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Teresa Allen
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Flouroquinolone Antibiotics (Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Floxin and many others) and their dangers

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Before taking an antibiotic in the Flouroquinolone (Quinolones) family (Cipro, Levaquin, Floxin, Avelox, Tequin, Noroxin, Maxaquin, Trovan, Raxar, Zagam, Ciloxin, Quixin, Ocuflox, Penetrex, Chibroxin, Cinoxin, Vigamox, and Factive, just to name a few), please do your research. This family of antibiotics carries some very dangerous side effects. Even the FDA has put out ‘black box’ warnings on these drugs.

Before today, I didn’t even know about this particular family of antibiotics. But what I have learned after being prescribed Avelox, along with Ibuprofen has opened my eyes and reinforced what we should all do…educate yourself before you vaccinate or take any prescription medications.

I have been suffering with a sinus infection for about a month.

I went to the doctor when this started and they put me on the Z pack. I took it for the required number of days (I’ve taken this before in the past). After finishing up the Z pack, I started having pain in my mouth and tongue. My tongue was actually cracking and bleeding. So I went back to the doctor.

I was diagnosed with thrush. The doctor put me on a mouthwash of Nystatin. I still had the sinus infection but he couldn’t treat both at the same time. He advised me to use the mouthwash and once the thrush was gone to come back and see him.

Well, this past Thursday, I started feeling just rotten. By the next morning, I was feeling so bad I got up and went back to the doctor. He said I was still suffering from the sinus infection but also had an ear infection and throat infection. He put me on 2000mg per day of Amoxicillin. I started taking it on Friday of last week. I have been taking 4 capsules (500 mg each) for the last 6 days. After 6 days I was not improving so I went BACK to the doctor today (Wednesday). This is where it gets good (or bad).

She gave me a prescription for an antibiotic called Avelox. I asked her about side effects because I’ve never heard of this antibiotic before. She said the ‘normal’ things you would expect to hear. She also gave me something called Fluconazole for the yeast infection. This is a 1 time pill by mouth. She also gave me a prescription for 600mg Ibuprofen for the pain.

I had the prescriptions filled and returned home to research. What I found shows how doctors fail to read the package inserts on the medications they prescribe.

Avelox is used for pneumonia in hospitals. It is supposed to be the LAST resort and only when the patients life is in danger. Obviously my life is NOT in danger! I’m just suffering from a bad sinus infection.

Go to these sites and see what I’ve found on this antibiotic:

http://fqvictims.org/fqvictims/index.htm

This is what I found on the Antibiotics.org site:

The Food and Drug Administration imposed the government’s most urgent safety warning on Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox and many other flouroquinolone antibiotics. The FDA orders a prominent "black box" warning and the development of new literature for patients emphasizing the risks. The most prominent risk is tendon rupture causing long term disability, possibly permanent.

This is an important first step to ensuring these antibiotics are only used when the patient faces a potential fatal outcome, and only after the use of all other antibiotics have been ruled out. This is not due to the probability of risk, but rather severity.

To those who have been affected, prognosis is normally not good. There is no cure. Often repeat exposure through food and water cause a continual never ending cycle of symptoms. Many victims face the fact that their lives have been completely destroyed. Many face loss of job and income, some face breakup of the family. Some have even committed suicide because of the pain inflicted by these drugs.

Unfortunately, physicians currently give these prescriptions out like candy. To emphasize the ignorance of physicians, Cipro is often prescribed post-op for tendon repair surgery. The physician will often prescribe a drug known to cause tendon rupture as a preventive to infection after tendon repair surgery. There is an obvious neglect on the part of the physicians who simply do not known the potential dangers of the drugs they prescribe. So where is the breakdown of information? Unfortunately many physicians mistakenly rely on pharmaceutical drug reps to point out any potential side effects rather than investigating it themselves. Further implicating the physicians, they accept gifts from drug companies and in return will prescribe unnecessary and dangerous substances. Drug Reps, paid on commission, find themselves making more sales by not disclosing the dangers, or make light of potential side effects. Making the problem worse, the drug manufactures trivialize and distort the potential risks.

A pending U.S. Senate bill would require drug companies to report gifts to doctors of more than $25. New York State’s legislature plans to hold hearings this year on the relationship between doctors and drug companies. One congressional critic has even compared the drug industry with the tobacco industry, and Senator John McCain has called drugmakers the "bad guys."

Antibiotics known as flouroquinolones have been associated with some or all of the following adverse drug reactions:

  • Tendonitis, Tendon Rupture, Tendon, Ligament, Joint and Muscle Damage
  • Vision Damage, Hearing Loss, Taste Perversion
  • Peripheral Neuropathy (Tingling, burning sensation)
  • Insomnia, Nightmares, Anxiety Attacks, Depersonalization, Cognitive Disorders
  • Brain, Heart, Liver, Kidney, Pancreas, Blood and Endocrine Disorders
  • Severe Psychotic Reactions, Suicidal Thoughts or Actions
  • Gastrointestinal Damage

Compounding the problem, there are numerous drugs which should not be taken in combination with this class of antibiotics. There are increased risks of injury when they are taken in combination with corticosteroids (e.g.: Prednisone, Flovent, Nasarel, Azmacort, Advair Disku, Methylprednisolone Dospak, Elocon Cream, Desoximetasone Cream, and Sterapred) and when taken in combinations with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (e.g.: Motrin, Pamprin, Aleve, Advil, and Ibuprofen, among others). Physicians are frequently not aware of these contraindications and prescribe dangerous combinations of drugs which cause severe injuries to their patients. Physicians may also not be able to identify that their patient is suffering an adverse reaction and instruct them to continue to take more of the antibiotic resulting in very serious and perhaps preventable injuries.

