Tag Archives: Levaquin

The Floxie Hope Podcast Episode 001

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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.

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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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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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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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Doctor Referral List

Several people have asked me for referrals to doctors who specialize in Fluoroquinolone Toxicity.  Unfortunately, there are very few doctors who claim any expertise in Fluoroquinolone Toxicity (I say claim because even the most in-depth medical journals say that the mechanisms through which fluoroquinolones work, and sometimes don’t work, are unknown at this time).  But there are doctors who have read-up on fluoroquinolone toxicity, who are familiar with the issues of Floxies, who are willing and able to listen and to help, when possible.  Here is a list of the doctors who have been identified thus far –

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10HdvKMTV1YGPyubf9KCYivtG8i2jo8w1kZjBDjNdt38/edit#gid=7

 

If you find a good doctor that you like who you would like to refer other Floxies to, please add the doctor, or other medical professional that helps you, to the referral list –

 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeSLS4uxb4P8g05Jo7MomnuLle9qGaIPValUL22v-AKwuXy6Q/viewform

 

I did not create these google documents.  I want to thank the person who did (I’m not sure who that person is, sorry).  Thank you for putting this together!

 

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Antioxidant Depletion by Fluoroquinolones

antioxidants

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

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

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

Here are the main points of the article:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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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Fluoroquinolones 101

Hormones Matter Logo

I wrote the following article for Hormones Matter:

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

Thanks for reading it!

-Lisa

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FDA Announces that Permanent Peripheral Neuropathy is to be Added to Warning Labels for Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics

 Essay #1

On August 15, 2013 the FDA announced that a new, highlighted warning would be added to all orally administered and injected fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, etc.), noting that these drugs cause peripheral neuropathy.  The announcement can be viewed through this link – http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm365050.htm The Related Information links give further details on the dangers of fluoroquinolones and the rationale behind the FDA’s decision to finally, after 30 years of consumer complaints, to warn people of this devastating effect of fluoroquinolones.

The FDA announcement is a HUGE step in the right direction. Now, when patients go to their doctors with sudden, severe pain in their extremities, their doctors are going to be more likely to connect the patient’s peripheral neuropathy with the fluoroquinolone antibiotic that the patient took.  As more and more doctors make the connection between their patients’ painful, burning, swollen feet (among other symptoms of peripheral neuropathy) and fluoroquinolones (again, Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, etc.), they will be more likely to recognize the severity and frequency of adverse reactions to these drugs.  They may even start connecting the other symptoms that their patients experience with fluoroquinolones and really, truly acknowledging the damage that these drugs do.  This recognition may/should/will start the ball rolling in the direction of doctors actually using fluoroquinolones appropriately – as a drug of last resort, to be used only in life-or-death situations.

At the very least, this new warning increases the likelihood of a correct diagnosis from a doctor for those who are suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome.  When I went to my doctor with swollen, painful, weak hands and feet (and hives all over my body), she told me that it wasn’t possible that my issues were from the Cipro that I had taken 2 weeks earlier.  She was wrong.  Now that this warning label has been added, it is less likely that she’ll misdiagnose the next patient who comes to her with similar symptoms.  She is more likely to realize that Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox and other fluoroquinolones are dangerous drugs with severe consequences to the health of her patients.

The doctors who connect the peripheral neuropathy that their patients experience with  fluoroquinolones will be more likely to report the adverse reaction to the FDA.  As more and more reports of adverse effects of fluoroquinolones are reported, it is more likely that the real risks of these drugs are properly established, by the FDA and physicians alike.  Once risk is properly established, a more reasonable protocol for their use can be established.

As someone who has suffered through Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome and peripheral neuropathy caused by Cipro (taken to treat a simple UTI), I’m thankful for the FDA’s acknowledgment of the peripheral neuropathy that people experience as a result of fluoroquinolones.  Really, I’m grateful for the move in the right direction.  But there are some things that bother me about the announcement.

First, they state that, “The topical formulations of fluoroquinolones, applied to the ears or eyes, are not known to be associated with this risk.”  Really, FDA?  You think that these drugs applied in the ears and eyes don’t have devastating system-wide effects?  Fluoroquinolone ear and eye drops are typically in low enough doses that Flouroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome doesn’t result, but don’t you still think that the people who take the ear and eye drops (or administer them to their children) should at least know that these drugs cause permanent peripheral neuropathy when administered in another form?  It seems appropriate to at least make some sort of note about this serious side-effect, especially when these drugs are given to children to treat ear infections.  The specialist model of the Western medical system that treats each part of a body as separate and as if it doesn’t connect with the rest of the body, is absurd.  If a drug is dangerous when administered orally, it’s pretty likely to be dangerous when put into the eye.  It just seems negligent to not warn people of the adverse effects of a drug in all forms in which they’re available.

