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Fluoroquinolones and Peripheral Neuropathy

As a practicing neurologist, one of the most challenging conditions I deal with is peripheral neuropathy. This is a condition in which the nerves in the arms and legs are damaged, and this leads to a variety of issues including pain, numbness, weakness, tingling, and burning. Peripheral neuropathy can be a result of trauma but more commonly it is the result of metabolic problems like diabetes. Alcoholism is a common cause as well as exposure to various toxins including chemotherapy. Some cases of peripheral neuropathy are inherited and sometimes it results from vitamin deficiency, especially the B vitamins.

That said, because peripheral neuropathy is such a difficult disorder to treat, it’s important to be aware of information that can be helpful in terms of avoiding this condition. In this new report published last month in the journal Neurology, researchers evaluated a large group of male subjects and were able to determine that the risk of peripheral neuropathy was actually doubled in those individuals who had been placed on fluroquinolone antibiotics. These are antibiotics that are commonly used to treat such issues as upper respiratory tract infections and urinary tract infections and have gained widespread popularity in the medical community. Two common fluoroquinolones described in the study include ciprofloxin (Cipro®) and levofloxin (Levaquin®)

The point is that Neurology is one of the most well-respected, peer-reviewed medical journals dealing with the nervous system on the planet, and this report is clearly demonstrating that using this type of antibiotic is associated with profound risk for developing peripheral neuropathy, an often devastating condition.

Again, this is important information to keep in mind if our goal is to practice medicine under the doctrine of, “above all do no harm.”

  • Carin Boshuisen-van Leeuwarden

    I have smallfiber neuropathy due to diabetes? I haven’t been using antibiotics in almost two years but my condition is worsened and after I had gastric bypass surgery my bariatric doctor told me that I am cured of diabetes. I’m a little confused now……

  • Margaret

    Another over prescribed class of drugs, statins, used for unnecessary control of blood cholesterol causes peripheral neuropathy and a range of many other conditions. I know because I have suffered a great deal from taking Crestor with peripheral neuropathy and severe myalgia together with memory loss . I no longer take this drug, I now eat lots of good fats and a little carbohydrate and have never felt better in my life.

    • Gail Kelley

      Your post sounds encouraging. Stopping the drug, eating good fats and minimizing simple carbs seems to have stopped the neuropathy? My son, at 17 developed testicular cancer. Before the urologist knew a cancerous tumor was the reason for the infection, he treated him with Leviquan. He was also given IV Levaquin during surgery and afterward to prevent infection. Being 17, they hated to give him chemo so watched his markers closely because it was inconclusive whether or not the cancer was contained. Four months later, they went up and he had 3 months of harsh chemo. Two of the drugs are known for neuropathy, Cisplatin & Etopiside. He suffers with numb feet and pain all over. He takes oxy meds to cope, but this is not good long term. I wish doctor Perlmuter had ended with more encouraging words of how to heal this condition. I have heard alpha lipoic acid, magnesium, some b vitamins like B1, B6, folate, B12, acetyl-L-carnitine, fish oil, as well as getting grain & dairy out of the diet can greatly heal if not improve the condition. I think we are going to try. What have we got to lose? Open to all suggestions!!

      • Sarah

        Jenna and Gail Kelly, I know exactly what you’re going thru, as I also suffer from terrilble and debilitating chronic neuropathy pain.

        Dr. Perlmutter, do you know anything about Hemp oil and CBD for the treatment of neuropathy pain?

        What about the low THC medicinal marijuana, that is about to become legal in Florida, as of January 1st?

      • Janelle

        Gail,

        Hello, I have suffered with PN due to Cipro toxicity. I wanted to reply to you, because my heart goes out to you. It is painful to watch your child go through Cancer and the treatments a Cancer Patient needs. All of the things that you mentioned are beneficial. Also, Glutathione IV helps and acupuncture. I would add chlorella and use a toothpaste that is fluoride free. ( Tea tree oil desert essence and the rinse and floss). I would add a milk thistle tea or supplement to detoxify the liver of the harmful side effects from the medicine and seek out a Holistic Doctor. You would be amazed at how they can help heal your son by treating the root cause and not symptoms. Also, focus on any positives in regard to your son’s health at all times. Belief in great health for him is powerful….My thoughts are with you and I hope that your son recovers and has great health. Best, Janelle

  • Diane

    Is there a way to help stop the progression of this condition?

    • David Perlmutter

      We use lipoic acid, Methyl B12 injections, glutathione, and NAC

      • Diane

        Thanks, Dr. Perlmutter. Will be seeing my naturopath today and will try to get these supplements. Thank you for responding!!

      • vera

        Dr.Perlmutter,wich kind of glutathione I can use ? In UK I find just reduced glutathione in health shop ,it is good ? The IV infusion are really expensive here £150 for just one.
        Thank you !

  • Marley

    Thank you Dr. Perlmutter for this important information. I was once poorly prescribed a FC antibiotic for some mild symptoms and experienced medication symptoms (not PN). Thank goodness I was already taking fish oils, magnesium, astaxanthin, chlorella, spirulina and eating a strong diet or things could have been worse. The next time I needed an antibiotic for cellulitis I asked the doctor if the medication was a FC. She said no. Then she recommended that I take a probiotic (which I was already doing). So it seems some doctors are getting the message, but patients also need to be informed to ask the right questions.

