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The Fluoroquinolones Community—and Their Leader Mark Girard

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Ottawa, ONSeven years ago Canadian Mark Girard was strong and healthy and living a very comfortable life. He worked as a chef in the high-altitude vacation lodges cradled in the pristine Rocky Mountains. On his days off, there was unlimited ATV riding surrounded by iconic scenery, and in the winter there were snowmobile adventures in the back country.

Today, he lives day to day and rarely leaves his house in Ottawa. Most of his time is spent managing a range of chronic health problems that zap his energy and drag him down.

Girard’s troubles began back in Colorado with a broken ankle that required a set of pins and screws to hold it all together. When a hospital-acquired infection set in (Staphylococcus Aureus), doctors hooked him up to a Kleflex antibiotic drip and prescribed him massive oral quantities of Levaquin, one of the group of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones or FQs.

“I had a reaction immediately. I knew something was horribly wrong right away,” says Girard, recalling those first days in the hospital.


“I started complaining,” says Girard. “Day ten I lost control of my bladder. I was sitting there p*****g myself. I told them, ‘hey, I’ve never done this before.’ They give more pills. By day 17, I had blood clots in my chest and arms and I was back in the hospital for the third time in a month.”

Everything was unraveling. Within three weeks Girard says he was as “sick as a dog.” I had a headache, nausea, I had diarrhea, I was confused and disorientated, I had insomnia, the muscles in my eyes and my cheeks were twitching, and the veins were bulging.”

He was trying to literally get back on his feet when a physiotherapist discovered that the tendons around his ankle area were mush.

Within 18 months he’d lost his emotional and physical health. His job was gone and he was homeless and feeling suicidal. Friends even raised money for him to limp home to Canada.

In the months and years ahead, he began to hear about Levaquin and hundreds perhaps thousands of people whose adverse events have been reported to the FDA after being prescribed fluoroquinolones for everything from bladder to respiratory infections.

As Girard says, “I’d been floxed.”

In 2008, the FDA requested that fluoroquinolones carry a boxed warning that the antibacterials could cause tendonitis or tendon ruptures. In 2013, the FDA required that drug labels and medication guides carry warnings of peripheral neuropathy, or serious and potential permanent nerve damage.

Commonly used FQs include levofloxacin (Levaquin), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), moxifloxacin (Avelox), norfloxacin (Noroxin), ofloxacin (Floxin) and gemifloxacin (Factive).

Soft-spoken, serious and knowledgeable, Girard has become the “official unofficial” leader of a worldwide group of people living with health effects attributed to use of FQs. They refer to themselves as “Floxies.”

“I am pretty much the leader of the Facebook community,” says Girard. “I am the senior administrator of the largest and busiest of the support groups. I have also generated and started filling in all kinds of specialized groups like Christian Floxies, and there’s a group for research, where all we deal with is new scientific research.

“The biggest group is the Fluoroquinolones Toxicity Group,” says Girard. “We are at about 2,150 members. There have been as many as three or four thousand members of this group. People heal up and get on with their lives or they just need to not be there and exposed to the negativity. We are as positive as we can be about it but the subject matter is just horrible.”

For many people, the concept of being “floxed” is difficult to comprehend. “The reaction is mostly disbelief,” says Girard. “They have been taking antibiotics their whole life and never had anything like that. Or they have taken Cipro and they have arthritis or depression but don’t understand it could be from the Cipro. But the reaction is mostly disbelief - until it happens to you.”

Fluoroquinolones, or more accurately their precursors, were developed as a chemotherapy drug. When it was discovered that the compound could actually kill bacteria, they were reformulated and marketed as antibiotics. However, they are far from penicillin.

Simply put, fluoroquinolones work by entering the bacteria’s DNA and preventing it from reproducing. However, they do not work only on bacterial DNA. They actually penetrate all the cells in the body. It’s believed that the tendons rupture because the FQs confuse the DNA, and the cells literally get mixed up.

“Tendons will be rebuilding wrong, and rebuilding wrong until one day you overextend them and they snap. People get it in their shoulder, rotator cuff, hands, wrist,” adds Girard.

Girard and other members of the FQ community want more research into the use of these drugs. On May 9, 2014, 50 people with FQ-related health issues and supporters traveled to Washington and made a presentation to the Senate Health Committee.

Interestingly, Girard makes something very clear.

“Despite all the crap I have gone through, these drugs probably saved my life,” notes Girard. “If I had not been given an FQ, the infection could easily have killed me so I am grateful. I was just prescribed them for far too long and in conjunction with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) and proton pump inhibitors, both of which are contraindicated.”

