Tom’s Story – Cipro Toxicity

Tom FQwall


This is my Cipro story, I am 14 months out. I’m writing some personal history, Cipro effects, and recovery..
History: I’m a 34 year old male, previously very healthy. I played football in high school, and was relatively active in my 30’s (weight training, skiing, etc). My only known allergy was penicillin. I probably took a prescription antibiotic once every couple years, (I don’t have a good medical history of prescriptions recorded, but the last antibiotic I’m sure I took was a one week course of Avelox in 2007, with no known side effects). I’m married, and have a three year old son (2 at the time I took Cipro). I have worked in the aviation field for the last 15 years, and have had no major medical problems. I consider myself independent in most of my philosophies, and probably “old school” when it comes to matters of health. One thing I find very ironic, is the amount of “illegal drugs” I consumed in my youth with no permanent side effects, and now I’m faced with life altering side effects from a prescription antibiotic. I have found my life has permanently changed from taking Cipro, some for the worst, and some for the better. You see, in the past I was running through life on autopilot, I had no patience for anything, work, money, and insignificant problems consumed my life, and in basic terms you could have called me an a$$h*le.

Cipro effects: In August of 2010, I visited a “family doctor” for a lower abdominal pain. I was concerned as it had lasted a couple weeks, and my profession involves exposure to high intensity radiation such as aircraft weather radar systems. The physician immediately prescribed two weeks of Cipro (500 mg per day, X2) for two weeks, suspecting a UTI. He also scheduled tests to confirm testicular cancer. I started the Cipro on 8/31/10. By the 3rd day I started experiencing side effects from the Cipro, severe anxiety, paranoia, brain fog, loss of appetite, fluctuating body temperature, and a general feeling my body was being poisoned. I was unable to contact my physician (as it was a holiday weekend), and because of my lack of judgment, and ability to reason, continued to take the prescription for another four days. I stopped seven days into the two week prescription, met with another doctor who confirmed I did not have testicular cancer, and told this doctor of my new symptoms. He said my original abdominal pains (which were now gone), were probably caused by a “tweaked back” and was “glad I had stopped taking the Cipro on my own, because it was poison”. I contacted my original physician back about the side effects, and he basically blew them off, and as you all have heard, said “Cipro could not cause them”. After 8 days (one day being off Cipro), all of my joints were extremely inflamed, cracking/popping, I had severe shooting/stabbing/pinching pains throughout my legs and arms, my ribs felt like they were being ripped apart by hot fish hooks, severe brain fog, anxiety, numb hands/feet, severe muscle aches, “electric shock” feeling in my legs, burning hands, stiffness, tendon pain, tinnitus, and was not able to walk without help. I missed the rest of the week of work, and when I went back, wasn’t much better. I would say my initial symptoms had me at about a “2”. (On a scale I use, 1 is your at the emergency room, 5 is severe symptoms effecting every part of your life, and 10 normal health). The first couple weeks were a complete blur. I am fortunate to have a lot of say in my daily work schedule, which afforded me the ability to keep my job. My severe symptoms lasted four months, and were a complete hell that only the people reading this can understand. I found myself unable to do common household chores, or pick up my 2 year old son. The mental effects of knowing your body is destroyed may be harder than the physical effects themselves. I am a very intense, and “hard nosed” person, and these side effects were destroying my life, my marriage, and my mind. I am not an “internet person”, (the only reason I have a facebook page is because of this), but thank god (and I’m not a religious person, but very spiritual) there is now information out there about these side effects. I spent countless hours researching everything that was ever written or put online about this. At first it scared the hell out of me, and I thought I would never recover. I do suggest to the newly “floxed”, research a ton, get all the info you can, make a plan, then turn your computer off. Four months in I actually talked to my wife about our future. One of my thoughts was to do something so drastic, that it would force the press to cover my story, and at the very least bring attention to this, as I seriously thought my life was over, (and I if I couldn’t raise my son, what is the point). Thankfully, I have the greatest wife that has ever lived, and she convinced me to keep fighting. If anyone gets to this point, and doesn’t have family to turn to, please call someone, anyone, me @ 303-956-7520. There is always something left, and something you can do, even if you are one of the people that has the most drastic side effects. I then reported my side effects to the FDA (Medwatch) which I recommend everyone do. I got a medical I.D. dogtag (stating severe “allergy” to fluoroquinolones). I’ve read the “Flox Report” too many times (which has very good info, but remember, all cases are different). I bought the Levaquin Tendonitis Solution book, and every other thing most of you have probably done. I did start taking Magnesium, and protein, one month in also. One of the best things I remember reading in my first three months of research was someone posted online, “If you can’t walk, roll out of bed, and crawl”. After talking to my wife at the end of month 4, I started a rehab workout. When I first started, I would do a few minutes on the treadmill, and my knees were so hot you could fry an egg on them, all of my muscles and joints hurt. I actually started working out with the bar with no weight, (which is a major blow to your mind). I worked out slowly, and carefully, with wrist supports, knee braces, shoe insoles, and anything else that would help my joints not come unglued. Within 8 weeks I noted a major improvement (60 or 70% recovery). In the middle, I did have a one week severe relapse of symptoms, but worked through it. Five months in I noticed my eyelids started uncontrollably twitching. They still do on and off to this day, not very noticeable, but very annoying. At 8 months I had a major 2 month relapse brought on by a cold?, which dropped me back down to about 50%. (I have had two colds in the last year, and both brought about a severe relapse of symptoms). Note* I have not been back to a tradition M.D. since the symptoms started, and have not even taken an aspirin, (just my philosophy now). I had seen a naturalist doctor about four months in, but they really weren’t much help, (they did confirm good liver and kidney function, and did a complete metabolic panel, which I do recommend doing at least once). After a year of hell, I now consider myself about 75% recovered on a good day (about 50% on a bad day or relapse). I have been fortunate to not have the complete laundry list of symptoms, but it is still a living hell. The brain fog and anxiety are a lot less, though my memory isn’t what it was. Most of the neuropathic pains are gone, and the muscle aches are a bit better. Still have the occasional numbness in my arms/hands. I still have the popping, cracking, sore, and weak joints, inflammation, twitching eyelids, and those occasional random pains. I still plan to try acupuncture, possibly ozone therapy, and plan to find a good homeopath. I consider myself fortunate. I have made a “to do” list for the future. I am still working out, and plan on running the Bolder Boulder (10K) next spring. I am not fully recovered, but am a little better, and know someday, I’ll be better than before.

