time.  I hope that Ashley has improved.  She posted this in 2010.

She’s right – FIGURE IT OUT, BAYER!  Why is the list of adverse effects getting longer and longer each year?  How many people have to suffer from adverse effects of these drugs before VERY serious consideration goes into whether or not they should be on the market?  What is the mechanism by which fluoroquinolones downgrade GABA-A receptors?  How much damage do fluoroquinolones do to human DNA – both mitochondrial and nuclear?  What are the consequences of damaging the DNA replication cycle for bacterial DNA within a person?  What are the consequences of damaging nuclear DNA of human cells?  What are the consequences of damaging mitochondrial DNA of human cells?  What are the long-term consequences of using fluoroquinolones?  What are the intergenerational consequences of using fluoroquinolones?  These questions aren’t too much for us to demand answers to.  Bayer has the means to answer these questions, SO GET ON IT, BAYER.  And OF COURSE they won’t do it voluntarily, SO MAKE THEM STUDY IT, FDA!

Anyhow, here is Ashley singing The Ciprofloxacin Song:

 

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Study Finds that Ciprofloxacin Depletes Mitochondrial DNA

DNA replication fluoroquinolone Topoisomerase Interrupter

This post contains quotes from the article “Delayed Cytotoxicity and Cleavage of Mitochondrial DNA in Ciprofloxacin-Treated Mammalian Cells” that was published in Molecular Pharmacology in 1996.  It’s a good article.  It’s an interesting and damning article.  It’s a difficult article.  It would be nice if more people read it, and I wish that its implications were better understood and explored by research scientists and regular people alike.

Direct quotes from the article are in bold and italicized.  My commentary follows each quote.

“The loss in mtDNA was associated with a delayed loss in mitochondrial function. Here, we report that the 4-quinolone drug ciprofloxacin is cytotoxic to a variety of cultured mammalian cell lines at concentrations that deplete cells of mtDNA.”

Ciprofloxacin depletes mitochondrial DNA in mammalian cells.  It’s right there in black and white.  I have no idea why it didn’t strike anyone as alarming when it was published in 1996.  It sure is alarming now.

It should be noted that, “There is indeed experimental evidence that prolonged injury to mitochondria, such as that which typifies oxidative injury to mitochondrial DNA or to components of the electron transport chain (ETC), has to cross a certain threshold (or a number of thresholds) before cell damage or cell death becomes manifest.” (source)  And that mitochondrial damage is linked to “symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain, shortness of breath, and abdominal pain can easily be mistaken for collagen vascular disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or psychosomatic illness.” (source)  Mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to multiple diseases of modernity including autoimmune diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, autism and “mysterious” diseases such as fibromyalgia and ME/CFS.

Also, as I’ve pointed out before, the FDA has noted in their internal documents that fluoroquinolones are toxic to mitochondria, and that mitochondrial damage is linked to many diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases.  More information about that can be found in the post, “FLUOROQUINOLONE ANTIBIOTICS DAMAGE MITOCHONDRIA – FDA DOES LITTLE

“Resistance was not due to a decrease in cellular drug accumulation, suggesting that ciprofloxacin cytotoxicity is caused by the loss of mtDNA-encoded functions.  Analysis of mtDNA from ciprofloxacin-treated cells revealed the presence of site-specific, double-stranded DNA breaks.”

Consequences?  Implications?  What happens when cytotoxicity is induced by DNA breaks?

“These results suggest that ciprofloxacin may be causing cytotoxicity by interfering with a mitochondrial topoisomerase Il-like activity, resulting in a loss of mtDNA.”

Many assert that fluoroquinolones only affect bacterial topoisomerases.  It turns out that mitochondrial topoisomerases are affected too.  Fluoroquinolones should be used as prudently and cautiously as all other topoisomerase interrupting drugs.  All the other topoisomerase interrupting drugs are chemo drugs that are only used to treat cancers.  To prescribe a drug that depletes mitochondrial DNA and affects human topoisomerases in order to treat urinary tract infections and traveler’s diarrhea is absurd, short-sighted and wrong.

It should also be noted that, “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 expression of long ASD (autism spectrum disorder) 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 many individuals with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders.” (source)

The team of scientists who wrote that last quote are looking at whether or not fluoroquinolones turn on genes that are related to autism.  The results of their exploration have not yet been published.

What is known though, is that topoisomerases are really important.  Duh–they’re the enzymes responsible for proper DNA and RNA replication—did someone think they were optional?  Interrupting topoisomerases with drugs is a really, really, really bad idea.

“Studies have also suggested that 4-quinolones may interfere with cell growth by inhibiting mammalian mtDNA replication (6, 11). Castora et al. (11) found that the 4-quinolone drugs nalidixic acid and oxolinic acid inhibited mtDNA replication in isolated rat liver mitochondria. These investigators inferred that this effect might be mediated by the inhibition of a mitochondrial topoisomerase II activity related to the bacterial enzyme DNA gyrase.”

Naladixic acid is the backbone of all fluoroquinolone antibiotics.  The quote speaks for itself.

 “We recently demonstrated that the 4-quinolone drugs nalidixic acid and ciprofloxacin cause a selective loss of mtDNA in drug-treated mammalian cells (6). The loss of mtDNA was associated with a decrease in mitochondrial respiration and an arrest in cell growth. These results suggested that inhibition of mammalian cell proliferation by 4-quinolone drugs might be caused by the selective depletion of mtDNA, resulting in compromised mitochondrial activity. We now report that ciprofloxacin causes a delayed cytotoxicity in cultured mammalian cells at concentrations that deplete cells of mtDNA.”

DELAYED CYTOTOXICITY!  When someone says that you “shouldn’t” be experiencing an adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone weeks, months or even years after you took the drug, show them this.  Delayed cytotoxicity and mtDNA depletion–they’re right there.  Fluoroquinolones are NASTY drugs.  Why they are used frivolously is beyond my comprehension.

“We previously demonstrated that ciprofloxacin induces a selective depletion of mtDNA in mammalian cells. The depletion of mtDNA preceded a decrease in mitochondrial respiration and cell growth, suggesting that mtDNA was a primary target of drug action (6). Studies have recently shown that some cultured mammalian and avian cells can survive in the absence of mtDNA-encoded functions if the growth medium is supplemented with pyrimidines, pyruvate, and elevated concentrations of glucose (21-23). Cells deficient in mtDNA rely exclusively on glycolysis for energy.”

Hmmmmm…. So do our cells need/want more glucose??

And, again, I’d like to point out the clearly stated, “ciprofloxacin induces a selective depletion of mtDNA in mammalian cells.”

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“The apparent decrease in mtDNA cleavage at higher drug concentrations is reminiscent of the effect of DNA intercalating anticancer drugs on nuclear topoisomerase II enzymes (29, 30). Intercalating anticancer drugs such as 2-methyl-9-hydroxyellipticinium and Adriamycin have been shown to stimulate topoisomerase II cleavage at low concentrations but inhibit cleavage at high drug concentrations.”

Fluoroquinolones are chemo drugs.  All topoisomerase interrupters are chemo drugs.  Don’t give people chemo drugs to treat sinus infections.  It’s not a difficult notion.

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/10/15/fda-allows-chemo-drugs-prescribed-antibiotics/

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/cipro-levaquin-avelox-fluoroquinolones-chemo-drugs/

“The non-exonuclease-treated DNA contained both linear and nicked circular forms of mtDNA but did not contain closed circular supercoiled mtDNA (Fig. 8, lane A), suggesting that ciprofloxacin induces single- as well as double stranded protein-linked breaks in the mtDNA.”

Thanks for breaking my DNA, Bayer.

“The current results indicate that ciprofloxacin is not cytotoxic unless cells are continuously exposed to drug for a minimum of three or four cell doublings. In comparison, drugs that target nuclear topoisomerase II trigger an apoptotic type of cell killing, even after a short 2-hr drug exposure.”

Interesting.  What is the time-frame for cell doubling?  And I don’t think that the question has been definitively answered as to whether or not fluoroquinolones are stored in lipids, continuously exposing cells to damage, or not.

“Another possibility is that the growth inhibitory and cytotoxic effects of ciprofloxacin are caused by the inhibition of an essential mitochondrial function or functions. This is supported by the following observations: First, treatment of mammalian cells with ciprofloxacin results in a selective depletion of mtDNA, leading to a decrease in mitochondrial respiration (6). These mitochondrial events precede the drug induced loss in cell growth and viability (Ref. 6 and current results). Second, cells become resistant to ciprofloxacin when they are grown under conditions that do not require mtDNA encoded functions. Third, ciprofloxacin induces the formation of site-specific, protein-linked breaks in mtDNA, indicating the presence of a drug-sensitive mitochondrial topoisomerase Il-like activity.”

Given the connections between ciprofloxacin and mitochondrial damage–depleting mtDNA and decreasing mitochondrial respiration, and the connections between mitochondrial damage and multiple chronic, multi-symptom illnesses, it is not absurd to make the assertion that ciprofloxacin, and other fluoroquinolones, can cause those diseases (autoimmune diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, fibromyaligia, autism, ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, etc.).

The article, “Mitochondria Resuscitation: The Key to Healing Every Disease” by Chris D. Meletis, N.D. is a succinct and illustrative look at how mitochondria are related to multiple areas of health.

It’s nice and dandy that “cells become resistant to ciprofloxacin when they are grown under conditions that do not require mtDNA encoded functions” but human beings don’t have a bunch of cells that live in petri dishes that can grow without requiring our mitochondrial DNA functions.  I wonder what happens when human cells attempt to adapt to resist ciprofloxacin and adapt by ceasing to require mtDNA encoded functions.  I bet you a buck that no one knows the answer to that question.

Cipro breaks mitochondrial DNA.  WHY WASN’T THIS REPORT PAID ATTENTION TO?  All of the results in it warrant fluoroquinolones being taken off of the market until further investigation can be done.  This is absurd.  I know that there are cases where fluoroquinolones can save lives, I get that, and I’m usually decently reasonable about not calling for their removal from the market.  But this article spooked me severely.  We, collectively, have NO CLUE what the consequences of depleting our mitochondrial DNA are.

“Neither cell growth nor viability seems to be affected until cells have undergone three or four cell doublings in the presence of ciprofloxacin (Ref. 6 and current results). During this time span, the content of mtDNA decreases >90%, suggesting that drug is causing a loss in cell growth and viability by interfering with mtDNA replication.”

Nasty drugs – but if you metabolize them fast enough, they’re less nasty – apparently.

“Ciprofloxacin, as well as several other 4-quinolone drugs, can cause significant unwinding of DNA”

It’s what they’re designed to do.  They’re topoisomerase interrupters.  The mechanism of action for ciprofloxacin 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.” (source)  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that drugs that inhibit the DNA and RNA replication, transcription, repair and recombination are dangerous.  I hate the FDA for allowing these dangerous drugs to be used as antibiotics.  It’s ludicrous.

Delayed Cytotoxicity and Cleavage of Mitochondrial DNA in Ciprofloxacin-Treated Mammalian Cells” is not a hopeful article.  It is, frankly, a terrifying article.  More than 20 million prescriptions for fluoroquinolones are given out in Americans each year for the last couple decades, and that’s only a small portion of the prescriptions given worldwide.  What have we done to our collective mitochondrial DNA??  What are the consequences of depleting our mitochondrial DNA?  No one knows the answers to those questions.

Anyone who thinks that people aren’t sick with the diseases related to mitochondrial poisoning, isn’t looking very hard.  People are sick.  They’re in pain (peripheral neuropathy is thought to be caused by mitochondrial malfunctions), they’re depressed and suffering from even worse psychiatric disorders, they have heart conditions and metabolic disorders (source), ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, autism, and many other misunderstood, chronic illnesses.  There are many potential culprits for the sorry state of human health in the 21st century, but fluoroquinolones aren’t even on the list according to most people.

FLUOROQUINOLONES DEPLETE MITOCHONDRIAL DNA, LEAD TO MITOCHONDRIAL DYSFUNCTION AND ALSO OBLITERATE THE MICROBIOME!

I’ll keep screaming it until I’m heard.

Back in 1992 it was noted that, “the interaction (of fluoroquinolones) with DNA is still of great concern because of the possible long-term genotoxicity of quinolone compounds, which are increasingly adopted as first-choice antibiotics for the treatment of many infections, and because it addresses the real mechanism of action of this class of molecules.”  (source)

I really wish that these warnings had been heeded.  Sadly, they’ve been ignored.

Our poor mitochondrial DNA.  I hope that mtDNA recovers and that the situation isn’t as dire as I suspect.  But the truth is, no one knows.  No one has a clue what the consequences of depleting mtDNA through unnecessary use of topoisomerase interrupting drugs are.

Floxies certainly know that the consequences of fluoroquinolones can involve a massive amount of pain and suffering.  It’s not okay.

Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, the FDA and everyone else involved with frivolously prescribing these drugs should be ashamed of themselves for failing to protect our mitochondrial DNA.  Topoisomerase interrupters should never have been approved for use as antibiotics.  It’s simply absurd.

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The Floxie Hope Podcast Episode 10 – Ariel

Haruki Murakami Storm Quote

 

In Episode 10 of The Floxie Hope Podcast Ariel shares her journey through fluoroquinolone toxicity.  Ariel felt and looked like she had aged 15 years in a matter of just a couple months after she took ciprofloxacin to treat a urinary tract infection.  She also suffered from anxiety, insomnia, depersonalization and many areas of her life falling apart.  Though Ariel is still going through her fluoroquinolone toxicity journey, she has learned many life lessons along the way.  She has found her strength and joy has returned to her life.  Ariel brings beautiful perspective to the journey through fluoroquinolone toxicity.

You can listen to Episode 10 of The Floxie Hope Podcast featuring Ariel through these links:

http://www.floxiehopepodcast.com/episode-010-ariel/

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/floxie-hope-podcast/id945226010

Reviews on iTunes are greatly appreciated!  Thank you very much for listening to The Floxie Hope Podcast!

 

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Are Dangerous Antibiotics Causing Chronic Illness?

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I wrote the following post about fluoroquinolone toxicity for Fearless Parent:

ARE DANGEROUS ANTIBIOTICS CAUSING CHRONIC ILLNESS?

Please check it out and share it.  Thank you!

Fearless Parent is a great organization with lots of interesting articles on their web site, and many interesting podcasts.

I was interviewed on the Fearless Parent Podcast a few weeks ago.  You can get more information about the podcast, and listen to it, HERE.

For those who are parents, or who want to spread the word about the dangers of fluoroquinolones to parents, this post on Hormones Matter is a good one to share too – DON’T LET YOUR BABIES GROW UP TO BE FLOXIES.

Thank you for spreading the word about the dangers of fluoroquinolones!  I HATE that children are getting floxed.  HATE IT.  Perhaps, with awareness, we can keep some kids safe.

 

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The Floxie Hope Podcast Episode 8 – Josh Arnold

Josh Arnold Floxie Hope Podcast

For Episode 8 of The Floxie Hope Podcast I had the opportunity to interview Josh Arnold.  Josh is insightful and wise and the lessons he learned from getting floxed are lessons that everyone should hear (they’re in the last quarter of the podcast).

Josh was only 25 when he got floxed by Cipro.  He had taken Levaquin without problems prior to getting floxed.  Two pills of Cipro pushed him over the edge of his tolerance threshold.  Josh went from being athletic and active to barely able to walk his dog after taking Cipro.  He has since battled his way back to health.  He describes his journey in the podcast.

You can listen to Josh’s story through these links:

http://www.floxiehopepodcast.com/episode-008-josh-arnold/

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/floxie-hope-podcast/id945226010

Please subscribe to The Floxie Hope Podcast and leave a review on iTunes if you enjoy the episode.  Thank you!

 

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Fluoroquinolones and Dental Problems

Hormones Matter Logo2

This post, “Can Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Cause Dental Problems?” published on Hormones Matter, is not very hopeful.  In fact, it’s quite frightening.  Many patient reports have been coming in lately about fluoroquinolone induced dental problems and teeth falling out.  Christopher’s story, on The Fluoroquinolone Wall of Pain is one of the stories highlighted.  Having all of your teeth fall out is a hefty price to pay for using an antibiotic – especially an antibiotic that is regularly prescribed for urinary tract and sinus infections.

I couldn’t find much in the way of journal articles about fluoroquinolone toxicity and dental problems.  If any of you find journal articles with dental problems listed as an effect of fluoroquinolones, please let me know.

The patient reports are quite compelling though – and frightening.

A couple people have mentioned that magnesium supplementation helps their post-flox teeth.  It’s probably a good thing to keep up.

On a personal note, I love my teeth.  Vanity is certainly at play, but I have really good teeth and I’d like to keep them.  I lost a tooth to internal resorbtion – basically, the root disintegrated for no reason – a long time before I took a FQ.  That stunk, for sure.  I can only imagine the horror of losing all of one’s teeth.  Hugs to those who are having post-FQ dental problems!

 

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The Floxie Hope Podcast Eposode 2 – Nick Luciano

Nick Luciano joined me for the second episode of The Floxie Hope Podcast.  In it, Nick describes his journey through fluoroquinolone toxicity induced by Cipro.  Nick went from being a law enforcement officer who worked out daily to being close to bed-bound.  He was unable to work for more than three months after taking Cipro.  He has since recovered most of his health.  His story of healing can be found here – https://floxiehope.com/nicks-story-recovery-from-cipro/

You can listen to Nick tell his story on the podcast through iTunes –

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/floxie-hope-podcast/id945226010

Please subscribe via iTunes too, and you will automatically get The Floxie Hope Podcast downloaded to your phone or computer every time an episode comes out.