Much of Girard’s available energy is spent online, gathering and sharing information about FQs and talking to people with adverse reactions they believe are connected to FQs. “I do a lot of counseling. Talking to people who are not doing well at all.”

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
Can someone please contact me as I cannot even think at this point....12 yrs now...i have never been able to work after the last 5 yrs...

Posted by

on
The FDA should also be accountable for allowing this to go on as long as it has with many of the Dr.s prescribing these deadly antibiotics unaware of the seriousness and damage it has and continue to cause...I.am appalled but then again not surprised when it's all about a dollar at the expense of human life.. these are the most expensive antibiotics on the market Avelox Ciprofloxacin Levequin many of the very Dr.s prescribing them I would not at all be surprised of the kickbacks received for doing so...having been giving all three and for years suffering a myriad of health problems only just finding out about the seriousness of them..not once was I suffering from a life threatening condition when given them as I read here the case with many...I don't know what to think whether the government was in on it through pharmaceutical companies lobbyists or what...there needs to be a federal probe..may God bless and reign over each and everyone affected by them and may justice trump this horror

Posted by

on
My life has been ruined by Cipro. There is no cure for the damage it does. I pray for death daily but it doesn't come. The risks do not outweigh the benefits for this class unless you are on your death bed. The FDA is not protecting the public from money hungry fluoroquinolone drug makers. They have not informed health professionals of the horrific irreversible and sometimes progressive nature of the nightmarish effects of these chemo drugs. They and the drug companies have known about it for years but it's largely been their little secret. This country needs to dissolve the FDA and replace it with a competent agency that actually protects the people and not big pharma.

Posted by

on
Marks no one's leader. Hes trying to make money on being sick while other activists are just trying to share awareness. Hes a bully and a liar.

Posted by

on
I was given Levaquin for recurring strep throat. After four days, my whole body was in pain. I couldn't stand or walk without a cane. I went to my doctor who shrugged his shoulders and told me to continue taking the antibiotic. I can't describe how horrible the pain was. I went to an rhuematologist who put me through painful tests and message treatments.I finally found a doctor who believed that there was something wrong with me, and he told me that I had been poisoned by Levaquin. It's been five years since I was poisoned. I have good days and bad days. Today, I am sitting in a chair surrounded by ice packets and heating pads because I am in too much pain to move. Where is the justice for us? Our lives matter too!

Posted by

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In July I was prescribed levaquin for Bronchitis. My first adverse reaction happened, on day 3 of a 10 day regimen. Those first symptoms were "electric zaps" around my heart. Although it concerned me, I did nothing because I felt it was residual effects of the bronchitis. A few days after my last dose I started to feel electric zaps and burning all over my body and my scalp or head began to burn. I really "hoped" it was just anxiety. Soon, walking down the stairs prompted a great deal of pain in my knees, like they were going to fall off. A few friends even asked me why I was walking like an "old person." (No offense intended, just quoting here). Also, a few nicely healed broken bones became irritated, and I felt incredible fatigue! The fatigue is so bad that I am having to break tasks up into very smaller tasks. It is taking me a week, to do what would normally take me just a day. My right arm is numb on and off. When that symptom started I actually began dropping items and started to cry in line at the bank because I thought I may have had a seizure or a tumor. I even cancelled a couple of very important events, which I have never done, for any reason. The doctor says it will eventually flush out of my system. I truly truly hope so. I know there is a chance things could get worse by reading other stories, but I am praying and having others pray for me every single day. I have had to ask for more support than I ever have in my life. One of the hardest aspects for me to cope with is when I start to get relief for a few hours only to feel achy, tired and in pain later. I cry every time the symptoms come back like a child whose hopes have been raised only to be let down. This has been going on for almost a month; to read that others have experienced this for years hurts my heart. I will pray for us all. I don't think this is a bad drug, but I would have liked to have been warned of the possible side effects. I am on point when it comes to detail in regards to matters like this, so had the doctor warned me to stop the drug if I experienced peripheral neuropathy. I would of first researched what that even meant since I have never felt that before, and then on day 3 when I had my first PN symptoms, I would have stopped the drug that very day. All of this is happening during a very big transition in my life. This should be a happy time for me and those I love. If I feel this sad, horrified, scared, tired and unwell with a few weeks of this ordeal, I can't imagine how those who have been tracking with this for years feel. I keep ping ponging in my head how sick I am. I think one moment that perhaps it is just stress or anxiety or the fact that I think about my symptoms all the time. But the moment I knew I was truly sick, beyond anything I have ever felt was the moment I almost called someone I no longer speak to (for good, reasons) to come and help care for me. I ended up laying down my phone and crying into my pillow because I realized what a weak place this mess has brought me to. I am going to believe we will all get better. I am not sure what everyone on here individual faith is, but I have to say that pressing into God has brought me the biggest relief. The scripture that I am clinging to right now is below.....