Commonly prescribed antibiotics in the Fluoroquinolone class can cause: peripheral neuropathy-eye and sinus problems-muscle pains-tendonitis-gastro-intestinal problems, and more. Some of the antibiotics responable are: Cipro,Levaquin,Avelox,Floxin. There are 13 total in this class of antibiotics that have side effects that can cause the above mentioned problems. The side effects are listed in the PDR, but most Drs. are unaware of this problem. A new warning was included in 2004 of the potential for severe and permanent PN with the use of Quinolones. There are several forums filled with people that have had thier lives ruined by these antibiotics. The damage can show up weeks to months after you are done taking the Quinolones. They can also cause severe insomnia and anxiety that goes away after a few weeks. This could be the cause of alot of the so called "idiopathic" PNs out there. Just google in – Quinolones and adverse drug reactions.

There is a petition to Congress concerning Quinolones:

A petition To the United States Congress

I , _________________________________________am signing this petition to request the United States Congress to immediately take action to protect consumers from the reckless and negligent abuses of the FDA and the following Pharmaceutical Companies: Bayer, Ortho-McNeill, Pfizer, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sanofi Winthrop, Bertek Pharmaceuticals – Rhone-Poulenc Rorer and Barr. These companies manufacture and distribute fluoroquinolone antibiotics in the United States in a manner that fails to warn of serious adverse event risks, and downplays and fails to warn physicians of the serious risks associated with fluoroquinolone therapy. As a result, physicians and patients cannot adequately assess the Risk/Benefit ratio of medical therapy using these drugs, leaving patients permanently crippled, paralyzed, in chronic pain with a host of other long-term/permanent, multi-systemic adverse drug reactions. The fluoroquinolone antibiotics manufactured and distributed are: Cipro, Levaquin, Floxin, Avelox, Tequin, Noroxin, Maxaquin, Trovan, Raxar, Zagam, Ciloxin, Quixin, Ocuflox, Penetrex, Chibroxin, Cinoxin, Vigamox, and Factive, to name a few.

Fluoroquinolone adverse events which were known by the drug companies and the FDA, have been occurring for over twenty years. These adverse events were not made known to physicians, pharmacists and patients. In essence, the drug companies marketed their drugs in a reckless manner, recommending these powerful “last-line of defense” antibiotics be prescribed as a “first-line of defense” drug in order to capitalize on expanding markets and maximize profits. These companies pushed and pressured physicians to prescribe these drugs for “off-label” uses and failed to disclose and make known to doctors the serious adverse reactions that are causing long-term and sometimes permanent crippling damage. Physicians have been left with the illusion that fluoroquinolone antibiotics are safer and superior to other competitive drugs on the market although they are not.

The adverse drug reactions listed below are some of the long lasting and/or permanent reactions caused by these antibiotics: cardiovascular damage; peripheral and central nervous system damage; tendon and muscle damage including tenosynovitis, tendonitis, atrophy, joint and bone damage; vision problems; hearing loss; liver damage; kidney damage; cancer; brain toxicity and death, just to name a few.

Two decades after introducing these drugs, the FDA finally mandated the drug companies to make warning label changes to their package inserts providing almost anecdotal warnings of some of these reactions. Unfortunately those warnings do not adequately describe the serious potential long term effects of the medications. Physicians, pharmacists and patients remain unaware of the potentially lethal effects of these drugs.

Because the drug companies failed to warn of these serious adverse reactions when they first learned of them years and years ago, as required by law, these companies have evaded litigation by dodging under the statute of limitations. With these actions, the companies have committed fraud, depraved indifference, false advertising, and a number of other violations of the law. This behavior must be addressed and justice served.

In August, 1996, Public Citizen petitioned the FDA to:1) Immediately require a warning in bold type in the official product labeling (package insert) for all fluoroquinolone antibiotics sold in the U.S.; 2) Immediately require that a MedGuide (patient package insert) be distributed with all new and refill fluoroquinolone prescriptions warning the public of possible tendon damage and informing the public to stop using the drug and contact their physicians if tendon pain develops; 3) Immediately inform all U.S. physicians through a "Dear Doctor Letter" by registered mail about the risk of tendon rupture with fluoroquinolone antibiotics; 4) Immediately inform all other U.S. health professionals through the F.D.A. Medical Bulletin about the new warning.

The FDA and drug companies DID NOT FOLLOW THROUGH to warn anyone and in the meantime, thousands more people have had their lives destroyed by these antibiotics.

The FDA and pharmaceutical companies should be held liable for the disabilities, loss of income and medical bills attributed to the dangerous adverse drug reactions of this class of antibiotic drugs. The FDA and pharmaceutical companies have long been aware of these issues and continually do nothing about it. By law, if the pharmaceutical companies know their products have a safety issue, they are required to notify the medical community and general public through amended product labeling, Dear Doctor Letters and advertisements in clinical and research health journals, publications and other media sources.

I respectfully request that that the United States Congress immediately and fully investigate the misconduct of the pharmaceutical companies and the FDA and implement a procedure for the victims of this misconduct to be compensated for the damages they have suffered—notwithstanding existing statutes of limitations.

I’m going back to the doctors office to show her what I found on this antibiotic. She gave me a prescription for 600mg of Ibuprofen along with the Avelox. Avelox should not be taken with Ibuprofen.

I can thank Merck for one thing…I’ve learned to RESEARCH before taking anything.