If you like this episode, please leave an iTunes review.  All reviews are appreciated!

You can also download this episode of The Floxie Hope Podcast through www.floxiehopepodcast.com

http://www.floxiehopepodcast.com/floxie-hope-podcast-episode-002-nick-luciano/

Thanks for listening, sharing, and spreading the word about fluoroquinolones!

 

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FDA Petitioned to Add Psychiatric Side Effects to Black Box Warning for Fluoroquinolones

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In a survey of 94 people who experienced adverse reactions to Levaquin/levofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, 72% reported experiencing anxiety, 62% reported depression, 48% reported insomnia, 37% reported panic attacks, 33% reported brain fog and/or cognitive impairment, 29% reported depersonalization and/or derealization, 24% reported thoughts of suicide and 22% reported psychosis.

Psychiatric side-effects of fluoroquinolones are common.  Though many of the psychiatric adverse effects of fluoroquinolones are listed on the warning label, they are buried in the “Central Nervous System Effects” section.  Dr. Charles Bennett of the Southern Network on Adverse Reactions (SONAR), has submitted a petition to the FDA requesting that a black box warning about serious psychiatric adverse events be added to the Levaquin/levofloxacin warning label.

More information about the serious psychiatric adverse effects of fluoroquinolones can be found in this post –

PSYCHIATRIC SIDE EFFECTS OF FLUOROQUINOLONE ANTIBIOTICS

Please spread the word about the psychiatric problems that fluoroquinolones can cause.  The serious psychiatric adverse effects of fluoroquinolones are under-recognized.

People are suffering because they are not adequately warned about the dangers of fluoroquinolones.

Thank you for reading and sharing the post!

 

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The Floxie Hope Podcast Episode 001

Floxie.Hope.Podcast.1800.72.dpi

With this post, I am officially launching the FLOXIE HOPE PODCAST.

You can listen to the Floxie Hope Podcast through several methods.

First, you can download it from iTunes using THIS LINK.  You can also subscribe to the Floxie Hope Podcast through iTunes.  Please do – and thanks!!

Podcatchers should be able to catch it from iTunes and download it to your phone or other device.

Or, if you prefer, you can stream the podcast directly through your computer by clicking on any of these links:

http://www.floxiehopepodcast.com

Episode 001 of the Floxie Hope Podcast in its own window

If you are interested in being interviewed on the Floxie Hope Podcast, please let me know.  The best way to reach me is through the “Contact” page on this site.

I want to interview people about all things related to fluoroquinolone toxicity.

As you can probably tell from my introductory episode, I’m not completely comfortable on the microphone quite yet.  I’ll get there, I’m sure.  But it would be really nice, and less painful for my listeners, if someone else was conversing with me on the podcast.  I look forward to hearing your stories on the podcast!

Thanks for listening!

 

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Cellular Oxidative Damage from Fluoroquinolones

Here are some thoughts about what is/was going on in our floxed bodies.

First, here’s my typical disclaimer.  I’m not a doctor or scientist.  I’m doing my best to put together this information, but I could be wrong.  I do my best to be right and I back up my assertions with peer-reviewed journal articles.

As I mentioned in Article Breakdown – “Mechanisms of Pathogenesis in Drug Hepatotoxicity Putting the Stress on Mitochondria,” I believe that this paragraph describes much of what occurs in floxed cells:

“Increased steady-state levels of mitochondrial superoxide, arising from reduction of Sod2 activity in the Sod+/−mice (i.e., approximately half the wild-type activity), may be exacerbated by drugs that directly target the ETC [e.g., the complex I inhibitors flutamide and troglitazone (122)]. The increased amount of superoxide raises two considerations. First, superoxide that escapes dismutation to hydrogen peroxide cannot cross the inner mitochondrial membrane and can oxidize [Fe-S]-containing enzymes (e.g., aconitase and complex I/III subunits). Alternatively, superoxide can rapidly react with mitochondrial nitric oxide (NO) to form peroxynitrite (ONOO−). For example, the fluoroquinolone antibiotic trovafloxacin (TVX), a typical DILI (drug induced liver injury) associated drug, raises steady-state levels of NO in hepatocellular mitochondria (unpublished data). The mechanisms are not known, but TVX also increases cytosolic (non-ferritin-bound) Ca2+, likely activating the Ca2+-dependent mitochondrial NO synthase (123) to produce ONOO−. Peroxynitrite is dangerous for a number of reasons: i) under acidic conditions, it can be degraded to form the extremely reactive hydroxyl radical; ii) it may directly cause the nitration of aconitase, Sod2, and the [Fe-S]-containing subunits of ETC complexes; and iii) it can induce mitochondrial permeabilization (Figure 4B) (124). This superimposed oxidative/nitrative stress could ultimately push the cell across the threshold to observable injury.”

SUPEROXIDE DAMAGE OF MITOCHONDRIAL DNA

Superoxide is a powerful oxidant that is quite toxic.  Per “Mitochondrial matrix reactive oxygen species production is very sensitive to mild uncoupling,” “ROS are produced continuously as a by-product of aerobic metabolism.  Superoxide can be produced as a result of the one-electron reduction system within the mitochondrial electron transport chain.  Superoxide can then be converted into hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) by superoxide dismutase (the Mn isoform in the matrix and cu, Zn-superoxide dismutase in the cytosol).  H2O2 can be converted into highly reactive hydroxyl radicals (OH-) by the Fenton reaction, and can cause lipid peroxidation.” More info about superoxide can be found here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superoxide

In properly functioning cells, superoxide dismutase (SOD) converts superoxide into hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and water.  Unfortunately, fluoroquinolones deplete cellular SOD.  In “Oxidative Stress Induced by Fluoroquinolones on Treatment for Complicated Urinary Tract Infections in Indian Patients” it was found that, for human patients with urinary tract infections and treated with various fluoroquinolones, “There was substantial depletion in both SOD and glutathione levels particularly with ciprofloxacin.”

Without sufficient SOD, as noted above, superoxide “cannot cross the inner mitochondrial membrane and can oxidize.”  Oxidization within the mitochondrial membrane is harmful because it damages mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and starts the vicious cycle of oxidative damage to mitochondria.  (This “vicious cycle” theory is described in “Oxidative stress induces degradation of mitochondrial DNA” – “According to this theory, the production of ROS by mitochondria leads to mtDNA damage and mutations which in turn lead to progressive respiratory chain dysfunction and to a further increase in ROS production as a consequence of this dysfunction. The exponential escalation of these processes is commonly referred to as a ‘vicious cycle’, and the theory predicts that the rise in mtDNA mutations and ROS eventually reach levels that are incompatible with life.”  It should be noted that whether or not this theory is true for how aging works is contentious.  The vicious cycle of damage done by ROS does occur in mitochondria though.)

THE NITRIC OXIDE / PEROXYNITRITE (NO/ONOO-) CYCLE

Additionally, “superoxide can rapidly react with mitochondrial nitric oxide (NO) to form peroxynitrite (ONOO−).”  The ways in which peroxynitrite are dangerous are noted in the paragraph from “Mechanisms of Pathogenesis” at the beginning of this post.

Dr. Martin L. Pall, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University describes the NO/ONOO- (nitric oxide / peroxynitrite) cycle in his web site, http://www.thetenthparadigm.org/index.html.  Here is a diagram from The Tenth Paradigm describing the NO/ONOO- cycle –

ONOO cycle

Here is Dr. Pall’s description of the above diagram:

“Fig. 1 legend.  Vicious (NO/ONOO-) cycle diagram.  Each arrow represents one or more mechanisms by which the variable at the foot of the arrow can stimulate the level of the variable at the head of the arrow.  It can be seen that these arrows form a series of loops that can potentially continue to stimulate each other.  An example of this would be that nitric oxide can increase peroxynitrite which can stimulate oxidative stress which can stimulate NF-kappaB which can increase the production of iNOS which can, in turn increase nitric oxide.  This loop alone constitutes a potential vicious cycle and there are a number of other loops, diagrammed in the figure that can collectively make up a much larger vicious cycle.  The challenge, according to this view, in these illnesses is to lower this whole pattern of elevations to get back into a normal range.  You will note that the cycle not only includes the compounds nitric oxide, superoxide and peroxynitrite but a series of other elements, including the transcription factor NF-kappaB,  oxidative stress, inflammatory cytokines (in box, upper right), the three different forms of the enzymes that make nitric oxide (the nitric oxide synthases iNOS, nNOS and eNOS), and two neurological receptors the vanilloid (TRPV1) receptor and the NMDA receptor.”

The NO/ONOO- cycle provides a reasonable explanation for why it feels as if a bomb has gone off in the body of the floxie.  It also is an explanation as to why the adverse effects of drugs that damage mitochondria and cause oxidative stress are not transient.  There are feedback loops within the cells that perpetuate the damage.

Here is Dr. Pall’s table of signs of the NO/ONOO- cycle –

Explanations for Symptoms and Signs

Symptom/Sign Explanation based on elevated nitric oxide/peroxynitrite theory
energy metabolism /mitochondrial dysfunction Inactivation of several proteins in the mitochondrion by peroxynitrite; inhibition of some mitochondrial enzymes by nitric oxide and superoxide
oxidative stress Peroxynitrite, superoxide and other oxidants
PET scan changes Energy metabolism dysfunction leading to change transport of probe; changes in perfusion by nitric oxide, peroxynitrite and isoprostanes
SPECT scan changes Depletion of reduced glutathione by oxidative stress; perfusion changes as under PET scan changes
Low NK cell function Superoxide and other oxidants acting to lower NK cell function
Elevated cytokines NF-kappaB stimulating of the activity of inflammatory cytokine genes
Anxiety Excessive NMDA activity in the amygdala
Depression Elevated nitric oxide leading to depression; cytokines and NMDA increases acting in part or in whole via nitric oxide.
Rage Excessive NMDA activity in the periaqueductal gray region of the midbrain
Cognitive/learning and memory dysfunction Lowered energy metabolism in the brain, which is very susceptible to such changes; excessive NMDA activity and nitric oxide levels and their effects of learning and memory
Multiorgan pain All components of cycle have a role, acting in part through nitric oxide and cyclic GMP elevation
Fatigue Energy metabolism dysfunction
Sleep disturbance Sleep impacted by inflammatory cytokines, NF-kappaB activity and nitric oxide
Orthostatic intolerance Two mechanisms:  Nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation leading to blood pooling in the lower body; nitric oxide-mediated sympathetic nervous system dysfunction
Irritable bowel syndrome Sensitivity and other changes produced by excessive vanilloid and NMDA activity, increased nitric oxide
Intestinal permeabilization leading to food allergies Permeabilization produced by excessive nitric oxide, inflammatory cytokines, NF-kappaB activity and peroxynitrite; peroxynitrite acts in part by stimulating poly ADP-ribose polymerase activity

Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it?

STOPPING THE NO/ONOO- CYCLE

What can be done to stop the NO/ONOO- cycle?  How can one heal when cells are reinforcing the damage done to them over and over again?

Here are Dr. Pall’s recommendations – http://www.thetenthparadigm.org/therapy.htm

Additionally, a very smart and appreciated floxie noted in a comment on this site, that uric acid has been shown to decrease peroxynitrite.  Per the article, “Uric acid, a natural scavenger of peroxynitrite, in experimental allergic encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis,” “Uric acid, the naturally occurring product of purine metabolism, is a strong peroxynitrite scavenger, as demonstrated by the capacity to bind peroxynitrite but not nitric oxide (NO).”  (There has been some debate about whether floxies want to increase or decrease nitric oxide.  I think that we want to increase NO because too much of it is converted into peroxynitrite.  Here’s an article on how NO helps with tendon healing – “The role of nitric oxide in tendon healing.”)  Uric acid.  The stuff that causes kidney stones and gout – it’s a powerful antioxidant that scavenges peroxynitrite.

The role that uric acid plays in getting rid of toxic peroxynitrite makes sense to me on a personal level because of a couple of things that have made me feel significantly better post-flox – brewer’s yeast and uridine supplements.  Both brewer’s yeast and uridine are high in purines, which are converted into uric acid in the body.  I always thought that the purines and uric acid were a necessary evil and that the good done by brewer’s yeast had to do with its high amino acid and/or B vitamin content.  Now I’m thinking that the necessary evil was actually the active ingredient.

fluoroquinolone-lawsuit-banner-trulaw

Here are a couple more articles about the role of uric acid in peroxynitrite neutralization (thanks again to the floxie friend who pointed them out):

There is a very real risk of kidney stones and gout when consuming too many purines that lead to excess uric acid.  Even though brewer’s yeast has helped me immensely, I feel quite conflicted about it.  I don’t want a kidney stone and gout would probably make my flox-induced peripheral neuropathy look like a cake-walk.  Now that I’m feeling well, I’m probably going to cut way down on my brewer’s yeast consumption.  I really don’t know which are worse – the diseases of too much uric acid (kidney stones and gout) or the diseases of too little uric acid (“patients with MS have significantly lower levels of serum uric acid than controls” and peroxynitrite is associated with lots of other nasty diseases – like cancer and Alzheimer’s).  This isn’t exactly a great predicament.

Another consideration is that fluoroquinolones deplete cellular magnesium and proper amounts of cellular magnesium are necessary for 300+ enzymatic reactions.  (Fluoroquinolones may inhibit and deplete enzymes through means other than depletion of cellular magnesium too.)  If one doesn’t have the enzymes to metabolize uric acid, well, too much isn’t a good thing.  Too much peroxynitrite is bad too though.

I wish that the answers were more clear.  I hope that this post at least gave you some information with which you can make an informed decision!

In researching this post, I stumbled upon this interesting web site – http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/R/ROS.html  It is noted on the site that uric acid is an antioxidant and that, “Perhaps the long life span of some reptiles and birds is attributable to their high levels of uric acid.”  Bird shit and reptile blood are full of the stuff.  If there is a cure for fluoroquinolone toxicity, it’ll probably come from bird turds or alligator blood.  Great.

 

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Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Damage Mitochondria – FDA Does Little

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The Pharmacovigilance folks at the FDA know that fluoroquinolones are damaging mitochondria.  Yet, they look the other way.  Adding a more severe warning about peripheral neuropathy to the warning label isn’t helpful.  People should know that they are increasing their risk of every chronic disease associated with mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress when they take a fluoroquinolone.  That would actually be helpful.

Here is the post, on Hormones Matter – http://www.hormonesmatter.com/fluoroquinolone-antibiotics-damage-mitochondria-fda-adds-warning/

 

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Adverse Drug Reactions are Like Earthquakes

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Here is a post about how adverse drug reactions are like Earthquakes –

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/adverse-drug-reactions-like-earthquakes/

Drugs, just like earthquakes, can shake your world and cause damage and destruction.

 

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Anthrax Exposure

Per NBC News, “More than 80 people may have been exposed to airborne anthrax bacteria in an embarrassing mishap at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and the numbers may go even higher, officials said Friday.

“Right now we have an excess of 80 individuals,” CDC deputy director Dr. Ileana Arias told NBC News. “We expect that number may even grow … because we’re trying to make that available to as many people as possible in order to make sure there are no adverse consequences to health of any of our employees as a result of what happened.”

Not good.  A breach in protocol has endangered the lives of at least 80 people.  I’m sure that the people exposed are terrified.  I’m sure that they’re willing to take whatever antibiotic they are given to either treat or prevent an anthrax infection.

Cipro will likely be given to many of them.

This is the comment that I’m making on any news source article I see on the topic –

I’m betting that a good portion of these scientists will get “floxed.” Floxed is a short-hand term for fluoroquinolone toxicity syndrome – a severe adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone antibiotic – cipro/ciprofloxacin, levaquin/levofloxacin, avelox/moxifloxacin and floxin/ofloxacin. Cipro is getting pushed HARD as a treatment. Cipro and all of the other fluoroquinolones cause severe cellular damage through disruption of the mitochondrial DNA replication process, dramatic increases in oxidative stress, lipid disruptions and depleting vital intercellular enzymes.

Doxycycline can also treat anthrax. It’s pretty benign. Doxy is a bacteriostatic antibiotic and Cipro is a bactericidal antibiotic. Bactericidal antibiotics damage mitochondria.

Saying that you can either take Doxy or Cipro is kind of like saying that, in order to wake up in the morning you can drink coffee or shoot meth. Sure, both will wake you up, but one has significantly fewer consequences than the other.

I hope that the people exposed look at the 43 page warning label for Cipro and demand something else.

Getting floxed isn’t fun. Adverse effects like peripheral neuropathy, severe anxiety, insomnia, weakening of every tendon in the body, etc. can be permanent.

Perhaps some people will see this post too.  Feel free to copy and paste what I wrote anywhere.

Here are the articles that should be read:

Science Translational Medicine, “Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells

Journal of Young Pharmacists, “Oxidative Stress Induced by Fluoroquinolones on Treatment for Complicated Urinary Tract Infections in Indian Patients

Cipro Warning Label

Mechanism of action for Cipro, per the warning label:

Mechanism of Action
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.

Mitochondria are ancient relatives of bacteria.  Fluoroquinolones disrupt enzymes and DNA replication in mitochondria as well as in bacteria.

I wish all of the people exposed to anthrax the best of luck.  I’m here if you need me.

 

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Happy Anniversary Floxie Hope!

I started www.floxiehope.com one year ago today – on June 20, 2013.  It’s my floxiehopeiversary / blogiversary / siteiversary.  A drink will be had to celebrate.

