The serious adverse reactions can happen when taking any one of the various quinolones and fluoroquinolones and it's possible you may have been given a course of one with no ill effects then be given the same or different one some time later which sets off a reaction.
THE MANY NAMES OF THE QUINOLONES:
This list gives the UK names of the 6 quinolone 'siblings' plus their generic names. Other countries might have other names so it's important to always check whether you are being given a quinolone (or fluoroquinolone) antibiotic.
ciprofloxacin - also called Ciproxin
levofloxacin - also called Tavanic
moxifloxacin - also called Avelox
ofloxacin - also called Tarivid
Ciloxan (contains ciprofloxacin)
Exocin (contains ofloxacin)
Moxivig (contains moxifloxacin)
Oftaquix (contains levofloxacin)
Ciloxan (contains ciprofloxacin)
There are also many fluoroquinolones used on pets and farm animals, so you might want to check with your vet if an antibiotic is prescribed for your pet (cats are known to have suffered retinal detachment).
The adverse reactions almost always manifest themselves as a collection of symptoms rather than one single symptom. In the UK we refer to these symptoms as Quinolone Toxicity Syndrome or QTS. The USA call it Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome, while on November 5th 2015 the FDA in America announced that they now recognise it as Fluoroquinolone Associated Disability (FQAD).
Colloquially it's known as 'Floxing', while the sufferers are called Floxies – those who have been floxed.
Whatever it's called sufferers didn't ask for it, generally weren't warned about it, and certainly don't want it.
The effects include:
• damage to the musculoskeletal system (ruptured tendons, torn ligaments, cartilage, muscle and joint pain etc.).
• damage to the central nervous system (panic and anxiety attacks, depression, insomnia, tremors and seizures and debilitating fatigue).
• damage to the peripheral nervous system (numbness, tingling, weakness, severe pain, burning and stinging) with the risk of permanent neuropathy.
• damage to the gastrointestinal system (nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, digestive problems and food sensitivities, chemical sensitivities, taste problems) plus blood sugar issues.
• damage to the major organs (liver, kidney, heart muscle and aorta).
• cardio-vascular problems (aortic aneurysm, arrhythmia)
• severe headaches and visual disturbance.
See the Group Stories for our own descriptions.
Adverse Reaction or Side Effect?
A Side Effect to a drug is an unwanted effect that starts while the drug is being taken and stops after or shortly after the drug is ceased. An Adverse Reaction starts during or after the drug is being taken and continues for a significant period after the drug is ceased. Adverse Reactions can be serious and can be permanent.
An American doctor (M. de Jonge), who was herself floxed, wrote out this list for the benefit of her peers:
Quinolone Side Effects/ADRs May Include:
Irritation of the stomach or intestines, high blood pressure, drug or chemical-induced sensitivity to sunlight, rash, fluid retention in the legs, feet, arms or hands, chest pain, feel like throwing up, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, toxic psychosis, retinal detachment, tendon rupture, seizures, heart arrhythmias, muscle damage, abnormal liver function, kidney damage, toxic effect on brain or spinal cord function, restlessness, yellowing of skin or eyes from liver issues, discoloured spots on skin, migraines, neuropathy, double vision, pancreatitis, angina, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, rapid ventricular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation, slow heartbeat, abnormally low blood pressure, widening of blood vessels, asthma, inflammation in lungs, painful/swollen mouth or tongue, acute liver failure, hepatitis, interstitial nephritis, acute kidney disease, bloody urine, severe bloody diarrhoea, inflammation of skin, hives, joint pain, tendon issues such as rupture or inflammation, hallucination, faint feeling, involuntary quivering, numbness, water retention, trouble breathing, difficulty swallowing, high amount of uric acid in the blood, high blood sugar, feeling weak, high amount of triglyceride in the blood, high fat content in blood, anaemia, decreased blood platelets, deficiency of granulocytes (granule-type formations in white blood cells), decreased white blood cells, confusion, nightmares, depression, lazy eye, ringing in the ears, dry mouth, discoloured tongue, burning stomach, indigestion, itching, dry skin, arthritis, backache, muscle pain, drowsiness, chronic insomnia, excessive sweating, pain, chills, problems with taste or smell, coordination issues, loss of appetite, excessive thirst, head pain, nosebleed, swollen lymph nodes, thrush, yeast infection, gas, urination problems, anxiousness.
The damage done by fluoroquinolone antibiotics can destroy a person’s quality of life. Certainly, there is a time and a place for drugs with dangerous side effects and they do save lives. Unfortunately, these drugs are so useful that they are not being reserved for life or death situations. People are being prescribed them every day for urinary tract infections, suspected prostate infections and sinus or upper respiratory infections. They're often given as a 'just in case' for travellers diarrhoea, and also, in the form of drops, for ear infections, conjunctivitis etc.
Thousands of people have suffered needlessly from the devastating effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, when other safer antibiotics could have, and should have, been used. The damage inflicted on these people (you) is largely unacknowledged by the medical establishment and an accurate diagnosis is rarely made.
Many doctors don't actually know what to do when presented with a collection of these various symptoms and may say you have fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue syndrome, ME, or even MS. They will not connect the symptoms to the antibiotic – or will often vigorously deny a connection. They will most likely try to pass you to various specialists (i.e. get rid of you), who will do endless tests then pass you on again. Most sufferers turn to the Internet in desperation – and hopefully that is where we come in.
So far, there is no known cure for Quinolone Toxicity Syndrome but we have found that there are certain things you should or shouldn't do. We offer you guidance, support and optimism. Many people struggle through desperate and very frightening experiences after being poisoned by fluoroquinolones but eventually they improve, find healing that works for them, experience recovery day by day and learn how to have hope.