Sierra’s Story – Cipro Poisoning

Pic - Sierra -

This is my story of fluoroquinolone toxicity:

In July 2014, I was prescribed a ten day course Cipro for a urinary tract infection. I didn’t think much of it since I had taken this class of drugs in the past with no reaction. This time was different than before as I experienced a serious adverse reaction. I took Cipro for 7.5 days, and then discontinued taking the medication since my symptoms were becoming progressively worse.

The pain in my legs was so bad, I could barely walk. It was a pain that is hard to describe, but it felt like I was very stiff, and the pain was spreading. The stiffness in my legs turned to numbness, and my legs would tingle when touched. I felt like my legs were dying. I also had headaches, nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to light and pain in both Achilles. The doctors dismissed my issues and I was released and sent home with my parents. For the next 48 days I wasn’t sure if I was going to live. Within the first 24 hrs of leaving the hospital the numbness and tingling I felt begin to spread up to my legs to my hips, and then to my back and eventually spreading over my entire body. I experienced excruciating body-wide tendonitis and nerve pain – in my toes, feet, ankles, shooting up calves, lower back, ears, wrists, elbows, and hands. Everything felt like it was ripping and pulling. My entire body was swollen and stiff; my toes were so swollen that they curved downwards and would not return to a resting position. I was in severe pain, more pain than I could imagine was possible. Just to sit up in bed was difficult and agonizing. I was so weak I couldn’t lift a normal cup without feeling a strain on my wrist. On top of the pain I was dizzy, nauseated, light headed, feverish, and could feel every beat of my racing heart. I had burning sensations that felt as if a baseball on fire had landed on my legs, random twitching, extreme sensitivity to light (my family had to black out my windows), new floaters in my eyes, my ears were constantly ringing, my body would crack whenever I moved, and other symptoms. I lay in bed and cried as my body was unbearable to live in. I wasn’t even sure that I could make it. The only minimal relief I would get was when my family would lightly rub my body where I was hurting or just hold the area. My whole body was wrapped in ace bandages.

During these initial few months, my family and I did everything possible to detox my body. I went on an all organic diet and only ate food that decreased inflammation. I would also do contrast bathing, which was recommended by a podiatrist, to increase the blood flow in my tendons and ligaments.

In September 2014, two months after my ordeal began; the pain finally began to decrease. However, I would still experience random pains daily, including constant Achilles stiffness, and intractable exhaustion that made life difficult. The pain decreased enough that I thought I was going to be ok. I could live with the pain I was in.

For a few weeks I was actually able to see my friends, go to the store, and get a job. I was in the middle of a career transition when I got sick, and I had just received my Real Estate License. After starting my new job I had a relapse and went backwards. The pain increased and the fatigue became debilitating.

What I experienced is not normal fatigue. My fatigue feels like the energy is sucked right out of my body. I didn’t even know what fatigue was until this happened. I couldn’t even take a shower and blow-dry my hair without taking a nap in between. The daily low grade fevers, nausea, dizziness, exhaustion, weakness, and pains have left me totally disabled. I have not had a normal life for the past year. My mother has to be my full-time care taker. I am unable to cook for myself, go grocery shopping, drive to the doctors, do laundry, clean the house, or any normal activities. I used to love going to dinner with my friends, shopping, walking and hiking outdoors, working out, boating with my family; but Cipro has left me housebound. Without a full-time care-taker I would not be able to survive since I am unable to do the necessities to survive on my own.

My life consists of going to doctors, and trying to find something that will make me feel better. The Mayo Clinic diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (recently renamed to Systematic Exertion Intolerance Disease), Fibromyalgia and Central Sensitization Syndrome. The Mayo Clinic had nothing that could assist me, and they suggested that I look into alternative medical treatments. I have tried all alternative medicine to get better including: acupuncture, infrared saunas, hyperbaric oxygen chambers, energy healing, neural therapy, electromagnetic beds, essential oils, a plethora of vitamins, and IV therapy including IV vitamins, IV ozone, IV H2O2. I have spent thousands of dollars with the hope of recovering from Cipro toxicity, but have not seen much relief at this point. The only items that I have noticed help my symptoms are IV therapies. All I can do is warn everyone I know about the dangers of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics. Please do not take these drugs unless it is a last resort. Inform yourself, read the side effects, and ask for safer medications.