In the year that it has been up, Floxie Hope has had 177,547 page views from, I dunno, a somewhat smaller number of individual viewers.  I have argued that the number of people that have seen my articles is close to the number of page views for Floxie Hope because I publish a large portion of my articles on other sites – www.hormonesmatter.com and www.collective-evolution.com.  I have no idea how many people have viewed my articles on those sites, but I like to think that the number of page views on Floxie Hope is a close approximation to the number of people reached.  177,547 people reached in a year – not too bad, if I do say so myself.

One of my posts, How Pharmaceuticals Came To Be The 4th Leading Cause Of Death In America, on Collective Evolution, has 12,000 Facebook shares, and it got picked up by Real Farmacy and got another 9,400 shares.  Awwww, yeah!  Sorry for tooting my own horn, but I’m really pleased about how many people have read what I’ve written about the dangers of fluoroquinolones.

Most people need to hear a message a few times before they believe it to be true.  Some people heard about the dangers of fluoroquinolones for the first time through something that I wrote.  Some people heard it a second or third time, and started to believe that it was true after reading one of my articles.  Some people went back to the Links & Resources page of Floxie Hope and noted that there are hundreds of peer reviewed journal articles on the dangers of these drugs.  Some people looked up the sources that I cited and realized that I may actually know what I’m talking about when I say that cipro, levaquin, avelox, floxin and the other fluoroquinolones are dangerous drugs that are hurting people on a cellular level.  The message is sinking into people’s consciousness one viewer at a time.

I’m pretty pleased about the number of people reached.  The word is getting out.

An amazing community has been formed on www.floxiehope.com.  If you look through the comments, you’ll see that wonderful, intelligent, insightful people have provided support and encouragement to their fellow floxies on Floxie Hope.  I am so pleased and honored to know each person who has shared his or her knowledge and insight.  Your words of wisdom and your encouragement are greatly appreciated!

I have come to consider the people who I correspond with about fluoroquinolone toxicity to be friends.  My floxie friends are strong, resilient, interesting, thoughtful, smart, generous people that I am so happy to have in my life.  🙂  I’m sorry that we have come together in the way that we have.  But alas, some good can come from bad, and the relationships between floxies are as valuable and precious as any other relationship.

The feedback that I get from the people who have been positively affected by Floxie Hope keeps me going.  I hear from people who let me know that the information on Floxie Hope has given them guidance, direction, and, most importantly, hope.  I tear up with joy when a friend tells me that an article that I wrote helped him to convince his doctor not to prescribe fluoroquinolones frivolously; or when I hear that what I wrote has helped the family of a floxie friend to understand what she is going through; or when I hear that the message of hope and resilience that I am trying to spread saves a relationship or even a life.

I’m glad that I could help.

You are not alone.  None of us are alone in this struggle.  We have each other.  It’s an honor to be part of a community of people that supports and cares for its members.  None of us ever wished to be a part of the floxie community, but it’s nice that while we’re here, we have great people around providing encouragement and support.

A year ago today, I started Floxie Hope because I knew that I needed to hear stories of hope and healing when I was sick and terrified.  When I was sick, I needed to know that some people recover and I needed to hear that I would be okay.  I ended up getting that message from other places, and through time, trial and error.  Now people can get that message through this site.  The stories of hope, healing, perseverance, strength, etc. that are on Floxie Hope have helped so many people, and I am so thankful to everyone who has provided their story.  You are all appreciated!

I think that I have been successful in making Floxie Hope a place where people can gain hope and help.  It couldn’t have been done without the rest of you, so I thank each and every one of you who has helped by reading, sharing, commenting and/or writing for Floxie Hope.

The next step will be to make change.  There is nothing that is okay about people getting hurt by fluoroquinolones.  Fluoroquinolones are dangerous drugs that should not be used frivolously.  The fact that they are being used frivolously and that they are hurting people is wrong.  It is a problem and it needs to change.  We, as a community, will make it change.  We have the truth, and quite a bit of scientific evidence on our side.  With some perseverance, intelligent strategy and luck, we’ll make it happen.

Advocacy is something that can be done when you have your strength and health back.  Those who don’t have the strength or health to advocate need hope.  I hope that you gain hope from this site.  It’s what it’s here for.

Xoxo

-Lisa

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Can Antibiotics Induce Psychiatric Reactions?

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Fluoroquinolones cause mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress.  Mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress have been causally linked to all sorts of psychiatric disorders, including, but not limited to bipolar disorder, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, etc.  Fluoroquinolones are bad for your brain.  Reactive oxygen species have hugely deleterious effects on all parts of the body and mind.

 

The full post can be found here –

https://www.hormonesmatter.com/antibiotics-psychiatric-reactions/

 

Thank you, as always, for reading and sharing information about the dangers of fluoroquinolones!

 

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Articles About Fluoroquinolone Toxicity to Give to Your Doctor

People often ask for articles about fluoroquinolone toxicity to share with their doctors.  Following are a few articles that I recommend.

What you should share with your doctor depends on your doctor’s willingness to read what you give him or her.  Doctors are busy.  Most of them don’t have the time, energy or inclination to keep up with all of the latest drug research.  They depend on the FDA to regulate drugs and they assume that if a drug has been on the market for years, it must be safe.  They are wrong in those assumptions.  It would be more appropriate for them to assume that all of the mysterious diseases of modernity (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome / M.E., autoimmune diseases, allergies, dietary intolerances, autism, etc.) are due to the damage that pharmaceuticals are doing to the mitochondria, microbiome, endocrine system, etc.; and the feedback loops between those delicate systems.  Unfortunately, most doctors haven’t had that epiphany quite yet.  Here are some articles that can at least introduce Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome to them:

Show your doctor this if 4 sentences is his/her limit:

I’m going to ruffle feathers, but I’ll tell you anyway” By Suzy Cohen

SuzyCohen

Here are more details on fluoroquinolones being chemo drugs, as Suzy Cohen notes: “ CIPRO, LEVAQUIN AND AVELOX ARE CHEMO DRUGS” by me (Lisa Bloomquist) on Hormones Matter.

For doctors who are willing to take the time to read a few articles, but aren’t going to spend a lot of time looking into FQ toxicity, I recommend that you show them these:

  1.  Dear Doctor letter written by Dr. Plumb, a doctor who was Floxed
  2. New York Times article by Jane Brody, “Popular Antibiotics May Carry Serious Side Effects
  3. PBS Frontline expose about fluoroquinolones
  4. Forbes article by Melanie Haiken, “Antibiotic Alert: The Drug the Doctor Ordered Could Cause Deadly Side Effects
  5. Fluoroquinolones 101” by me (Lisa Bloomquist) on Hormones Matter.

For doctors who are willing to read journal articles about fluoroquinolones, I recommend these:

  1. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM & R) “Musculoskeletal Complications of Fluoroquinolones: Guidelines and Precautions for Usage in the Athletic Population
  2. Science Translational Medicine, “Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells
  3. Journal of Young Pharmacists, “Oxidative Stress Induced by Fluoroquinolones on Treatment for Complicated Urinary Tract Infections in Indian Patients
  4. Molecular Pharmacology, “Delayed Cytotocicity and Cleavage of Mitochondrial DNA in Ciprofloxacin Treated Mammalian Cells

There are more than 100 other useful peer-reviewed research articles on the Links & Resources page of Floxie Hope.

Another thing that you can do is go over the FDA warning labels for the fluoroquinolones with your doctor:

  1. FDA Datasheet – Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  2. FDA Datasheet – Levofloxacin (Levaquin)
  3. FDA Datasheet – Moxifloxacin (Avelox)

The severity of adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones isn’t noted anywhere on the labels.  Nor is the fact that symptoms can be delayed.  It is assumed, by everyone, that adverse drug reactions are transient and that they will stop when administration of the drug has stopped.  This isn’t true for fluoroquinolones.  The adverse effects listed on the fluoroquinolone warning labels are multi-systemic and perhaps your doctor should wonder how and why fluoroquinolones cause multi-symptom, chronic illness.

Most people, doctors and patients alike, think that adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones are rare.  If you feel like going over this post with your doctor, I think that I make some good points in it:  “Is Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Rare?

Multi-symptom chronic illness brought on by a chemotherapy drug masquerading as an antibiotic is something to take seriously.  If your concerns are not taken seriously, I highly recommend finding another doctor.

And please thank the doctors who listen to you, read the articles that you give them and start being more prudent with their use of fluoroquinolones.  When a critical mass of doctors realize the dangers of these drugs, we’ll start seeing change.  I thank every one of you who takes the time to talk to your doctors about fluoroquinolone toxicity.  It does a lot of good.

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Losing my Reading Comprehension

I lost a lot of my reading comprehension while I was floxed. I could still officially read – if you gave me a short memo that said, “buy milk,” or something like that, I could read it. But reading a novel or complex materials for work became really difficult. I lost track of the content of the beginning of a paragraph by the time I reached the end of the paragraph. I struggled to understand things that I used to be able to read with ease. I read The Hunger Games series about 2 months after I got floxed. Despite the fact that most 14-year-olds are able to understand those books, and I could have breezed through them before I got floxed (especially when I was 14), I struggled to comprehend them. I remember the basic gist of the books, but the details were lost on me. I read them slowly and without joy or interest (which kind of sucks because I heard that they were fun). My job requires me to read so I had to force myself to read materials for work, but it was difficult to get through them and I had to read everything two or more times in order to understand what I had read. Even after reading work materials a couple of times, I was still unsure about what I had read.

I hated the feeling of not being able to read like I used to be able to. It was horrible. It was scary. I thought that I was stupid and that I would continue to be stupid because I would never be able to comprehend written words again. I doubted my ability to do my job. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to learn about what happened to me because I couldn’t read well enough to research. I was scared that I would never be able to enjoy reading a novel again. I was scared that I was unemployable.

Interestingly though, I could still write. My writing actually improved after getting floxed. Written words could flow out of me, but it was a one-way stream – they couldn’t come back in.

I thought of the loss of reading comprehension as a symptom, but it never occurred to me that my improved writing may be a symptom too until other floxies started to report to me that they experienced the same thing – a loss of reading comprehension along with an improved capacity for writing.

Isn’t that odd? Something similar happened in our brains that made us less capable of reading and more capable of writing. It’s really strange and I’m curious about it. What happened? Why would that be a common set of symptoms for multiple people who are suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity?

Neither a loss of reading comprehension nor an increased capacity for writing are the most severe symptoms that most floxies experience, so I would guess that most people would want research funds to be focused elsewhere. But I wonder if any neurologists find this curious symptom to be interesting enough to study it. If there are any neurologists who read this who want to hear about my experience, please let me know (but know that my willingness to undergo testing is pretty close to zero).

The most simple explanation for these symptoms is that oxidative stress in the brain is what hurt our reading comprehension, and our writing capacity increased because we had something to say. Also, our brains had to compensate in some way for the loss of reading comprehension and perhaps they did so with an increased capacity for writing. That seems like an overly simplified way of looking at complex processes though, and I’m still quite curious about what happened in my floxed brain.

It’s interesting. At least, I think it is. I think that it should be studied. Maybe along with all of the other deleterious effects on the brain/mind that result from fluoroquinolone use.

Are any researchers, scientists or doctors curious about this?

Sadly and strangely, there seems to be a lack of curiosity about anything related to adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones. Maybe that’s because the symptoms are so broad. How does one even start to examine multi-symptom, chronic illness? It’s too big. Perhaps noting some of the little symptoms will pique some curiosity.

I hope so.

P.S. – I can read again. I feel like some of my writing talent has diminished as my reading capacity has increased. This is probably perception more than objective reality, but I wonder if there is only a certain amount of capacity that I have for written words and as one goes up, it takes from the other. Probably not. 🙂

 

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Fluoroquinolones and Children

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The post entitled, “DON’T LET YOUR BABIES GROW UP TO BE FLOXIES” can be found on Hormones Matter.

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/fluoroquinolone-antibiotics-child-health-floxie/

Despite the fact that fluoroquinolone antibiotics – Cipro/Ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/Levofloxacin, Avelox/Moxifloxacin and Floxin/Ofloxacin – are contraindicated in the pediatric population because they have been shown to cause lameness and lesions on the cartilage of juvenile animals, they are administered to children all the time.  I have a friend who has a three year-old daughter who has been prescribed Cipro twice – once in the form of ear drops and once in the form of pills.  Luckily, my friend knows how dangerous fluoroquinolones are and she didn’t fill the prescriptions.  Other parents and children aren’t so lucky.  Children are being hurt by fluoroquinolones every day.  It’s a tragedy that needs to stop.  Please share “DON’T LET YOUR BABIES GROW UP TO BE FLOXIES” with any friends who are parents.  No child should go through the horror of fluoroquinolone toxicity.

 

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Cipro, Levaquin and Avelox are Chemo Drugs

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The entirety of this post can be found HERE.

Here is an excerpt –

When I first heard people referring to fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Floxin and a few others) as “chemotherapy drugs,” I thought that they were exaggerating or incorrect.  After all, fluoroquinolones are used to treat urinary tract infections, traveler’s diarrhea, anthrax, and other bacterial infections, not cancer. But then I started to do some research into how fluoroquinolones work and I discovered that they cause mitochondrial damage, which leads to oxidative stress and cell death (12), they interfere with the DNA replication process of mitochondria (3), they disrupt tubulin assembly (4) and that they are being investigated for their tumor killing abilities (56).  I also found that all other drugs that have the same mechanism for action as fluoroquinolones – topoisomerase interrupters (FDA warning label7) (topoisomerases are necessary for proper DNA replication) – are used as chemotherapy drugs – topotecanamsacrineetoposide, etc.  Fluoroquinolones are, truly, chemotherapy drugs – they just happen to be used as popular antibiotics. They can kill cancerous tumor cells because, in addition to killing bacterial cells, they also kill eukaryotic cells (89).

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Six Word Essays about Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

Following are 6-word essays about fluoroquinolone toxicity – an adverse reaction to Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox or other fluoroquinolone antibiotic – written by people affected by fluoroquinolone toxicity.  Having only six words with which to communicate a message forces people to be succinct.  These essays are succinct and they are poignant.  They express the pain, frustration and devastation that comes with getting poisoned by a fluoroquinolone.

I don’t tweet, but apparently the hashtag #sixwords is a popular one.  If anyone who reads this who is into tweeting can please tweet any of the 6-word essays that resonate with them to both #sixwords and #fqtoxicity, your help will be greatly appreciated!  (Or, if you want to, please feel free to tweet this whole post.)  Thank you!

Six Word Essays About Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

Roses are Red, Fluoroquinolones are Poison

Ciprofloxacin:  Another way of saying death.

My doctor said Cipro would help.

My medical necklace says “NO Fluoroquinolones!”

I didn’t consent to this shit!

Climb the Rockies? Can’t take Cipro.

Before Cipro, my career was great.

Discover disability income by taking Cipro.

Cipro did not heal, it harmed.

All antibiotics are not the same

Cipro: my living nightmare through hell.

Cipro: best cure for loving life!

Bayer with me, I’ve been floxed.

Took Levaquin, now I can’t walk.

Fluoroquinolones – chemo drugs masquerading as antibiotics

Took Avelox, now I can’t think.

Bayer is corrupt. Bastards poisoned me.

LIE: Levaquin hurts only the elderly

Kevorkian got life. Bayer got money.

Just one pill can unleash hell!

Need a change? Take Cipro twice.

Fluoroquinolones ruined my career and life

Cipro a life of living HELL

Torn tendons.  Going blind.  NOT fine.

With generic Fluoroquinolones you can’t sue

Fluoroquinolones= Life altered never the same

Five Levaquin= healthy life nearly destroyed.

Time brings recovery and dreams rebuilt

Fluoroquinolones, designed antibacterial drug, kills people.

No one knows how fluoroquinolones work

Anthrax would have been much quicker.

Fluoroquinolones, the drugs that keep taking.

This is what poisoning looks like

Cipro attacks bacteria and your life.

One-stop shopping body damage, take Cipro.

Is this medicine in the Chemo?

No FQ prescription without infection Please

My feet hurt.  I can’t think.

The tests say it’s not real

Life taken away by Antibiotic Levaquin!

Doctors can poison you.  Stay away.

Levaquin tarnished Golden years beyond repair!

Mystery illness?  Look at your antibiotics.

Doctors  – STOP DOING THIS TO PEOPLE!

Fluoroquinolones are all huge mind blowers.

Fluoroquinolone toxicity – this is not okay!

This situation is ridiculously fucking stupid

Forevermore climbing out of my coffin

Please stop poisoning the American people.

Cipro destroys all connective tissues, disabled.

Life before Cipro J  life after Cipro L

Age 36 feel 100 thanks Cipro

I fucking hate the poison LEVAQUIN

Fluoroquinolines woke me up, Big Pharma

Southern Belle caught in Levaquin Hell

Fluoroquinolones have to be FDA retested

Keep fluoroquinolones for yourselves, Big Pharma

For your safety say No Fluoroquinolones

Levaquin cripples/disables young healthy athletes.

Levaquin is a portal to hell.

levaquin: How could doctor prescribe poison?

Taking fluroquinolones is playing Russian roulette.

Visit doctor get levaquin; the END.

My doctor quit using them. Yay!

Fiendish floxie fortune found friends forever!

Ten days Levofloxacin, five months bedridden.

Cipro levaquin Avelox Danger Danger Danger

Cipro Levaquin Avelox Top Chemical Reactors

One little pill ruined his life

Levaquin hits market; mystery ailments rise.

My wasted Toxic Body By Levaquin!

Levaquin: perfect poison masquerades as antibiotic

Got mitochondria? Kill them with levaquin!

Levaquin changed my fucking language ha!