    • Mimi Burnham

      PATIENTS, by and large, tend to be too sick to do research. They have a right to expect doctors to have already done the research, and know what is likely to poison us and what will not – it’s why we give them so much of our money. Do NOT put the onus on the patient!

  • Jenna

    Doctor Perlmutter, I’ve been suffering from a severe case of vulvodynia for the past 5 years which makes sexual intercourse impossible. My husband and I really want kids and I’m in my mid-30. I also have Hashimoto’s. I’m gluten and grain-free, sugar, soy, corn-free. Also no coffee, black tea and alcohol. I tried all conventional therapies w/o any improvement. I don’t know if this is concidered peripheral neuropathy or not, but I’m desperate to find help. I eat a very clean organic diet (high fiber, good fats and oils, raw dairy, grass-fed protein, wild low-mercury fish) and only use natural home/cosmetic products. Is there something I’m missing? Please advise where else I should look. Thank you very much!!!

    • Joe Texan

      I know that Dr. Perlmutter and many other scientists say that Alfa-Linolenic Acid is good for neuropathy and I started taking 450mg a day and it helped. Then I discovered that Chia seeds have 2,850mg of the same Omega 3 per tablespoon. Much cheaper than pills and way more powerful. I have noticed improvement in just one month.

      • David Perlmutter

        Actually – it’s alpha lipoic acid that would be most helpful

      • Ginny

        Hi Joe, I found your comments interesting as I’m almost out of Alfa-Linolenic Acid and have black chia seeds in my fridge so I did a bit of research. This was an link you might also be interested in: http://thepaleodiet.com/seed-fatty-acid-composition/

        • Ginny

          I meant almost out of Alpha-lipoic acid 🙂

    • Martha Randle Stalcup

      Jenna, I’m a functional pharmacist who has Hashi’s, history of PCOS, thyroid nodules and infertility. I wish I had been able to access this brilliant pharmacist’s insight, along with clean, grain-free eating, in my child-bearing years: http://www.thyroidpharmacist.com/1/post/2014/04/using-enzymes-to-overcome-hashimotos.html

      I’m also beginning iodine therapy for fibrotic nodules again, and will be diligent to take with these co-factors: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/2013/12/29/companion-nutrients-the-key-to-iodine-protocol/

      All the best of healing!

    • David Perlmutter

      I would urge you to investigate a low oxalate diet

  • Denise Otis

    Dr.Perlmutter, do you have any studies or experience that the Grain Brain diet or ketogenic diet can reverse neuropathy? In your practice do you treat neuopathy?

    • David Perlmutter

      Try browsing some of the science available here on the site Denise: http://www.drperlmutter.com/learn/studies/?study_search=neuropathy

      • Denise Otis

        Thank you, I had already tried. This is for a friend who is skeptical and believes his doctor that it is irreversable. I thought that if you, being a doctor, had seen this happen in your practice it might give some hope to him. If it were me, I’d do the Grain Brain anyway and see what happens–I so believe in the power of food to heal.

        • Anna Zolotnitskaya, MD

          It is a tremendously important video. The study should be known to every practicing neurologist. A year ago I could not convince anybody that my PN was due to Levaquin exposure. We desperately need to educate US physicians about the dangers of FQ. Thank you for your video.

    • Brandy

      I’ve been on a ketogenic diet for two years (including grain free) when I started Cipro (a little over a month ago now). I had pins and needles in my left fingers and right toes, calf and foot that lasted for three days, so I stopped the Cipro. About 3 weeks later (1 week ago now) one of my fingers has started twitching/moving involuntarily about once every 10-30 seconds. I’m also getting brain fog, and pins and needles in my arms and legs, fatigue and muscle weakness. Is this a result of the Cipro? I have no idea, it might not be. But I do know that the ketogenic diet, even after two years, did not outright protect me from these effects. Not trying to take away hope, maybe my symptoms have been mild (compared to other stories here) specifically because I was on keto. But I don’t think it’s a cure-all.

  • kathy

    Hi Dr Perlmutter, i have PN In my feet and am not diabetic and even had a heavy metals test and that is normal and my B-6 is normal but my B-12 is a tad high in the 1090 range. I do take Alpha Lipioc acid with biotin and that does help but i still suffer and can’t do the things i use to. Any other thing i should check or do? Thanks much for sending this info out.

  • Pingback: Avoid Cipro! | Oh Twist!()

  • dr hamod

    excellent information; too little known to the public. thank u, dr. perlmutter.

  • Nicole Dyson

    I see you have what may be the cause; what is the solution? I have had numb hands for more years than I can remember (have had carpal tunnel release, twice, on the same hand (NEVER should have had it done)), have not been overtreated with antibiotics (of course, what IS overtreatment; does it only take one time?), have seen over 9 doctors for said condition and still have no relief. ALSO, do NOT have diabetes. Was NOT diagnosed with PN, specialist stated that I do NOT have it. Can I get any relief?

    • rose casanova

      Hi Nicole, I have read that some people are effected by fluoroquinolones after just taking ONE dose, or one pill. As far as a solution for FQ damage, I’m not sure there is one right answer, but I’m not a doctor.

