View Full Version : Quinolone type antibiotics cause PN, e.g. cipro,levaquin,avelox

12-15-2006, 03:30 PM
Did you people suffering with PN know that commonly prescribed antibiotics in the Fluoroquinolone class can cause: peripheral neuropathy-eye and sinus problems-muscle pains-tendonitis-gastro-intestinal problems, and more. Some of the antibiotics responable are: Cipro,Levaquin,Avelox,Floxin. There are 13 total in this class of antibiotics that have side effects that can cause the above mentioned problems. The side effects are listed in the PDR, but most Drs. are unaware of this problem. A new warning was included in 2004 of the potential for severe and permanent PN with the use of Quinolones. There are several forums filled with people that have had thier lives ruined by these antibiotics. The damage can show up weeks to months after you are done taking the Quinolones. They can also cause severe insomnia and anxiety that goes away after a few weeks. This could be the cause of alot of the so called "idiopathic" PNs out there. Just google in - Quinolones and adverse drug reactions. I hope this helps. Nacho

12-15-2006, 03:46 PM
So what happens if, let's say 25 years ago, my husband was hospitalized with "fever of unknown origin". and he stayed there about 2 weeks (they put him in isolation because they did not know what was wrong). I couldn't even visit him and I had just had a baby.

So does this mean that Alan's Idiopathic PN could have been caused by a med that he was given 25 or so years ago. Alan has had this for 18 or so years.

boy, now wouldn't that be something??


12-15-2006, 04:02 PM
These quinolones have been around for over 30 yrs.

12-15-2006, 04:35 PM
During the early 90's I suffered terribly from sinus infections. I was on Cipro but also Zithromax (The Z-pack that hits the infection hard in 4 doses.) Off the top of your head, do you know what class Zithromax is in?
Anyway, I finally had the sinus surgery to stop the constant infections and pain.

Due to an infection caused by negligence, my husband has to take Levaquin for life. I pray he does not pick up PN on top of all of the rest of his medical problems.


12-15-2006, 04:48 PM
But Cipro is. I would recomend you go to drugvictims.org before your husband takes anymore Levaquin. It builds up in the system and is toxic to people at different levels. Some people can take several doses before they have permanent damage. Others can be damaged on the first pill!

If you already have PN and take one of the quinolones, It can make your PN go off the charts. This is what happened to me. I was finally getting my pain under control and some feeling back when my Dr Rx.ed cipro for a minor urinary tract infection. He was unaware of the warning on PN. My PN is now so bad that I can barely walk. He did not believe me, and told me he would no longer be my PCP. (did me a favor). Google in peripheral neuropathy and quinolones....it's all there.

12-15-2006, 04:50 PM
Myacins are safer for most people.

12-15-2006, 11:29 PM
but quinolones have NOT been around for 30 years, in the USA.

Cipro was the first here. It's patent expired in 2003. That makes it 13 or 14 yrs old thereabouts.

It is also not accurate to use the -myacin suffix as safe. There a many
mycins that are NOT related to each other, and some which are very toxic.

Gentamycin, and tobramycin are neurotoxic to some people.
Streptomycin is rarely used and also quite hazardous. These are called aminoglycosides.

Achromycin, Terramycin, Vibramycin are in the tetracyline family. (not toxic)

Adriamycin is a chemo agent and can damage the heart.

Erythromycin and Azithromycin (Zithromax) and clarithromycin (Biaxin) are in the family of macrolides.

Clindamycin is very hard on the GI tract, but is useful for deep tissue infections and bone infections(anaerobic). It can cause severe colitis in some people. It is called a lincosaminde.

We have had many posters in the past, who claimed damage from fluroquinolones. This family of drugs, is very problematic for some people.
It also causes tendon ruptures for some. Not everyone reacts to the neuro potential of the quinolones. Cipro in short course treatments is usually well
tolerated. Long term however, increases risk.
Some quinolones have been recalled/discontinued. Omniflox was one.
Some have fallen into disuse because of CNS side effects/seizures= Floxin

Some on this board have had this experience with fluroquinolones. There is a book written about them called Bitter Pills, by Stephen Fried.