Levaquin/Cipro: Big Pharma’s stealth bombs

Fluoroquinolones : population control in little pills

FDA lets levaquin mutate your DNA!

Levaquin has taken away my strength.

Fluoroquinolones: Head to Toe Super Toxicity

Need Skull and Crossbones? That’s Fluoroquinolones

Bayer profiting over your dead body!

Selling Levaquin because illness equals profits

Levaquin Restyled My Body, Head, Hair

Cipro / Levaquin destroyed my health forever

Want fibromyalgia? Take levaquin and watch!

Look at the mitochondria you fools!

Cipro! Because Bayer wants sick people!

Recovering ever so slowly thank God

Levaquin: your pill to rapid ageing!

SLUT here, Southern Lady utterly toxic!

Crippled overnight? Did you take Levaquin?

The Fluoroquinolone Train Destination: PURE HELL

Thank you, Levaquin, for the Disaster!

I will recover – just watch me

My doctor mutated me with Levaquin!

I didn’t consent to genetic modification!

Levaquin forced Bugs Bunny to retire.

Humpty Dumpty got poisoned by Cipro

Cipro didn’t kill me.  I’m alive.

Big Pharma is careless with chemo

Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics damage tendons, nerves, DNA

Crimes against Humanity continue; seemingly unstoppable!

Levaquin: watch your life fade away!

Levaquin mutant seeks healthcare, doctor runs.

Levaquin flushes Hippocratic oath down drain!

Criminals get free pass. Thanks FDA!

Doctor poisons patients. Calls patients crazy.

FDA grants Bayer permit to poison!

Floxies win war against criminal corporations!

Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox FQ you up!

I will never be the same!

Life’s a bitch, then you die.

Cipro, a CHEMO drug, ….disabled me!

Levaquin, the beginning of the end.

Body blowing mind altering antibiotic lie!

Know what meds not to mix

Fluoroquinolones – stealth weapons of mass destruction

Fluoroquinolones – poison comes in many disguises

Big Pharma is not your friend

Floxie friends work together through adversity

Fluoroquinolones – the biggest medical travesty ever

Never give up, never give in

 

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Introducing Floxie Pets

I started a new web site.  It’s www.floxiepets.com.  It’s a site with which I hope to bring awareness about how fluoroquinolones can hurt and kill our beloved pets.  Cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, guinea pigs, and other loved animals are being poisoned by fluoroquinolones.  It’s wrong and it needs to stop.

I am looking for stories about pets that have been floxed.  If you have a story that you would like to share about an animal that has been hurt by Baytril or any other fluoroquinolone, please send it to me at floxiehope@gmail.com.

I wonder if people will pay more attention, and be more outraged, about pets getting hurt than they are about people getting hurt.  People have become so accustomed and numb to human pain and suffering that it fails to evoke outrage.  We have gotten so used to the mantra of, “all drugs have side-effects” that we forget that those “side-effects” are happening TO PEOPLE; that people are getting hurt and killed by drugs, and that it is wrong for that to happen.  People still become outraged over animals being hurt though.

Perhaps greater outrage over pain inflicted on animals than pain inflicted on our fellow humans is not absurd.  Our fellow humans have decision-making capabilities, responsibility and free will.  Our pets do not.  They trust us entirely to care for them.  So, when they are hurt by human negligence, ignorance or cruelty, we become outraged.  Pets are innocent.  To hurt them is wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, hurting humans with fluoroquinolones is very, very, very wrong as well.  It needs to stop.  I appreciate everyone who is screaming about this absurd, and horribly wrong, situation of people being crippled by Cipro, Avelox, Floxin and Levaquin.  People can communicate their pain.  We should communicate it.  We should scream about it until it stops.

Animals can’t communicate their pain to us.  It is up to us to interpret their actions and tell their stories.  If you have a story about a loved pet being hurt by Baytril, or any of the other fluoroquinolones, please share his or her story.  Hopefully the stories of pets being hurt by fluoroquinolones will save others from the same fate.

Maybe it will even evoke some outrage.  Perhaps even some change.

P.S. – “Likes” and “shares” of www.floxiepets.com are greatly appreciated!

Thank you for reading Floxie Hope!  I hope that all who read Floxie Hope gain insight, support, understanding and, most of all, HOPE.  If you would like to support Floxie Hope, all contributions will be greatly appreciated!  Click HERE to contribute to Floxie Hope.  Thank you!

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What Getting Poisoned Looks Like

People think that getting poisoned looks like this:

But in the real world, it looks like this:

People whose cells are being destroyed from the inside out, often look fine.  Looks can be deceiving.

Everyone with an invisible or mysterious illness should ask the question – Were you poisoned?

Something that everyone who suspects that they may have been poisoned should note is that much of the damage, the poisoning, is indirect.  Pharmaceuticals (fluoroquinolones included) and environmental toxins damage mitochondria and, after reaching their tolerance threshold for damage, the mitochondria respond by producing poisonous reactive oxygen species (also known as oxidative stress).  Those reactive oxygen species (peroxynitrite is a particularly toxic one) that result from mitochondrial damage cause multi-symptom chronic illnesses.  It should be noted by people with chronic fatigue / M.E., that mitochondria are the energy centers of our cells and that damage to them can result in debilitating fatigue.  It should be noted by people with fibromyalgia that mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress have been shown to damage nerves and cause body-wide pain.  Autoimmune diseases have also been linked to poisoning, and also to mitochondrial damage.

Mitochondrial damage is tricky in that the tests to show it are woefully new and under-utilized.  Muscle biopsies can show mitochondrial damage, but they’re invasive and not very reliable.  Lactate doublets are a sign of mitochondrial damage, but the research behind them is new and utilization of MRIs to test for lactate doublets are rarely used.

The fact that the tests don’t show anything means that the tests are inadequate (and that they don’t show mitochondrial damage / oxidative stress), not that the problem is “in your head” or that it’s not chemical, or that you haven’t been poisoned.

People who are poisoned are in pain, they are fatigued, they can’t think straight, they are unable to function at the level that they used to.  That should sound familiar to everyone with fibromyalgia, CFS/ME and even autoimmune diseases.  Were you poisoned?  When?  By what?  And by whom?

If doctors looked at the mitochondria, they would see the destruction of the poison.  But they don’t look at mitochondria.  As long as they don’t look at mitochondria, they can tell themselves that their drugs are safe; that they’re not poison.  Ignorance is bliss for the entire medical profession and the FDA.  Too bad their ignorant bliss isn’t reality.

Look around you.  The chronically ill people around you are telling you something.  This is what the poisoning of America looks like.

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Peer Reviewed Sources:

Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, “Medication Induced Mitochondrial Damage and Disease

Toxicological Sciences, “Mitochondria as a Target of Environmental Toxicants

Molecular Interventions, “Mechanisms of Pathogenesis in Drug Hepatoxicity Putting the Stress on Mitochondria

Biochemical Society Transactions, “Mitochondrial Matirix Reactive Oxygen Species Production is Very Sensitive to Mild Uncoupling

Science Translational Medicine, “Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells

Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, “Mitochondrial cytopathy in adults: What we know so far

Current Pharmaceutical Design, “Nitric Oxide-Derived Oxidants with a Focus on Peroxynitrite: Molecular Targets,Cellular Responses and Therapeutic Implications

Journal of Internal Medicine, “Chronic fatigue syndrome: assessment of increased oxidative stress and altered muscle excitability in response to incremental exercise

Biomed Central, “Central role of nitric oxide in the pathogenesis  of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus

JAMA Psychiatry, “Mitochondrial Dysfunction as a Neurobiological Subtype of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets, “The role of mitochondrial dysfunctions due to oxidative and nitrosative stress in the chronic pain or chronic fatigue syndromes and fibromyalgia patients: peripheral and central mechanisms as therapeutic targets?

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Healing my Brain After Cipro

The scariest parts of getting floxed, for me, were the cognitive losses that I experienced. I lost my memory, my reading comprehension, my concentration, my ability to connect with people and have a meaningful conversation, my ability to understand what was going on at work, etc. I felt stupid. I felt as if my IQ had dropped significantly. My job, which I had done with ease before getting sick, suddenly felt difficult. I had trouble reading; books that I could previously understand with ease, suddenly became incomprehensible.

It was horrible.

Having my muscles and tendons not work like they used to was scary, but losing important aspects of my mind was terrifying.

I had always thought of myself as a smart person and to have that taken away from me was so, so, so difficult. Losing my memory, reading comprehension, concentration, etc. made me question my identity as a “smart” person. If I didn’t have those things, was I still smart? Was I still capable? Could I understand things that I needed to understand to be able to do my job, connect with my loved ones and identify myself as intelligent?

All of those questions went through my head. Both the questions, and the honest answer of – I don’t know – were difficult to deal with.

I tried lots of things to get my mind back. I’m not sure how much of a difference any single thing made, but cumulatively, they worked. I got at least most of my cognitive skills back. I’m not any slower mentally now than I was before I got sick – or at least I don’t think I am.

There’s not a protocol for what to do to get your brain back after getting floxed, so I had to guess about what would help me. I tried various things. Here are the things that seemed to help:

  1. Time. First and foremost, time helped. Getting back to a place where I felt as intelligent as I did before I got floxed took time. It was one of the last things to come back, but it did come back. I have recovered my memory, reading comprehension, concentration, ability to follow conversations, etc. Time was my friend. It healed my cognitive wounds along with my physical wounds.
  2. Meditation. Meditating helped me to gain my concentration back. If you can concentrate on your breath, you can concentrate on a book. Both are pretty difficult when floxed. Concentrating on the breath while meditating is difficult for non-floxies too. Attempting to do something that is difficult (meditating is simultaneously the easiest and most difficult thing in the world to do) helped me to do other things that were comparatively easy.
  3. Suduku puzzles. I did a suduku puzzle a day for at least a year. It engaged my brain. It helped me to concentrate.
  4. Reading. Practice makes perfect, as they say. I kept reading and eventually it got easier.
  5. Writing. I think that writing the articles that I have put online has helped me to organize my thoughts, remember information, etc.
  6. Researching. The articles about how fluoroquinolones affect cells are not easy. They’re actually really, really hard. Learning the language that is in the scientific journal articles that I now read for fun (well, to figure this stuff out, but I am doing it voluntarily so I suppose that it is “for fun”) has exercised my brain.
  7. Lecithin. I supplement lecithin. I think that it has cleared up some of the brain fog that I had. Here is an article about the benefits of lecithin – http://www.diannecraft.org/improving-your-memory-with-lecithin/ One thing to note is that lecithin is soy based so be forewarned of that if you can’t eat soy.

With all of those things, and some luck, I have recovered my mental capabilities. My brain fog has receded. My memory, reading comprehension, connectedness and concentration are as good as they were before I got sick. In some ways, I may even be smarter now than I was before I got floxed. I didn’t read biochem journals for fun before I got floxed. I didn’t know what lymphcytes or reactive oxygen species or acyl glucuronides were before I got floxed. I know what those things are now (okay, so I don’t really understand acyl glucuronides, but who does?).

I know that the loss of mental capabilities the happens with fluoroquinolone toxicity is really scary. Please try to believe that it will pass and that it will get better. It did for me. My mind recovered along with my body. I sincerely hope the same for you!

 

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Posts Written by Floxed Friends

Many of my floxed friends have blogs.  Links to their blogs can be found on the “Links and Resources” page of this site.  I thank them very much for telling their story and for their words of wisdom!  All of you are very much appreciated!

Some of my floxie friends have also submitted posts to web sites that are not devoted to fluoroquinolone issues.  I wanted to keep track of them, so I’m putting them in this post.  This post will be updated as posts are added.  If you want anything to be listed on here, please let me know through the “Contact” link.  Thanks!

Emily Dodson-Murphy, “How Many Doctors Does it Take to Fix a Shower?  A Tale of Fluoroquinolone Injury” on Hormones Matter

Emily Dodson-Murphy, “Becoming the Person I Hoped I was” on Hormones Matter

Debra Anderson, “Glabrata – A Deadly Post Fluoroquinolone Risk You’ve Never Heard About” on Hormones Matter

Patti Ireland, “The Doctor Said Not to Worry About Levaquin Warnings” on Hormones Matter

Bobbi Jo Stellato, “A Fragmented Balance: Life Post Cipro” on Hormones Matter

Janet Murray, “Fluoroquinolone Neuropathy Feels Like Acid Burning and Electricution” on Hormones Matter

Destini Bates, “A Long and Complicated History Topped by Levaquin: Please Help” on Hormones Matter 

Floxed, “Cipro Ain’t Sexy: Fluoroquinolones Tanked my Sex Drive” on Hormones Matter

Erin Wilson, “Fluoroquinolone Recovery Brought to you by Nature” on Natural News 

Erin Wilson, “Levaquin, Cipro, Fibromyalgia and Leaky Gut – The Missing Link” on Natural News 

Erin Wilson, “Levaquin and Cipro’s ‘Dirty Little Secret’ Sexual Dysfunction” on Natural News 

Erin Wilson, “Levaquin and Cipro – The Descent into Madness” on Natural News 

Erin Wilson, “NEW FDA WARNING for Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox – Permanent Peripheral Neuropathy – Mixed Emotions” on Natural News

Erin Wilson, “The Reality of Fluoroquinolones – Or, How I Became Disabled Over Night” on Natural News 

Erin Wilson, “Fluoroquinolone Toxicity for Dummies” on Natural News

Andrea, “Did I Get Floxed?” on MTHFR Living

Ruth Young, “In the Valley of the Shadow of Death” on Pictures of Cats

Sarah E. Flynn, Ph.D., “Postpartum Fluoroquinolone Toxicity” on Hormones Matter

I have many posts on Collective Evolution and Hormones Matter as well.  I thank Hormones Matter, Collective Evolution and Natural News for highlighting the dangers of fluoroquinolones!

Please let me know what needs to be added to this post.  Thanks!

 

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Cipro Stole my Libido

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Also known as, “Post Fluoroquinolone Sex and Libido.”

Here is the link – http://www.hormonesmatter.com/post-fluoroquinolone-sex-libido/

Loss of libido, and other sexual side-effects, are common for floxies.  Just one more thing these nasty drugs take away.  It’s not okay.

 

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What’s Poisoning You?

The following post is a bit of a rant. It’s inflammatory and is likely to annoy or offend many of you. I apologize for the offense in advance.

Though, as you will see in the following post, I get annoyed when people look exclusively at diet when looking for causes of mysterious diseases, I don’t think that nutrition is unimportant. It is very important. Food is fuel for our bodies, and putting lousy fuel into our engines will lead us to feeling sick and looking sickly.

But fluoroquinolones, and other damaging pharmaceuticals, are like putting sand in the engine. They thoroughly mess up one’s body and mind – suddenly, severely and systemically. Yet the severe cellular damage done by fluoroquinolones is ignored by many physicians providing explanations to their patients as to why their body is going hay-wire. It annoys me to the point that I rant about it on the internet.

Blaming the Standard American Diet (SAD – very sad) for multi-symptom, chronic, mysterious diseases is far better than the alternative of telling people that their disease is all in their head. However, it’s not the full picture and it has problems as well (that I rant about below).

(Relevance of this below) – I totally think that Glenn Beck is floxed. Just sayin’.

What’s Poisoning You?

The American diet is difficult to defend. The typical American meal contains high-fructose corn syrup from genetically modified corn, sugar in amounts that are multiple times higher than those found in any fruit in nature, partially hydrogenated fats, MSG, preservative chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, etc. Additionally, the typical American meal is devoid of vegetables, sprouted grains, fermented foods, fiber, minerals, vitamins, nutrients, etc. This combination has, undoubtedly, contributed to all sorts of chronic diseases – from obesity to cancer.

However, I think that, collectively, we are taking the “what you eat determines your health” paradigm too far.

Blaming a poor diet for a person’s illness reeks of victim-blaming. It says to the person who is ill, you wouldn’t be sick if you ate differently. You wouldn’t be sick if you ate more vegetables, or fewer desserts, or more or less carbohydrates, or more or less protein, or more or less fat. In telling a person who is sick that he or she wouldn’t be sick if he or she had eaten differently, you are telling that person that it is his or her fault that he or she is sick.

Is that fair? And, more importantly, is it true?

Health is determined by many factors, not just diet. Genetics, of course, also play a role in health. Exercise, stress, time in the sun, social connections, etc. also contribute to health – and disease. Exposure to toxins also has a huge effect on health. Toxins in our environment – from pollution and from them being intentionally added to our food and water – affect our health – and being poisoned by them, either slowly or suddenly, can cause illness. Pharmaceuticals are also an under-recognized source of toxins that adversely affects the health of many (though it takes a paradigm shift to realize how much harm prescription drugs do because we all think that drugs should be helping us, not hurting us).

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The blaming of diet for diseases has gotten to a point of ridiculousness. In an article published in The Atlantic entitled Living Sick and Dying Young in Rich America, the author asks a doctor if the autoimmune disease that her husband (who is in his 30s) suffers from is the result of growing up eating Spaghetti-O’s and drinking Pepsi. In a round-about way, blaming addiction to junk food, the doctor confirms that her husband’s diet is the culprit. Really??? Does that really seem reasonable to anyone – that Spaghetti-O’s and Pepsi could cause an autoimmune disease? Because I’m pretty sure that autoimmune diseases are caused by malfunctioning immune system cells, and that the doctor should look at things that have been confirmed to damage immune system cells as potential culprits, before blaming Spaghetti-O’s. And yes, there are plenty of environmental toxins and pharmaceuticals that have been shown to adversely affect immune system cells (lymphocytes).*

On March 20, 2014, former Fox News personality Glenn Beck announced that his doctors had determined that the cause of his neuropathy, inflammation and pain was his diet. His doctor told him, “‘Well, basically, you are being poisoned… Food is poisoning you.’” Glenn Beck looks like a pretty typical American so I’m sure that his diet is not perfect. But I’m also pretty sure that he’s eating FOOD, not poison, and that his doctor is simply wrong in telling him that the neuropathic pain that he is experiencing is due to his food poisoning him. Poison, not food, poisons people. Perhaps Mr. Beck should look at what pharmaceutical poisons he has taken in lately – especially fluoroquinolones – because fluoroquinolones can do enough cellular damage to cause neuropathic pain – but Taco Bell burritos can’t.

