The Fluoroquinolones (FQ’s) were released in the 1970s and it wasn’t until 2013 that the FDA really started sounding the warning, and even then, it was a lukewarm one. The adverse events of FQ’s are disparate and by all definitions, outrageous. They range from permanent nerve damage, tendons spontaneously rupturing, organ failure, psychosis, and literally dozens more. Most doctors consider this broad ranging pathology preposterous and they simply can’t wrap their heads around a differential diagnosis to include the FQ’s. Hell, most of them don’t know what to look for or how to connect the symptoms. Because of this, they don’t get documented. Please read Fluoroquinolones Inconvenient Truth for more information on why these damages do not get connected back to the medication.
The FQ’s kill and damage through so many different mechanisms that it is not usually connected by doctors.
When nalidixic acid, a non-fluorinated quinolone antibiotic and the first publically available quinolone, was first released and thereafter for some time, researchers did not know about mitochondrial DNA. Because of this, how the first quinolones and the subsequent FQ’s affected the mitochondria was not on the researcher’s radar scope. The ignorance continued on to the present day while the FQ snowball was rolling downhill ever faster and getting much larger.
Remember, there were other FQ’s, such as trovafloxacin or temifloxacin, that had “good” safety profiles, that passed all medical standards, and then removed when they started killing patients. The damage these two FQ’s inflicted was immediate, in your face, thus they had to be dealt with. In fact over half of all created FQ’s have been removed from the market because of safety concerns. But even more important, what about all the disease machinery that the FQ’s start in motion that kills slowly over time? The answer to that question is both mind boggling and preposterous as well. There really is no measure for this type of insidious damage. This style of damage is ‘off the radar scope’ of most doctors.
Since doctor’s and policy makers are ultimately responsible for whether a drug gets removed and despite patient backlash of the recent years there is still not enough loud voices raised in opposition. Policy makers see websites such as Floxie Hope that is highly SEO’d, which means it gets a lot of Google attention, who promote stories of healing and recovery (although I have had some of these recovery stories show up at my doorstep when their recoveries did not last), this creates the false assumption that these adverse events are all recoverable in time, or at the very least it reinforces the believe that these severe adverse events are ‘very rare.’ In other words, in my opinion, it takes away from the true tragedy that the FQ’s inflict upon society. It reinforces the policy makers cognitive dissonance, and those who are permanently harmed for life get their stories overlooked and dismissed.
These drugs set the stage for scary long term damage. Due to damaging the genome (both nuclear and mitochondrial) this damage may not be readily apparent for weeks, months or years. Just because the damage is not readily apparent does not mean it does not exist.