12-16-2006, 01:16 AM
Mrs. D - thanks for the info although it boggles my mind! It does help because just last winter I was rx'd Cipro for a sinus infection by a Nurse Practioner who was on duty at my clinic over the holidays last year.

For such infections, what antibiotic should PN'er's ask for, the Z-pack (Zithromax)? I am also lucky enough to have an allergy to penicillin and sulfa.

Opinion, please.


12-16-2006, 07:58 AM
We enter here, Nancyh the realm of sales promotion!

When the fluroquinolones came out, they were orginally intended to be
a third line drug. That is others, were to be tried first, and if it appeared that
resistance was present the Cipro was to be considered later.

Some people (like me) are allergic to penicillin and sulfa drugs. So Cipro is
a good choice for bladder/kidney infections in patients with those problems.
But the it was noticed that it was SO good, they started promoting it
aggressively, and really pushing the samples at doctors, who used it themselves and it quickly became highly popular and the tiers of use quickly bypassed.

Other drug companies became interested in making more money, so Me-Too quinolones came out. This is when the toxicities became more apparent.
It took several years for the tendon rupture side effect to be identified. It often occurs up to six months AFTER the drug is stopped, so it was hard
to connect to the drugs. The ME-too copy cats, were sort of rushed thru, and all of them except for Levaquin, show more toxicity than Cipro.
Some have been taken off the market entirely.

Cipro is still used heavily for cellulitis (infection of soft tissue), kidney infections and prostate infections. There is a low dose Cipro pack for bladder infections in women--it is very low dose. Levaquin was shown in studies to be very good for community acquired pneumonias, resistant to other drugs.
Cipro is still used for long term treatments of chronic prostatitis. It is here in the long term use, that PN is a potential side effect. Some people, may get the PN however, at first use (depending on their susceptibility to nerve damage).

The tiers for urinary tract infections for non allergic people are:
1) Amoxicillin or Cephalexin
2) Septra DS
3) nitrofurantoin
4) Cipro

For upper respiratory infections:
1) amoxicillin/Augmentin or erythromycin (or Zithromax) if penicillin allergic
2) Septra DS
3) Quinolones (often first line now for pneumonias)

Amoxicillin still works. Even though there are resistant strains of bacteria out there. My son had a flaming throat with Mono and amoxicllin took care of it quickly and easily. In children this is first line. (they don't use quinolones quickly in kids because of the tendon rupture issue). Although Cipro did get approved for kids, it is still withheld unless absolutely necessary. In children it is reserved for kidney or cellulitis infections. (usually from trauma or kidney birth defects).

How it goes however in the doctor's office is that Zithromax is given very frequently today. And there is some bacterial resistance developing to it. There is a new dosing of 500mg for 3 days now for that, and some pneumonias.
Zithromax works well for me. But I don't use it very often. I don't get ill much since doing my supplements (including zinc and EFAs). Essential fatty acids, really fix small imperfections in the mucous membranes, and improve mucous movement and help keep the upper airways clean. Oral zinc beefs up the immune system. I used to get about 4 bronchitis attacks/year--since I am exposed to sick people every day. That has gone down to about 1 every 3 or 4 years. I have had bronchopneumonia twice, in the past before my supplement days.

Levaquin remains very popular for the elderly population. We use alot of it
for the nursing homes. Lots of pneumonia there. In the nursing homes, long term urinary tract infections are common. They use nitrofurantoin mostly for that. I do not see long term fluroquinolones frequently there. Nitrofurantoin has new warnings on kidney damage and it too can cause PN, only not as frequently.

Use of antibiotics is controversial now, since mrsa (methicillin resistant staph) has appeared. These super bacteria are thought to be mutants resulting from over use of antibiotics or misuse of them.

12-16-2006, 08:23 AM

There are ERRORS in classification here.
Drugs in the list contain ace receptor antagonists...which are very
different from ACE inhibitors. So this classification is murky. and poorly done.
This concerns me.

