Sunday, August 3, 2014

Meet Lisa Bloomquist

Fluoroquinolones 101

This is an introduction to Lisa, who has worked tirelessly to educate the public to the danger of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, after she suffered the devastating effects of being "Floxed".

***Note from Ms. A***
This is what I have been battling for the past 9 months.
Please educate yourself to the danger.  Don't become a victim!

antibioFluoroquinolone antibiotics, Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, etc. are broad-spectrum antibiotics used to treat a variety of infections, from urinary tract infections to anthrax and everything in between.  The first quinolone created was Nalidixic Acid which was discovered by George Lesher in 1962.  (Nalidixic Acid was added to the OEHHA prop 65 list of carcinogens in 1998.) Cipro (ciprofloxacin) is a second generation fluoroquinolone patented in 1983 by Bayer, Levaquin (levofloxacin) is a third generation fluroquinolone  patented in 1987 by Ortho-McNeil-Janssen (a division of Johnson & Johnson), and Avelox (moxifloxacin) is a fourth generation fluoroquinolone patented in 1991 by Bayer.

Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics – Still on the Market

Of the 30 quinolones that have made it to market since the 1980s, all but 6 have either been removed from the US market or have severely restricted use.
The fluoroquinolone antibiotics that are still on the market are some of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics. Per the FDA, “Approximately 23.1 million unique patients received a dispensed prescription for an oral fluoroquinolone product from outpatient retail pharmacies during 2011,” and “Within the hospital setting, there were approximately 3.8 million unique patients billed for an injectable fluoroquinolone product during 2011.”
When used properly, such as in cases of life-threatening hospital acquired pneumonia, fluroquinolone antibiotics can save lives.

Fluoroquinolone Antibiotic Side-Effects and Adverse Reactions

When used improperly, fluoroquinolone antibiotics can needlessly cause devastating side-effects.  Devastating side-effects can also occur when fluoroquinolone antibiotics are used properly, but the devastation can be justified by weighing it against the alternative – death.  In 2001, Dr. Jay S. Cohen published an article on the severe and often disabling reactions some people sustained  as a result of taking a fluoroquinolone antibiotic.  Dr. Cohen says,
It is difficult to describe the severity of these reactions. They are devastating. Many of the people in my study were healthy before their reactions. Some were high intensity athletes. Suddenly they were disabled, in terrible pain, unable to work, walk, or sleep
Dr. Cohen’s study of 45 subjects suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome, a name that I’m pushing for, (without an official name, it is difficult get the word out) showed that they had the following symptoms:
  • Peripheral Nervous System: Tingling, numbness, prickling, burning pain, pins/needles sensation, electrical or shooting pain, skin crawling, sensation, hyperesthesia, hypoesthesia, allodynia (sensitivity to touch) numbness, weakness, twitching, tremors, spasms.
  • Central Nervous System: Dizziness, malaise, weakness, impaired coordination, nightmares, insomnia, headaches, agitation, anxiety, panic attacks, disorientation, impaired concentration or memory, confusion, depersonalization, hallucinations, psychoses.
  • Musculoskeletal: Muscle pain, weakness, soreness, joint swelling, pain, tendon pain, ruptures.
  • Special Senses: Diminished or altered visual, olfactory, auditory functioning, tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
  • Cardiovascular: Tachycardia, shortness of breath, hypertension, palpitations, chest pain.
  • Skin: Rash, swellinghair loss, sweating, intolerance to heat and\or cold.
  • Gastrointestinal: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain.
When a fluoroquinolone antibiotic triggers a toxic reaction in a person, multiple symptoms are often experienced.

Fluoroquinolone Antibiotic Damage – Technical Aspects

Fluoroquinolones are eukaryotic DNA gyrase and topoisomerase inhibitors very similar to many antineoplastic agents (source).  What this means in plain English is that these drugs work the same way as chemotherapeutic drugs; they disrupt DNA and lead to destruction of cells.  A recent (2013) study conducted by a team of scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University Studies showed that Ciprofloxacin, along with a couple of other non-fluoroquinolone antibiotics, causes oxidative stress and mitochondrial malfunction. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Young Pharmacists found that, “There is significant and gradual elevation of lipid peroxide levels in patients on ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin.”  They also found that “There was substantial depletion in both SOD (superoxide dismutase, “a free radical scavenging enzyme”) and glutathione levels” and that “On the 5th day of treatment, plasma antioxidant status decreased by 77.6%, 50.5% (and) 7.56% for ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin and gatifloxacin respectively.” The study also notes that administration of fluoroquinolones leads to a marked increase in the formation of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and that “reactive free radicals overwhelms the antioxidant defence, lipid peroxidation of the cell membrane occurs. This causes disturbances in cell integrity leading to cell damage/death.”

How Many People are at Risk?

The exact rate of adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones is difficult to determine.  Studies of adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones have noted that, “During clinical trials, the overall frequencies of adverse effects associated with (fluoroquinolones) to vary between 4.4 and 20%.”  Just the fact that the spread is so large, a 15.6% spread in frequency of adverse reactions is a HUGE difference, it implies that the actual occurrence of adverse reactions is difficult to establish or unknown.
With the FDA figures above noting that 26.9 million unique patients were given fluoroquinolones in 2011, if you just take the conservative adverse reaction figure of 4.4%, you’ll get a horrifying number of people with adverse reactions in 2011 alone – 1,183,600 people.  20% of 26.9 million is 5,380,000 people adversely effected.  That is scary.  Those numbers are truly frightening given the severity of the adverse effects described above.

Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome

I see fluoroquinolone toxicity everywhere, and even I think that those numbers are high for severe, disabling reactions like mine where multiple symptoms develop simultaneously.  Not everyone who has an adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone has a reaction like mine, or even develops Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome. Many people have milder reactions.  Milder symptoms include any one of the symptoms listed above as well as  diarrhea, vomiting, mild tendinitis, decreased energy, painless muscle twitches, memory loss, urgency of urination, or any number of reactions that the body may have to a massive depletion of antioxidants and increases in lipid peroxide levels and reactive oxygen species production.
Even though severe adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones antibiotics can be painful and disabling for years, many (possibly most, but certainly not all) people recover from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome with time.  I anticipate that I will be fully recovered 2 years after my reaction started. Sadly, there are some people who don’t recover.  They suffer from chronic pain, disability, impaired cognitive abilities, etc. permanently.
It is absurd, to say the least, that an acute problem, an infection, that can easily be taken care of with administration of an antibiotic that is not a fluoroquinolone, is converted into a chronic problem, a  syndrome that can disable a person for years, by a prescription ANTIBIOTIC, used as prescribed. In my case, a urinary tract infection that could have likely been taken care of with macrobid or even cranberry juice and d-mannos, was treated with Cipro which left me unable to do many physical and mental tasks that I had previously been able to do with ease. It’s a crazy, absurd situation.  It’s absurd and it’s wrong.

Some Antibiotics are More Dangerous than Others

The bottom line is that these popularly prescribed antibiotics are dangerous drugs that have caused thousands of people to suffer with a myriad of maladies. Undeniably, they have their place, in treating life-threatening infections.  Unfortunately, they are not being reserved for use in life-threatening situations and people are being hurt after taking them for simple sinus, urinary tract, bronchial and prostate infections. A strict and rigorous protocol needs to be established to limit the damage that they cause; because it’s not right to maim and disable people to treat their sinus infections.
Sources are highlighted throughout the article.

Printed with permission from Lisa Bloomquist.  
Thank you, Lisa!


Sally said...

You know, I studied this not that long ago, and it is something we all should be aware of.

May I also say, MsA, I have missed you more than you know.


The Cranky said...

I'm glad to see you.
Oddly enough, my neurologist and I were discussing just this... and she feels, very strongly, that the use of these antibiotics (Cipro and Levaquin) may be a significant part of my movement disorders/ pain/ etc..

Karen said...

Thank you for the education. I had no idea. I am currently on Amoxicillin (sp?) for an infected tooth root.. I sure hope this is ont one of those.

Good to see you here again, Ms. A.

Cindy @ Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home said...

Hi Ms. A! Great information, thanks so much for sharing. Hope you, Michael and your family are doing well!

Nellie said...

Oh, my! Ms. A, you have been greatly missed! I hope you are recovering from your reaction to Cipro. This is excellent information for us to have! I have been concerned about you and the family.

Gigi said...

Ms. A! I was just thinking about you and hoping all was right in your world.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Glad to see you. This is excellent information. Thank you.
Hope you are well.

Linda said...

Scary article! But it's good to see you posting again.

Kathleen's Blog said...

Hi Ms A!!

First of all---I must say I'm so glad you are back. I have been checking your blog regularly, anxiously awaiting your return. I hope all is well with the entire family, especially your granddaughter and Michael.

About this post---Wow, very interesting. I plan to share this information as much as I can.

Take care and I look forward to your next post.

Cheers :)

Marie said...

I appreciate all this info. I have a lot going on and I'm looking into this. thank you so much! I hope you're feeling better!

troutbirder said...

Oh my I wasn't aware of this one. I was one of the victims of Pfizers Bextra, which The FDA eventually removed from the market. Also Viox. Celebrex remains with a black box warning. Mayo Clinic saved my life though it was touch and go for two days..

Vicki Lane said...

I was so happy to see your comment and am glad you are back -- but how awful that you ave been having to deal with this. Thank you for sharing his information!

NCmountainwoman said...

Glad you are posting again. I had a friend who had achilles tendon damage from Levaquin.

Hope you are improving from your own side effects.

TexWisGirl said...

oh, my, ms. a! how terrible for you (and everyone else affected by this!)

i was so pleased to see you today! i have been wondering how you and your family are doing. i'm sorry you've been dealing with this for yourself, but hoping michael is doing well and your husband, too!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you posted this to let others become more aware of it. I had no idea until you sent me that information. I hope you're feeling better. I've missed you,but you're in my prayers!

Buttercup said...

Great post. I've been wary of Cipro, though I've been given several bottles to take overseas, "just in case." Never took them. Stopping over from Nellie's blog.

Pat Tillett said...

Wow! I haven't taken any type of antibiotics in very long time, but my MIL is taking at least one of them right now. THANKS so much for the info...