  • FloxieHope

    Thank you so much for this video and for bringing attention to this study! Too many people have suffered with peripheral neuropathy after taking fluoroquinolones and too often this symptom of fluoroquinolone toxicity is denied by medical professionals. I can’t tell you how much your acknowledgment is appreciated!

    There appears to be a connection between fluoroquinolones and type 2 diabetes – via intracellular magnesium depletion. Here is a post that I wrote on it. The source article is linked to – http://www.hormonesmatter.com/fluoroquinolone-antibiotics-diabetes-risk/ Perhaps the mechanisms for FQ induced PN are the same as the mechanisms for diabetes induced PN?

    Another possibility is that FQs induce neuropathy like other chemo drugs. Here is a post about how FQs should be viewed as chemo drugs – http://www.hormonesmatter.com/cipro-levaquin-avelox-fluoroquinolones-chemo-drugs/ – again, source articles are linked. Topoisomerase interrupting drugs should never be given frivolously. Unfortunately, they are.

    More info can be found on floxiehope.com. Thanks again for the excellent video!

  • gaylep

    I’ve been doing some research on nerve damage and came across this article. It seems that supplementing with a particular molecule, inosine, has been shown to aid in nerve regeneration.

    http://www.wellnessresources.com/studies/inosine_stimulates_the_repair_of_nerves/

  • Elizabeth Crawford

    Devastating for sure! My life was harmed, altered, diminished and disabled from FQ antibiotics. The daily pain from PN that never ceases is neglected by the same physicians who prescribed the drug that caused it!

  • rose casanova

    Thank you so much for sharing the dangers of Fluoroquinolone drugs. I was on these drugs until September 13, 2014 and experienced some of the side effects you talk about here. It’s been well over a month since I took my last dose of Cipro and I am just starting to feel somewhat normal. Not only did the drug cause nerve disfunction, a hundred other problems have come up since taking Cipro. It caused a severe spiral into a terrible depression (like I was going nuts), pain in every nerve in my body (mostly in my legs), insomnia, rapid weight loss, popping in the tendons in my knees, pelvic floor pain, general weakness (I could barely walk), auditory, olfactory and vision sensitivity that made me so ill I had to sit in a dark room for weeks, terrible insomnia, and anxiety that was through the roof. It’s been a living nightmare and every physician who prescribes these medications should be aware of their potential dangers. I have been to three specialists and have accumulated my share of medical bills due to the toxicity of Fluoroquinolones. I am currently in physical therapy because walking is so painful. I am optimistic that I will recover, but some people do not and end up with problems for years. If anyone reading this is experiencing side effects from this class of drugs you might want to check out floxiehope.com. I am not affiliated with the website I mention, but it does offer a lot of insight into the drugs’ effects which is very helpful since the medical community is completely uneducated about the side effects and dangers. Thanks again!

  • Ellen

    Closed captioning or a transcript of the video would be very helpful.

  • Laura Nevius

    Dr Perlmutter you are so right about these neurotoxins, most medicines in general are poisons..there are times when they are truly needed but most of the time over prescribed…especially in our society in the US of A. I appreciate you devoting your life to EDUCATING the patient..so they can make their decisions regarding their healthcare which they (the patient) are ultimately responsible for ….the medical society has slacked greatly in not teaching…educating our patients…TEACH,TEACH,TEACH….EDUCATE,EDUCATE,…thank you again…a nurse.

    • David Perlmutter

      Thank you Thank you Thank you !!

      • Today watched Neuropathy video. I agree, Fluoroquinolone’s for urinary etc. Changed my diet NO sugar or gluten. Dr. Perimutter, bless you & thank you for your courage to stand up! Neuropathy complicated. NOT one thing will heal it. I’m sure you know about the BODY CODE. I’m a trauma survivor.
        Our bodies store invisible trapped emotions that create imbalances in our bodies. I’m releasing emotions from the past.

    • Mimi Burnham

      Poison is NEVER needed. And, make no mistake, fluoroquinolones ARE poisons. I’ve read posts, ad nauseum, in which the poster states that fluoroquinolones should only be given in the most dire of circumstances, i.e., in order to save a life. I would ask this: How does giving a poison that, unquestionably, destroys life (and ALL life), translate to saving lives?

  • maria

    I developed some peripheral neuropathy which my doctor thought might be a pinched nerve. I wondered, however, whether I might be pre-diabetic. I tried to reduce my intake of fruit (I don’t eat grains or beans so my intake of carbs is already fairly low.) I also started taking chromium picolinate and almost all of the peripheral neuropathy has disappeared. Dr. Perlmutter, do you think chromium picolinate might be useful in lowering blood glucose?

  • Lola Campagnuolo

    Dear Dr. Perlmutter,

    I want to extend my deepest gratitude to you for speaking out and addressing this Toxicity that is occurring in Epidemic proportions to human beings all over the world. I consumed Cipro for a urinary tract infection 4 times over a 3 year period and my good health has been damaged severely. I am with a group of people that went to Washington D.C. in May 7-9th 2014 and met with the Senate Health Committee to plead with them to help us. To help us research, Heal and stop this reckless prescribing of these cytotoxic drugs. Please Help us Doctor.

    http://www.thestreet.com/story/12720126/1/grassroots-momentum-builds-for-warning-public-of-fluoroquinolone-antibiotic-toxicity-allegedly-damaging-the-dna-of-thousands-of-victims.html

    • David Perlmutter

      Hi Lola, I’m doing my best – hence this video

      • Mark A Girard

        Thank you for all your efforts!