2 Corinthians 4:8-9
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Posted by

on
What do I need to do. I have lost the battle. I have tendon damage and nerve damage. I just want to die. Just have not gotten courage to kill myself yet. But it could show up any time.

Posted by

on
I took these medications and lost the ability to walk or stand up for extended periods of time. I have numerous other new symptoms I cannot even begin to place. I saw the black box warning but shrugged it off as being just another hyped up drug warning. I never even had a bacterial infection that I know of. They were given to me for a month for as far as I know, for 'nothing at all'.

Posted by

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I was in hospital in February 2014 for a mild case of pneumonia and was prescribed oral Levaquin. Almost immediately upon taking it, I had 'all-over' body pain and went to a walk-in where another antibiotic was prescribed. The pain persisted even with the administration of OTC painkillers and Dilaudid. I began to have problems with both hands and forearms, namely loss of strength and difficulty grasping objects as well as what seemed to be muscle wastage.I asked my GP (who thought it might be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) to prescribe Lyrica and refer me to a Neurologist. The neurologist confirmed an independent diagnosis of Ulnar Neuropathy and went on to diagnose further neurological problems in that area. He said he was confident he had diagnosed the problem but had no idea what was the cause. He continues to look for the cause by seeking the opinions of other Neurologists and groups here in Sault Ste. Marie,in Hamilton, and in London (all in Ontario). He also increased my dosage of Lyrica to further (successfully) relieve the pain. None of the Doctors have been willing to name any specific cause for the condition and have considered the possibility of the involvement of Fluoroquinolones but have dismissed the possibility for different reasons ( unsupported opinions only) that I feel are without merit for reasons of my own. (I have a friend who has had the same condition since being given Cipro for a hospital-borne infection years ago when his doctors acknowledged that the problem was caused by the antibiotic and I tend to use his case as a comparison and point of reference when evaluating these opinions). I have promised my Neurologist that I would search for a Neurologist more familiar with the condition (perhaps a Neurologist who is involved with one of the many lawsuits now in progress in Canada or the US). If anyone can offer some help with an accurate diagnosis supported by professional examination, I am confident my Neurologist would be very interested to speak to him in the interest of finding a solution to this problem. He has said he will not rest until he has found the cause(s) of my neuropathy.

Posted by

on
Levaquin injured me nearly 8 years ago leaving me with severe Peripheral Neuropathy in my feet, legs, hands & tendon problems as well. I live with constant pain, lost my job as well as all our families savings. This antibiotic has devastated my family! I wish drug companies cared about their fellow human beings instead of money!

Posted by

on
I hate these f*cking drugs. Get them off the market now they are downright destructive to everything in the human body

Posted by

on
Yup, me too. Four years of hell, then shingles and was taken to a healer - marvelous - fifth year much, much better and after five yers really fine and happy again - neighbour gave me some soup on which she'd sneaked a bit of chicken - Spanish battery chickens are stuffed with quinolones and I hadn't eaten meatg for decades - and I was refloxed, but am recovering well. Still, I look 20 years older than I am and have partial but very annoying dementia, tremor in hands and arms and various other sequels, I lost all those years, all the money I had or ever will have and many illusions. I was suicidal every day for four years. http://destruida-los-restos.blogspot.com.es/
Drug companies are wicked, but so are all of the big industries - mining, petroleum oil, nuclear, military.. ..all cause terrible suffering and destruction. Where there's muck, there's brass.

Posted by

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In 1990 I was given Cipro in a matter of a few days of taking it my Left elbow was torn up. Just doing what I normally do at my job. (Which I soon Lost as it took time to heal and when I returned the head hogs found a way to get rid of me.) Fast forward to 2006 Levaquin and I was on the couch in a matter of 3 days when I found that I was better from the infection but unable to walk. There is nothing that could let me explain all of the problem I have had since this all started. I only in the past year or so learned just how much of our daily items have enough fluoride in them to make a cycle start again. I have lost function of part of one kidney, the pain points from the tears are still tender. I like many am disabled.