And it is interesting that hyoscyamine is not listed under antispasmotics...this is the most commonly used after dicyclomine.

Keep in mind that the ratings contain many unusual comments. People will say the most amazing things that their drugs cause for them. Some of the
reactions are common place others are off the wall. The first page for Singulair is a good example. So keep this in mind when you read those effects.
I found some of them to be AMAZING and have never heard them voiced by patients-- I hear EVERYTHING eventually BTW. And some of the Singulair page is an example of perhaps exaggeration. People lie on the net, bamboozle. So keep that in mind. Some things are true, and others may not be. It is very hard to sift that out for a layperson. So please don't use this as an exclusive information source. Ask your pharmacist (first) and doctor as well. For example I have used Singulair for years..it has been terrific. I don't use it everyday, only when exposed to potential allergens (like penicillin dust, which is occupational for me). I don't have ANY side effects from it at all.

I could also not find who is sponsoring this site. So if anyone knows or finds that information, I'd appreciate sharing it here.

12-16-2006, 02:45 PM
I doubt that people are lying on askapatient.com
I have found that the drug manufacturers and their reps lie more
to increase sales. They tend to massage the numbers to look good.
I find it curious that far more people (out of 500+) found Levaquin
harmful and damaging to them. Why would they make this up?

The quinolones have been around for over 30 years. Over half of
them have been pulled from the market due to toxic reactions.
They were originally designed for a last course of action when
nothing else worked. Due to big pharma greed, they are now com-
monly used first. A new Black Box warnig for permanent nerve damage
was released in 2004. Levaquin is one of the most dangerous ones.

12-16-2006, 03:30 PM
Mrs. D:
You said: "Clindamycin is very hard on the GI tract, but is useful for deep tissue infections and bone infections(anaerobic). It can cause severe colitis in some people. It is called a lincosaminde."

Uh, I'm looking at a bottle of Clindamycin right in front of me. Dated 12/26/05. It was prescribed for me before my dentist's appointment in the beginning of January 2006 because I have mitral valve prolapse. I took 4 capsules prior to my appointment for a cleaning. I also had two crown two weeks later so I took some more then too.

Also, two years ago, for some dental work, I took this product. The dosage on the little bottle says 150 MG CA (don't know what CA means??)

Since we now know this didn't kill me, or have an negative affect on my GI tract, is it safe for me to take these when I have my next appointment (in two months). I have 8 pills left. Are they still good? I would hate to have to buy more, but I guess if I have to, I have to.

Now i was diagnosed with the beginning of neuropathy about May of 2006. Just the tips of my toes. I didn't get it from this drug did I?? I've been diabetic for 19 years.

Jeez, who knew that antibiotics could give you PN???


12-16-2006, 03:45 PM
When one has lots of drug allergies (I'm allergici to the cillans, sulfas) any of these are a problem - and PN - creates all kinds of problems! I was given CIPRO for assumed food poinsioning (was taken off it after 4 days due to bad side affects and the fact that the food poisioning tests came back negative) - but got C-Difficile Toxin from the Cipro... for the next six months I was in and out of the hospital being treated with Flagyl and Vancomycin (oral) to try to kill the C-Difficile - not only did the flaygl kill my C-Diff - but my sensory nerves (completely) I had mild nerve damage prior to starting treamtment - six months later (a week after finishing treatment - which had to be done repeatedly 'cause the C-Diff kept coming back) - I had no sensory nerve conduction and came to find out its a known neuro-toxin and can GIVE you PN - so if you already have it - you have to really stand up to your doc and find out alternatives.... I also havent had a meal of solid food since in almost 6 years because of the autonimic damage it caused.... my philosphy - never take anti-b's unles you KNOW you have an infection or Melody - with a heart condition (I have to do the same) - they usually give you a high dose of anti-b's the day you have work done - as a safeguard.....:(

12-16-2006, 08:20 PM
Clindamycin given in one dose, is not very problematic. It is common for dental