Second, they state that, “If a patient develops symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, the fluoroquinolone should be stopped, and the patient should be switched to another, non-fluoroquinolone antibacterial drug, unless the benefit of continued treatment with a fluoroquinolone outweighs the risk.”  Well, at least the standard instruction of “finish the entire course of antibiotics” is abandoned.  Instructing people to finish a course of a drug that they’re having a severe adverse reaction to is bad advice, to say the least – and it was standard protocol for years.  But there is the implication that if the patient stops taking the fluoroquinolone, the ceasing of taking the drug will help to stop the reaction that is causing the peripheral neuropathy.  Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.  At least the FDA mentioned that the peripheral neuropathy can be permanent, so the fact that it won’t be fixed by cessation of taking the drug is at least acknowledged.

The warning of peripheral neuropathy is the third highlighted warning on fluroquinolones.  The other two are for death in those with myasthenia gravis and tendon ruptures (for everyone, not just those with  myasthenia gravis).  Now that peripheral neuropthy is added to the list of side-effects that are severe enough to require a highlighted warning, maybe people will start realizing that these are dangerous drugs, and maybe doctors will start following their Hippocratic Oath and stop prescribing them in cases where other, safer antibiotics can get rid of the infection just as well.

Essay #2

On August 15, 2013 the FDA announced that a new warning label is to be added to all orally administered and injected (via IV) fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Floxin, etc.) warning people of the serious side-effect of peripheral neuropathy.  The FDA announcement notes that peripheral neuropathy is serious nerve damage and that it can be permanent.

http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm365050.htm

As someone who took Cipro and subsequently experienced painful peripheral neuropathy, I’ve got to say that this validation from the FDA feels pretty darn good.

As most sensible people would, I went to my doctor when I broke out in hives all over my body, my hands and feet were swollen and painful, my tendons throughout my body were tight and my legs were so weak that I could barely stand.  I was told that they didn’t know what was wrong with me.  As far as missed diagnosis’ go, “I don’t know” is a pretty benign one, so I’m thankful for it.  I could have been incorrectly told that I had Rheumatoid Arthritis or a number of other diseases that my symptoms mimicked (M.S., Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Lyme Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Leaky Gut Syndrome, etc.).  When I asked my doctor if it was possible that the Cipro that I had taken prior to the emergence of my symptoms, she told me that it wasn’t possible.

It’s not only possible, it’s true.  The FDA announcement confirms what I already know to be true – Cipro caused my peripheral neuropathy (and all my other health problems, but the FDA hasn’t confirmed that yet).

VINDICATED!  After 20 months of health issues caused by Cipro, an ANTIBIOTIC I took to treat a simple urinary tract infection, the FDA finally confirmed that the peripheral nerve damage that I suffered from was caused by the pharmaceutical I took, the so-called medicine.

Perhaps someday the FDA will put a highlighted warning on fluoroquinolone antibiotics about the CNS damage that they can cause.  Yup, CNS damage.  That’s brain damage, folks.  A petition is circulating to get a warning of the risk of CNS damage added to the labels of all fluoroquinolones.  Please sign it – http://www.change.org/petitions/food-and-drug-administration-department-of-health-and-human-services-black-box-warning-for-fq-drugsand-cns-damage  People deserve to KNOW about the devastating, sometimes permanent, adverse effects of these drugs.

There are now three highlighted warnings on the labels for fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Floxin, etc.)  One warning of increased risk of developing tendonitis and TENDON RUPTURE, another warning of DEATH in patients with myasthenia gravis, and now another warning for possible permanent PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY.  Additionally, the FDA is being petitioned by consumers who have suffered from brain damage to add CNS damage to the list of warnings.

Do ya think that there may be a problem with these drugs?