Posted by

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My story begins about ten years ago, in 2004, when I was prescribed a fluoroquinolone antibiotic by my MD, probably for a sinus infection or sore throat. I had a severe and immediate reaction to whatever drug this was (his record is surprisingly ambiguous as to what he actually put me on!), where after three or four days, I could barely walk, especially up stairs. I tried to tough it out, but my feet felt like I was wearing lead boots. I called my MD, who told me I was having "peripheral neuropathy", and he told me to stop the drug, which I did. My symptoms never fully went away, which I can only describe as a constant tingling in my feet and shins, like having novocaine there. I never had any symptoms like this before this. In 2009, the same MD put me on levaquin (he once explained to me that people in New York City, where I live, are exposed to a lot, so he felt antibiotics like amoxicillin were in-effective, so fluoroquinolone's were his "go to" antibiotics). In March of 2009, when I was put on levaquin, I did not notice anything unusual at first, just the "normal" cold hands and feet in the winter, and the tingling that I was used to by now, BUT in the spring, as the weather warmed, I noticed that my feet were still really cold, and were actually getting numb. I am not one to go to doctor's easily, and I ignored this, until the fall, when I realized that this numbness was worsening and traveling up my legs. I lived with the progressive numbness for a while, and ultimately saw a neurologist. I now have seen several neurologist's over the years, who have done a ton of blood testing from Lyme's disease to diabetes to heavy metal poisoning to raynaud's testing, HIV testing, have had two spinal mri's, skin graft tests, B12 deficiency testing, auto immune testing, etc. all of which again were normal. My MD continued to put me on these antibiotics, to the tune of at least nine times in the past ten years whenever I went to him for the flu or sinus infections, etc. At this point, I was at wit's end to try to get a diagnosis from someone, as my symptoms were progressing. I was now having increasing difficulty walking up stairs, walking distances, would wake up at night with muscle cramps in my legs below my knees, wake up in the AM with numb feet and legs and hands with a lot of muscle fasciculations,(have had carpal tunnel ruled out as well), developed psoriasis in my shins, and fatigue easily. I decided to go to page ten of a google search, and discovered toxic reactions to fluoroquinolone antibiotics (which apparently cross the blood brain barrier, and can cause severe neurological symptoms), and discovered a whole community of people severely affected by these drugs, with similar symptoms as mine. Until this point, I hadn't realized that my symptoms could actually be from a drug reaction. Until this started ten years ago, I was a gym going, healthy guy who ate well and kept his weight down. I am now 59. My symptoms are progressively worsening, I have difficulty walking, especially up stairs, my feet feel like I am wearing lead boots and always feel numb and burn after walking, am very fatigued and wake up with numb hands. Thank you for listening. Peace

Posted by

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my life has been destroyed by the use of levaquin and cipro.i was treated with levaquin for a suspected sinus infection in february 2013 while also using a steroid at the time.my doctor stated when asked about this drug that it was perfect for me that the only rare symptom was in individuals over 60 years with underlying health conditions and that in those cases it could cause tears in the achiles tendons and she felt i had no worries.by day eight of taking this medicine i had horrid pain in both shoulders and when i called the doctor she stated it couldn't be caused from the medicine and to continue taking it for the next two days until it was gone.the pain became excrutiating and i was sent to a specialist who put me on prednisone and a series of 3 steroid injections,soon after i had horrid abdominal pain,nausea,vomiting,pain from head to foot,mental fog etc. i ended up having my gallbladder removed and lost 35 pounds in three weeks time.during gallbladder surgery they gave me cipro in the IV which i had a reaction to right away but they just slowed the drip down and continued to infuse it.i have had many tests,images,seen many different doctors and have been treated with many different drugs and 19 months out here i am with no relief and no answers to help what these drugs have done to me.i lost my job,my livelihood,my health,have been denied disability and am unable to work as most days i barely function.my life has been ruined in every way possible because of these drugs that did not have the appropriate warning and was misused with me for the condition i was treated for when there were other drugs that could have and should have been used if they had even bothered to do a culture to make sure i even needed them.we put our trust in the doctors and medicine they treat us with and do not expect to be lab rats for the big pharma just for them to gain profit.this misuse and misinformation needs to be dealt with,there have been so many individuals who have been harmed that should never have taken these drugs in the first place.these type of drugs should only be used as a last resort not the first choice like it is so many times,they need to be regulated in their use.one cannot even imagine how horrid the symptoms are from these drugs without going through it themselves, but i can tell you i wish they would have taken my life rather then to leave me in this state of pain that most likely will not get better and more probable to get worse over time.i can't even remember what normal feels like anymore and before these drugs i had an active productive life with a hopeful future and now....i just don't know if i'll ever have a so called life again.