20 thoughts on “Sierra’s Story – Cipro Poisoning

  1. Sierra, I am so sorry to hear this. I identified with your story so much. “I lay in bed and cried as my body was unbearable to live in. I wasn’t even sure that I could make it… I have not had a normal life…” I too have had pain that is difficult to describe, as well as Stephen King-worthy nerve damage that has made breathing difficult—suffocating at times as well as choking sensations around my neck, from nerves gone haywire. I also have the light sensitivity and floaters as well but I also got hyperosmia where all scents are so exaggerated that I literally could not be in a room with so much as hand lotion or a cup of coffee. I couldn’t be outside because of the flowers. Truly horrific—being asphyxiated by everyday things. It has gotten better but is not gone. I too had to have someone come and pick up and take my laundry, drop off food, etc. The IVs have helped me —ptc and high dose vitamin C, both with glutathione and h2o2 ivs. I get two, sometimes 3 a week. I have now been doing them for about 5 months. The pain is all but gone. The numbness is mostly gone in my fingers, but not my toes. The olfactory damage is cut by about 80$. I had severe GI issues and have gained back 12 of the 30 lbs I lost. The breathing difficulty remains, but is not as suffocating as it was. The insomnia is now intermittent whereas before it was constant and I was lucky to get one hour sleep.I hope you continue on with the IVs. And I encourage you to not only file a medwatch report, but to do the online study ( ) and contact (or have a family member contact) your federal representatives, the health and human services ageny, attorney general loretta lynch–anyone you can to tell the about your story. This is criminal and it has to stop. These side effects have been known by the drug mfrs for decades and they continue to inappropriately market them for simple infections. We don’t need more label warnings that doctors aren’t reading anyway. These drugs need to be limited to life/death situations. (I also received my cipro for a simple UTI.) Wishing you well.

  2. Dearest Sierra,
    I wish you well in your recovery. Keep pressing forward. You are helping many to avoid these toxic drugs by sharing your story. It has great value. Thank-you so much for describing what you have and are experiencing. This detailed description will help many to know what has happened to them and will warn others to evaluate whether taking fluoroquinolone drugs is worth the risk. Hugs for you:)

  3. Remember that Cipro will deplete the body of Magnesium also. I too struggled with my muscles feeling like they were in constant state of restriction with spasms and cramping. My RBC Magnesium was too low. Took me two years to bring it up but I am finally feeling better. Please have that checked. If it is low start soaking in Magnesium Chloride flakes, spray magnesium oil on the top of your feet at night, and Jigsaw SRT Magnesium is what finally worked for me. I use Theanine Serene to help me sleep also and it too has Magnesium and Taurine in it, Taurine is important along with Vitamin D with Mag absorption. Hope this helps you also.

  4. I feel your pain as that is exactly how I felt yet I was not believed by any doctor. I had two very young children to care for at home and the doctors tried to blame stress on my symptoms. I needed a wheelchair to get around. I poignantly told them I would rather be at home caring for my two children, working full time and in graduate school than be here in the hospital with this horrific pain. I was forced to take IV Cipro after two rounds of oral Cipro. Then I was forced to have physical therapy for two weeks 2x a day which only caused more pain. Nothing has helped at all. The pain is unrelenting.

    You are very brave! Keep telling your story until there is no one denying what happened to you! You are not alone in this fight.

    • I am so, so, so sorry for all that you’ve been through! To blame your inability to walk on “stress” is insane. I want to slap doctors who say foolish and negligent things like that.

      Would you like to share your story on this site? Please let me know if that’s something you’re interested in. I can be reached through the “contact” link on this site.

      There are stories of hope and healing on I run it too. I hope it helps!