I’m sure that Mr. Beck will adjust his diet by cutting out the foods that are perceived to be poison, and I truly hope that helps him. Most people who are suffering from diseases that cannot be cured by modern medicine adjust their diet to try to heal themselves. Many people who are struggling with chronic illness stick to a “perfect” diet. For some, “perfect” means the Paleo Diet. For others, “perfect” means the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Some stick to a raw food diet. Some juice. Some avoid gluten, or sugar, or dairy, or meat, or all of those things. Yet, even with a “perfect” diet, they are still sick. They have not been magically cured by adding or subtracting some food source. They are sick – chronically ill – and though adjustments to diet may be helpful, they are not a cure for many (maybe most) people.

An even bigger problem with blaming diseases on diet than the victim blaming and nonsense explanations, is that the real explanation for the disease is not sought. Chef Boyardee, Taco Bell and Pepsi become the scapegoats and the real culprit behind the disease is ignored. Something is really causing autoimmune diseases, neuropathic pain, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and all the other diseases that are striking young Americans. Blaming diet, and thus blaming the victim, may be convenient, but it is not the whole answer (or even part of the answer if you are feeling cynical). The real answers will remain elusive until we demand real, sensible answers to the question of what causes the chronic diseases of modernity.

Sure, a diet full of sugar, hydrogenated-fat and chemicals isn’t good for you, and it is surely contributing to many diseases, but does it really make sense to blame a poor diet on body-wide neuropathic pain, or on a person being so drained of energy that they feel like they have the flu and a bus hit them even after a full night’s sleep? It sure doesn’t make sense to me.

What does make sense to me is iatrogenic mitochondrial dysfunction. Many pharmaceuticals, including fluroquinolone antibiotics, statins, metformin (a diabetes drug), multiple chemotherapy drugs, and others, have been shown to damage mitochondria and lead to oxidative stress. Mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress can lead to multi-symptom chronic illnesses and neuropathic pain. (Source)

Perhaps diet isn’t solely to blame for many of the diseases of modernity. Perhaps pharmaceutical drugs – especially fluoroquinolones, and the medical system, share much of the responsibility for causing many of the chronic, mysterious diseases that plague people today.

It’s time for a paradigm shift. Moving away from victim blaming is a very good place to start.

* Here are some articles about how fluoroquinolones adversely effect lymphocytes (immune system cells) –

Nepal Medical College Journal, Genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of antibacterial drug, ciprofloxacin, on human lymphocytes in vitro”

Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, “Ciprofloxacin Induces an Immunomodulatory Stress Response in Human T Lymphocytes

 

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Your Mighty Mitochondria

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Fun facts – Nalidixic acid, the chemical compound that is the base of all fluoroquinolones, was discovered in 1962. Mitochondrial DNA was discovered in 1967 (by Lynn Margulis who happened to be married to Carl Sagan). So, if you are under the impression that naladixic acid was tested for its affects on mitochondrial DNA, you would be wrong. Information regarding how mitochondria affect gene expression is being uncovered… um… now-ish. So, in the 30+ years that fluoroquinolones have been pushed, they have been used by the human population with zero knowledge of how they affect gene expression (both mitochondrial and nuclear). Gene expression, as you might imagine, is important.

More information can be found in this post, “Your Mighty Mitochondria” published on Hormones Matter:

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/mighty-mitochondria/

 

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The Fluoroquinolone Time-Bomb – answers in the Mitochondria

Adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones are often delayed and people can tolerate a certain number of fluoroquinolones before they experience an adverse reaction. Delayed reactions and tolerance thresholds are perplexing mysteries until you take a look at mitochondrial dysfunction. Both delayed reactions and tolerance thresholds are actually typical for disease states that are caused by mitochondrial dysfunction. More details on the matter in this post. As always, thank you for reading and sharing!

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/fluoroquinolone-time-bomb-mitochondria-damage/

 

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I AM

Have you seen the documentary, “I AM?”  It’s an interesting and insightful film.  I recommend it.  Here it is, for you to check out:

The film makers seek to find answers to two questions.

1.  What is wrong with our world?

and

2.  What are the solutions to the world’s problems?

(Spoiler alert) – The answer to both questions is the same.  It is –

I AM.

I am what is wrong with the world.  I am the solution to the world’s problems.

Kinda profound, if I do say so myself.

We all have problems and solutions within us.  I assert that they are in balance as well.  Those who cause huge problems are a huge part of the solutions.  Those who cause small problems are still part of the solutions, but they’re a smaller part.  People fluctuate between perpetuating problems and perpetuating solutions.  The pendulum swings from problem to solution – in our individual lives, in our institutions and in our world.

No one is the solution without recognizing that they are the problem as well.  There are those who are the problem without being the solution, but they generally fail to recognize that they are part of the problem – they fail to see that there is a problem and imagine, out of ego and narcissism, that they are neutral.

It’s called responsibility.  I am responsible for the problems that I cause in the world and I am responsible for solutions to them.

It took a long time for me to accept responsibility for my floxing, and I sill like to think of myself as more of a contributor to the solution than to the problem of people being hurt by fluoroquinolones.  Sure, I can take responsibility for putting the pills in my mouth, for self-medicating, for having a breakdown when I got sick, for not communicating what happened to me to my doctor, for the anger that I feel toward the medical system, and plenty more.  Got it.  I am responsible for all of those things.  I am also responsible for creating this site to bring light to the problem, for offering people stories of hope and healing, along with snippets of “deep thoughts by Lisa” – these things are part of the solution.  They’re the least that I can do and I have every intention of doing more to change the situation of people becoming disabled from unnecessarily strong chemotherapy drugs being frivolously prescribed to treat infections.  My pendulum is in solution mode for the problem of fluoroquinolone toxicity.  And fluoroquinolone toxicity is a problem, a big one.

Doctors, and the medical system as a whole, don’t seem to see the problem though.  They are stuck in the narcissistic, false view that they are the solution without being part of the problem.  They fix things, cure diseases and heal people, right?  Sure – those things happen.  Doctors should be proud of every life that they save and every disease that they cure.  But those accomplishments do not diminish the pain that they inflict.  Along with the good that has come with modern medicine, harm has come as well.  The rise in “diseases of modernity” such as autoimmune diseases, obesity and its complications, ignored diseases (like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, gulf war syndrome, adverse drug reactions, etc.), autism, mental illness (it’s not a choice), dietary intolerances, etc. are at least partially, if not fully, caused by pharmaceuticals, doctors and the medical system.

It’s not that difficult of a concept – pharmaceuticals cause mitochondrial damage, those mitochondria create massive amounts of oxidative stress and the superoxide and/or peroxynitrate cycles within the cells cause direct and indirect (through damage to DNA and negative gene expression) harm.  Also, destruction of the microbiome and its balance are really bad ideas that cause all sorts of problems.

Of course, the whole process is complex and difficult to understand when you get into the details.  It’s too difficult for most doctors to see, not only because it’s hard and they’re too busy to look at scientific research, but also because they’re stuck in their ideas of what “should” be.  Drugs “should” metabolize out of a person’s body in a short amount of time.  Antibiotics “should” kill bacterial cells while leaving host cells intact.  Fluoroquinolones “should” not damage DNA.  Doctors “should” cure diseases.  The medical system “should” be the solution, not the problem.

Too bad what “should” be does not align with what IS.

Every doctor, every drug, even every patient that buys into the system, is part of the problem.

It is time for everyone to recognize that with the good of Western medicine, some bad has come too.  It’s time for egos to be put aside and for people (mainly the doctors) to realize that they are responsible for recognition and creation of the problem – they are the problem.

Doctors and other people in the medical system are the solution as well.  Of course they are!  Who else could be?  They have the resources to solve the problems that they cause, and no one else does.

Patients are part of both the problem and the solution as well.  The information is available for patients to realize a large amount of what good and harm drugs and procedures do.  Patients can, and should, advocate for themselves and speak out when they see something that is wrong.

But first, both doctors and patients have to see that there are problems.  They need to see that the situation that we are in, with young people falling ill to chronic, disabling diseases, is not okay.  It’s a problem.

I can only hope that doctors will be willing to put aside their foolish egos and realize that they do harm along with good.  They aren’t going to realize anything or accept any culpability without pressure.  I am sure of that.  People who have been hurt by them (and the system that they are part of) need to rise up and make them aware of the harm that they have caused; the problems that their actions have led to.

Patient activists are responsible for putting pressure on doctors, the pharmaceutical companies, pharmacists, and others in the medical field too.  We need to push harder so that those within the system are recognizing the problem and working toward becoming the solution.

I AM the solution.  (Along with cannabis – haven’t you heard?  It cures EVERYTHING.)

I AM the problem as well.  (Along with fluoroquinolones – seriously, I can connect them causally to every chronic illness out there.)

I have less power than the medical system and the pharmaceutical industry though, so, dare I say – I am less of the problem, or the solution than they are.

Solution mode is greatly needed.  From everyone.  Especially from those with power and influence.

Maybe my perceived lack of power is a cop-out though.  Maybe the answer is simple.  What is the problem?  I AM.  What is the solution?  I AM.

You are too.

“No man sets aside his old ways to seek the new until he personally feels the need for it.  This is why the great teachers urge men to see the awful condition they are actually in, rather than living by pretty words and nonexistent ideals.  Talking about love and peace when neither love nor peace are in their hearts is a cunning and destructive evasion of the facts.”  – Vernon Howard

 

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Article Breakdown – “Mechanisms of Pathogenesis in Drug Hepatotoxicity Putting the Stress on Mitochondria”

Do you have a headache?  Do you want one?  If so, read this article –

Mechanisms of Pathogenesis in Drug Hepatotoxicity Putting the Stress on Mitochondria” written by

Dean P. Jones, John J. Lemasters, Derick Han, Urs A. Boelsterli, Neil Kaplowitz

If you want a headache that lasts a while, read these articles that give background information as to why what is in “Mechanisms of Pathogenesis in Drug Hepatotoxicity Putting the Stress on Mitochondria” is important.

Drug Metabolism and Disposition, “Acyl Glucuronidation of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics by the UDP-Gulucuronosyltransferase 1A Subfamily in Human Liver Microsomes

and

Current Drug Metabolism, “Acyl Glucuronides: Mechanistic Role in Drug Toxicity?

Despite their headache inducing capabilities, the articles are actually quite interesting and important.  To highlight how and why they are important, here is my breakdown of “Mechanisms of Pathogenesis in Drug Hepatotoxicity Putting the Stress on Mitochondria.”  As I have done with other journal articles, I have taken quotes from the article and commented under them.

“Mitochondrial impairment is usually a final event common to pathways leading to necrotic and apoptotic cell death.”

Since mitochondrial impairment leads to cell death, perhaps it would be nice for the FDA to examine how pharmaceuticals affect mitochondria before approving them.  Sadly, they don’t think so, as “mitochondrial toxicity testing is still not required by the US FDA for drug approval.” (http://psychrights.org/Research/Digest/NLPs/DrugsCauseMitochondrialDamage.pdf)

“it is important to consider whether drug-induced participation of mitochondria in hepatocellular death is a direct result of drugs acting on these organelles (e.g., drug accumulation, inhibition of electron transport and fatty acid oxidation, or depletion of anti-oxidant defense) or an indirect result ensuing from mitochondrial participation in programs of cell death.”

They found that both were the case.  This stuff is very complex and not linear.  One reaction causes another reaction, on and on for a while.  It’s not an either/or situation.

“Oxidative stress is often defined as an imbalance of pro-oxidants and antioxidants; however, the finding that thiols [i.e., glutathione (GSH) and cysteine (Cys)] in plasma are not in redox equilibrium with their disulfide products [i.e., respectively, GSSG and CySS] (1, 2) and that their plasma concentrations are substantially displaced from cellular values (3) has significantly altered concepts of oxidative stress (4, 5). For example, the in vivo “balance” of pro-oxidants and antioxidants cannot be defined by any single entity, such as an equilibrium constant, and our growing knowledge of signaling mechanisms indicates that oxidative stress may be better defined as a disruption of redox signaling, rather than as an imbalance of pro-oxidants and antioxidants. The failure of large-scale, double-blind interventional trials with free-radical scavenging antioxidants may likewise reflect an oversimplified therapeutic approach.”

If you have too many oxidants/oxidative stress in your system, you should just add antioxidants to restore the balance of oxidants and antioxidants, right?  Well, it’s not that simple.  Once the signaling mechanisms within mitochondria start the process of oxidative stress and apoptosis (programmed cell death), you can’t stop the process or repair the damage by adding more antioxidants to the mix.  If it was as simple as a disruption in the balance between oxidants and antioxidants, we would all be cured by glutathione drips and vitamin C supplements.  Unfortunately, there are complex feedback loops that make the process much more difficult to fix than that.  I’m not saying that glutathione drips and vitamin C supplements aren’t worth a try, it’s just that adding antioxidants to make up for the excess of oxidative stress (in the form of Reactive Oxygen Species and Reactive Nitrogen Species) is an oversimplified approach.

“Cells that overexpress the mitochondrion-specific thioredoxin Trx2, however, have been found to be resistant to tBH-induced loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and apoptosis”

Mitochondrion-specific thioredoxin Trx2 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thioredoxin) is protective.  I’m not sure exactly what the implications of this are, but I suspect that those of us who got “floxed” have low levels of mitochondrion-specific thioredoxin Trx2.  (We probably are deficient in cellular magnesium and have a genetic predisposition toward susceptibility to mitochondrial injury and oxidative stress too.)

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“Mitochondrial Trx2 responds to changes in the extracellular redox potential of Cys/CySS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cysteine) (EhCys/CySS) over a range that is relevant to cardiovascular disease in humans.” and “Previous in vitro findings support a cause–effect relationship for plasma CySS in cell signaling pathways associated with cardiovascular disease.”

Cardiovascular disease is related to mitochondrial function and oxidative stress / antioxidants.

Every chronic disease that plagues humans has its roots in mitochondrial dysfunction.  That may be Lisa’s theory, or it may be the truth.  TBD.  But there are enough journal articles noting how mitochondria relate to all sorts of chronic diseases that you’d think that our regulatory agencies would require that the effects of pharmaceuticals on mitochondria be tested before they are released to the market.  But no, they don’t.  They’re incompetent fools.  And because of their foolishness the pharmaceutical companies really have gotten away with creating customers, not cures.

“Mass spectrometry-based redox proteomics show that several classes of plasma membrane and cytoskeletal proteins involved in inflammation respond to this redox switch (Trx2), including vascular cell adhesion molecule, integrins, actin, and several Ras family GTPases.”

This really cryptic, difficult to understand sentence may actually say a lot about FQ toxicity.  The Trx2 redox switch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thioredoxin) is protective against loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and apoptosis (see above).  So, perhaps underexpression of the Trx2 redox switch  leads to inflammation of  vascular cell adhesion molecules, integrins, actin, and several Ras family GTPases.  What are these things, you ask?  Wiki will tell us!

Vascular Cell Adhesion Moleculeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VCAM-1 – “The VCAM-1 protein mediates the adhesion of lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils to vascular endothelium. It also functions in leukocyte-endothelial cell signal transduction, and it may play a role in the development of atherosclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.” (I’ll let you look up all of the words you don’t know in this – ugh.)

Integrins http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrin and http://www.cs.stedwards.edu/chem/Chemistry/CHEM43/CHEM43/CellAdhesion/integrinfunction.htm – “Integrins are cell-surface receptors that mediate cell-cell adhesion and are of great importance in binding and interactions of cells with components of the extracellular matrix (ECM) such as fibronectin (and cell-matrix). Importantly, integrins facilitate “communication” between the cytoskeleton and extracellular matrix, allowing each to influence the orientation and structure of the other.”  When your integrins are messed up, your cytoskeleton can get messed up.  Or something like that.

Here is an about how fluoroquinolones that mentions how they relate to integrins –

http://intl-vet.sagepub.com/content/38/2/143.full – “Lack of extracellular Mg2+ impairs the function of integrins.  These transmembrane proteins connect the cells to extracellular matrix”  This stuff has something to do with how fluoroquinolones mess up tendons.  Yeah.

Actinhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actin  It’s important for cellular function.  (That’s all I’ve got for you – read the wiki :p )

Ras Family GTPases – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GTPase  It’s important for cellular function.  (That’s all I’ve got for you – read the wiki :p )

You could get completely lost looking up all of the different systems described within this sentence.  Now that I have dug through it, maybe the authors of the study stated things as succinctly as possible.  This stuff is hard.

If someone significantly smarter than me wants to figure out how each of these cellular functions relate to magnesium, and, of course, floxing, that would be great.

Chelatable Iron, Oxidative Stress, and Cell Death

This whole section is about how iron relates to drug induced liver injury (DILI).  I’m not going to go over it piece by piece.  One thing that makes me curious about this section is that iron helped me to feel better than any other supplement.  I wonder why that is.  If the answer is in the article, I don’t understand chemistry well enough to get it from the article.