      • L Livingston

        I too was floxed—head to toe nerve damage, respiratory and vision issues, extreme pain and ANXIETY. Is there any supplement that can help repair damaged gaba receptors? (and thanks for all you do.)

      • Michelle Arkansas

        Beatrice Golombe at UCSD has been doing a study on FQs for a while. Hope she releases the data soon.

    • Cindy Bruckner Baldwin

      I hope someone helps us!! I’m sick of doing my own research, and now they say it can cause Parkinsons, Alzhiemers and ALS!!! Is that what I have to look forward to next?

  • Brooke

    I am so grateful you are addressing this issue–something fluoroquinolone victims have known for years and have actively reported to the FDA, doctors, the pharmaceutical companies, and our elected officials. Two years ago, I was “poisoned” by the fluoroquinolone Levaquin. It not only left me with head to toe neuropathy, but also tendinopathy, central nervous system damage, chemical sensitivities, liver, pancreas, and intestinal issues; endocrine issues, and symptoms I couldn’t even begin to try and make up they are so crazy. I am a mom of three (my youngest is three years old). Levaquin has rendered me completely disabled. The worst part is that no one knows if I, along with other victims, will have these problems for the rest of our lives–and, worst, no researcher, doctor, or company is trying to figure it out. Many studies have been conducted to prove the damages fluoroquinolones cause but none are being conducted to figure out how to treat us. We are left to try and treat ourselves and each other. My own doctors look at me as if I have two heads. They insist the adverse reactions should have ended when the treatment ended. This isn’t so.

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  • S Straud

    Thank you so much for this information. My husband took cipro about 7 years ago and went from a normal healthy person to disabled and mostly house bound. The PN is devastating. He is in constant pain and a mental fog. His life has been devastated by this drug, and there is no hope of a cure. If it wasn’t for his strong faith I don’t know how he could carry on. As his wife of 30 years I hurt for him.

  • van staveren

    Thank you so much doctor Perlmutter for spreading the
    word about fluoroquinolones and peripheral neuropathy. Although well documented
    and already in a black box warning, I have great difficulty convincing my
    doctors of the devastating after effects of Levaquine. Whether it is about my NP
    or collagen weakness (tendons, joints) or even CNS effects, it feels like a
    fight to me to convince my doctors of this being caused by Levaquine. Please
    continue to teach your colleges and the world.

  • Kim Lemmon

    Thank you for posting this important information. I was diagnosed with erythromelalgia but it is levaquin toxicity. At first my neurologist wouldn’t even listen to me, so I started sending him articles. I think he’s coming around. He practices in a teaching hospital and the new, young doctors need to consider this source.Thanks again, Kim

    • David Perlmutter

      I do hope this is valuable to you Kim.

  • Ginny

    I take hydrochlorquinoline or Plaquenil for lupus for many years. I have been experiencing diagnosed neuralgia the last few years in my legs.Is this related to these antibiotics? Is it possibly caused by the drug?

  • Andrea Wust

    Hi. In July I started getting burning pain in soles/palms and numbness and hot/cold spots etc. I just realised in March I used ciproxin ear drops for a few days but stopped because my ear was hurting. Could this have caused the July symptoms?

  • pahogg

    I have peripheral neuropathy from too much Lipitor which I’m now off of… My cardiologist doesn’t think the 80mg of Lipitor he prescribed for me caused it but my research says it did. He sent me to a Neurologist who concluded it was nothing physical and that it was most likely the Lipitor which caused the neuropathy. Feet burn and are painful 24/7 so any input that would help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Teri CiproVictim

    I was given 10 1000mg cipro XL pills over 10 day last April in 2013 … My first adverse reactions started within a few hours and multiple seriouse adverse reactions continued for almost 2 years. I has left me partially paralyed on one side of my body, i suddenly developed arthritsis/oestoprosis in my fingers, hands, wrists and arms that stated with tingling, pins and needles, numbness, zapping, stiffness also in my lower spine… Now i get that same feeling in my left leg, thigh and buttock. I have DDD in my lower spine, now i am severley deficiant of vitamin D, i gained excessive weight suddenly, brain fog, 24/7 chronic pain, kidney damage, i am lucky to sleep 20 min total each night (i use to sleep 8 hrs a night my whole life) ….

    All this from 10 pills of which i actually took 9 all for a supspected UTI… That my doctor misdiagnoised me with, then she denied that these pills did this too me and refused to report my adverse reaction to Health Canada – and refused me from seeing specialists too – I had to do everything on my own and find a new doctor too!

    Before Cipo i was healthy active person my whole life. These dangerous antibiotics that Bayer and Johnson & Johnson know are damaging and killing alot of healthy people and of all ages – these drugs do not discriminate! This worse then Chemotheraputic drugs need to be pulled from the market … everywhere in the world. They are clearly doing more harm then good!

