Her doctor listened to her list of symptoms and wrote a prescription for Ciprofloxacin. It’s a potent and commonly prescribed antibiotic. It belongs to the fluoroquinolones family of antibiotics that also includes familiar names like Levaquin (levofloxacin) and Avelox (moxifloxacin). They are most often prescribed for urinary tract infections or respiratory infections.
“The prescription was for five 1000 mg pills. You should have seen the size of the pills. They were huge,” says Susan.
The trip down went just fine and the infection cleared up. However, within about 10 days after the prescription was done and she was back home, she began to experience some peculiar symptoms. “It started with a tingling and itching in the arches of my feet. I felt like I was in a brain fog, just kind of feeling stupid and not normal. And then I started feeling like I was being bitten by spiders. I would just rip my pants off because I thought I was being bitten.”
“I had no idea I was having a reaction to the Cipro. And then things just went full-on crazy,” she says.“I had prickles, I could feel the muscles twitching in my legs, and I couldn’t breathe. My ankles and wrists were burning.
“I had wringing ears, I had diarrhea for about six months,” she adds.
The symptoms the young mom describes are the kind of adverse reactions reported by thousands of people after taking Cipro, Levaquin and/or Avelox. These are considered to be among the most powerful antibiotics currently available.
According to a study, to be published in the September 15, 2014 edition of the American Academy of Neurology (Neurology 2014; 83:1-3), the risk of peripheral neuropathy (tingling, buzzing, prickly sensations in the extremities) is significantly elevated with the use of oral fluoroquinolones.
“What we can say is that it is doubles the risk. Generally speaking, this is still a rare event, but in terms of the relative risk, it doubles the risk between users and non-users,” says the study’s lead author Dr. Mahyar Etminan, PharmD, from the University of British Columbia, Canada.
It took months for Susan to begin to understand that her symptoms were consistent with an adverse reaction to Ciprofloxacin.
“I should have gone to the hospital,” she says, “but I went back to the doctor and told her what was happening.”
Eventually, Susan turned to the Internet and began to make the connection. She found there were lots of other people out there with similar stories. They call themselves “floxies” - and refer to their reactions as “being floxed.”
READ MORE CIPRO TENDON RUPTURE LEGAL NEWS
In 2008, the FDA began requiring manufacturers to apply a black box warning label to fluoroquinolones alerting patients to the risk of tendon damage and rupture.
Unfortunately, for the young mother, her life has changed dramatically since last February and that prescription for Cipro. She has been unable to work, often spends days in bed and struggles to cope with daily life. She’s been in touch with a lawyer and is in the process of considering her legal options.
Cipro is manufactured by Bayer Pharmaceuticals.