  5. I too have experienced very much the same debilitating effects of Cipro Levaquin and Avelox and not one Dr. attributed it too the fluoroquinolones. I spent several years in and out of Dr. offices being diagnosed and undiagnosed with everything from RA, Sjogren’s, Fibromyalgia, possibly MS, presumptive
    Guillane Barre, and Neuritis…I experienced the same chronic fatigue, light sensitivity, heat and cold intolerance, heart palpitations, the inability to walk, joint, muscle, tendon, nerve pain, bruising, ear ringing, floaters and pounding pain in my extremities. I spent months in pain management never getting better because every time I got Bronchitis or an UTI I was given another fluoroquinolone, the last time in April of 2013 I was given Avelox that sent me to the emergencey room 3x following, same symptoms just worse, too include tendonitis and torn patella of my knee that required weeks of physical therapy. Not once was I ask about fluoroquinolone consumption. These drugs should be taking off the market all together

    • couldn’t agree more. and then the culprits who poisoned us need to spend money on NON drug cures, and pay for our rehabilitation.

  6. I too have been poisoned 7-8 times since 1987. I also want to bring up Larium…related to FQ’s and I took for babesia (I got at the same time as Lyme disease) See:
    mefloquine is Larium….shocking military use and PTSD side effects!!!!!!! must read and search out.
    I hallucinated while on the Larium…..which is a red flag for no further FQ use…..yet I was given Cipro 2x in 2008 and once in 2012….when I had a complete and utter breakdown…..that was I was basically left to handle myself. throughout the years I have been ill and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, autoimmune thyroid, anxiety, on and on and on. I went to school and got my teaching degree …..always was very holistic …..and yet I was always sick…….now I Know I have been poisoned at least 7 times and have been building up toxicity…..until I completely fell apart on 1.25/13. I am still not well….but am better. Has anyone been helped with the FQ e-book?
    Wonder if I’ve been poisoned to many time throughout the years to be completely well???? Also, my 89 year old mother was given levaquin….11-15……she is now dealing with bells palsy and other FQ related symptoms……Magnesium is helping her. Any more advise appreciated… there a class action suit against te pharma companies. Are written transcripts of the 11-15 FDA Hearings on FQ available….where? thank you all !!!l

  7. Sierra,
    I’m so sorry you are having to go through this at such a young age. I pray this finds you feeling better each and every day. Thank you for sharing your story with us, you never know who, what, when or where it will touch, inform or encourage somebody else. I too suffer from chronic pain each day but my story is completely different. I herniated a disk on L5-S1. I’ve tried everything but nothing works. I’m on a lot of medication and pain medications. It surprises me that if you take opioids, everyone assumes you are drug seeking. Not all who take opioids are drug seeking. I wish you nothing but love and blessed healing. Please be encouraged and know you do not fight alone, we are All standing with you. God bless you so much, keep fighting this and continue to be strong

    • Evie, I have had three herniated disks for over 20 years, and they don’t keep me from doing anything, and I rarely suffer any pain.

      When I first realized I had them I was simply bending over at work to pick up a stapler. I froze. I could not move in any direction, could breathe, and the pain was awful. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Luckily I ended up being referred to a surgeon who did not believe in surgery, especially in someone so young. Instead he sent me to a physical therapist who used something called the McKenzie method. IT is a series of exercises, the most basic of which is similar to the Cobra position in yoga. At first it hurt a lot to do them (I kept telling the PT I felt like I was going to break.) But here I am decades later, no surgery, rarely any pain. If I do just the basic exercise religiously I have no problems. It is only when I forget for a few weeks I start to notice my back hurting. Then I just start the exercises again and I am fine. I highly recommend you find a physical therapist or sports doctor who uses the McKenzie Method to see if it would work for you. (It works for most people although those who also have pain radiating down the leg may not be able to benefit from it.) You can also purchase a book (or maybe your library has it) called Treat Your Own Back by Robin McKenzie. In side the first few pages is a page of questions. IF you answer yes to all or most you are likely a candidate.

  8. I am a benzodiazepine victim who experiences severe, chronic, debilitating nerve pain. I only mention this because I had a talk with a FQ victim who also had neuropathic pain and she suggested to me what worked for her: R-alpha lipoic acid. It was suggested to her by a neurologist, I believe, at a very well-respected hospital. Apparently, it is used for diabetic neuropathy as well with some success. It can take some time to work, I’m told, and you might need 900-1200mg? (look into the studies and maybe start low and increase to be sure your body tolerates the supplement). Anyhow, just a suggestion. All my best to you in hopes you heal and fully recover.