Posted by

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How My Life Got High Jacked by: Terry Aston September 8, 2014
Prior to 1991, I was healthy, fit, athletic. I loved the sun and the outdoors. I worked the night shift summers, so I could water ski every day, rain or shine. I was a happy.Then one fate-changing day in 1991, I was prescribed Cipro. Thus began a slow slide of debilitating symptoms multiplied time and time again by repeated prescriptions of Cipro and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Levaquin, Avelox).
It took me 20 years to finally discover what was happening to me – with no help from my doctor, the medical community at large, the drug companies, the FDA – not any single person or organization whose purpose it is to protect patients like me.
How could my doctor harm me this way, never connect the dots, never realize he was poisoning my body over and over again? It was one thing after another: Coughing spells, allergic reactions, eye problems, debilitating joint pain. Is it not the doctor’s job to consider the side effect of what he prescribes? Is it not the responsibility of drug companies to clearly state warnings? Is it not the role of the FDA to make sure drugs capable of such irreversible damage are more closely regulated for the protection of citizens?
My doctor shrugged and kept prescribing. The corporations continued marketing these dangerous antibiotics for routine infections. Over time, the FDA issued not just one, but two so-called black box warnings. They were too little, too late for most people, and continue to be useless protection against what pharmaceutical reps say a drug is good for over dinner and drinks (or worse, when doctors have a financial stake is the success of the drug company).
Meanwhile, me? I have become completely disabled. It’s a crime. My life was hijacked-- stolen from me. I’ve worked hard all my life. I made sure I could wear many hats to keep myself employed. I earned licenses in cosmetology, CDL class A, phlebotomy, bartending. FQs took me down, I was a rare thing: a lady truck driver. I was a car hauler, driving and loading tractor trailers with brand new cars to the dealerships. I was a strong, self-sufficient woman . . . until I couldn’t read the VIN numbers anymore, and the chronic pain and muscle weakness made it unsafe for me to keep driving. My trucking career ended, and wasted was the $5,000 spent on driver school. Now I am a welfare recipient, and can barley care for myself. Keeping my house on $730.00 per month is impossible. Food sensitivities are caused by fluoroquinolone toxicity. I have a specialized, very limited diet because I am now allergic to so many things. Simply getting proper nourishment on $165.00 in food stamps is a constant struggle.
I lost my family because of my illness. Not even my own mother would look beyond the false sense of security the FDA gives to read or understand that my illness is real, and devastating. What could make this terrible illness worse? The shame we face as our doctors, employers, friends and family don’t believe us, because it is too hard to imagine such a thing could happen in America in the 21st century.
In 1991, prior to starting a new job, I was prescribed Cipro. I soon complained to my doctor about a painful burning sensation in my feet. He said it was fatigue from standing on my feet all day. I complained about cracking and popping joints, dry, swollen eyes, back pain. He said I was “getting old.” I was in my early 30s. I was prescribed Ambien for insomnia. I complained repeatedly of not feeling well. Dr. Hyle never took a culture of any kind, but insisted I had infections, and continued prescribing me Cipro time and again. In 1994, he diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue, and prescribed Cipro. He told me I was depressed. I was not. My body was being poisoned. Still, I managed to work through the pain.
In 2003, I was prescribed Avelox. I returned to Dr. Hyle complaining about the increasing pain and eye problems. The sicker I got, the more I was prescribed the very fluoroquinolones that were harming me. After Cipro, it was Levaquin. Then he sent me to a pain clinic where I was given steroid injections known to dramatically raise the risk of adverse effects of FQs. But I didn’t know that then, and no one who should have known bothered asking about other medications. Dentist Richard Jaffe totaled me by mixing the Cipro and Levaquin with steroids, lidocaine and nitrous oxide. Not one doctor would help me with what was clearly an adverse reaction to mega doses of fluoroqinolones. I even went to Johns Hopkins only to be prescribed more Levaquin!
My pharmacy records show I have been prescribed 250 pills of Fluoroquinolones.
It is a wonder I am even alive.
Not once was I suffering from a life-threatening infection that required such a potent drug.
I paid Dr. Hyle to take care of my health, and he destroyed my body. He prescribed an obscene amount of Levaquin to me – harming me – while simultaneously being paid handsomely for “research” by the makers of Levaquin, Johnson and Johnson (Source: Dollars for Doctors, ProPublica).
Today I am now pretty much house bound and disabled. I became active in Facebook forums, searching for answers, and found thousands of people who share my story, people who exchange information, ideas, and emotional support.
The drug companies may tell you this affects 1% of patients, but anecdotally, it is more like 1 in 4 will have some severe reaction. Our numbers are growing every day. We are organized, and working together to seek action.
Fluoroquinolone Toxicity MUST be stopped. It is time for our government to stand up on behalf of the PEOPLE being harmed by these medications.
We’re asking you to call on the FDA to recall or reclassify Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics so they are never used for suspected or routine infections again. We’re asking you to help us secure funding for independent research on treatment plans for victims. And we’re asking for standardized diagnostic codes that recognize our illness and its cause, to manage insurance benefits as well as track the true impact of FQ toxicity, which is frequently misdiagnosed as one of many autoimmune disorders of unknown cause. The cause is known. It’s time to take a stand.

