Many of those who are dealing with fluoroquinolone reactions debate on whether to treat their reaction by conventional means or by alternative means. This debate has raged on and at many times has divided individuals as they staunchly defend what they believe is the correct way. In this article I would like to look at this argument with neutral bias and see if there is any common ground that can be reached.
This argument is not new to the medical community. Over the years many individuals suffering from a multitude of maladies have sought out alternative methods of treatment especially when they believe conventional medicine has failed them or their condition is beyond the cure of modern traditional medicine. Conversely there are those who look upon alternative forms of treatment as nothing more than dangerous chicanery or quackery that is used by charlatans to prey upon desperate people. As with any argument of this type there is usually truth in both camps and equal evils in both camps also. History is replete with those who prey on unsuspecting desperate people offering treatment options that do more harm than good.
Recently, while reading through the myriad of postings on the internet regarding fluoroquinolone reactions, one person stated that they were unwilling to discuss any treatment options that were not confined to the boundaries of traditional medicine. I had to laugh when I heard this statement. Although I completely understand the viewpoint and respect it, I could not help but thinking that it was traditional medicine that caused the problems with fluoroquinolones in the first place. Alternative medicine is not to blame for this debacle. Yet, even with this in mind there are those who vilify those who choose to seek alternative forms of treatment. How ironic.
I understand why alternative medicine is viewed with trepidation. Many claims made by alternative practitioners are not accepted because the safety and efficacy of these treatments have not been proven. I do agree with this viewpoint. There are many times that unsuspecting people have been hurt or killed because the alternative treatment that they chose had not been proven safe. However judging safety by comparing it to traditional medicine is not as clear cut as it seems. Adverse drug reactions inflict serious injury to more than 2 million people in the United States each year, including more than 100,000 fatalities. In fact, adverse drug reactions are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. After all, I was told by my urologist that the fluoroquinolone that I took was safe and well tolerated. The doctor believed, and probably still does, that the fluoroquinolones have a pristine safety record; a pristine safety record that was derived using evidence-based assessment methods, obviously directed and funded by the drug companies.
What drives people to alternative medicine? Well besides the aforementioned examples there are probably a myriad of other reasons but one that I think is the most apropos lies within human nature itself. Humans do not like to sit idly by and do nothing. More often than not when a newbie enters the FQ world they are often told there is nothing that they can do for their reaction but just let time take its course. Most people, at least the ones that I know, do not like this advice. The complete lack of control can be psychologically unnerving and therefore drive a person to seek alternate paths to wellness. So is to give up, really the answer?
We, as humans, are taught throughout our lives not to give up. Not to stop fighting, searching, and striving. Mankind’s history is replete with stories of individuals who did not give up or stop fighting and eventually found a way to conquer the enemy. So it is completely understandable that the human spirit does not want to sit idly by and let an FQ reaction run its course. I do not agree with giving up nor do I agree with diving into unknown areas of treatment with unbridled zeal. I do, however, believe that eventually the right person or persons are going to make a breakthrough. One must ask, will that breakthrough come from the experts or the layman?
So what point am I trying to make? I believe that the truth is always lies somewhere in the middle of both camps. As FQ victims, we are connected by a common thread whether we like it or not. Whether we believe in alternative medicine or traditional medicine, we still fight against the same prejudices and discriminations from all sides, couple this with the fact that our reactions are unique to the individual’s physiology which means that what works for one will not necessarily work for another. Because of this we should not try to vilify each other based on a chosen course of treatment or a personal health decision but work for unity amongst ourselves because our enemies are great in number. We can, and should, offer tales of caution to other FQ victims if we believe that they are treading on dangerous ground, but we must remember that it is their decision to make regardless. If we know of another FQ victim that has made an incorrect decision for their health we should be concerned about helping them back up on their feet and hopefully all involved will be wiser from the experience.
The best advice is to not blindly trust any medical professional, no matter what side of the aisle that they are on. Become an advocate for your own health care and do not be afraid to question any test or treatment or medication. Most importantly research, research, research and when you think you have done enough go over the information some more. Remember there is no set treatment option for FQ Adverse reactions. If you feel that something works for you then so be it. Just make sure that you educate yourself about all the risks and benefits of a particular treatment so that you can make the best informed decision.