"I was originally prescribed Cipro because I had a sinus infection," Steven says. "I went to a regular doctor first, who prescribed a drug similar to Cipro [levofloxacin, known by the brand name of Levaquin] and I was later prescribed a different drug [cephalexin]. But the sinus infection came back, so I went to see an ear, nose and throat specialist who prescribed me the Cipro and gave me an injection.
"Within two weeks, I called the specialist back because I had been wearing sandals and walking on the beach when the two smallest toes on my left foot snapped and I thought I broke them. By the end of the day, I could barely walk. I called the doctor and told him that something was wrong and asked if it was related to the Cipro. He said just to let him know if the situation got worse.
"After two days of me not being able to walk properly, the problem subsided. But then, a week later it got worse again. I called the doctor and told him something was wrong. He told me to stop the Cipro for a day and if the problem stopped, I shouldn't take the medication again, but if the problem stayed the same, I should continue with the medication.
"I stopped the Cipro for a day and there was no change, so I finished the medication. I started Cipro on October 28 and I finished the prescription on Thanksgiving Day. After that, my knees started to hurt, first the right knee and then the left. The problem got worse and worse, to the point where I could barely walk.
"Today, I saw a physical therapist who said that the knee problems might be a meniscus tear and that it appears to be joint-related. He said it would be odd that both knees would have the same tear. I didn't have knee or joint problems before I took Cipro. These problems have all come up since I was prescribed it.
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"When I got the prescription filled, I was just told to stay out of the sunlight and be careful, I wasn't told to watch out for my joints. It would be great if the doctor said, 'There's a risk to this, do you still want it prescribed?' No one said that. If I had known, I wouldn't have been so active—I could have postponed some of my activities.
"It wasn't worth the risk, when I look at the condition I'm in now compared to the situation I was in. I'm not normally a pill person and this just confirms why I don't like pills."