You can join us on Facebook “Fluoroquinolone Toxicty 24/7 Live Chat”

Posted by

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Simply said......My life has been 100% ruined by Fluoroquinolone Toxicity....100% RUINED........

Posted by

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My wife was prescribed these drugs twice. The first dose caused her two years of suffering with severe pain mostly in her feet and hands (peripheral neuropathy). Neither her nor any practitioner she saw tied her problem to antibiotic intake. This past February she was prescribed Levaquin at a quik care center for an upper respiratory problem after contracting the flue, contraindicated for someone suffering from peripheral neuropathy. This is when the tendon problems and disorientation began. The sad part is that when she showed up at her regular doctor with the symptoms, her regular doctor had no knowledge of Levaquin Toxicity Syndrome and had to look it up on the net commenting "Gee, I prescribe these all the time."

Posted by

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In response to Mary Patrice's comment, I believe you and I am Irish and I completely get your comment. You are very brave to speak about this. I was prescribed Cipro in November 2012 for a UTI and within 24 hours I felt that I was physically and mentally falling apart. Took it for another 18 hours (because I was in no fit state not to) and because I was so desperate to get well and then begged my GP to let me stop it and please give me something else. With a complication of a flu vaccine a few days earlier and underlying undiagnosed mercury poisoning from amalgam fillings, infected root canal fillings and stress, I really feel the Cipro tipped me over. I am on a rollercoaster of recovery now and I hope that the short duration of exposure to the Cipro won't weigh too heavily on my future health.

Posted by

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Bobby Severn, 78 year old healthy, active male, was diagnosed with diverticulitis, even thought there was no elevated white count to indicate an infection, was hospitalized for two two days and given IV Cipro and Flagil. Discharged after 48 hours and sent home with a script for Avelox for seven days.. No warnings about Avelox except for tendon problems. Called WalMart pharmacy, and called another active pharmacist friend, and they denied any knowledge of problems with Avelox. Later I found out that the never dispense Avelox. Day 2 of the Avelox, began to really feel really bad, fever 101, loss of appetite, malaise, pain in his legs. Doc said to to continue on medicine. Continued to get worse with symptoms and saw attending physician twice to no avail. Fevers up to 103 and in frustration went to Infectious Disease specialist. Hospitalized for 17days with every test in the book with no significant findings. Finally discharged, unable to walk, so weak in a wheel chair, lost 30 pounds, B/P so low it was critical and many other symptoms.
After five days at home, drove him 6 hours to Duke Medical Where was admitted via ER, and he was a patient for 5 fays. Doctor at Duke said it was S.S. Discharged to return to Charleston with tests still pending.
Duke called and said to get get him immediately to a Rheumatologist as he he was off the charts for a Dx. Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus.
One year later he is taking multiple drugs for Lupus, Prednisone, Plaquinel, and max. dose of Cellcept, an anti rejection drug that disables the immune system. He now has to take 16 pills per day and may be on them the rest of his now shortened life. I believe he was poisoned with Avelox which was supposed to be drug of last resort and a drug he never even needed.

Posted by

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I was always a healthy person until I had multiple bladder infections. I was always prescribed ciprofloxacin for this. I started having many problems like muscle aches, headaches, numb legs, and memory/ concentration issues. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2007. I was also diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy. I have been diagnosed with many health problems over the years and since reading your article I believe it all was brought on by taking this medication many times in a short period of time. In 2011 I was diagnosed with pneumonia and was given this again, three times. Prior to all of my health problems I was a waitress and I am also mother to five children. These kids are younger and very active. I can't do all that they want as I'm always tired, have severe nerve pain not only in my legs but in my arms that cause tremors. My life has deteriorated so much since 2006 with never any explanation from the doctors. My fibromyalgia was idiopathic. My peripheral neuropathy has no known cause. It all makes sense. It all started when I was prescribed this medication quite a few times, and in a short period of time. Thank you for posting this article. It's certainly very informative not only for me but for others that have no explanation for their problems.