“In the mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT), high-conductance permeability transition (PT) pores open that make the mitochondrial inner membrane nonselectively permeable to all solutes of molecular mass up to approximately 1500 Da (59, 60). Calcium ion, oxidative stress, and numerous reactive chemicals induce onset of the MPT, whereas cyclosporin A (CsA) and pH less than 7 inhibit pore opening. After MPT onset, mitochondrial depolarize and undergo large-amplitude swelling driven by colloid osmotic forces, which are the hallmarks of the MPT. Swelling leads to rupture of the mitochondrial outer membrane and release of proapoptotic cytochrome c and other factors from the intermembrane space.”

Calcium + oxidative stress = apoptosis.  I’ve seen this elsewhere – https://floxiehope.com/2013/12/17/article-breakdown-mitochondrial-reactive-oxygen-species-control-t-cell-activation-by-regulating-il-2-and-il-4-expression-mechanism-of-ciprofloxacin-mediated-immunosuppression/

Interplay of Signal Transduction and Mitochondria in the Acetaminophen model

This section goes over how acetaminophen causes mitochondrial damage and drug induced liver injury.  It’s not a one-step process – it’s really complex and multiple things have to go wrong, at a cellular level, at once.  But it can happen.

As I mentioned above, I hypothesize that pharmaceutical induced mitochondrial injury is the cause of most chronic diseases.  Per Dr. Richard Boles, an expert in mitochondrial dysfunction and diseases:

these are partial defects. Mitochondrial dysfunction doesn’t really cause anything, what it does is predisposes towards seemingly everything. It’s one of many risk factors in multifactorial disease. It can predispose towards epilepsy, chronic fatigue, and even autism, but it doesn’t do it alone. It does it in combination with other factors, which is why in a family with a single mutation going through the family, everyone in the family is affected in a different way. Because it predisposes for disease throughout the entire system.”  (http://www.hormonesmatter.com/cyclic-vomiting-syndrome-mitochondrial-dysfunction/)

Is acetaminophen causing mitochondrial damage???  Is it damaging or depleting mtDNA?  Is that damage hereditary????  Because if ACETAMINOPHEN is leading to a variety of chronic diseases, ugh, well, we might just be fucked (sorry, I couldn’t think of another word for the situation).

Fluoroquinolones deplete mitochondrial DNA content – “Interestingly, as an inhibitor of bacterial topoisomerase II and an inducer of DNA double-strand breaks, ciprofloxacin was also shown to deplete the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content, thus leading to mitochondrial dysfunction and retarded cellular growth (15–17).” http://www.jimmunol.org/content/184/9/4827.full.pdf  Awesome, huh?

I think that fluoroquinolone induced mitochondrial damage, both direct and hereditary, is responsible for the increase in every chronic disease that has increased in prevalence along with fluoroquinolone use.

“One of the most striking and puzzling clinical hallmarks of idiosyncratic (host-dependent) DILI is the delayed onset of the disease. In fact, the time between initiation of daily drug treatment and the presentation of biochemical markers and clinical symptoms of liver injury can vary from a few weeks to several months, sometimes even exceeding a year (89). The reason for the long lag, often followed by an abrupt progression to DILI, is currently not known. However, it is clear, for the vast majority of drugs, that the delayed time to onset is not related to a gradual accumulation (of drug or drug metabolite) that would eventually lead to critical and toxicologically relevant concentrations in the liver. Instead, the lag time could be explained by an accumulating effect of a drug. This notion, together with experimental findings, is in line with the concept that mitochondria are involved in the etiology of DILI, because damage to mitochondria often reflects successive chemical insults, such that no immediate cause for functional changes or pathological alterations can be established. There is indeed experimental evidence that prolonged injury to mitochondria, such as that which typifies oxidative injury to mitochondrial DNA or to components of the electron transport chain (ETC), has to cross a certain threshold (or a number of thresholds) before cell damage or cell death becomes manifest (Figure 4A).”

Underlining added by Lisa.  This paragraph explains both delayed reactions and the fact that most people have a tolerance threshold for fluoroquinolones.  If your doctor, or anyone else, tells you that your reaction that came months after you stopped administration of a fluoroquinolone “couldn’t have happened because of the FQ, because it was metabolized already,” or something like that, tell him or her to read this paragraph as many times as it takes to understand it.  Damage to mitochondria, whether related to DILI or not, is not linear and it is not (necessarily) immediate.  Unfortunately, this is not understood by anyone other than the authors of this study, and probably a few other scientists, so suing based on a delayed reaction to a drug that you have tolerated well in the past is difficult to impossible.

“This non-linear response can be explained upon consideration that the molecules that subserve mitochondrial function (e.g., mitochondrial DNA, mRNA, and ETC proteins) are present in excess of amounts required for normal cell function. This reserve (or buffering) capacity acts as a protective mechanism; however, at a certain stage of damage, the supply of biomolecules needed to support wild-type mitochondrial function becomes compromised.”

For each of us Floxies, the reserve capacity of our mtDNA has been depleted.  I have no clue if it can be built up again or not.

“a number of human mitochondrial genetic diseases that are clinically discreet are being diagnosed at unexpected rates”

It is REALLY IMPORTANT that it be determined whether or not pharmaceutical induced damage to mitochondria is hereditary.  Seriously scientists – important stuff – answers will be greatly appreciated.

“First, all the investigated drugs (including trovafloxacin, a fluoroquinolone) invariably decreased the activity of key mitochondrial proteins that are sensitive to oxidant stress (e.g., aconitase-2, complex I) and often decreased the expression of mitochondrial (but not nuclear) genes (120). Second, we found that these markers of mitochondrial injury became apparent only after four weeks, although a number of cytoprotective pathways were activated within two weeks. It thus appears that an initial adaptive response was followed by a toxic response (121), possibly also involving a threshold.”

What happens when expression of mitochondrial genes are decreased?  What are the implications of this finding?

The fact that there is an initial adaptative response followed by a toxic response (to pharmaceutical induced mitochondrial injury) may explain why there are so many different results to studies of fluoroquinolones (and other mito damaging drugs).  Long-term studies need to be done.  Studies that take into consideration that delayed reactions occur, need to be done.  Studies that take into consideration tolerance thresholds need to be done.  Please.

“First, superoxide that escapes dismutation to hydrogen peroxide cannot cross the inner mitochondrial membrane and can oxidize [Fe-S]-containing enzymes (e.g., aconitase and complex I/III subunits). Alternatively, superoxide can rapidly react with mitochondrial nitric oxide (NO) to form peroxynitrite (ONOO−). For example, the fluoroquinolone antibiotic trovafloxacin (TVX), a typical DILI-associated drug, raises steady-state levels of NO in hepatocellular mitochondria (unpublished data). The mechanisms are not known, but TVX also increases cytosolic (non-ferritin-bound) Ca2+, likely activating the Ca2+-dependent mitochondrial NO synthase (123) to produce ONOO−. Peroxynitrite is dangerous for a number of reasons: i) under acidic conditions, it can be degraded to form the extremely reactive hydroxyl radical; ii) it may directly cause the nitration of aconitase, Sod2, and the [Fe-S]-containing subunits of ETC complexes; and iii) it can induce mitochondrial permeabilization (Figure 4B) (124). This superimposed oxidative/nitrative stress could ultimately push the cell across the threshold to observable injury.”

Floxies – that’s what happened to you (and me).  It’s really hard to understand, I know.  I have a headache right now and I’m guessing that you do too if you’ve gotten this far in the post.  It’s important information though.

On a light note, I think that it’s funny that fluoroquinolones convert “NO” into “ONOO” in our cells.  Yup, that’s about what it feels like – “no” turning into “oh no” turning into “oh fuck” which turns into “fuck you Bayer / Johnson & Johnson.”  🙂

The end of the article and my comments.

Dean P. Jones, John J. Lemasters, Derick Han, Urs A. Boelsterli and Neil Kaplowitz are brilliant.  I thank them very much for this article.  It answers a lot of questions.  It still leaves many unanswered, of course – as any good article does.  I hope that they, and more scientists, are doing more work on the relationship between pharmaceutical induced mitochondrial injury and disease states.
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Fluoroquinolone Caused Mitochondrial Damage and Oxidative Stress – What are the Consequences for Floxies?

I’m working on a couple of posts/articles/essays right now about how all sorts of chronic diseases, from diabetes to alzheimer’s to autism, are caused by mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress.  I’m pointing out that pharmaceuticals cause mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress.  Of course, I’m focusing on my least-favorite pharmaceuticals, fluoroquinolones, and am trying to make a case that fluoroquinolones cause many chronic diseases.

That line of thinking is scary as hell for those of us who have had a bad reaction to a fluoroquinolone.

What does the connection between fluoroquinolone induced mitochondrial damage / oxidative stress and chronic diseases mean for us?  What is our prognosis?  Are we going to come down with diabetes or Alzheimer’s?  Are our kids going to be autistic?  Scary stuff – aaaarghhhh!!!  New plan – run and hide on a tropical island far from the internet.

Just so you all know, I’m not sure what it all means.  I am doing my best to put together the pieces of the puzzle.  I’m doing my best to draw conclusions from reputable sources.  I’m doing my best to understand what happened in my body when the Cipro bomb went off in me.  In trying to understand what happened, I’m stumbling upon articles that point to the possibility that the problem is bigger than we think.  It is possible that fluoroquinolones are causally related to fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome / M.E., all autoimmune diseases, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, autism, some kinds of cancer, and more.  Are all cases of those chronic diseases caused by fluoroquinolones?  Of course not – most of the diseases are older than fluoroquinolones.  But it’s possible that they have increased hand in hand with fluoroquinolone use because of the damage that fluoroquinolones do to mitochondria, and the oxidative stress that they induce.

It’s also possible that other drugs are the primary culprits.  And I suppose that it’s even possible that junk food that is full of free radical producting chemicals is the culprit behind all the oxidative stress that people who have chronic diseases experience.  Or maybe the problem is GMO corn or childhood vaccines or pesticides or something else.  There are pretty reputable sources that note that pharmaceuticals cause mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress though, so I’m betting that the culprits are Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, Abbvie and all the other pharmaceutical giants that are very good at making customers and very bad at actually promoting health.

Anyhow, the theory that fluoroquinolones cause mitochondrial damage / oxidative stress and that mito damage / oxidative stress are behind all sorts of chronic diseases is the theory that I’m going with.  Whether I’m right or wrong is yet to be seen.  Even though my theory may scare the crap out of you, your support is still greatly appreciated.  🙂

If I’m wrong, the case against fluoroquinolones is still pretty damning.  With fluoroquinolones, one can convert an acute problem, an infection, into a chronic syndrome that includes destruction of connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, cartilage, fascia, etc.) throughout the body, damage to the nervous systems (central, peripheral and autonomic), and more.  Fluoroquinolone toxicity can develop slowly or quickly.  It can last for months or years.  Tragically, some people don’t recover.  But most people do – with time.

How fluoroquinolones cause the damage that they do is hugely complex and difficult to understand.  Part of the damage mechanism is mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress, hence the trip down chronic disease lane.  Other aspects of how fluoroquinolones work – DNA adducts, RNA transcription errors, disruption of tubulin assembly, etc. are equally daunting and potentially harmful.  Ugh.  Bad news.

But people do recover from fluoroquinolone toxicity.  I did.  I’m fully recovered.  So are the other people who have shared their stories on www.floxiehope.com.  I wonder if the chronic disease prognosis for those who recover is any different from the prognosis for those who don’t, or for those who take fluoroquinolones but don’t have an adverse reaction.  I don’t think that a study to answer that question has been done.  It would be interesting to find out the answer.

Right now, we don’t know the answers though, so we have to make assumptions about our health and our future.  If you’re going to make baseless assumptions about your personal health prognosis though, they may as well be hopeful ones.  Try to believe that you will heal and that once you heal you will be as capable, resilient and durable as you were before a fluoroquinolone knocked you down.  Or, better yet, believe that floxing gave you some sort of health super-powers.  Here is a crazy thought – what if our floxing reaction was actually protective against damaged cells and the conversion of those cells into chronic diseases?  What if our horrible reaction was because of mass apoptosis (programmed cell death), and in dying, those cells kept from reproducing and leading to a chronic disease at some later time?  Now that is a far-fetched hypothesis, but I kind of like it.  I just hope that my recovery doesn’t mean that my bad cells are sticking around now.  :p

Back to fluoroquinolones being related to the chronic diseases – what if I’m right?  What if fluoroquinolone caused mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress is behind all of the chronic diseases of modernity?  Well, it’s a sad state of affairs.  But people should know about it.  They should hear about it.  They have the right to know.

But you are going to be fine.  Try to believe it.

 

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Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics and Fungal Infections – A Real Problem

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When antibiotics kill the good bacteria in the gut, fungal infections can take over.  I wonder how many of our floxing symptoms have to do with fungal overgrowth?  Here are some thoughts.

http://www.hormonesmatter.com/fluoroquinolone-antibiotics-fungal-infections/

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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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Gulf War Illness Tied to Cipro

The connection between Gulf War Illness and Fluoroquinolone Toxicity is well accepted among “Floxies,” but the connection hasn’t been made for most of the general population, or even most of the Gulf War Veteran population.  I wrote this post with the hope that the issue would be pushed in both the general and the Veteran populations.

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/01/06/gulf-war-illness-tied-to-cipro-antibiotics/

http://www.activistpost.com/2014/01/gulf-war-illness-tied-to-cipro.html

http://naturalwellnessreview.com/2014/01/gulf-war-illness-tied-to-cipro-antibiotics/

http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2014/01/gulf-war-illness-tied-to-cipro-antibiotics-2867166.html

http://banoosh.com/blog/2014/01/07/gulf-war-illness-tied-cipro-antibiotics/

http://polishgazette.com/?p=96735

http://thenwo.net/health-and-science/gulf-war-illness-tied-to-cipro-antibiotics/

There are definitely multiple factors at work in leading to the sickening of Gulf War Veterans. Many of the factors probably compound each other. I hope that the complexity of GWI isn’t used as an excuse to not get to the bottom of it. The Vets deserve answers. I wish that those who have officially been investigating GWI ($340 million invested into determining a cause and no resolution for the Vets) would look at Cipro. I don’t know why it hasn’t even made the list of compounding factors yet. I trust that it will soon.

 

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Conflicting Study Results: Do DNA Breaks Hold Answers?

There is a lot of conflicting information about fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Floxin and a few others) noted in scientific journals.  One study will conclude one thing about how fluoroquinolones effect human cells and another study will reach the opposite conclusion.  It’s frustrating for everyone involved and it leads to the conclusion, that is also noted in most journal articles about fluoroquinolones, that, “Despite their widespread application, the exact mechanism of action of the quinolones is not fully understood.” (1)  Despite the fact that the exact mechanism of action of fluoroquinolones is unknown, shouldn’t some of the details of their effects on human cells be known?  Shouldn’t there be some clarity in how these drugs affect cells, if not how they work or sometimes don’t work?  Basic, verifiable, answers are sought, but they remain elusive.  Some interesting, and possibly useful, information may be found in examining why clear answers are so difficult to obtain.

Shouldn’t it be testable whether fluoroquinolones increase or decrease levels of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS)?  Shouldn’t the question of whether fluoroquinolones increase or decrease cellular inflammation be verifiable?  Shouldn’t Scientists know whether fluoroquinolones activate or inhibit t-cell gene expression?  These things can be studied in laboratories.  Answering these questions doesn’t require long-term studies, surveys that are subject to interpretation or vague definitions.  They should be answerable questions and the answers should be clear.  It’s science, not philosophy.  The answers should be black or white, yes or no, not shades of grey.

Yet with each of these questions there are multiple conflicting reports.  No one seems to be able to consistently verify what happens to human cells when they are exposed to fluoroquinolones.  Some studies done by well-run institutions and published in reputable journals say that fluoroquinolones decrease ROS, reduce inflammation and inhibit t-cell gene expression (2).  Other articles in equally well-respected journals say the opposite (3, 4, 5, 6).  So which is true?  Does the arrow go up or down?  I’m sure that answering these questions isn’t easy, but they should be answerable and the answers should be the same each time an experiment is done, right?

So why are there differing answers?  Why can’t Scientists, many of whom are undoubtedly brilliant and capable, figure this out?  A couple of possible answers are that one group of Scientists’ methods are wrong, or that cells react differently to fluoroquinolones with each exposure.  Both possibilities are fascinating on some level.  If the methodologies of one group of Scientists produce an anti-inflammatory response within cells, but the methodologies of another group of Scientists produce an inflammatory response within cells, perhaps the difference in methodologies holds the key to limiting an inflammatory response in living humans.  A cure, or an antidote to the inflammation that is definitely experienced by some people having an adverse reaction to fluoroquinolones, may be revealed from the study methodologies in which an anti-inflammatory response was induced/observed.

An even more interesting possibility is that how cells react to fluoroquinolones depends on which strand of DNA the quinolone molecules attach to.  Studies have found that fluoroquinolones form a poisonous adduct to DNA (7, 8).  Perhaps the reaction of the cell in response to exposure to fluoroquinolones depends on which DNA strands are broken, where they’re broken and where the quinolone molecule attaches to the DNA.  It is plausible that there are some places where DNA could be broken and adducted to that would create an inflammatory response and there are other places where DNA could be broken and adducted to that would create an anti-inflammatory response.  I have neither the tools nor the expertise to test this hypothesis, but from the perspective of someone who has been studying adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones for the past 2 years, the notion that fluoroquinolones break and attach to DNA makes sense of many perplexing aspects about fluoroquinolone toxicity.  If we assume that DNA breaks and quinolone adduction to DNA is behind adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones, the following questions may have the following answers:

Why are some people adversely affected by fluoroquinolones while others aren’t?  Potential answer – some people have important strands of DNA affected while other people have unimportant strands of DNA affected.  And/Or, some people have DNA affected that triggers and inflammatory response and the over-production of ROS, while others don’t because their DNA is broken in less consequential spots.