Yes, there’s a problem with these drugs!  And given the rampant use of them, 26.9 million people were either given fluoroquinolone pills or IVs in 2011 (per the FDA) and the rate of adverse reactions ranges from 4.4% to 20% (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249743/?report=printable), it’s a BIG problem!  Do the math, you’ll find that one to five million people were adversely effected by these drugs in 2011 alone.  Adverse reactions can range from an annoying but harmless eyelid twitch to body-wide breakdown and PERMANENT PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY, TENDON RUPTURE and even DEATH.

Serious policy changes need to be enacted around these drugs.  They can sometimes be necessary to save a life and therefore they shouldn’t be banned.  But maiming and disabling people with a class of antibiotics when there are other, safer antibiotics available, is ABSURD and it’s WRONG.

The new warning is a good start, but we need you to keep going, FDA.  Do what should have been done years ago.  The research is out there.  Pay attention and do what’s right.  Please.

A song – 

 

 

Is Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Rare?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Taking Supplements After Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

Supplements After Fluoroquinolone Poisoning

“I am not a doctor and none of the advice contained in this site should be seen as a replacement for the advice of a doctor or other medical professional. Please be careful with all supplements and treatments that you self-administer. Trusted supervision by a medical professional is a good idea.”

That’s the disclaimer that I have up on the Stories page of Floxie Hope. I have no idea how solid it is as a disclaimer. I’m not a lawyer either. Please don’t hurt yourself or sue me.

The disclaimer is understood. Sure.  Fine. We all know that each individual’s experience is different, their biochemistry is different, no one on here is doing a controlled scientific experiment because it’s IMPOSSIBLE to do a controlled scientific experiment on yourself, and we even know that we should probably avoid getting medical advice on the internet.

Fine.

But can you blame us?  What are we supposed to do? The doctors, the people who prescribed us a poison that MESSED US UP, could chat with us, but most Floxies are understandably wary of listening to their doctors. Doctors also have no answers. They have no advice, no course of action for us to take, and no cure. I don’t blame them for not having answers.  They just don’t know. They have no idea what is going wrong in our bodies or how to fix it. It would be nice if they tried to understand, explored different theories, answered the questions in my “What is going on???” post (https://floxiehope.com/2013/06/20/test-post/) compiled a database of what helps and what hurts, looked for a cure, etc. But seeing as we’re fighting to even get our ailments acknowledged and linked to fluoroquinolones, it’s pretty far-fetched to think that meaningful research into a cure is going to be done any time soon.

So we seek answers on the internet. We try different supplements that have helped other people. Luckily, unlike pharmaceuticals, supplements have an excellent safety record. But the combinations that any of us try may hurt us. We may inadvertently harm ourselves while trying to heal ourselves.  We don’t intend for that to happen, but it may.

I’ve had two minor mishaps with supplements. I took a niacin supplement and got a “flush” that scared the $*&% out of me. I recently started taking Magnesium Malate / Malic Acid (same thing, two names). It’s given me a nice energy boost, but it’s made it difficult to sleep.  Having a little more energy is not even close to worth insomnia – for me. Neither of these mishaps caused me any real harm. They were learning experiences. Taking Cipro was also a learning experience, but a lot of harm was done and the lessons learned came at a ridiculously high price.

I think that most of the supplements that I take help me in one way or another. I wouldn’t take them if I didn’t think that they were beneficial. Yeah, I see the benefit in each of them, but my attachment to them and the money that I spend on them isn’t completely healthy. I spend way too much money on supplements and I am only sure of the benefits of some of them. Iron, magnesium and chlorophyll help me immensely. I eat beets and brewer’s yeast daily and I think that something in them (probably the uridine) is helpful. What helped me may not help you so only take that for what it’s worth, not a lot, only a teensy bit more than your doctor’s advice, seeing as he/she knows nothing about this. (I say that tongue-in-cheek – but don’t take my advice as medical advice, seriously, don’t.)

It would be really, really, really nice if our doctors could acknowledge what happened to us, note that they don’t know how to fix us, and explore alternative treatments with us.  Hahahahahaha, I know, pipe dream, hahahahahahaha – I crack myself up.

I’m sure that it’s frustrating for doctors to hear from patients, “I heard about this remedy on the internet,” but if they can’t give any answers, seriously, what are we supposed to do?

I see the people who look for answers to their ailments on the internet as hopeful. We HOPE that there is something out there that can help us, that can cure us. We hope that someone else has found the magic combination of supplements and diet that will lift our brain-fog and cure our connective tissues. I don’t care if this hope is entirely false, hope is a good thing. I hope that the stories of hope and healing in this web site are helpful to you and that what worked for others works for you as well. Please don’t hurt yourself with supplements or diet, and especially don’t get hurt with pharmaceuticals again. And as always, have hope.

