Floxin took care of the pneumonia but it left David with a ruptured Achilles tendon. "I was in a lot of pain and couldn't put any weight on my leg for about six months," David says. "Meanwhile, I had severe heart problems (I was only 30) and the doctor put me on a monitor that records everything that happens to your heart over 48 hours, like a continuous EKG. It showed that I likely had suffered a heart attack.
"How could that be? I was in excellent health and hadn't set foot in hospital since having my tonsils out when I was a kid. And there was no history of heart disease in my family. I had also suffered a significant loss of strength. I'd been in construction my whole life and now I couldn't even pick up a 5-gallon bucket of water. At that time I was bench-pressing 200 lbs and my kids teased me that I had Popeye arms. I had absolutely no clue that the drug was responsible, none whatsoever.
But the symptoms continued.
In 1993, I was treated for a head cold and given Cipro; that resulted in a frozen shoulder and a frozen knee. I couldn't bend my knee, period. I had to work through this whole mess, I had no choice--I had a mortgage and family to support. Obviously I lost a lot of time from work, but did my best. I went to an orthopedic surgeon, but he couldn't find any reason for it. He sent me to another specialist and diagnosed fluid in the knee. He stuck a needle in my knee but it came out dry, no fluid. He was baffled.
It took a few weeks until I could even walk. To this day, if I turn the wrong way, I go down. And my knee has swollen like a balloon numerous times over the years. Around this time I started to lose my vision. I went from 20/20 (never wore glasses) to prescription glasses almost overnight.
In 1999, I was treated for a mild infection of a small cord in the scrotum that goes from the testicles into the penis. I was given Cipro again. That is when all hell broke loose. I got severe gastro and digestive problems, severe loss of vision, heart problems again, a rash on my chest, severe tendonitis throughout my body, constant ringing in my ears, and my lab work was a total mess: red and white blood cells and liver function was all screwed up. I can't describe how bad I felt.
That lasted for about four or five months. I saw just about every ??"ologist there was. NOT ONE of them associated my chronic illness with Cipro, even though I told them that I was on this med. I wasn't taking any other drug. I don't even take aspirin!
Had I known at the time that every single adverse reaction I reported was a listed, known and published adverse reaction to this drug…
In the fall of 2000, I was pretty much functional and was in the process of renovating a house. I got up on Monday morning and I passed blood. I had a severe, debilitating pain in the kidney area. I went to my family doctor that afternoon and she thought I had a kidney stone. She put me on Floxin (again) and Darvocets for pain, and sent me off to a urologist. He did a CT Scan and x-rays and couldn't find the stone. But he decided I had a bladder infection and put me on Cipro??"I kid you not??"500 mgs per day. But wait, it gets worse…
He did a cysto exam (tube up penis into bladder, looks around and finds nothing wrong) and discharged me. In the meantime, I am in horrendous pain everywhere and seriously considering suicide: it was that bad??"unbearable. I would fill the bathtub with water so hot you could boil a lobster, just to get five minutes of relief. I did that a dozen times a night.
My throat then swelled up to where I couldn't breathe. At ER they said I had laryngitis, but I could speak normally. In other words, they didn't have a clue. I saw the urologist again and brought along a long list my symptoms. Diagnosis: chronic bacterial infection of the prostrate, which I did not have seven months earlier.
It didn't make sense. Plus all my urine tests were negative for bacterial infection. He gave me Motrin (!) for pain and within a few hours I had seizures and it was back in ER. This time an on-call urologist said I had a bladder infection and put me on…wait for it, Levaquin!
It damned near killed me.
My liver and kidney and pancreas went to hell. I now have permanent double vision??"it destroyed the nerves and muscles in my eyes. Soon as I was released from hospital, I got a second opinion. The new urologist said, 'Stop Levaquin immediately because you are having a horrific reaction to it. No doubt you have a kidney stone and I am scheduling you for surgery in a few days to remove it.' (Turns out that Cipro was responsible for the kidney stone.)
I got on the Internet and searched Levaquin, Cipro and Floxin. I found a forum where thousands of patients went through the same agony as me. I was absolutely livid. I contacted a lawyer and started legal proceedings. At that point I was looking at 20 ruined years.
I started to collect documentation??"clinical studies, newspaper articles, whatever I could find. And I put up a website to make this information available to others. (The website today has well over 12,000 clinical studies, published papers, newspaper articles etc.)
Today, I still have constant ringing in my ears. I wear tri-focals with prisms to see??"I am legally blind without these glasses. I still have the rash on my chest and the tendons in my hands have shrunk so much that they look like claws, I can only bend them half-way, like a severely arthritic person.
My white cell count has returned to normal after eight years, but I have an atrophied heart valve, cystic formation on my kidneys and an enlarged liver with cystic masses, chronic hip pain and still have a swollen lymph node in my groin, and problems with the knee and ankle. My digestive system is basically shot and there's hardly anything I can eat without getting sick. Phew.
The makers of these drugs, those lying f***ing bastards, knew about these adverse events since 1982. I have done my research. There wasn't one year since '82 when something regarding these adverse wasn't published in the leading medical journals concerning these drugs.
Six weeks before the black box warning was added to them, I got a response from a letter I sent to Johnson & Johnson. They believed the current warnings were adequate and had no intention of changing them--I have the letter published on my website.
READ MORE CIPRO LEGAL NEWS
But this is the heartbreaker: why wasn't I told? Sure as hell, the last three times I would have refused to take the drug. It boils down to not if it will kill me, but when."