Some of the things that may have helped my recovery: tanning bed (if your not having skin issues), eat organic meat (not treated with antibiotics), only drink organic milk, juice, and natural spring water, drink Muscle Milk protein, drink plenty of Probiotics (Good Belly), stretch @ least once a day, work out (carefully), get a massage, meditate (positive thoughts)…. I never thought I would say that. Some of the supplements I have taken: (disclaimer, I’m not a physician, so I can’t recommend you take anything, also I have a soul). GABA, Cell Food, Magnesium, Vit D, Osteo Bioflex, Cherry (inflammation), Fish Oil, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Cinnamon, (helps w/ circulation), Theanine, Cayenne, Bilberry, Garlic, COQ10, Lutein, Cranberry, Ginko, Amino Acids, Protein (lots), milk thistle, Topical Magnesium, copper, Biosil, Wobenzym N, Tumeric & (valerian, melatonin, and St. Johns, for rest).

I would like to thank countless people that I don’t even know for your support. Even if you haven’t had much recovery yourself, know that you are saving lives, take solace in that. Thank you Nikki (Surviving Cipro), Jen, David, Lori, Bob, Dr. Cohen, Bill, John, and others, I don’t know you, but I thank you, my wife, son, and soon to be 2nd son thanks you.

Other than the supplements, workouts, and things I have mentioned above, the most important thing I can suggest is patience, recovery is very slow, and there will be “cycles”. Also, take this horrific experience, and better yourself, in any way you can. Believe me, if it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger. Take me… I’m not fully recovered yet, but I’m not such an a$$h*le anymore. Good luck, and God bless.

7 thoughts on “Tom’s Story – Cipro Toxicity

  1. Thanks for putting this down. I am at 11 months next week and the pain is still really really bad. I can’t sleep more than a few hours a night. I have been on my electric bike instead on my 7 pedal bikes, swimming and have worked up to 30 at low wattage on the bike. I need to look at what I can do, not what I can’t. With a garage filled with toys it’s not easy. My wife is amazing. Someday I want to ride my bikes, kite surf, ski, snowmobile, cross country ski, skateboard and do all the things I could do on Sept 12th but couldn’t after the 13th. I am so happy for you doing a 10k in the future. I am still looking forward to being able to walk on the beach and go up and down steps!