  • Janet

    I too suffered from taking Cipro for a bladder infection. It seemed overnight I went from being a healthy woman to being an invalid. I had so much pain in the groin area I couldn’t walk. Every step felt like my insides were being torn. My skin felt as if it was on fire. Neither I nor my doctor attributed it to the medication. Test after test couldn’t find a reason for my pain. It wasn’t until 2 years of suffering that I discovered it was Cipro that did this to me when my mother was given this drug for a bladder infection and collapsed on the floor unable to get up. What she described was the exact excruciating pain that I had been dealing with. This led me to research the drug and to my horror saw that it was the cause of all my pain. Unfortunately there is no cure for the damage done, however I found that one doctor was having success in giving his patients magnesium. While he only had anecdotal proof from his patients, I figured I had nothing to lose. Having taken magnesium supplements before I knew I couldn’t tolerate much of it due to the diarrhea but I researched and found Angstrom Magnesium which is a liquid that supposedly because of its molecular size is absorbed into the blood stream rather than through the digestive system eliminating the diarrheal affect. This allowed me to take enough to help me get my life back. Within 2 weeks I was able to walk without a limp. The pain was greatly diminished and within 3 months I almost was back to my prior self. It has been over 3 years since I started the magnesium and the difference is remarkable. Most of the days I don’t even think about the damage that was done however I still must take the magnesium in order to be pain free. If I overdo or lift heavy objects I can feel a tenderness in the effected area but the magnesium has helped keep me going. I have been warning friends and family for years about Floroquinolones hoping to save them from the same fate. While my doctor was hesitant to admit that this was the cause of my incapacitation, it was noted on my chart that I was not to be given this drug ever again. Because of my experience with this drug it has caused me to be very cautious with any medication leading me to control my health through nutrition which is turning out to be a great thing. Thanks Dr. Perlmutter for helping me lead a healthier life.

    • Pete

      Hi, I was just wondering if the angstrom magnesium had any chloride and whether taking chloride was safe.

      • Janet

        The Angstrom Magnesium is magnesium chloride. If you google magnesium chloride you will find info on its safety and efficacy. From what I have read it is quite safe and beneficial. I have been using it for at least 6 yrs with no ill effects either in how I feel or in yearly lab work measuring levels for health. In fact if I skip a few doses because I feel so well and forget to take it, I definitely notice. It seems that since I suffered from being “floxed”, my body just doesn’t absorb magnesium unless I am taking this type of magnesium. Not only does it keep my muscles from hurting, it has helped with my migraines as well.

  • mamain2010

    Do you have any information about Cipro and small breastfed children?

  • Michele

    Thank you for this post!

    Everyone — and I mean EVERYONE — needs to be fully aware of the dangers of ALL FQ (fluoroquinolone) antibiotics.

    They’re prescribed 20 million times a year in the U.S. alone — often for
    minor infections (sinus, UTI, etc.) — and sometimes for infections that don’t
    even exist but they’re given just as a precaution. They’re also commonly given before, during, or after surgery (sometimes via I.V.)

    And they should ONLY be given (if at all) as a last resort, when all other
    options have failed and if it’s a life and death situation.

    Contrary to popular belief, the side effects (which can be so severe that
    they’re disabling and life-ruining — no exaggeration) are NOT
    “rare.”

    They may *seem* rare because the truth is that most people who get FQ
    toxicity don’t make the connection to the antibiotic (who would think such
    horrific damage could be caused by an antibiotic? Unless you REALLY do your research, you won’t know — and most Dr.s don’t know either so it’s often up to the patient to put the pieces of the puzzle together — and if they don’t,
    which most don’t — then they won’t ever know the FQ caused the damage.

  • Michele

    It’s also important to know that FQs can cause nerve damage in the CNS system too, leading to neurodegenerative diseases, like: MS, ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s…

    The ANS can be damaged as well (autonomic nervous system), which controls things like: heart rate, digestion, breathing, regulating body temp., etc.

    Many other serious conditions have been tied to FQs as well. Far too many to list, but a few are: fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Gulf War Syndrome, adrenal/endocrine problems, autoimmune diseases, I could go on for days…

    This may seem too much to believe, but it isn’t if you understand how powerful these drugs are are the mechanism by which they work. They damage mitochondria in the DNA and mitos are the fuel centers of ALL cells in the body so when they break down, all sorts of other problems can arise — from head to toe.

    It’s not uncommon for “floxies” (people with FQ Toxicity Syndrome) to have **multi-systemic** damage.

  • FloxieHope

    This video is wonderful! There may be additional connections between fluoroquinolones and diabetes. This article is very interesting – http://www.medical-hypotheses.com/article/S0306-9877(14)00217-5/fulltext It notes that type 2 diabetes rates have gone up, and down, hand in hand with fluoroquinolone prescription rates. The correlation is statistically significant, and it is most noteworthy that diabetes rates went down when fluoroquinolone prescription rates went down. The author’s hypothesis is that diabetes is induced by fluoroquinolone depletion of magnesium. Fluoroquinolones have been shown to deplete magnesium, damage mitochondria, mess up GABA-A receptors, and more. They’re topoisomerase interrupters and are very dangerous drugs. Of course, they’re also a nuclear bomb to the gut.

