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Gaslighting: A form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.

Very few things make me angrier than the gaslighting of patients who are suffering from adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones. Unfortunately, I hear of it often, and, every time, it makes my blood boil.

Adverse drug reactions are real. Considering how popular the mantra of, “all drugs have side-effects” is, you’d think that adverse reactions would be well recognized. They’re not though, and often patients who experience side-effects face denial, disbelief, derision, and even hostility from medical professionals.

Patients are foo often told that they are wrong, or that they must be crazy, or that what they’re experiencing is impossible, when they ask their doctors about the connections between their symptoms and the fluoroquinolone antibiotic (Cipro/ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/levofloxacin, Avelox/moxifloxacin, or Floxin/ofloxacin) that they took–even though, in many cases, the effects that the patient is experiencing are listed on the fluoroquinolone warning label.

The gaslighting of patients who experience adverse reactions to prescription drugs is absurd, it is wrong, and it needs to stop.

Of course, there are wonderful, understanding, empathetic doctors (and other medical professionals) who recognize that adverse reactions to pharmaceuticals are real. Those people are appreciated! When I hear of a doctor recognizing fluoroquinolone adverse reactions it warms my heart, because not only do I know that we are making progress, I know that a sick/hurt person is getting the healing recognition that he or she needs.

I hope that with the media and FDA recognition of severe adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones more doctors will recognize fluoroquinolone associated disability (FQAD)when they see it, and will resist having a knee-jerk reaction or telling their patient that he or she is crazy or that all the symptoms are in his or her head. We’re making progress, but we still have a ways to go before FQAD is generally recognized.

If you are interested in reading more about the gaslighting of patients, I recommend these posts:
  1. On – The Gaslighting of Patients
  2. On – Musings of a Heretic Patient: Floxed and Fed Up
  3. On – Acknowledgement of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotic Toxicity
  4. On – The Unintentional Gaslighting of Women and a Goodbye (not about fluoroquinolones, but a good article on medical gaslighting none the less)
Unfortunately, many of the stories on and also feature the gaslighting of patients.


On a different, entirely more positive, note–please check out Zoe’s WONDERFUL video about her journey through FQAD:

“Dear 16-Year-Old-Me,
I promise you will be okay.
Love, 18-Year-Old-You.”

I cried like a baby watching it. Zoe’s equally poignant and thoughtful testimony before the FDA can be found HERE.