Life After Levaquin or My Quin(olone) Story…aka… A Little Bit About Me

Hello, my name is David and this is somewhat of a sad story.  It is not intended to depress or garner pity, but to warn the reader.

In 2007 I was your normal 46 year old middle age man in excellent health. I exercised daily and ate healthy and had a rewarding career in law enforcement.  I was a avid bicyclist, often biking 10 miles a day or more. I was robust at 6’4″ tall, 240 lbs, and had a resting heart rate of 49 beats per minute and could bench press 300 lbs and, in a brouhaha, could hold my own with the best of them. 

I developed a case of epididymitis from bicycling. An infection was suspected by my urologist but never confirmed for which he prescribed a large dose of the antibiotic Levaquin.  I took 750 mgs of Levaquin for 21 days. My doctor told me Levaquin was safe and well tolerated. Like most, I implicitly trusted my doctor and took the medication.

It turned out that the Levaquin was not safe and in the long run, I did not tolerate it well.  Only after the fact did I research these drugs and found out that this class of antibiotics have a very, very dark side.  A dark side side that is actually experienced by thousands of people, some figuring it out, and many others clueless to what has befallen them. I had a delayed adverse event to the fluoroquinolone (FQ) antibiotic which caused a mitochondrial dysfunction/disease that continues to this present day and unfortunately it’s ripple effects will probably cause my demise one day.

These adverse events are considered statistically insignificant by drug companies and the FDA.

Bottom line:  I was healthy before I took the Levaquin. 

Levaquin WAS the “terminus ad quo,” or the instigator, the finger that pulled the trigger on disease processes in my body by damaging my mitochondria.

This site is basically about my experiences in dealing with the aftermath of what is assumed, by the public, to be a safe drug.  This site is here for the enlightenment and education of others, to provide information so that people can make an informed choices and hopefully not have the same fate befall them that befell me and many, many others.  Another reason for existence this site’s existence is a form of cathartic therapy for myself, so that I can write about things that have helped me and, more importantly, things that others say have helped them, and to express true frustration with the medical system and their ignorance to this problem.  I often speak with candor, sometime a bit snarky, and occasionally a bit petulant, about the whole FQ situation, so use caution if you are in a delicate mental state while traversing this little slice of the Internet of which I am its benevolent dictator.

My Health Diagnoses Before Levaquin

  • Gerd (usually from too much coffee)

My Diagnoses After Levaquin

  • Heart Attack (2 STEMI’s) 
  • Mitochondrial Dysfunction
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Tendinosis
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Gastroparesis
  • Necrotizing Pancreatitis
  • Cerebral Spinal Fluid Leak (Intracranial hypotension)

I Am Not a Doctor

Yes, I have a doctorate, but no, I’m not a medical doctor. Repeat, I am not a medical doctor, and I certainly don’t try to play one on the Internet. I am just trying my best to figure out the nuts and bolts of FQAD, since most doctors and researchers won’t touch fluoroquinolone toxicity with a 10 foot pole.  Personally, I am an eclectic individual with many interests, and believe me the fluoroquinolones were not among them. Although I have had a myriad higher education, by certain standards, I’m not all that well-educated.  Keeping that in mind, please note that nothing published here is to be considered medical fact or medical advice; it’s all just opinion, which is known to be wrong from time to time. 

Also keep in mind, I once had a dog who outsmarted me almost every time I tried to feed my cat and by-gosh if that dog didn’t always get some of the cat food. I do believe that most, well at least some, doctors are smarter than me. But, on the other hand, some doctors are flat out dumber than me or that dog, especially when it comes to FQ toxicity or FQAD. So you never know, and you should probably just judge information found on this site by its own merits, regardless of credentials, and if there’s any real risk involved then employ the help of a doctor.

