Fluoroquinolone Delayed Adverse Reactions: Simple Three Step Logic

I so often get frustrated at the lack of common sense in the medical field.  It would seem that with advanced medical education there would also be ability make educated decisions based on presented facts.  Although this seems logical, and in a sense, what doctors do, alas, what I usually see is just the opposite.   Doctors learn diagnostic paradigms that, for most, lock them into a rigid thinking pattern that prevents them from thinking outside those set paradigms.  In order to play it safe and conform to the patterns that encompass the basic standard of care they rarely deviate from establisheddisgusted doctor paradigms.

Proponents of this system would counter saying that this standard is necessary in order to make sure that the most appropriate care is given for each patient.  So what is the problem?  Humans are so unique!  Even though our biological systems are the same, the infinite amount of variables involved that influence human physiology is mind boggling.  Treating each patient by rote is both dangerous and ignorant.  Yet, it is the norm.  Physicians through medical school programming and then subsequent reinforcement in clinical practice become programmed to follow dogma. Because of this, most doctors cannot think outside the box and make even simple links in logic.  Let me give you a basic example with simple documentation and the crux of this article.

I know for a fact that Fluoroquinolones (FQ) cause delayed adverse reactions. These reactions can manifest themselves days, weeks, months and years post treatment. I have made this conclusion based on my own experience, observation and interacting with other FQ sufferers, talking with researchers, and reading medical literature.   These reactions can encompass the areas of neurological (brain, spinal cord, and nerve problems), cognitive problems (learning, memory, and attention difficulties), dental and oral health and vision problems, digestion problems, bone, joint, and soft tissue problems, endocrine (hormone) system problems, lung problems, heart problems, and fatigue.  So how should we convince a doctor?  Well, common sense would tell us that it should be simple.

  1. First, establish the fact that FQ’s are powerful antimicrobials. This step should be easy, as no self-respecting doctor would or should deny the powerful ability of these drugs.
  2. Second, (you may lose the doctor on this step) FQ’s are chemotherapeutic drugs.  They are chemotherapeutic drugs or agents by definition and, as a matter of fact, they are chemotherapeutic drugs in every sense of the word.  This fact is not hidden away from the clinical medical establishment, its just that doctors don’t refer to FQ’s in this sense or terms.  However there is plenty of documentation supporting this definition of FQ’s. (1),(2),(3),(4) and more.  If he/she is still not convinced you can tell them that there are existing  cancer (chemotherapy) drugs that have been based on the FQ’s.  One such drug is Vasoroxin (5) found here and is a quinolone based drug (I believe off of Levaquin if my memory serves me).  Additionally FQ’s are given as adjunct therapy with other chemotherapy drugs to help ‘mop up’ cancer cells and to keep them from re-seeding(6).
  3. Third, one of the complications openly acknowledged by the mainstream medical community is delayed adverse reactions to all forms of chemotherapy or as the medical community refers to it as “late effects”.   Cancer.net defines chemotherapy late effects as “a side effect that occurs months or years after cancer treatment.”  The description of late effects aka “delayed adverse events or reactions” encompass the same health problems that FQ sufferers describe and experience.  Here are several links describing “late effects” of chemotherapy: (7), (8), (9)With a little simple Google investigative work a person can uncover many more credible links to bolster these connections.

It seems so simple doesn’t it:  FluoroquinolonesChemotherapy Late Effects;   1-2-3A simple three step action that logically links FQ’s to the ability to initiate delayed adverse reactions.  There are no grand leaps of faith or conjecture required to link the steps.  Now I am not guaranteeing that your doctor, or any doctor for that matter, will become a believer, but it’s worth the try, especially if you’ve been trying to explain your delayed or long term problems from the FQ’s.

Ironically, most doctors would understand completely if you told them that you were having long term health problems from a previous round of chemotherapy years earlier. So, just maybe, if you can get him/her to link the two (FQ’s and Chemotherapy) in their mind you may have a shot.   Sadly, and usually the case, if you tell them that you are experiencing long term health effects of a fluoroquinolone antibiotic taken much earlier, maybe even years, your ideas would probably, at best, be politely dismissed, and sometimes rudely dismissed.

So where is the disconnect?  Let’s throw out the argument that most doctors are not taught that drugs used so routinely can have long term adverse profiles. Instead, some of m3 docsy friends in the psychology world believe the answer is simple. Doctors cannot admit that something that they prescribe every day is actually capable of such long term pervasive damage.  Most will admit to a rare occurrence of adverse symptoms but they are usually limited to those who experience immediate reactions.  Admitting broader or long term problems conveys and sense of culpability or liability that they do not want to venture into.  In every sense of the meaning, it is “plausible deniability”. They have the ability to hide behind the FDA and other organizations who offer blanket “plausible deniability”.

