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Levaquin Side Effects Meant Life in Wheelchair for Seven Years

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Washington, DCWhen your child is prescribed medication you assume it's safe. However in the case of Levaquin, detractors say the safety factor is debatable. And Levaquin side effects, including Levaquin tendon rupture put one family through hell.

Her name is Cheri Fakes—a soft-spoken, lovely young woman who one day dreamed of working for Disney as an animator. But her story had a different ending. Her story is one of many compelling first-person accounts featured in the documentary 'Certain Adverse Events' now seen on You Tube.

"In March of 2000 I was prescribed Levaquin for a sinus infection. On the fifth day I couldn't get out of bed. I was 16," she says. "I could draw over two hundred pictures a day which was the industry standard at the time."

After taking Levaquin for five days, "I couldn't pick up a pencil. I just couldn't move. Somebody had to actually pick me up and carry me to the bathroom."

Doctors said the Levaquin medication was not responsible. "They said, 'oh stop taking it, drink a lot of water, the reaction will only last a few days, it's just a little allergic reaction and you'll be fine," Cheri says. But it wasn't fine.

"I had extreme pain in my hands, my feet and my legs, my arms and my back. Skin rashes, ringing in the ears, my Achilles tendon was inflamed to the point of rupturing." She also had to wear dark glasses, inside and out. Her Mom feels so badly because she gave her daughter something that proved dangerous, but they just didn't know.

That is, until a college friend accessed peer-reviewed research into fluroquinolones at her university and finally uncovered the truth. "That literature revealed some really horrifying things to me," said Teri Noto, "that fluroquinolones damaged tendons and cartilage and also damaged the repair mechanisms for the tendons and the cartilage—meaning that this wasn't something that was just going to go away."

Patricia contacted the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about Levaquin. The person with whom she spoke said (the FDA) knew there was a problem with "those drugs" and that one day they had to do something. But when Pat asked them when, "they couldn't tell me."

Cheri was in a wheelchair for almost 7 years. "During that time I had to use 38 different orthopedic braces," she says. The pain in her hands intensified. "I couldn't write, I couldn't draw…

"It's been a nightmare."

Patricia gazes at her daughter in disbelief. "How would anyone believe that you could take five pills and eight-and-a-half years later, still be having flare-ups?"

This month Levaquin manufacturer Johnson & Johnson reported third-quarter earnings for Levaquin as down 6.6 percent this year over last, to about $311 million.

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READER COMMENTS

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05/02/2015
I began taking Levofloxacin 5/2/15 for a mild sinus issue for 7 days. By mid-May I had Achilles tendon issues and pain in front bottom of foot in both feet until about October. By August of 2015 (probably even earlier), I noticed an overall ache in all of my extremities that has continues even today 24/7, like I just worked out. Aches/pains are in shoulders (sometimes going into chest area making it hard to take a full breath), elbows, knees, legs, neck, and fingers. After 2 panels of blood tests and everything was negative, I saw a Rheumatologist November 11, 2015 for aches and severe rotator cuff issues. Tennis elbow on the opposite arm began shortly after the Rheumatologist visit. The doctor felt I have arthritis (without MRIs or other tests) in my knees, hands and toes and tendonitis in the rest of the areas. Both arms had and still have tennis elbow and rotator cuff issues, though one side is extreme compared to the other. By 12/15/15, Achilles tendon and front of foot felt 50% better after nursing it, but plantar fasciitis occurred on both feet. It feels like the tendon pulls in bottom of foot up towards back to inward side of foot and soar in area. 2 days sharp, tingly pain, continues into January with dull to sporadic OMG pains. Just feels like walking on bruised feet from January-early Feb., 2016. I do exercises and ice multiple spots daily since I started physical therapy. From doing my exercises for my tennis elbow, I now have tendinitis in my wrists as well. Pain in wrists emanate on the top of my hands (very painful) towards my fingers. This has come for a period of weeks then disappears and can come back again. I also have periodic aches under my buttocks, depending on what type of exercise I do. Aches are 24/7 though much worse in the morning or sitting for a period of time. The rotator cuffs and tennis elbows are very painful. Aleve takes the edge off. It's getting very upsetting because it's constant and in so many places. Pain is the norm in my body. I didn't realize the correlation with the medication until months later. I wasn't even warned about anything by the doctor.

2 sets of blood test (9/15 and 10/15), Rheumatologist (saw 11/15) - aches like just worked out, shoulders, elbows, knees, legs, neck, Achilles tendon and front part of foot since 5/15, the rest since 8/15. Rotator cuff issue end of 10/15.

