Today is a day of rest. @WeGoHealth asks us, “What’s your ideal day?” and “How do you relax, recharge and reset?”
I’m pretty boring I guess. My ideal day in is a movie marathon with back-to-back documentaries or maybe a good psychological thriller all day with my hubby and my pack of critters. On really special rest days, we have what’s called “Fur Island,” where everyone gets to get up on the big king-size bed with the humans for movie time. So, it’s back-to-back episodes of “Fur Island” today while you all get to meet our amazing guest blogger Rachel Brummert from the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation.
The last decade of my life was spent in surgery to repair ruptured tendons. From a casual stroll to reaching in the cupboard for food, simple daily activities caused nine ruptures in my hands, arms, knees, legs and feet. I took Levaquin in 2006 for a suspected sinus infection. A month after stopping it, while walking across a parking lot to my car, I suffered an Achilles tendon rupture. Years later, I was given levofloxacin (generic Levaquin) in the hospital without my knowledge and continued suffering adverse reactions. I was also diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease as a result of fluoroquinolone (FQ) antibiotics. Add that to a total of nine ruptured tendons, and you can begin to see the picture of what can happen with “Fluoroquinolone Toxicity.” A time will come when my neurodegenerative illness will progress to the point that independent living is no longer possible. Sadly, there are countless people just like me who took an antibiotic and will never be the same again.
Those of you who were injured by transvaginal mesh could be at a greater risk for receiving a prescription for a fluoroquinolone antibiotic due to the adverse effect of a higher risk for infection.
But antibiotics are meant to help us feel better, right? And they are safe, right?
Yes. But sometimes the risks of prescribing antibiotics outweigh the benefits of their healing properties.
Such is the case with fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as Levaquin, Cipro, and Avelox (also sometimes referred to as the drug class, Quinolones).
Fluoroquinolones were manufactured for life threatening infections such as Anthrax, a very rare, but treatable bacterial infection. These drugs were never meant to be given as a first line of defense, because they are very, very powerful medications which come with severe adverse reactions. Taking a fluoroquinolone antibiotic for non-life threatening infections like the beginning stages of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) or sinus infections is like detonating an atom bomb to kill a mosquito. There are far safer alternatives.
It should be noted that fluoroquinolones come in oral pills, IV, eye drops, and ear drops. All delivery methods carry the same adverse reactions and risks.
Adverse reactions from Levaquin, Cipro, and Avelox include tendon ruptures, tendonosis, peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) which can be permanent, joint pain, muscle wasting, seizures, food and chemical sensitivities, mitochondrial damage, psychosis, chronic gastric problems, tinnitus, retinal detachment, arrhythmia, visual and auditory problems, can also lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, and others. For a comprehensive list, see: http://www.saferpills.org/resources/quinolones-101/
This severe damage can happen after just one pill, or it can be a delayed reaction that happens days, weeks, or months after stopping one of these medications.
Many patients are not warned of the adverse reactions, or their doctors have downplayed these potentially permanent side effects of fluoroquinolones and why this class of antibiotics is much different than Penicillin-based antibiotics (like Amoxicillan) or any number of drugs from the class called Macrolides (like Zithromax). Fluoroquinolones are also frequently given during surgery or for inpatient treatment, and most patients are never informed that an antibiotic drug in this class was given to them. Too often, it is after a patient suffers one of these severe adverse reactions and subsequently accesses medical records that a patient becomes aware that he or she was prescribed a fluoroquinolone. Most commonly, patients are informed via pharmacy insert, and the warnings are either incomplete or hidden by confusing language.
What differentiates fluoroquinolones from other antibiotics is that these drugs cross the blood-brain barrier and so can cause horrific damage that leads to long term injury, disability, and can cause death.
To learn about why the blood-brain barrier is an important aspect of the body’s security system for one of its most important organs, read this article by The Society of Neurosciene at brainfacts.org:
Why are these dangerous drugs still on the market if they cause such widespread damage?
There a few reasons:
A medication can be pulled off the market if there are enough “Black Box” warnings. A Black Box warning is the highest warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration. There are currently two Black Box warnings on fluoroquinolones, one for tendon rupture and one for peripheral neuropathy. Two Citizen’s Petitions submitted by Dr. Charles Bennett are requesting the FDA add two more Black Box warnings for Mitochondrial Toxicity (http://www.saferpills.org/citizen-petition/) and dangerous Psychiatric Effects (http://www.saferpills.org/citizen-petition-psychiatric-effects/ ).
The FDA has not yet responded to these Citizen’s Petitions.
Another reason the drugs are still being sold is because the pharmaceutical industry pulls in billions of dollars in profits every year on these drugs. Companies are allowed to fast-track medications through the FDA review process, which leads to faulty clinical trials and bypasses vital safety protocols.
Lastly, fluoroquinolones are a necessary evil when it comes to life-threatening infections, such as Anthrax. In these cases, the benefit of prescribing the drug outweighs the higher risk of imminent death or injury. When a doctor prescribes these drugs for more common infections, when such a powerful medication is not medically necessary, the risk of serious adverse events outweigh the potential benefits, and a patient is put at unnecessary and preventable risk.
Prescribing the “big guns” for common infections can lead to antibiotic resistance, a growing problem worldwide. For more on antibiotic resistance. please read: http://quinolonevigilancefoundation.blogspot.com/2015/01/antibiotic-resistant-infections.html
Unless you are suffering from a life-threatening infection, always ask for the safest antibiotic medication. You can also ask that your physician take the time to culture your infection. Knowing which pathogen is causing illness helps your doctor to accurately prescribe the most effective antibiotic for you. You are your best advocate.
What about generic fluoroquinolones? Are they dangerous too?
Simply put, yes. Eighty percent of all prescriptions are generics. Currently, due to a 2011 Supreme Court ruling called Pliva v. Mensing, if you are damaged by a generic medication (fluoroquinolone or not), you have no recourse. Generic drug makers are not required to update their warning labels even if new information comes out. You also have no legal resource.
On March 27, I testified at an FDA Hearing on this very matter. The FDA has proposed a rule that would close the generic drug loophole and hold generic drug makers accountable for the damage their products cause. The matter is now on the FDA docket for September 2015. For more information about that and to sign a petition started by the American Association for Justice, visit our site:
- Avelox (moxifloxacin)
- Cipro (ciprofloxacin)
- Factive (gemifloxacin)
- Floxin (ofloxacin)
- Levaquin (levafloxacin)
- Noroxin (norfloxacin)
- Maxaquin (lomefloxacin)
- Penetrex (enoxacin)
Fluoroquinolone Eye Drops
- Besivance (besifloxacin)
- Cetraxal, Ciloxan (ciprofloxacin)
- Iquix, Quixin (levofloxacin)
- Ocuflox (ofloxacin)
- Vigamox (moxifloxacin)
- Zymar (gatifloxacin)
- Moxeza (moxifloxacin)
Fluoroquinolone Ear Drops
- Cetraxal, Ciprodex (ciprofloxacin)
- Floxin (ofloxacin)
- Xtoro (finafloxacin)
Thank you for reading! We at QVF support the health and healing of the mesh-injured community and we are honored to speak to you today through this guest blog!
Quinolone Vigilance Foundation