Why could I handle Cipro for 3 prescriptions but the 4th prescription hurt me?  Potential answer – the Cipro affected inconsequential strands of DNA the first 3 times it was administered, but it damaged an important strand of DNA the 4th time it was administered.

Why did I experience a delayed adverse reaction to Levaquin?  Potential answer – it takes time for damaged DNA to replicate.

Why can’t anyone seem to figure out how these drugs work?  Potential answer – because the human genome is not fully mapped out and most Researchers aren’t looking at how fluoroquinolones affect DNA.

I’m not a Scientist.  I certainly could be wrong about the above hypothesis.  But I do find it both frustrating and interesting that Scientists, who are undoubtedly smarter than I am, can’t seem to figure out some basic facts about how fluoroquinolones work.  I think that there are some answers in their inability to find clear answers.  I suspect that the answers lie in quinolone adducts to DNA.  Perhaps someone with the tools to determine whether I’m right or wrong will design an experiment (that is consistently verifiable) to determine the effects of fluoroquinolones on DNA, and to determine whether or not DNA damage results in differing effects of the drugs.

Sources:

  1. Inorganic Chemistry, “New uses for old drugs: attempts to convert quinolone antibacterials into potential anticancer agents containing ruthenium.
  2. The Journal of Immunology, “Mitochondrial Reactive Oxygen Species Control T Cell Activation by Regulating IL-2 and IL-4 Expression:  Mechanism of Ciprofloxacin Mediated Immunosuppression
  3. The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, “Fluoroquinolone Induced Tendinopathy: Etiology and Preventative Measures
  4. Nepal Medical College Journal, “Genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of antibacterial drug, ciprofloxacin, on human lymphocytes in vitro”
  5. Journal of Young Pharmacists, “Oxidative Stress Induced by Fluoroquinolones on Treatment for Complicated Urinary Tract Infections in Indian Patients
  6. Science Translational Medicine, “Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells
  7. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, “The Mechanism of Inhibition of Topoisomerase IV by Quinolone Antibacterials.”
  8. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, Biochemistry, “Quinolone Binding to DNA Mediated by Magnesium Ions”

 

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Article Breakdown – “Mitochondrial Reactive Oxygen Species Control T Cell Activation by Regulating IL-2 and IL-4 Expression: Mechanism of Ciprofloxacin-Mediated Immunosuppression”

I’ve read this article 14 times. I think that I understand it. It’s not an easy article to read. Actually, it’s a beast. I’m going to go over what I think are the interesting points of the article in this post. I’m also going to go over something that I think the researchers got wrong, and the implications of their false (IMO) conclusion.

Here is the article –

http://www.jimmunol.org/content/184/9/4827.full.pdf

Mitochondrial Reactive Oxygen Species Control T Cell Activation by Regulating IL-2 and IL-4 Expression: Mechanism of Ciprofloxacin-Mediated Immunosuppression

The Journal of Immunology, 2010, 184: 4827–4841.

Marcin M. Kamin´ ski,* Sven W. Sauer,† Claus-Detlev Klemke,‡ Dorothee Su¨ ss,*

Ju¨rgen G. Okun,† Peter H. Krammer,* and Karsten Gu¨low*

There is a lot of phenomenal information in the article, but I’m going to go over what I think they got wrong first. The researchers found that Ciprofloxacin had an immunosuppresive effect on T-cells, inhibited the production of ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) and were anti-inflammatory. I don’t think that this is correct. Some of the results discussed in the paper, that I will go over later in this post, note that the effect of Ciprofloxacin on T-cells is one of activation of immune responses, not suppression. More on that later. As for the production of ROS, there are multiple peer-reviewed articles that note that fluoroquinolones (Ciprofloxacin and others) increase the production of ROS. Here are a few –

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

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00284-012-0094-7#page-1

https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/tjem/226/4/226_4_251/_pdf

There are hundreds more.

I have no reason to doubt the intelligence, motives or methods of the Researchers who conducted this study, so why did they get a result that is the opposite result from most other Researchers? I’m not sure of the answer, but I think that it may have something to do with the fact that the cells that they studied were cultured in uridine. Supplementation of uridine, as well as consuming foods that have uridine in them, have seemed to help Floxies. Because of this, I wonder if uridine counteracts the production of ROS, and thus the results of the study were skewed. There may be a completely different answer for why the researchers who wrote the study that I’m reviewing concluded that ROS decreases with Ciprofloxacin, and all other researchers who have looked at the topic note that fluoroquinolones increase ROS production, but I think that the uridine direction is an interesting path. It leads to acyl glucuronidation and other headache inducing topics.

Anyhow, they got that wrong (as shown by the multiple articles that state the FQs increase ROS, not decrease it, not because I say so), so all conclusions based on the premise that fluoroquinolones decrease ROS or oxidative stress, should be disregarded. However, they still said some really interesting stuff about the effects of Ciprofloxacin on the cell.

Before I go into the good stuff from the article, I’m going to express my annoyance over the following paragraph:

Ciprofloxacin, as well as other members of the fluoroquinolone group of antibiotics, is characterized by immunomodulatory properties of an unknown mechanism. The effects of ciprofloxacin on T cell activation-induced gene expression remain vague. Numerous conflicting reports stated that ciprofloxacin activates or inhibits T cell activation-induced gene expression (e.g., for IFN-g, TNF-a, IL-2, and IL-4) (11–14).”

If a drug has immunomodulatory properties, perhaps it’s a good idea to figure out the mechanism. If more than 20 million prescriptions of these drugs are going to be given out each year in the U.S. Alone, perhaps it is a good idea to figure out the mechanism for how they effect the human immune system.

The effects of Ciprofloxacin on gene expression may be vague, but researchers recently found that another topoisomerase interrupter, Topotecan, triggered the expression of Autism related genes. So “vague” has consequences and they may not be pleasant ones.

“Conflicting reports?” Welcome to my world. But it really bothers me that Scientists can’t determine the direction of the arrow. It’s not a judgment call. It’s not a matter of opinion. It should be a matter of fact. How does Ciprofloxacin effect T-cell activation-induced gene expression? This should be a testable question.

Now onto the highlights:

Interestingly, as an inhibitor of bacterial topoisomerase II and an inducer of DNA double-strand breaks, ciprofloxacin was also shown to deplete the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content, thus leading to mitochondrial dysfunction and retarded cellular growth (15–17).”

Why is this stuff on the market? Oh yeah, because the FDA systematically ignores the effects of drugs on mitochondria. Here is an article about how this is the case for many drugs: http://psychrights.org/Research/Digest/NLPs/DrugsCauseMitochondrialDamage.pdf

In this article, we show that prolonged ciprofloxacin treatment of preactivated human T cells leads to a loss of mtDNA content. This was accompanied by impaired activity of the mtDNA-encoded mitochondrial enzymes, such as complex I, whereas the activities of the nuclear-encoded mitochondrial enzymes, complex II (succinate dehydrogenase) and citrate synthase, were unaffected.”

I’m pretty sure that loss of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content is bad.

Because complex I is central to energy production in the cell, its malfunction results in a wide range of neuromuscular diseases.” (http://www.mrc-mbu.cam.ac.uk/research/mitochondrial-complex-i) Does the finding that Ciprofloxacin impairs complex 1 mean that Ciprofloxacin can cause neuromuscular diseases? I’m pretty sure that most Floxies would sadly say, “It sure does!”

Per http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gene/51103, “Complex I (NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase) catalyzes the transfer of electrons from NADH to ubiquinone (coenzyme Q) in the first step of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, resulting in the translocation of protons across the inner mitochondrial membrane.” Basically, this is an explanation as to how glutathione is massively depleted by fluoroqinolones (FQs). The FQs impair mitochondrial enzyme complex 1 which is responsible for the production of ubiqunone (coenzyme Q) which is responsible for the production of glutathione. This finding is also consistent with an increased production of ROS, not a decrease in ROS. Antioxidant production is inhibited because Complex 1 is inhibited – therefore an increase in ROS would make sense. 

Thus, the current study demonstrates for the first time that mitochondrial complex I-derived ROS control T cell activation.”

Does it mean that mitochondrial complex 1 damage has something to do with autoimmune diseases? It certainly means that it’s REALLY IMPORTANT that it be correctly determined whether Ciprofloxacin (and other fluoroquinolones) increase or decrease ROS production. As I noted above, all other studies that I found said that ROS increases with administration of fluoroquinolones.

Ciprofloxacin treatment was shown to exert various effects on activation- induced gene expression in T cells (10). Stimulatory effects of immediate ciprofloxacin treatment (incubation time up to 72 h) on basal expression of IL-2, TNF-a, or IFN-g in mitogen-activated T cells have been reported (11, 12, 24).”

Stimulating the expression of IL-2, TNF-a and IFN-g is really bad news. Basically, if those are stimulated, an autoimmune-disease, or at least an autoimmune-disease-like state, will ensue. IL-2 is a protein signaling molecule found in the immune system – especially white blood cells. TNF-a is Tumor Necrosis Factor (a) and it also regulates immune system cells. It should be noted that drugs that are used to fight autoimmune diseases are TNF inhibitors. Enbrel and Humira work by suppressing the expression of TNF. If Ciprofloxacin (and other fluoroquinolones) increase the expression of TNF, well, they will induce an autoimmune-disease-like reaction, if not an actual autoimmune disease. IFN-g is interferon gamma, it’s a protein signal that is critical for the operation of the immune system. Again, over-stimulating it is probably a bad idea – unless an autoimmune disease is the goal.

To be fair, it should be noted that the Researchers who authored this particular study did not find that Ciprofloxacin had a stimulatory effect on T-cells. Rather, they found that, “Ciprofloxacin treatment led to a moderate increase in basal IL-2 and -4 expression levels in PHA-preactivated T cells (Fig. 1A). However, prolonged ciprofloxacin treatment clearly inhibited anti-CD3–induced IL-2 and -4 expression in a dose-dependent manner (Fig. 1B).”

They also found that:

Ciprofloxacin treatment induces mtDNA loss, impairs mitochondrial function, and inhibits cellular growth in cultured preactivated human T cells.” (Italicization and emphasis added by them.)

What are the consequences of mtDNA loss? What are the consequences of impairment of mitochondrial function? What are the consequences of inhibiting cellular growth in human t-cells? These are questions that should be asked. The questions should be asked both for the subject human that has consumed the damaging drug and intergenerationally. After all, we are talking about DNA.

In addition, ciprofloxacin induced mtDNA depletion in cultured PHA-preactivated T cells by up to 50%, as estimated by real-time PCR analysis (Fig. 1E). Moreover, mtDNA loss resulted in an impairment of mitochondrial function. This is reflected by significantly decreased activity of the mtDNA-encoded respiratory complex I (Fig. 2A).”

This is a partial answer to the questions about the consequences of mtDNA depletion. What are the consequences of impairing mitochondrial function? What are the consequences of decreasing activity of the mtDNA encoded respiratory complex 1? (Again, I question the result of “decreasing” the activity – it might increase it – there are so many conflicting reports that it’s just obnoxious.)

Genes located on mtDNA encode crucial components of the mitochondrial ETC, such as complex I, III, and IV and ATP synthase. Thus,the loss of mtDNA results in a decreased activity of the ETC (25).”

ETC is the electron transport chain – the process through which mitochondria create energy. Decreasing mtDNA and the activity of the ETC doesn’t seem like a very good idea. What are the consequences of doing so? It doesn’t seem like an unreasonable question to ask.

This indicates that the IL-2 and -4 promoters depend on the simultaneous presence of the increased cytosolic Ca2+ concentration and the PMA-induced oxidative signal. Selective blocking of ROS (with the antioxidant NAC) and the Ca2+ influx (with the intracellular Ca2+ chelator BAPTA-AM) (Fig. 4A, 4C) led to a significant inhibition of IL-2 and -4 promoter activities (Fig. 4B, 4D).”

If one assumes that Ciprofloxacin is a promoter of IL-2 and IL-4 (the opposite of the conclusion of the Researchers, it should be noted, – but I really think that they got the direction of the arrow as to the effect of fluoroquinolones on immune system cells wrong – and my thinking this is backed up by other studies), does this mean that a combination of too much Ca2+ (calcium) and ROS (oxidative signal) within our bodies was part of the equation that made us have the reaction that we had (getting Floxed)? If so, would a combination of NAC as an inhibitor of ROS, combined with a calcium chelator be a cure if applied early on?

I also interpreted this as meaning that Floxies should avoid calcium, but I’m not sure about that.

The immunomodulatory properties of ciprofloxacin and other drugs of the fluoroquinolone group are well documented (10). Most of the in vitro studies showed stimulatory effects of immediate or short-term (up to 72 h) ciprofloxacin treatment on basal gene expression in peripheral mitogen-preactivated human T cells (11, 12, 24). However, several in vitro and in vivo studies suggested that ciprofloxacin has inhibitory properties toward T cell activation (10, 13, 14, 28). In addition, in vitro experiments demonstrated that prolonged ciprofloxacin treatment retards cellular growth (25). This cytostatic effect is mediated by inhibition of the putative mitochondrial topoisomerase II in proliferating cells, resulting in a gradual mtDNA loss and energy shortage (16, 25). Our previous work showed that the mitochondria-generated oxidative signal, in the form of H2O2, is indispensable for T cell activation induced expression of CD95L, a crucial AICD mediator (9). Thus, it is important to clarify whether ciprofloxacin-induced mitochondrial dysfunction could account for differential effects of ciprofloxacin on activation-induced gene expression in T cells.”

This paragraph is both interesting and infuriating because it is abundantly clear that too little is known about these drugs.

The last sentence in the paragraph is interesting. It makes me wonder, do the effects of Ciprofloxacin and other fluoroquinolones depend on which genes are activated/depressed and how t-cell gene expression is influenced (and it’s influenced differently in different people)? Perhaps in some cases/people, genes that inhibit the immune system are expressed, but in other cases/people, genes that stimulate the immune system are expressed. Fluoroquinolones adduct to DNA (http://www.jbc.org/content/273/42/27668.full). Maybe where the quinolone molecule inserts itself into the DNA makes the difference between inhibition and stimulation of the immune system. That could also be an explanation as to why there are such dramatically differing results from study to study. These drugs don’t influence all cells in the same way – making scientific experimentation and conclusions difficult. But if these drugs were looked at from the perspective of being DNA adducts, perhaps the mysterious discrepancies in results could be explained.

Our previous work demonstrated that in the case of CD95L expression, the IP3/Iono induced Ca2+ signal is complemented by a DAG/PMA-induced H2O2 signal. The combination of a mitochondria-generated H2O2 signal with a simultaneous Ca2+ influx into the cytosol constitutes the minimal requirement for induction of CD95L expression (8).”

CD95L is a transmembrane protein that belongs to the TNF family and induces apoptosis – programmed cell death.

Fluoroquinolones have been repeatedly shown to induce apoptosis. This paragraph again makes me think that calcium is an important part of the equation of Floxing. Perhaps it is part of what makes the apoptosis occur.

However, the ability of ciprofloxacin to induce delayed-type hypersensitivity via direct TCR triggering (51) may pose difficulties to the topical application of ciprofloxacin to alleviate skin inflammation.”

The acknowledgement of “delayed-type hypersensitivity via direct TCR (t-cell receptor) triggering” is important.

Applying Ciprofloxacin to the skin in order to reduce inflammation is a dumb idea for multiple reasons, one of which being that the microbiome on the skin is really important and disturbing it by killing all the bacteria on the skin is a really bad idea. Also, an adverse reaction to the Ciprofloxacin can induce more inflammation.

Furthermore, it was demonstrated that the malfunctioning of complex I leads to excessive generation of ROS (54). Thus, it seems interesting that Leber hereditary optic neuropathy, caused by deficient function of mitochondrial respiratory complex I, is often associated with T cell-mediated autoimmune multiple sclerosis-like syndrome (55).”

Cipro leads to the malfunctioning of complex 1 which leads to excessive generation of ROS.

Perhaps Floxies should ask their Rheumatologists if they have T-cell-mediated autoimmune multiple sclerosis-like syndrome.

This article has some really interesting points, that’s why I’m dissecting it, but the internal inconsistency within the article is annoying to say the least. Which direction do the arrows go? Does Cipro lead to an increase in ROS or not? Answer – of course it does. But this article concludes otherwise, despite statements like the direct quote above.

In addition, recent epidemiologic studies on a cohort of patients with mitochondrial disorders showed a high statistical association between these pathologies and lymphoid malignancies (56).”

Insert profanity here.

Written by me for another post that has yet to be published, “Destruction of mitochondrial DNA can result in mass apoptosis. When this occurs, an autoimmune-disease-like reaction can occur (14). However, if cell damage occurs but the cell does not die, but rather replicates the DNA errors, cancer can result (30, 31). Additionally, drugs that inhibit CYP450 liver enzymes leave people more susceptible to cancer-causing pathogens (32) and fluoroquinolones inhibit CYP450 enzymes (8, 33). How ironic, isn’t it? Cancer can result from DNA damaging drugs that, when used in doses that cause apoptosis, can be chemotherapeutic (and have all of the drawbacks of chemotherapy drugs).”