I Like Data and Finding Out New Things

I am like the fictional character Sherlock Holmes,  in that I like facts and I do like to collect data, which is used to update the What Helps page and other resources. I also try to keep track of those who contact me that experience delayed onset and chronic long lasting adverse events from this medication.  Many times those experiencing an adverse event to the FQ’s heal up and move on with their lives but unfortunately many go on to develop chronic problems as well. Many people in the FQ community, whether their adverse event is acute, delayed, or chronic, often experience alienation, discrimination and marginalization from the medical community, and unfortunately sometimes, from family and friends as well.

A bit more about me….

The normal elementary education, followed by a short stint in the United States Air Force.
Retired Law Enforcement (2 years local police then 28 years state police) 30 years total (early retirement due to Levaquin).

An eclectic mix of post secondary education in Electronics, Psychology, and Computer Science, and Theology (mostly thanks to a generous employer), culminating in a ThD. 
Former Director and Founding Member of the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation (QVF) (Unfortunately, I do not support the QVF, for more information read here. )
Fluoroquinolone research and case study participant (UOFR, UCSD ,SC School of Medicine, & Mayo Clinic )
Fluoroquinolone article consultant for
Fluoroquinolone amateur researcher, author and commentator
Academic papers I help author or participated in the publication of:

In the last thirteen years I have contributed to case studies and published papers on the FQ’s in the BMJ, European Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Community and Supportive Oncology, Oxford Academic Clinical infectious Diseases, and contributed data to many more.  To see what academic research that I am currently working on check out Surveys, Studies, and Research.

Personally, I have had partial genome sequencing (23andMe), mtDNA sequencing and analysis, whole exome and entire genome sequencing and analysis. Along with nerve biopsy and muscle biopsy, and a various smorgasbord of metabolic testing procedures.  I now have a pretty good idea (not complete) about what the FQ’s did in my body.

Wow, that is enough self-aggrandizement…

Seriously, people (especially new folks) often ask me, how long did it take you to recover?  I did not recover.  Today, I am officially functionally disabled due to the Fluoroquinolone.  I have chronic fatigue, I have to use a wheel chair when I leave the house, I cannot walk any appreciable distance, lift more than a few pounds, and have to be helped with any chore that requires much physical involvement. This is not to be depressing or to make one feel sorry for me.  It is to elucidate the reality that these pharmaceuticals are very dangerous and their propensity for damage is underestimated and under-appreciated in the world today.

Prior to my protracted course of Levaquin, I was in excellent physical shape, able to do high intensity physical athletics.   I had a complete nuclear cardiac scan several months prior as a precaution for increasing my physical exercise and was given a clean cardiac bill of health.  Since my exposure to Levaquin, I have had neurological damage (confirmed by nerve punch biopsy),  a mitochondrial disease pathology initiated (confirmed by muscle biopsy),  two heart attacks (yes, mitochondrial issues can cause these as well), autonomic dysfunction, digestive dysfunction (gastroparesis), necrotizing pancreatitis, vision issues, chronic fatigue, and much more.

Monetization  & Moral Policy AKA The Fine Print

I abhor victimization or the making of money off of other’s misfortunes, especially health related issues. Oh yes, I know that it is common place on the Internet today and our entire medical industry is based on this, but I still don’t like it.  I have seen FQ toxicity destroy lives, ruin marriages, and make people homeless and destitute. Because of this I want you to know that I do not personally make any money through this blog.  Having said that, I understand the need to fund research and help others, so keeping that in mind, I do collect donations for FQ research, sell items whose proceeds are donated to research, and I have added some affiliate links & ads which, if they provide any compensation, I will apply them for Fluoroquinolone research.  Again,  I do not personally monetarily profit, from this blog. My son, who is a web developer and someone I trust explicitly, actually runs the nuts and bolts of the website programming and I pay for the design, web-hosting, etc… myself. If on the other hand you are in a comfortable financial state, I do accept donations for FQ research.  Please note that anything donated to me is not tax deductible.  If that makes you uncomfortable I also have a page with links for donating directly to FQ research whose organizations are tax deductible.

Any credits accumulated through the iHerb or Swanson Vitamin referral program will be used to purchase supplements for individuals in the FQ community that cannot afford to do so.

You may read about my pledge here.