 

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Warning Signs of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Shame of a Pharmaceutical Induced Illness

I have noticed some shame associated with floxing.  I have felt plenty of shame.  I haven’t wanted people to know that I was sick.  I haven’t wanted people to know how I got sick.  I haven’t wanted people to know that I’m dwelling on being sick or that I’m participating in support groups.  I certainly have felt some shame associated with having mental health issues – a lovely part of floxing.  I have felt shame at how I dealt with getting sick – badly – something that I can at least partly attribute to my mental health issues that were caused by getting floxed.  I have felt shame about the fact that I can’t do the things that I used to be able to do.  I have felt shame about my anger.  I have felt shame about not getting better more quickly (and I am a fast recovering Floxie).  I have felt shame over the fact that I’ve changed, that I’m just different now.   Lots and lots of stupid shame.  I have noticed that other people seem to feel shame about being floxed too.  They use a pseudonym when participating in the support groups, or they ask for things not to be shared with their friends or family members.  Shame, it appears, is part of being Floxed, for many people.

I wonder where this shame came from.  For me, in some cases it was justified.  I really did deal horribly with getting sick.  I was anxious, had psychotic thoughts and sought validation of my sickness and thoughts of my impending death.  My family was worried – justifiably.  And maybe it’s okay to feel a little ashamed of the fact that I’ve dwelled on being sick.  It’s not healthy to have a sickness form your identity.  More importantly, it’s not helpful.  But I really shouldn’t have been ashamed of getting sick, or any of my symptoms.  It’s not my fault.  And the fact that you got sick is not your fault.  And I shouldn’t have felt ashamed at the pace at which I recovered.  My body, mind and spirit healed as fast as they could.  Yours will too.

Shame, I think, ultimately stems from fear that you won’t be loved.  That you won’t be loved as a sick person.  That you won’t be loved as a person who can’t run, or play football, or dance, or whatever.  That you won’t be loved as an anxious person.  That you won’t be loved as a person who isn’t as smart as you used to be.  That you won’t be loved as a tired person.  That you won’t be loved as a Floxie.  So you hide your sickness, your anger, your pain, and you feel ashamed.

I’m not sure what to say to any of you who can empathize with this post, other than stop it.  Stop feeling ashamed.  Stop hiding.  Stop being afraid.  And you may just find that you are loved just the way you are, busted tendons and all.

You are sick.  You are not broken.  You are not less.  You have nothing to be ashamed of.  You have no reason to hide.  You are loved.  Even if you are sick and scared and can’t move or think, you are loved.  You are loved by your friends and family.  Even if you don’t feel the love from them, don’t believe the love from them, you are still loved because love is within you.  You are loved.  You just are.

 

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Adverse Reactions to Fluoroquinolones are Like Earthquakes

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

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

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

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

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

June, 2013 addition –

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

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What is Fluoroquinolone Toxicity???

Cipro Molecular Structure

What is the pathology and what is the cause of floxing???  I’ve jumbled up theories of cause and pathology in the following list:

Is it an autoimmune disease/reaction?  ‘Cause that makes sense.   Many of the symptoms are similar to those of known autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis or Lupus.  The connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, fascia, etc. of Floxies is being attacked.  If it’s being attacked by the immune system, well, that’s an autoimmune disease.  Which leads me to – AN ANTIBIOTIC TRIGGERED AN AUTO-IMMUNE REACTION – ARE YOU EFFING SERIOUS???  But it may not be….

Is it a serum sickness?  ‘Cause that makes sense.   My uncle who is an orthopedic surgeon thinks that it is.  This article describes floxing as a serum sickness – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC171716/

Is it a toxic reaction?  ‘Cause that makes sense.  A drug is a toxin, right?  So if we get it out of our systems, we’ll be fine, right?  Unfortunately, this, the simplest of explanations, is the easiest to dismiss.  If it was a toxic reaction, people wouldn’t have delayed reactions.  When I went to the doctor, two weeks after I finished taking Cipro, and asked her if my symptoms had anything to do with the Cipro, she said no because (she didn’t know any better and) the Cipro should have been out of my system by then.  She’s probably right.  The Cipro had been metabolized.  But while it was there, it did something horrible to every cell in my body.  Maybe there are lingering pockets of toxins that we can just clean up and be cured…. But I don’t think so.