Nov and Dec 2015- 17 PT sessions. Pro Sports PT- Left Rotator cuff (pain and movement limited), right also limited with milder pain, and tennis elbow in both elbows. Right more severe and debilitating.

Achilles tendon and front of foot better, but plantar fasciitis past 10 days on right and 5 days on left-tendons hurt. Antibiotic in April 2015 with FLOX in it effects tendons. Googled: multiple tendonitis and found a link to others having same issues. .
Plantar fas- feels like tendon (no tendon in fas) pull in bottom of foot up towards back to inward side of foot and soar in area. 2 days sharp, tingly pain, continues into Jan with dull to sporadic OMG pains..
Levofloxacin. (Levaquin)- 5/2/15 - Fluoroquinolone’s have a black box warning with the FDA and can have tendon and liver issues. Right arm tennis elbow- arm brace as of Jan. 2016. All still hurt, throb at times, bottom of right feet hurt and the pulling is more prominent when I lift my foot up in the air. Exercise daily for rotator cuff. Left elbow and right rotator cuff hurt as well but not as significant as the other,

3/7/16 Dr. Erotas, Podiatrist - confirmed plantar Fasciitis. No flat feet. Don’t worry about numb part of right heel.

5/1/16 – Cycling pain- fingers, knees. Wrists are bad and I wake up with bad pain. Wrist started about January after doing exercises for my tennis elbow. I stopped doing the exercises after about 1 month. Stopped all arm weights 3/26/16 for 6 weeks as a trial, only do bands. Tennis elbow reduced to just pain and can lift glasses but nothing heavy like heavy fry pan. Left Rotator cuff was getting better and cycled back to arm feeling pain when it snaps or I move it a certain way, but pain dissipates within seconds. Right shoulder better overall but still tests me. Feet better overall but numbness still on right heel and mild plantar fas. Flairs depending on shoes I wear or how much I walk. Buttocks flairs back and forth. Sometimes there is a reason (hiking), sometimes not. Neck hurts depending what I do, but it hurt for the past 3 years due to a car accident.

5/8/16- For the past 2 months, lower body doesn’t feel like I just worked out, only when I do specific things to make it irritable. Urine has been bright yellow past two weeks. Vitamin B?

Talked to PharmD relative. Suggested Insidious Infectious Disease Dr. and another Rheumatologist consult. Wondered about Lyme Disease or Heavy Metal Toxicity. She and another infectious disease dr. wondered about West Nile. Wondered about steroids for inflammatory issues? Aleve is helpful to take the edge off when pain is bad.

5/12/16 – Dr. Bergstrom, Mayo Integrative Doctor appointment. He confirmed by symptoms only that I have FQ Toxicity. Report is in file.

6/10/16 – (Numb left heel started. More numb than right heel. 24/7) 2-3 toes on right foot mild numbness- comes and goes.

6/11/16 – Right pinky and a bit of the two fingers next to it have numb type feeling. Went up to elbow and totally asleep at night in bed. Right little toe feels similar to pinky.

6/17/16 – Blood tests confirmed high lymphocytes. Stopped taking B complex due to very high B12. Negative for Lyme Disease. Still issues are rotator cuff on right, very mild on left. Tennis elbow both left and right, stiff fingers, knee pain-both and heel numbness-both. Not eating as much due to heat and eating healthy- weight went to 108.5 in the morning for two days. Ate a lot of food and woke up to 110ish. Went back down to 109, 108.5 in the mornings.

6/20/16 Noticed feeling dizzy walking up stairs and down stairs, mostly up stairs. I walk rapidly or two at a time. Also dizzy bending over.
6/23/16 Last 2 days, especially today, feeling dizzy just walking in an indoor mall on and off. Felt fine swimming. Did weight class this morning and was mostly fine. Finger and toe still are on and off numbish.

End of June 2016- started 4 appointments with acupuncturist and foot detox and 2 appointments end of July due to vacations. No change.

7/24/16 – Tennis elbow still and left shoulder still bothers me. Shoulder clicks into and out of place often. Outer right heel near back still totally numb. Left heel had been numb on the inside of heel and now seems to also be numb near the edge on the right, back part of heel. Numbish in 3 right toes and 3 right fingers on and off. When numb, it can last days, but I still feel them when I touch them. No tingling in them. Left fingers can do the same occasionally. Fingers are still stiff but not as bad as when this all started. Achilles tendons have been a tad bit stiff in morning getting out of bed.

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