 You wouldn’t think that three small steps would be so hard to follow.



David experienced an adverse event to the the fluoroquinolone Levaquin in 2007 at age 46. Prior to, he was a healthy law enforcement official. Now, disabled with drug induced mitochondrial disease/dysfunction, he is an FQ patient safety advocate, citizen scientist, FQ researcher, author, and commentator. He has contributed to case studies and published academic 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 outlets.

7 Responses

  1. Jeanmarie Petrino says:

    My husband was prescribed Cipro for diverticulitis and then shortly after he finished that bottle another Dr. prescribed Cipro again for prostitis. He felt the adverse effects in his central nervous system after the second pill of the second course of Cipro. He suffered for about six months. He had no appetite, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t focus, had terrible anxiety and panic attacks, he lost weight and had dark circles under his eyes. After that second pill he told me that something was wrong so I told him not to take any more and I researched the adverse effects of Cipro. He had all the symtoms of central nervous system damage. I went with him to explain to his Dr. but his Dr. was convinced it had nothing to do with the Cipro. Well there are two Black Box warnings on this drug with a third warning waiting to be accepted. I will never take a FQ or let my family ever take a FQ drug.

  2. Pam Malone says:

    I have had recurring tendon problems for years. I’ve had many surgeries over the years. My understanding is fleuroquinines are used IV preventative. I have also been prescribed for bronchitis and post op orally. I believe that the following health issues are the result of that use.
    Several bouts of tennis elbow
    DeQuervains on both wrists
    Ganglion cysts on both hands
    Trigger thumb and fingers both hands and carpel tunnel. The fact that both hands have identical disease processes and numerous surgeries leads me to strongly believe fleuroquinines are direct causative fact

  3. Susan J Caine says:

    After he fell and broke his hip, my father suffered from UTIs and while I was caring for him, he mentioned that his “ankle” was painful, his Achilles. Well, he wasn’t mobile because of his hip so I asked about the drugs he was on since I believe in cause and effect – he was taking cipro … a few years later because of another throat infection, my Achilles started swelling and a huge lump formed so big I couldn’t wear shoes and walking was extremely painful so I researched the antibiotics I was taking and they were in the same family – fluoroquinolones … when I approached several doctors with my discovery and exposed my huge Achilles lump, they dissed me and mocked me and would not help me “fix” the damage … I moved on and over a year later found someone who prescribed physio and two years later I finally could survive the walk to work but then my neck, my arm, my back, and other parts of my body started becoming extremely troublesome … past injuries reared their ugly head and then I couldn’t work more than a few hours a week, not enough to support myself … please don’t believe doctors when they assure you that you are wrong because the truth is, they are the ones who are probably in error and hurting you …

  4. Pat Higgins, Sr. says:

    I had the original “shotgun”” reactions to Levaquin, with snapping tendons and tennis elbows etc, as well as MANY delayed reactions building over the course of about 9 years. They are still worsening. I cannot work, walk much, think, I have agonizing pain of different sorts (neuropathy, what feels like lightning strikes into my body, joint pain and function loss, muscle pain.. the list goes on)

  5. Laurie Davis says:

    Have just arrived at the conclusion I’m experiencing delayed reaction. First, about 15 years ago took FQ for serious sinus infection, and more recently 16 months ago following bariatric surgery. Chronic shoulder tip tendonitis, which is not disabling, not even terribly painful. It keeps me from sleeping on my left side though, and that’s been my life-long best sleep position–so I’ve not been sleeping well. Secondly, I have spontaneous wrist- and foot-tendon “snaps”, or “pops” that happen for no apparent reason and are very painful, though short-lived. I have to wear orthotic inserts in shoes since a year ago. I’m glad I can continue my carpentry work, and have even recently stacked a pile of heavy oak boards totalling 1/2 ton, with no problem… then the next day I pick up a cup of coffee, the wrist snaps (top of hand, the middle finger tendon) and the coffee hits the floor, can’t use the hand for the rest of the day. I’m thinking the tendon gradually slides back into position, as thankfully the pain and loss of grip strngth is short-lived, but will probably never know. Terrible cognitive and memory issues. I am 67.

  1. October 15, 2014

    […] drugs have long-lasting adverse effects. Often, adverse reactions to chemo drugs are delayed. There is a tolerance threshold for chemo drugs. Adverse reactions to chemo drugs are systemic. […]

  2. October 18, 2014

    […] Evolution. Another post about fluoroquinolones being chemo drugs is David Melvin’s, FLUOROQUINOLONE DELAYED ADVERSE REACTIONS: SIMPLE THREE STEP LOGIC published on My Quin Story. And another is Paul Fassa’s, WHAT IF YOUR ANTIBIOTIC WAS REALLY A […]

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