Is it an inhibition of the CYP1A2 enzyme?  ‘Cause that makes sense.  Fluoroquinolones inhibit the CYP1A2 enzyme in the liver, according to http://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2007/2007-11/2007-11-8279.  Cures include smoking tobacco and eating broccoli.  You don’t want to start smoking, I wouldn’t/don’t…. But if it will enable you to walk, well, I can’t blame you.

Is it mitochondrial damage?  The general consensus among Floxies is that their mitochondria is damaged.  Another Floxie blog goes into this theory – http://www.floxedbylevaquin.com/p/mitochondrial-disease.html.  This may be an entirely false line of logic seeing as cellular energy and how energetic you feel are different, but mitochondrial damage may explain the exhaustion that Floxies feel.  Harvard researchers seem to be on this track – http://www.worldpharmanews.com/research/2481-dodging-antibiotic-side-effects

Is it dna damage?  Fluoroquinolones “prevent bacterial DNA from unwinding and duplicating” (according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluoroquinolone).  Do they also prevent our DNA from unwinding and duplicating?

Is it an inability to absorb magnesium and other minerals?  Given that magnesium and other mineral supplements are the only supplements that seem to reliably help most Floxies, and that many floxing symptoms are similar to that of magnesium deficiency this explanation seems pretty likely.  Unfortunately, popping a magnesium pill every day doesn’t seem to fix the problem.  Also, according to “Musculoskeletal Complications of Fluoroquinolones: Guidelines and Precautions for Usage in the Athletic Population” by Doctors Hall, Finnoff and Smith (do I have to site it correctly on a blog?), “Results of studies have shown that magnesium-deficient diets are capable of producing cartilage changes similar to that caused by fluoroquinolone exposure in both canines and rats, and dietary magnesium supplementation was able to reduce the histologic changes in rats exposed to fluoroquinolones.”  More information regarding the relationship between floxing and magnesium can be found in the article which can be found in Musculoskeletal Medicine, Vol. 3, pages 132-142, February 2011, published by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  Email me for a copy. Also, here is a list of drugs that deplete magnesium from the body.  Cipro and Levquin are on it –  http://www.jigsawhealth.com/resources/drug-muggers-suzy-cohen-magnesium

Is it a methylation issue / MTHFR gene mutation?  A lot of Floxies have been tested for the MTHFR gene mutation and all who have tested and reported back have had the mutation.  I honestly don’t know enough about this line of thinking to comment much on it.  Here’s some info – http://www.methyl-life.com/index.html.

Is it something to do with blood? Iron, chlorophyll and beets are all supposed to help production of red blood cells, and those are the things that help me the most.  Maybe our blood doesn’t carry oxygen as well as it did.  Why/how did fluoroquinolones effect my blood’s ability to carry oxygen?  I have no idea.  I don’t even know that the above statement is true.  I do know that blood tonics such as iron, chlorophyll and beets help me though.

Is it something that inhibits our absorbtion of uridine?  Beets make me feel better, and I’ve been having Brewer’s Yeast daily for about a year.  Maybe the uridine in those things is helpful.  http://www.spanimax.com/index.php/omega-3-and-uridine

Is it something hormonal?  I know that my symptoms get significantly worse just before my period and during my period.  Hormones have some effect on floxing – I just don’t know what it is.  Hormones may explain cycling too.

Is it something going hay-wire in our Gaba receptors?  Dr. Flockhart, a doctor who has seen many Floxies, believes that floxing causes interference with the Gaba receptors throughout our brains and bodies.

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

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

Did we have something in our system that “supercharged” the fluoroquinolone antibiotics?  Maybe we had trace amounts of silver in our system that made the FQs many times stronger – http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=silver-makes-antibiotics-thousands-of-times-more-effective.  Or, maybe we had some grapefruit juice in our system and it produced that enzyme that kept us from metabolizing the drugs.