Posted by

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Thank you Brenda Craig, for helping the Fluoroquinolone community bring the truth about this class of antibiotic to light. I have been chronically and severely damage by Levaquin since November of 2009. One pill was like a land mine for me and countless other unsuspecting people. I was not aware that I was prescribed a drug so dangerous it required a black box warning. A safer antibiotic was never offered. Neither the doctor nor the pharmacist mentioned even a word of caution me. I live in fear of my future as fluoroquinolones damage the mitochondrial and nuclear DNA of our cells. This damage is progressive. This is not acceptable, period. Again I thank you for bringing attention to our cause, humanity thanks you.

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I had a fairly normal life, for a 46 year old, wife, and mother of 3. Until I was prescribed Levaquin, for a kidney infection. After a few days, I noticed I was confused and not myself. I mentioned this to the Dr. I made a real rookie mistake at my job, and got fired. Then I started a new job. I had been taking Levaquin for 2 weeks at that point. The first few weeks were horrible. I was exhausted, my feet and hands were aching. I could not believe the amount I was sweating as well. I kept going back to my Dr and telling him the medication was making me ill. I felt like I had run a marathon, with the worst flu I'd ever had. He said to continue the medication. I ended us seeing another Dr., and found out I didn't even have a kidney infection, he had not done a culture. And I had been floxed. I have not worked in 4 years. I have, in order of diagnosis; Tendonitis, busitis, plantar fasciatis, leukemia, migraines, osteo arthritis, rhumatoid arthritis, hypothroid, and tennitis. I filed a complaint against the prescribing Dr. as he had originally prescribed 83 days of levaquin. I believe I would have been dead before I finished the script. I stopped taking them after 30 days, myself. The College of Physicians and Surgeons found him to be negligent in my complaint. I would recommend anyone who believes they have been wrongly diagnosed, or being forced to take a medication they believe is harming them...file a complaint with the college of physicians and Surgeons, in Canada. I also want to thank Mark G. for spearheading all of our groups. He has helped us all so much. Most of us had very little idea of what had happened to us, and even less on how to make ourselves feel better. Thanx Mark

Posted by

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Thank you for this article. I am a member of some of Mr. Girard's groups, and his knowledge and compassion are immeasurable.

I was floxed almost three years ago. Although I had been prescribed Cipro many times for supposed attacks of diverticulitis, but eventually it was discovered that I was misdiagnosed. But before that happened, while on Cipro, a doctor in an emergency room switched me off Cipro and put me on Levaquin. That's the one that got me.

After taking only five doses, I was hardly able to walk. I could feel that it was the connective tissue around my knees that was causing the problem, and a surgeon with his intern both looked at each other and said "Levaquin," then the surgeon told me to stop taking it immediately. Interestingly, I didn't need the colon surgery, and I never saw this doctor again. I've been to several other doctors since, but none of them takes me seriously when I tell them I was poisoned by Levaquin!

I immediately stopped taking the Levaquin. The pains eased a bit, but I have few days when I don't have residual tendon pain in my knees, shoulders, and forearms, not to mention a serious sensitivity in my Achilles tendon. I am afraid to walk because it hurts so much.

Both of my parents died within the last few months, and as I tended to my father, I had to give him Levaquin (which broke my heart further) through a feeding tube. I forgot to crush the large pill to dissolve it in water before putting it into his feeding tube, so I picked up the wet pill to start again. Within an hour or so, I had very sharp pain in an inside tendon of my left forearm, which moved into my shoulder, my heart area, and eventually the tendons behind my left knee -- just from touching the "medicine."

I still work full time as a 911 dispatcher, but moving getting in and out of the building, sitting with my knees bent for long periods of time, and moving around the radio room as needed are agony. I can't stand up long enough to do anything meaningful as far as taking care of my house. I wonder if I will ever be healed, and the fear of being an invalid and a drain on my husband jolts me all the time.

Thanks again for a good article. And thank you so much to Mr. Girard for the help and support he provides so many of us floxies.

Posted by

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Thank you for publishing this article and building awareness. 15 years ago, I was given Cipro (a fluoroquinolone antibiotic) for a minor infection that developed from a small scratch on my leg. By day 3 of taking the Cipro, I was covered in hives and rashes, struggling to breathe and hospitalized for a week. Doctors had no diagnosis except that an autoimmune antibody had showed up in my bloodwork. What followed was 36 different tests, biopsies and specialists over a 6 month period. I became hypersensitive to everything in the environment and in the food. I had been strong, healthy, athletic until that first dose of Cipro. But suddenly I was forced to become a recluse and stay in my house around the clock. I was a sole breadwinner with my own business and raising a child totally on my own. But this sudden inexplicable illness caused me to sell my business at a loss (because I was too sick to negotiate a decent price). I gave up on doctors after the first year because they could not find a reason other than to suggest that I probably needed to be more social - since I was spending too much time by myself! Ha ha. What a farce! At one point, I slipped and tore a tendon in my thigh. It would not heal. I nearly lost my leg and needed 18 months of nurse visits. My family has faced homelessness and spent 3 years without basic utilities (heat, hot water, etc) because I can't work outside of the house and can't get a proper medical diagnosis. It's hard to pay the bills when this goes on for 15 years. Every day is a hussle. There's no end in sight and apparently no way to diagnose or cure. My life is ruled by this illness and in fact, I am not even able to attend my daughter's wedding this month because I am too fragile. Doctors keep trying to prescribe Cipro to me whenever I show up at the emergency. It's maddening that they are still feeding this to people with minor infections. These drugs are too powerful to be a first line of defense. Something's got to change!