But a 10 day course for a tooth infection, may cause diarrhea.
When it first came out, it was targeted for acne. Acne treatments take several months. The colitis became apparent then as post marketing issues. When that happened Clindamycin was adapted for topical use only in acne. For a long time --several years--- Upjohn did nothing. So we had to compound the topical
products. These were time consuming and not my favorite by any means. Eventually Upjohn came out with Cleocin (brand) topical solution. Then the lotion came out, then the pledgettes/wipes. Now all 3 are available generically.
And I don't have to make it anymore! :p

I don't know of any PN issues with it.

I did not look at Levaquin today. I looked at Singulair, and one post said it increased the size of the user's p___s. You can see for yourself.
I have no doubt that some people do not have positive experiences with Levaquin or other fluroquinolones. That was documented long ago and written about by Stephen Fried. But in reading that website one must take into consideration that people post on the net sometimes unreliably and dishonestly. That website is not the only place one can find information.
I was not impressed with it, I could not find who owns it, and supports it,
and I found the drugs listed confusing, and at times inaccurate.

I only suggest one not take that site as gospel. It is unmoderated opinions only.

Raxar, Trovan and Omniflox were withdrawn. Omniflox within weeks of approval. It never really made it to shelves.
Tequin has been discontinued, due to diabetic toxicity. Raxar prolonged QT, and Omniflox caused kidney damage.

I agree that drug salespeople are told what to do and say to doctors by the companies they represent. This alone
has become a huge controversy, with ALL drugs, not just this family we are discussing here.

Thanks for the link...it was interesting today for me at least.

And here is a link to a --mycin that may be removed from the market --Ketek (telithromycin)

12-17-2006, 09:28 AM
Thank you Mrs. D!!!!

As you can see, I am just nuts over these BestSmileys things!!!!


12-17-2006, 02:53 PM
A word of warning to anyone taking a quinolone type antibiotic-
Do not ever take an nsaid: advil, ibuprophen, alieve, ect. with the
quinolones. Most Drs don't know this. The warning is in fine print that
comes with your Rx of the quinolone. This is what contributes to the
adverse drug reactions being much much worse. Do not take steroids
with quinolones either.

After all my research and experience with cipro, I would recommend
that all quinolones be avoided unless it was a life or death situation.

That's just my laypersons opinion. Nacho

12-18-2006, 12:22 PM
I took my last dose of avonex yesterday. I did know the risk as I had to take it in August. I was so sick and nothing would help but this antibiotic. I don't think any of us should take those drugs as a first try. But at this point I am fine. I have small fiber neuropathy in my legs. Only time will tell I guess.


04-02-2013, 03:47 PM
In retrospect, it became clear that I had suffered a severe neurological reaction to Cipro. However, when I was diagnosed (via a nerve conduction test) with sensorimotor axonal polyneuropathy, the cause remained idiopathic at the end of my workup by a neurologist. Only after I had a severe reaction to a Levaquin pill months later did I find the FDA warning that had been issued in autumn 2004 about PN and fluoroquinolones. I can't post the link to medicationsense page that includes that warning because I haven't yet posted 10 times on this forum.

04-02-2013, 03:56 PM
Welcome to NeuroTalk Laurell--

You don't have to post Dr. Cohen's link, as it is all over this
forum already.


04-02-2013, 05:13 PM
Thanks very much, Mrs. D. I haven't met a doctor who has heard of of it! I've had encounters with a primary care provider who refused to hear about/look at/read it, an infectious disease specialist who thanked me for bringing it to his attention, and others between those extremes.

04-02-2013, 06:21 PM
Many doctors refuse to admit to drugs damaging people.
It is their "code of silence" I think.

But we have a member here who found doctors sympathetic to his fluoroquinolone PN....


We've had many people on this forum over the years with side effects from this family of drugs.

You can use the search engine "fluoroquinolone" and find more posts.

It is not so rare anymore....but it is difficult to get some doctors to admit to it.