  2. I had a very similar reaction. Even within hours I knew something was wrong. Felt like I was going crazy and things crawling on me, couldnt sleep. By day three, I was in so much pain I could barely move. I felt like I was 100 years old and went off the meds. I looked up holistic way to treat divirticulitis and drank papaya juice and aloe juice. Within days I was just laying in bed in pain and suddenly my heart started racing, dizzy, nauseous, feeling like I was going to die or have a heart attack. Went to a neighbors and they called the ambulance. Ran every heart test. It was a panic attack. First one ever and it was horrible and scary. Have had several since. I have also had to work thru all the lain in my bosy, poor exhaustion, depression and panic attacks. Like you, I did alot of reaearch and started taking many supplements, especially magnesium and MSM, chiropractor, massage, acupuncture, lots of detoxes. Coming out of it, but atill not 100% and atill have those random, horrible panic attacks every so often. I wish we could sue them! Big pharma has too much control and harms too many people. Thanks for the recommendation on warning FDA, although they protect big pharma. And getting a dog tag for the allergy. Good luck on your journey to wellness!

  3. My doctor gave me cipro for a bad UTI she prescribed 250mg 1 every 12 hours for 10 days after the 6 day I had bad nightmares and my right arm & leg was weak I also had muscle pain in my legs it so bad I could not function well. I took them until the 9th day and could no longer deal with all the problems it was giving me. My hips and legs hurt so when I get out of bed even taking steps hurt me .I want to detox my body from this nasty drug so I decided to look in the internet and I came across this page.Today is not one of my good days. My hips hurt so bad I can barely sit up. Why do doctors give us this toxic drug..?

    • My symptoms mirror hours EXACTLY it’s amazing to see this poison still being prescribed after so many people have suffered over the years. I’m guessing by now your fully recovered and I’m looking forward to the same!

  4. Dear Tom, I read your story and have been working on one of my own. After reading yours I could pretty much just re-write yours. I am 2 years into this nightmare and am constantly researching. I have tissue damage so severe my muscles feel like there pulling away from the bone. I take a lot of the things you mentioned and have a great diet. I am going to turn to massage even though I am afraid to have anyone touch me at this point. I have read about stem cell and MLS laser and in fact just recently stumbled upon ozone and hydrogen peroxide therapy. None of this is covered by insurance and not even sure if you get any positive results. If you find anything else that makes a significant difference in your condition I would love to know about it. I appreciated your story. Thank you!

  5. I am thankful for your stories and hope you all get full recovery. I got floxed a few weeks ago and hopefully it is a minor case. I have painful tendons, buzzing in my lower arms and that’s about it so far. Hopefully. I have a sonogram appt. tomorrow to see how much damage has been done. I feel so fortunate to not have had the full on effect (I hope) and appreciate the reports of what could happen so that I am at least aware, and my family is aware, if I start acting paranoid, etc. I am glad I chose not to take Motrin because I would rather have the pain and know if I am overdoing it, than cause more damage to my tendons. I am about to turn 66 and this was my 5th or 6th round of Cipro over the years. At least it didn’t cure my UTI and I didn’t finish the course as I was prescribed something else instead after 6 days, instead of 10. There’s that anyway. Small favors. Thanks again.

  6. Was just given Cipro 2 months ago for a UTI.. 250mg x2 for 7 days. Cleared the UTI up quickly, but now I’m dealing with some of the same side effects you talked of. Awful joint pain, brain fog, anxiety, blurry vision, nightmares etc.. I had a terrible experience 5 yrs ago with prednisone… Improperly prescribed..too high a dose, no tappering, and went through a living hell for over a year. Since then my body reacts poorly to most prescription drugs, which my Dr just doesn’t want to except. I thank you for all your excellent advice, some of which I was already doing..but it’s reasuring to hear how well you have improved. Dr’s say they don’t like patients getting medical information off the internet, but in many cases they leave you no choice. Heal thyself! Hope you are still having a good recovery.

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