    I appreciate you bringing attention to the dangers of these drugs! The tolerance thresholds and delayed adverse reactions make connecting the drugs to the damage done difficult. You are helping greatly with wonderful videos like this. Thank you!!

  • Linda Parks

    Thank you Dr for this video and article on neuropathy and fluoroquinolones. I have been dealing with muscle and joint pain,insomnia and fatigue, gastroparaisis, IBS since taking levofloxacin Nov 14,214,2012. It is a debilitating reaction to a antibiotic I had no idea carried these adverse reactions. A simple suspected UTI. I feel we are left to ourselves to deal with the outcome as most Drs have no idea what to do let alone acknowledge i (we) are reacting to fluroquinlones. Thanks again.

  • Nicole

    Benzodiazepines and psych meds (SSRIs) do it as well, especially on attempts at withdrawal and over-rapid withdrawal (they MUST be slowly tapered). I have it right now, as I’m typing, the nerves in my feet and legs are screaming in agonizing pain from discontinuing benzos. I also have associated numbness. Psych med victims have a horrible time finding a physician who will validate that these meds are capable of such damage and are often left hopeless and alone to suffer without medical support or validation.

  • annTann

    Thank you for your information and support. Cipro has ruined my life

  • Joyce Rodriguez

    TOO LITTLE, TO LATE…..YOU WOULD THINK ……50,000+ ….SUFFERING WOULD BRING ABOUT A REVOLUTION BY POUNDING ON EVERY DOOR, SCREAMING IN EVERY EAR . THE NEWS NETWORKS HAVE GIVEN SOME PRESS, NOT AS AN URGENT MATTER..LIKE ALMOST A HO=HUM!!! PLEASE SAVE OUR YOUNG ADULTS FROM THIS MADNESS…

    GRAND DAUGHTER, 27, 7MONTHS SUFFERING WITH THE MOST EXTREME PAIN, FATIGUE, BRAIN FOG…AND NOW SUFFERING WITH THOUGHTS OF ENDING HER SUFFERING. WE HAVE SPENT MOST ALL SAVINGS. WE CRY AND CRY, PRAY AND PRAY. ALL WE CAN DO IS MAKE HER COMFORTABLE, AND KEEP SEARCHING FOR AN ANSWER. SHE TOOK GENERIC CIPRO AND DOES NOT QUALIFY FOR FINANCIAL HELP FROM BIG PHARMA… SHE IS HOME BOUND WITH PARENTS AND FEEL SO BAD FOR THEIR SUFFERING….PLEASE HELP US….

  • Joanne

    Outstanding article! I am one of the thousands of people who has been permanently damaged by fluoroquinolones. None of us who have suffered for years, each minute of the day, with the side effects of these drugs can stand the thought of one more person being maimed in this way. The cost in human capital, in human productivity, in human life has been far to high. I applaud you for doing all you have done and continue to do to warn doctors and the public about the dangers of this class of antibiotics. Thank you!

  • Melinda Rambo

    Thank you for addressing PNS and Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome with the general public. We as patients and doctors need this awareness desperately. Tens of thousands have suffered from adverse reactions of Levaquin, Cipro, and Avelox. I took 4 tablets of this over 16 months ago and was disabled from CNS, PNS, MCS and tendonitis. There is no treatment and no hope these adverse reactions won’t be permanent. I would have much rather had the sinus infection than disabilities that have no cure.

  • Michael Kaferly

    I cannot possibly express my gratitude for this in words. Since I 2010 you have been an island in a sea of torture and I am forever grateful to have had you as my Neurologist. I was a good man on his way to becoming a great father – my son was 15 months old when my life was stolen from me.

    In Sept 2008 I was prescribed Levaquin over the phone for a cough and have so far barely survived. I spent the first 18 months largely bedridden and unable to sensibly communicate my thoughts or needs. To weak to get up to even use the bathroom, my body was too heavy. Simply put, Levaquin hijacked my life. It has caused Autonomic and Central Nervous System damage, but more horrific is it has damaged my Mitochondria causing severe and progressive systemic weakness. Nearly 7 years later I am 130lbs (from 180) and am still largely too weak to leave the house often. My symptoms/issues are system wide, most notably my ANS/CNS, brain, eyes, heart and musculoskeletal system.

    Your reminder of the oath to “Above all, do no harm” is indeed the appropriate message. Doctors are unaware of the damage these drugs routinely cause and moreover, that the level of damage is metabolic in nature. Last May I was in DC with a group of fellow victims to spread awareness on Capitol Hill, speaking with many of our elected officials and in March I was on CBS News telling my story. God Bless you Dr. Perlmutter for having the courage to stand up against the systematic poisoning and devastation this class of Antibiotics causes.

    And above all, thank you for all the years of support. You have had an enormous impact on my life. Your dedication to truth, your patients and fellow humans is unparalleled.

    Your friend,
    Michael

  • Cindy Bruckner Baldwin

    Thank you for educating more doctors, most of the doctors I’ve been to know nothing about this. This should be sent to all hospitals and doctors offices!!

  • Mark A Girard

    If you are pretty sure that you or a loved one has been harmed by Levaquin, Cipro, Avelox, Floxin, Factive, Tequin or one of the ear-drops or eye-drops you may want to join FTG, the biggest and busiest of many groups working together to support the “floxed” community. Copy Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Group into your googler thingy or facebook search and we will do all we can to help you. Best wishes everyone!