To explore how mitochondrial damage effects cells, the researchers compared the effects of Ciprofloxacin to the effects of Rotenone (Rot), a pesticide, insecticide and piscicide. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotenone That should at least imply something.

I am not a Scientist. I am not an expert in mitochondria, cellular function, autoimmune diseases or anything else. However, I have experienced being floxed and I have been doing research on the topic of fluoroquinolone toxicity for the past 2 years. I’m sure that doesn’t count for much, but I think that I’m right in my assessment of the article reviewed above. (Of course I do, I wouldn’t have written what I wrote if I didn’t think I was right – but I could still be wrong – it has happened.) I encourage you to read the article yourself – preferably multiple times because it really is a beast of an article. I hope that this post clarified things and that it didn’t make you glaze over completely.

Fluoroquinolones are damaging human mitochondria. Though I disagree with the researchers who authored this study about the effects of fluoroquinolones on ROS and inflammation, they do note much of what fluoroquinolones can do to mitochondria and mtDNA. The consequences of damaging mtDNA are yet to be determined. I hope that they’re not too catastrophic.

Thank you for reading Floxie Hope!  I hope that all who read Floxie Hope gain insight, support, understanding and, most of all, HOPE.  If you would like to support Floxie Hope, all contributions will be greatly appreciated!  Click HERE to contribute to Floxie Hope.  Thank you!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I hope that it is filled with love, laughter, good food, family, friends, joy, etc.  I hope that pain, sickness, anxiety, etc. are not at the forefront of your mind.  I hope that, despite the trials, tribulations, pain and suffering, you have things that you are grateful for and that you can focus your energy on those things, no matter how small they may be.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the following:

  1. My health.  This is the first Thanksgiving since I got Floxed that I am as healthy as I was before I got Floxed.  I was okay a year ago, but I wasn’t 100% yet.  I’m 100% healed now.  It feels good.  I am immensely grateful for my healthy body and mind.  I will never take my health for granted again.
  2. My family.  I am lucky that I have a wonderfully supportive family.  They have always loved me, I have always loved them, and I am incredibly grateful for them.
  3. My friends.  I have gained some wonderful friendships over the last year.  A lot of those friendships have been with fellow Floxies who I only know through the internet.  Even though those friendships aren’t in-person connections, they’re still valuable.  I enjoy the camaraderie that I have with fellow Floxies.  I appreciate that there is a community of people who understand and support each other through the difficult journey of being Floxed.
    1. I am thankful that each of my Floxie friends is making it.  You guys are survivors.  Just putting one foot in front of the other is difficult for many of you, I know.  But I’m glad that you do it.  I’m thankful that you keep going, keep trying and keep fighting.
    2. I’m grateful for my non-Floxie friends too.  Your love, laughter, support and caring mean the world to me.
  4. FloxieHope.  I’m thankful for the success of this blog.  I don’t know how blog success is measured in blogger universe, but in my world, reaching as many people as I’ve reached since starting FloxieHope in June, 2013 is amazing.  I’m thankful that I have a platform through which I can reach out to people, share information with them, and let them know that they are not alone and that they will survive.
    1. I am thankful for all of the people who have written their recovery stories for FloxieHope.  THANK YOU and CONGRATULATIONS on your recovery!
    2. I am thankful for Chandler Marrs of www.hormonesmatter.com  for publishing some of my essays about fluoroquinolones on Hormones Matter.
    3. I am thankful for Arjun Walia of www.collective-evolution.com for publishing some of my essays about fluoroquinolones on Collective Evolution.
    4. I am thankful for everyone who reads FloxieHope.  Thanks.  🙂
  5. I am thankful for the journey.  All of it.  Even the crappy parts that were unpleasant at the time, I’m as grateful for them as I am for the good things.  Without any of it, I wouldn’t be where I am now.  I’d like to think that I’m doing alright now, so I’m thankful for everything that has led me to this moment.

Of course, I’m grateful for a million other things.  One thing that meditation has taught me is that I can find beauty and gratitude in the smallest things, even in the pleasure of the breath.  Those little things that I’m thankful for are too numerous to list.  Please know that I am thankful for them though.

I truly hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Xoxoxo

-Lisa

 

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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

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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.   

fluoroquinolone-lawsuit-banner-trulaw

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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Lessons Learned from Getting Floxed

1980-08 #15 - Version 2

I’m going to start this post with a disclaimer – when I say I “asked for” this, I don’t mean that I deserved to get sick.  It is not my fault that I got sick.  I have made plenty of mistakes in my life, and plenty of the mistakes that I’ve made have to do with taking those Cipro pills.  But still, the bomb that went off in my body as a result of taking Cipro was not my fault.  Those of you who are sick from fluoroquinolones or other Rx drugs, it is not your fault.  The disproportionately horrifying adverse reaction that you are going through makes any responsibility that you have in creating the problem miniscule in comparison to the responsibility of those who are at fault.  There are people who are to blame for your illness, but you are not one of them.  You are a victim.  So, when I say that I “asked for” the things that have come into my life after getting Floxed, I mean those words literally – I asked for them.

I’ve always wanted:

  1. Purpose
  2. Direction
  3. Passion
  4. Righteousness
  5. Something to say that was important/interesting
  6. To be heard/validated
  7. A spiritual outlet
  8. An identity
  9. To be a fighter – to be strong
  10. To lose 10 pounds

I asked for those things.  I sent those desires out into the universe in whatever form I sent them – vague thoughts, wishes, desires, prayers, etc.  If you had asked me at any point in my adult life if I wanted any of those things, I would have said yes.  There would have been no hesitation.  Without a doubt, I wanted each of those things to come into my life.  I didn’t have a plan of action for how I was going to obtain any of them, other than the most trivial of them – to lose 10 pounds – I always had a theory on how to do that.  I wanted all of the more important things too, but I had no idea how to get them.

I vaguely looked for purpose, direction, passion, righteousness and an identity through my education and career choices.  I got a Masters in Public Administration with the hope of finding a way to make the world a better place through public policy.  I had every intention of finding my purpose and passion through my Master’s program but when the program ended it was a struggle to pick a topic for my thesis because I hadn’t discovered anything that I really cared about.

I work for a non-profit.  The non-profit that is my employer does good work in the community by lending money to developers of affordable housing.  I like that I do something that is generally helpful, but I don’t feel passionate about what I do.  I admire the people who feel passionately about their careers and their lives.  I wished to live like them, to have something that got me riled up, something that I really cared about, something that made a difference in the world and that made me someone important.

I never thought that I was particularly tough or strong.  I have always been strong physically, but emotionally and mentally, I was sensitive and (I hate to admit it) weak.  I would sacrifice myself so that others could win, or not feel bad.  I needed validation and was torn down easily.  I never had much will-power, thus the fairly constant unfulfilled wish to lose ten pounds.

Despite not having passion, direction, etc. my life wasn’t bad.  In fact, it was quite good.  I had my health.  I had a family and friends who loved me immensely.  I had enough money (everyone wants more, of course, but I had enough to get by).  I had a job.  I owned a home.  Life was good, it just didn’t have the “oomph” that I wanted it to.  I wanted more “oomph” and, over time, never specifically consciously, I wished for the things listed above.  I wanted them.  I asked for them.

I got all of those things.  I survived getting poisoned by Cipro and in doing so I learned that I’m not only a survivor, I’m a fighter.  I gained passion, direction, righteousness, etc. through screaming that it is NOT OKAY for people to be poisoned by prescription antibiotics.  I found that I have something to say and a surprising number of people are listening to me.  I found spiritual outlets (you can read about that here http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/09/14/a-journey-through-pharmaceutical-induced-illness/) and I found my soul.  I found my purpose.

I got exactly what I wanted.  Through getting sick.  Through recovering.  Through Cipro.  Out of all the things in the world, fucking Cipro, brought me those gifts.

I asked for them.  I asked and I received.  They just didn’t come in the packaging that I was looking for.

It’s kind of funny, isn’t it?  In a shoot-me, horrifying kind of way, it’s funny.  Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.

There are some other things that I gained from getting sick.  If I had been a more wise person, I probably would have wished for them ahead of time.  They are:

  1. Empathy
  2. Compassion
  3. Patience
  4. Tolerance

I gained those things from being knocked down, from being sick.  When I was healthy, I didn’t even realize that I was lacking those things for those who are not healthy.  I now see the world in a way that enables me to have empathy, compassion, patience and tolerance for those who are struggling and sick.  In gaining those things, I have become a better person.

To wonder if it was the right thing, to wonder if my health and longevity should have been sacrificed so that I can have a purposeful and passionate life, is futile.  That choice, if it was a choice, was not made on a conscious level.  I certainly know that I will never sign up to get poisoned again and that I will do everything in my power to keep others from going through what I went through.  But the experience of getting sick, the experience of recovering, and now the experience of fighting, have made me a better person.  It’s good to be empathetic, compassionate, patient, tolerant, passionate, determined, righteous and even skinny*.  These are not bad cards to be dealt.

* Do NOT even think about taking a fluoroquinolone for weight loss.  I could list the ways that that’s a stupid idea, but I’ll just leave it at – don’t be an idiot.

 

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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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Letter to Phil Blake, CEO of Bayer

Phil Blake

The picture above was posted by Jeff of www.ciproispoison.com on some of the Fluoroquinolone Toxicity facebook groups.  It got me thinking, if I got on the phone with Phil Blake, CEO of Bayer, what would I say?  I know that I wouldn’t say the “right” things and that I would kick myself for everything that I did say, so I thought that I’d write him a letter.  I didn’t want the letter to be too angry, crazy or irrational so I wrote a letter that tried to appeal to his humanity.  I wrote another letter in which I tried to shame him into using the massive resources that Bayer has to fix the problems that they created.  Neither of the letters really worked.  I didn’t like them.  They just didn’t seem appropriate.  They either erred on the side of being too angry or too nice.  They’re sitting on my computer, not on this blog, because I didn’t want to share them.

The thought entered my mind today that what I want to say to Mr. Blake is pretty simple.  Here it is:

Dear Mr. Blake,

When the people of the world discover that your drugs, Cipro and Avelox, have permanently and irreversibly altered their DNA (or possibly just their mitochondrial DNA, but does it really make a difference?), that a sick and cruel experiment involving genetically modifying humans for corporate profit has been conducted, you, your board, your top executives and your top scientists will be tried for crimes against humanity.  You will be found guilty, because you are.  I can only hope that both you and I live long enough to see the day that you are sent to prison for your crimes.

Sincerely,

Lisa Bloomquist

One long sentence and two short ones.  Is it angry, bitter, delusional, crazy, ill-advised (from a legal standpoint), etc.?  Yeah, it’s probably all of those things.  Oh well.  It’s better than the sugar coated ones.

It’s not exactly hopeful, and I apologize for that.

I hope that I am delusional and just simply wrong.  After all, I’m not a scientist.  Lisa being wrong would be best for the world.  You should probably believe that I’m wrong.  In case you want to consider the possibility of me being right, here are the articles that I’m basing this post on:

http://www.jbc.org/content/273/42/27668.full

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v501/n7465/full/nature12504.html

http://www.nmcth.edu/images/gallery/Editorial/xRZVmps_ambulkar.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkKZ_gxAOXI

More can be found on https://floxiehope.com/links-resources/ and, of course, the rest of the internet (or the library).

Back to the hope thing, I am fine.  Other people have healed too.  Most people get better with time, not worse.  The body has amazing healing capabilities.  You are not screwed.  You are not doomed.  You will be okay.

Mr. Blake, on the other hand, is screwed if people start paying attention.  I can only hope – and write.

 

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Email to the FDA

For the record, this email was sent to stephen.king@fda.hhs.gov on 10/11/2013.

Dear Mr. King,
When is it going to be recognized that fluoroquinolones are dangerous enough to severely restrict their use?  How many people have to suffer from permanent disability before their use is restricted to life-or-death situations in which there is no safer alternative treatment?
I thank you and the FDA for finally, after 30 years of complaints, updating the warning label for fluoroquinolones to include the risk of permanent peripheral neuropathy.  As someone who was severely adversely effected by Cipro in 2011, at the age of 32, who had extreme pain in my hands and feet, though I probably didn’t categorize them as “peripheral neuropathy” because I didn’t know the term until recently so my report to the FDA didn’t include that symptom, I found the label update to be somewhat vindicating.  However, it does not go near far enough.
Please consider the following:
  1. This article in Nature (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v501/n7465/full/nature12504.html) links topoisomerase inhibitors to the expression of Autism related genes.  As I’m sure you know, fluoroquinolones are topoisomerase inhibitors.
  2. Fluoroquinolones adduct to bacterial DNA, as described in this article – http://www.jbc.org/content/273/42/27668.full.  Please see the attached note from a retired toxicologist who was severely adversely effected by a fluoroquinolone, for a description of how fluoroquinolones adversely effect human DNA.  These drugs adduct to DNA, just like Agent Orange, and they are given out like candy.
  3. Recent media articles about how people have suffered severe CNS damage after being in the ICU.  Fluoroquinolones are utilized commonly in the ICU.  Perhaps it would behoove you to make the connection between the NEJM article noting that people stop being able to think after a visit to the ICU and the severe CNS effects of fluoroquinolones.  https://www.google.com/#q=nejm+patient+in+intensive+care+lose+memory  Also, Lynn Spalding, the patient who was being treated for a urinary tract infection whose body was found in the hospital stairwell was more than likely given fluoroquinolones to treat her UTI.  A severe adverse reaction could have caused the events that led to her death – http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/09/justice/body-in-hospital-stairwell/
  4. Please read the comments under the NYT article about the dangers of fluoroquinolones.  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/popular-antibiotics-may-carry-serious-side-effects/?_r=1  NONE of these people are lying or exaggerating.  In fact, many have reactions that are more severe than they describe because it is quite difficult to verbalize your problems when EVERYTHING is going wrong in your body and mind.
If you have any desire to read my story, it can be found at www.floxiehope.com.  I have recovered, but my recovery does not make the fact that I was hurt (possibly on a DNA level) justified.  My urinary tract infection could have, and should have, been treated with a milder antibiotic.
The FDA is supposed to be protecting and informing patients.  Please move in that direction.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you,
Lisa Bloomquist
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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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Moving forward after Cipro knocked me down

When I realized that Cipro was the cause of my body going completely hay-wire (I didn’t know immediately because my reaction was delayed), and I saw stories on the internet of people getting worse and worse indefinitely, and/or living with pain and disability caused by fluoroquinolones, I thought that I had accidentally killed myself. I thought of writing letters to my family and friends to say goodbye, to let them know that I was gone and that I was so, so, so sorry that I had taken those pills.

In some ways, even though I survived, obviously, I think that I should have written those letters (even though they would have scared the crap out of my loved ones and probably gotten me locked in a psych ward). Because I am different now. The old Lisa is gone. I certainly didn’t die in the physical sense, but who I was changed in an instant, with those 6 pills.

……..

Apparently search engines don’t like it when there is duplicate content on the internet.  In order to appease Google, I will refer you to the other site, www.collective-evolution.com, where the story was published in full – http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/09/14/a-journey-through-pharmaceutical-induced-illness/

 

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Survivor’s Guilt after Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

Guilt is such a useless emotion.  It induces stress and anxiety for no good reason.  Guilt feels horrible.  It feels like a kick to the gut; a twist in the heart and the soul.

A particularly useless form of guilt is survivor’s guilt.  On top of being useless and destructive, it’s narcissistic.  I feel better but you still feel lousy and that makes me feel bad – as if I have any control over how you feel.  Yuck.  Seriously, it’s disgustingly narcissistic.  It is ridiculous and I know it.

Yet I feel it.  I have been having horrible survivor’s guilt lately.  My stomach has been in knots over the fact that people are suffering.  It hurts me to hear stories of pain and hardship, and it especially hurts me to hear stories of injustice.  Everyone who has been hurt by the pharmaceutical industry, who is suffering because of a stupid drug, is suffering not only physically, but also from a grave injustice.

I want to stop this injustice from occurring.  I see the injustice.  Not everyone sees it.  It’s not real to most people.  But I see it.  It is very real me and to all the other people who have lived through it or who are affected by it.  I see it, but I can’t seem to stop it, and this makes me feel horrible.  I feel guilty.  I feel guilty about not doing more to change the system.  I feel guilty about not warning the people who got hurt after me.  I feel horrible about not doing more.

It’s funny that this feeling has come up as I’ve started to do something about the travesty that is Floxing (I’m thinking that this blog is “something” – you can disagree).  While I was doing nothing, just focusing on healing myself, not focusing on changing the world, I didn’t feel guilty about anyone else’s suffering.  Now that I’ve started reaching out to people, now that I see that my words can have power, I feel horrible about the fact that I’m not doing enough, that my words don’t have as much power as I’d like them to, that I didn’t use the power of my words earlier.

I’m sorry.  I really am.  I’m sorry for your pain and I’m sorry for not preventing it.  I’m really sorry for being narcissistic and whiny about it too.  And I’m trying.  Truly.  I’m doing what I think I can.  These systems that we’re fighting are really big and powerful.  But I’m still trying.  I’m doing my best.

I am way too sensitive to be an activist.  I’m way too sensitive to be a fighter.  But I don’t really see what choice I have.  People are being hurt.  I have to do something to stop it.  I have to try.  The world needs people who try.  Who am I not to try?

So, I’ll deal with the higher blood pressure and the stupid, stupid guilt.  I’ll even deal with knowing that I’m a narcissist.  Because this fight is worth fighting.  Hopefully I’ll learn how to make it less painful at some point.

 

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