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Thank you so much Brenda for writing such a great article! This will add to people's awareness of this horrible problem. According to the Levaquin package insert around 3% of people reported adverse reactions in their tiny two month study but we know the numbers are really much higher. Considering that these are some of the most prescribed antibiotics in the world the number of people who have been affected must be staggering; the problem is that people almost never think about the antibiotic they took weeks, months, even years before when their tendon ruptures or neuropathy flares up or any of a hundred or more other things go wrong. There are millions of us out there but only a few thousand who are aware of what went wrong in their lives and why. Instead they are misdiagnosed with fibo or chronic fatigue or any of dozens of other catch-all diagnosis doctors use when they can't figure out what is really wrong with a patient. Of course they never look at the obvious, the toxic chemicals they prescribe every day. Clueless doctors living in denial are a huge part of nearly every floxie's experience. I have seen dozens of them and none will admit the obvious, that I was floxed. This is a massive ongoing crime against humanity being committed by the pharmaceutical industry and the doctors are complicit in this crime with their willful ignorance of the truth. Most of us have a collection of symptoms that reads like the package insert. When victims arrive in our groups it is a catharsis, like a ton of lead has been lifted from our shoulders, so very clearly exactly what has happened to us, but can we convince our doctors. Until recently the answer has been a solid no but we are slowly making headway and research like the study you reported on last week keep adding the momentum we are building. Someday some executives will go to prison for this and the whole sordid affair will be the subject of a Hollywood movie but until then we will continue to suffer without recognition and many many more people will be needlessly floxed. Thanks again for doing your part to end this tragedy a bit sooner. Mark Girard

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I was floxed in May 2009 by a Libyan lady doctor doing locum .I lost my walk and no way will they admit they were wrong. The Medical Profession are so arrogant. The Registrar admitted that I should not have been given "Tavanic" it is called in Ireland. I really did not have a clue what had happened to me. I am asthmatic and was taking steroids when they gave me IV Levaquin. They will not take responsibility and I would love an apology for what they did to me,but they persist in giving me pain killers which I take every day more and more. My life is absolutely fecked I have no energy cannot swim as the two shoulders are shredding My whole life is over as I can only walk to the car to go to the shop and back to bed. My Achilles tendon was ruptured and I had lots of physio to no avail. I cannot do every day things I was able to do as I am a widow this 12 years and my kids live abroad so I am very bitter to be unable to visit them. Anyway they are very unbelieving about what happened to me. None of the Irish people believe that Levquin could do such awful damage to one. I am so pissed off of the whole thing that I seldom talk about it.

Posted by

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Mark Girard has been a blessing to the FQ Community..He brings so many people together that need help and support, and keeps track of so many things for us. Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics have taken my life away at the age of 22. I've been sick and disabled for three years after taking just five pills of Cipro. Unlike Mark, I was given Cipro for a suspected UTI, and there was no need to give me such a dangerous antibiotic for that. I am now 25 years old and am still completely house bound and unable to leave the house most days. I often feel too bad to even watch TV or hold a conversation. The damage FQs cause are widespread and unimaginable.. I hope and pray that people can become more educated about these drugs so no more lives are ruined.

Posted by

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My life was devastated by levaquin, a commonly prescribed fluoroquinolone drug. I was prescribed it as a "prophylactic measure" (I had no infection) while on a high dose of prednisone and Ibufrofen during an asthma exacerbation. The doctor who prescribed was totally unaware of the boxed warnings, and the issues with prescribing while on corticosteroids or the age issues. In addition, I was forced to take a generic form of the drug by my insurance company, so I have no legal recourse. I have been damaged since October of 2012, unable to work, and on disability since November of 2013 ( had to go 6 months of being disabled before qualifying for disability). These drugs should be regulated in their use. They do have a legitimate role in the cases of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, but should never be be prescribed for minor infections or when no actual infection is present.

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