  • Mark A Girard

    Thank you Dr. Perlmutter for all your efforts on our behalf and for your willingness to get out there and tell the truth about the many wrongs in healthcare these days!

    My name is Mark Girard and I live in Ottawa, Ontario, although my nightmare began in the Colorado Rockies where I was given Levaquin for a hospital acquired infection in my ankle. My life has two parts; the part before I took Levaquin when I worked hard and played harder and the part after Levaquin where I live with my sister because I can no longer take care of myself. I knew right away that something was horribly wrong but no one in the medical community took me seriously then and six years later no one has yet
    despite the fact that I’ve had almost every “symptom” in the product
    literature. I felt horrible right away and got worse each day until around the
    tenth day when I lost control of my bladder and by 17 days out I had blood
    clots in my arm and chest. I also had muscle and joint pain, degenerative
    discs, headaches, shaking, photo-sensitivity, floaters, double vision,
    tinnitus, vertigo, nausea, horrible diarrhea, gas, cramps in my stomach,
    multiple chemical sensitivity, back pain, brain fog, insomnia,
    depersonalization, anxiety, painful tingling all over my body, pulmonary edema, erratic blood pressure, broken blood vessels, mystery bruises, rashes, bloated veins that needed to be cut from my leg, spontaneous tendon ruptures, mysterious cartilage lesions which required a transplant from a dead child and many other horrible things including cognitive problems that torment me to this day. I’m writing this at 4:00 AM because I can’t sleep. I have had half a dozen operations and expect to have more as my body continues to self-destruct. The last six years have been a miserable trip to hell and maybe halfway back; I still need a cane to get around and I have to take about a dozen different toxic addictive medications every day in order to barely function including morphine, anti-seizure medication, anti-depressants, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, stool softeners, steroid puffers, a pill to keep me from pissing myself and on and on and on. I still think about suicide every day but that’s better than it was; for five years I thought about suicide constantly and begged the Lord to take me. The thing is, we all have pretty much the exact same story, varying in intensity and subtle details but all in all, the same, and one of the most common things we tend to experience is incredible incompetence by the physicians we rely on for tests and documentation of our problems. The reason people haven’t heard of this a hundred times already is that most doctors really suck. They are totally clueless and oblivious to the trail of carnage behind themselves. We know damn well what happened to us and it’s time for justice. It’s time for acknowledgement that this is happening to people much more often than they let on! We deserve an insurance code number and a treatment protocol! Once again, thank you for you efforts to help us Dr. Perlmutter! Mark Girard

    • Julio Lawrence

      hey Mark…how are you doing today?

  • Floxie

    Thank you for raising awareness about Fluoroquinolone Toxicity and the resulting PN that some victims end up getting as a result.

  • Cc Wawa

    Dr. Perlmutter, If you were suffering from severe neurological damage related to quinolones, macrodantin, statins, how would you treat yourself. I have been to 6 different states, and am living like a zombie. Have tried functional medicine, wahl’s protocol, western medicine. Would it be worth seeing you or any other physician that may be able to help me live again? Thanks for the video. Too late for me. Totally disabled after 36 year career as an RN.

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  • karen b

    Please help me. If I had only known about this antibiotic 1 month ago I NEVER WOULD HAVE TAKEN IT ! I have muscle weakness in my arms. All my joints hurt. I am a caretaker for my Mom and hubby. They depend on me. I go to 2 exercise classes each morning for years now. But I hurt all over now. I was prescribed by my VA Dr., Levofloxacin 500 mg. for 10 days. I was sick and the Z PACK didn’t work so he gave me that. I wanted to get better QUICK to get back to my schedule. PLEASE ANYBODY HELP ME! Should I buy a ton of resveratrol or omega 3 or Angstrom Magnesium…..? I’m crying writing this because I never should have taken that !!!!
    I ache and I am weak !!!
    Help, I’ll try anything. 🙁

    • Julio Lawrence

      hello Karen…how are you doing now?

  • Wyatt

    Doctor Perlmutter,
    Thank you for this information! It has given me renewed hope in medicine that there are some health professionals who refuse to turn a blind eye to real issues in patient medical care.
    I had a cholecystis in 2013 that hospitalized me for a week with no food. I was put on levaquin when I was admitted to the hospital and shortly after infusion I had an episode of tachypnea, shivering and rigors without wheeze or rash that lasted for about a half hour. I forget the emergency code but immediately 8 or 9 medical staff were hovering about to evaluate me and what to do. The antibiotics were changed and they preheated warm blankets that eventually allowed me to stop the event. Could an episode like this begin the process of PN that one year later reveals the symptoms I have now which have gone from my feet to my upper thigh? Numbness in the toe area, hypersensitivity, and lack of sensitivity, loss of balance?

  • pam macdonald

    About 10% of Celiac sufferers have PN. It is the single largest neurological problem among us. Please check for this genetic condition if you have PN. It may be a hidden underlying condition.