FQs are topoisomerase inhibitors and that the primary cause of our issues is likely DNA and mtDNA damage from massive transcription errors as a result of the chemical inhibition of proper cellular replication. That is the effect of a topoisomerase inhibitor, after all. They simply affect both prokaryotic AND eukaryotic DNA, despite what the literature states.  Recent research has proven this about FQs. That is why you get the delayed effect. It takes weeks to months for those damaged cells to replicate.
http://biology.about.com/od/cellanatomy/a/eukaryprokarycells.htm

Further, “FQs are currently being investigated for their chemotherapeutic properties. This research would not be possible if FQs didn’t affect eukaryotic cells.  FQs damage DNA by via inhibition of topoisomerase enzymes. This causes the DNA to not unwind, replicate, and then rewind back into the double helix structure correctly. This introduces transcription errors into the DNA itself. The body then recognizes these errors and attacks. This process should be over in a relatively short period of time. Unfortunately, I also think FQs alter the DNA of long lasting immune cells (killler B and T cells for example) which normally remain in the body for years or decades. I think once this happens, the body then develops the autoimmune issues. Also, it is a fact that once you cause the DNA and mtDNA damage, then you see a huge spike in the amount of ROS in the body. There was a study done of Indian men given Cipro for UTIs that proved that. What would you expect the body to do if you damage the ability of the mito to efficiently turn food into energy? You would get an increase in the amount of reactive oxygen species causing a cascade of cellular damage.  Also, it is well known that the human body would simply fall apart without many types of bacteria. Now what if you introduce a chemical into the body that destroys and/or causes mutations in the DNA of said bacteria? I think all of what I previously stated combines to cause our issues.”

Did Fluoroquinolones cause us to become Histamine Intolerant or to have excess histamine?  Here are the ways that this makes sense.  First, drugs can inhibit the enzymes that keep histamine levels in check.  Fluoroquinolones aren’t listed as drugs that can do so, but NSAIDs, one category of drugs that can trigger a reaction to Fluoroquinolones, are – http://healthypixels.com/?p=1044.  Second, “Histamine is versatile–it helps to regulate body functions as diverse as digestion, sleep, sexual function, blood pressure, and brain function.  How does this one molecule do so many different things?  The secret to histamine’s multi-faceted nature lies in which type of cell and which type of receptor it binds to.  For example, when histamine binds to special cells in the stomach called parietal cells, they respond by producing stomach acid.  When histamine binds to receptors on the surface of blood vessel cells, blood vessels dilate, dropping blood pressure. Small vessels called capillaries become leaky and fluids ooze out of them, which can lead to runny nose, watery eyes, and puffy skin/fluid retention.  In the brain, histamine acts as a neurotransmitter, carrying chemical messages between nerve cells.” (from http://diagnosisdiet.com/histamine-intolerance/)  Also, estrogen and histamine reinforce each other, which may explain why menstruating women have flare-ups of their floxing symptoms when they experience PMS.  BUT, histamine doesn’t adequately explain a lot of other things.  First, Fluoroquinolone Toxicity is NOT an allergic reaction, at least not in the sense that we think of allergic reactions, with an immediate, severe reaction that can include anaphylactic shock and ceasing of the reaction when exposure to the allergen has stopped and an antihistamine is administered.  Adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones can begin weeks or even months after exposure to the drug has stopped; after it SHOULD be fully metabolized and out of the body.  Also, antihistamine drugs like Benadryl, Claratin and Zyrtek don’t seem to do much for those who are suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity.

Do fluoroquinolones damage the myelin sheath that protects nerves?  Fluoroquinolones damage or disrupt the Central Nervous System, the Peripheral Nervous System and the Autonomic Nervous System.  This leads me to believe that they damage or disrupt nerves over-all.  Perhaps the myelin sheath that protects nerves is attacked by fluoroquinolones.

Do fluoroquinolones cause a massive amount of oxidative stress on the body and does that oxidative stress cause the damage?  A 2011 study published in the Journal of Young Pharmacists found that, “There is significant and gradual elevation of lipid peroxide levels in patients on ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin.”  They also found that “There was substantial depletion in both SOD (superoxide dismutase, “a free radical scavenging enzyme”) and glutathione levels” and that “On the 5th day of treatment, plasma antioxidant status decreased by 77.6%, 50.5% (and) 7.56% for ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin and gatifloxacin respectively.” The study also notes that administration of fluoroquinolones leads to a marked increase in the formation of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and that “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.”

All of these theories make sense and it would be really nice to know which one is correct. Basically, what the hell is going on in our bodies?  Why are we falling apart?  Why do some people get better and others don’t?  Why do FQs effect some people and not others?  It’s all so confusing and frustrating.  If some research on where to even start could be done… that would be helpful.

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