  • Floxie

    FDA hearing on FQs on 11/5/15

    • Start of Meeting to Morning Break: https://collaboration.fda.gov/p28guhbz4py/

    • Morning Break to Lunch Break: https://collaboration.fda.gov/p4r7n9ab271/

    • Lunch Break to Afternoon Break: https://collaboration.fda.gov/p7q9g54ygww/

    • Afternoon Break to End of Meeting: https://collaboration.fda.gov/p644nkzdcva/

  • I’m going to lobby a few politicians in DC, as well as form a clinical trial for a cure to on and fc related side effects.. I consider the non-Information to possible prescribes s crime against humanity and any doctor found to have done so to be filed legal suit to strip licensure… Let me know if u care to bother advocating

  • Joseph Fanning

    I read in your post that peripheral neuropathy was doubled in those people who had been placed on fluroquinolone antibiotics. They are used to treat upper respiratory tract infections and urinary tract infections according to your post. Two drugs in the class you said are ciprofloxin and levofloxin. Thank you for posting.

  • Greg

    Thank you for calling attention to this. I took Cipro 6 years ago and developed peripheral neuropathy (confirmed by nerve conduction tests) because of it. I’m lucky in that it has mostly subsided over the past few years. However, I also developed severe tendon issues that are still largely with me. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics need to be reserved only for severe infections, not handed out like candy as they too often are.

  • Jodi S.

    Dear Dr. Perlmutter,
    I was misdiagnosed 20 years ago with bipolar disorder when I complained of pain in my shoulder. I actually had a torn rotator cuff. They said the pain was all in my head. They put me on several medications, one of which was Prozac. I was on it for 19 years. My neurologist recently did a biopsy and sent it to the Mayo Clinic. I now have small fiber neuropathy. I’m reading that there is a link between the two. Have you seen or heard evidence supporting this?

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  • Margaret

    Dr. Perlmutter, earlier on this page you recommend something called “NAC” for peripheral neuropathy. Can anyone tell me what this is?
    Thanks,

    • Rick DiMaria

      The amino acid N-acetyl-cysteine, often taken with cofactors selenium & molybdenum, to help produce the master antioxidant/detoxifier glutathione in the body.

  • Chana Vogel

    Hello, Dr. Perlmutter. I am a Registered Nurse. I was healthy and vibrant prior to taking Levaquin. Now, I cannot stand more than about three minutes. My feet burn intensely. My days of walking for fun and exercise are over for now. I am no longer able to work as a nurse. Some primary doctors still deny a connection although specialists know right away. Sigh.

  • Russ

    I just had prostate surgery 1/25/2017 for enlarged prostate. I had previous UTI and have it again after the surgery… From 11/27/2016 until 1/30/2017 I was on Cipro. On 1/30 I experienced severe edema in my left foot and some in my right. I was put on another antibiotic and 2 days later the edema had receded. But since that time I have experienced numbness and tingling in both of my feet and it seems to be getting worse. I have diabetes but have never had such trouble with my feet.

  • Rose

    I appreciate this video. I took Avelox in 2007, which caused permanent Achilles tendinitis and put me in a wheelchair for a time. Ten years later, I have developed peripheral neuropathy without any of the normal risk factors (diabetes, etc.), and have been wondering if it is tied to quinolone toxicity. My tendons have never fully healed. Does it ever go away?

  • Deanne Overvold

    I took Ciprodex for an ear drum infection with rupture. My ankles became very weak and I could not walk in the sand without pain and the feeling that I was going to fall over. I had to be carried from the sand. A few days later, while standing still on the sidewalk, I felt a pulling and a feeling like the stretching and release of a rubber band. Both my tibula and fibula fractured while I was standing and I fell to the ground dislocating my foot as well. My dermatologist believes the injuries occurred due to the Ciprodex. Since that time (19 months) I have had 2 surgeries and constant pain, numbness and tingling. What do you think?

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  • Lyvie01

    Hi, I know this is an old video, but I’ve just been prescribed ciprofloxacin for an ear infection that didn’t respond to Amoxicillin. I already have peripheral neuropathy (unknown cause, possibly MS). How would I know if I’m experiencing side effects or just my normal symptoms. I also already regularly experience dizziness and a few other things listed as possible side effects.

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  • senior1946

    I have peripheral neuropathy and just lately the neuropathy has gotten much, much worse in my legs and I also got cellulitis. I have been given Cephalexin for my cellulitis. It seems to be taking a while for the Cephalexin to grab hold and have a lasting effect on my cellulitis, although it has been slowly improving. The strange thing is that rather than making my neuropathy worse, now that it is beginning to really work after a week on Cephalexin, my neuropathy which had gotten just horrible, has suddenly receded a lot. The neuropathy in my arms is mild for the most part just stays about the same and all of a sudden the neuropathy in my right leg which, although not mild is quite a bit less severe than my left leg is suddenly very mild. This happened suddenly about 24 hours ago and my left leg, which had become so bad that it was scary is suddenly back to where it was a few years ago. Because the cellulitis is still not cleared up, my physician gave me a 7 day refill for my 10 day prescription, which still has a few days to go and I am wondering if I won’t see even more improvement. I am thinking that I should be tested for bacterial infections, which may have either caused or increased my neuropathy. I am 71 years old and the Cephalexin is having no side effects on me of any kind, except that I notice that other things are also clearing up. This antibiotic may not agree with some people, but it sure seems to be working for me.

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