  9. I’m so sorry you are suffering. I was also poisoned by Cipro and had identical symptoms. The fatigue was impossible to describe. I rested a LOT. If I climbed the stairs to use the bathroom I had to lie down in bed afterwards. My husband cared for me. I didn’t have much money but found Coq10 and a warm water tai chi class were the most helpful. It was very hard and I would spend the entire day in bed after my class. But I am 4 years out and mostly healed. I healed very very slowly. I pray you will heal too. My best to you.

  10. Dear Sierra,
    I am now 66, eight years ago after taking Cipro for 3 1/2 weeks, til this day I have never been the same.
    Peripheral Neuropathy in both feet shins calves. Chronic pain throughout my body. Lost my sense of smell. My systemic and muscular system is hypervigilant, so any and all physical activity impacts me negatively.
    No doctor has been able to diagnose, nor has been able to treat me. I have tried every alternative method at great expense.
    I continue to pray for a miracle but have to live my life the best that I can and try to remain in the light and not allow myself to go to the dark places in my mind.
    My heart goes out to you. You are truly a Warrior and have survived what might have taken another person’s life.
    I will keep you in my prayers.

  11. I am twice exposed (that I know of) to Levaquin, first time 2014, second 2017 December, both times meds were taken by mouth for upper respiratory infection. Second time, it was given with inhaled corticosteroid. I did not recognize that problems I was having after each exposure related to the antibiotic. Visual changes, floaters, dry eyes, GI problems, tinnitus, thyroid cysts, sleep disturbances, depression, muscle tightness and cramps in response to exercise. The second time, after my MD prescribed physical therapy (Astym treatment) for my increasing tendon tightness, I was hit within 12 hours by incredible body wide burning pain, initially worst in lower and upper extremities, but it spread body wide. It rendered me barely able to walk. I had brain fog. I earned my living on the keyboard in the medical profession (RN). I am still, after eight months, unable to type more than a few hours, a few days a week, without debilitating pain and tightness which progressively moves up each arm, from fingertips toward my trunk. I suffer from burning, sharp pains in tendon areas, which progresses until my hands are like clubs, and my tendons snap and catch. Minor tasks that used to be easily possible, now cause progressive pain and tightness. I also suffer crawling sensations, eye lid jitters, muscle twitches and fatigue. Overwhelming Fatigue. I may be able on a good day, to fulfill several (2-3 hours with breaks, of one or a few in lesser doses of time of the following tasks: house cleaning, food preparation, or care of my dog, doing laundry, grocery shopping, small household tasks. But within 24-48 hours, I am taken down by a peculiar, life-draining fatigue. It pervades my bones and my core. I feel breathless, incredibly weak, and often feel like it is going to kill me. To cope, I meditate, have used acupuncture until I can no longer afford it. Traditional Chinese herbs have given help, in regulating the heat/cold imbalances, the massive waves of life draining weakness, the fluctuations of diarrhea and constipation, the loss of appetite, the sleeplessness. Gone are guitar playing, banjo playing. Sewing is gone. Drawing, coloring, painting – gone, except in tiny, tiny doses, which are followed by fatigue and tendon tightness. My handwriting has become painful and poor. Using kitchen knives to cut vegetables, opening door handles, opening jars, holding the hymnal in church–all press and feel like they are cutting into my nerves.
    My physician said Levaquin could not possibly cause my symptoms, especially since the worst symptoms didn’t happen immediately. The second exposure I did have onset of hand tendon swelling a few days into the prescription, which resolved after I stopped the med, but then symptoms returned after the above mentioned Physical Therapy for puzzling progressive tendon tightness. The MD diagnosed my condition as carpal tunnel syndrome, though two neurologists, MRI and muscle biopsy said that definitely that was NOT the cause of my symptoms. I was offered steroids and NSAIDS. I refused those and came to find I was correct to do so, as they worsen fluoroquinolone toxicity.
    Thank God I’ve been able to drive for the most part, not so much earlier, as a bit later, after several weeks of rest, then even more (more comfortably) after I discovered acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
    Recently, I’ve had a strong reaction to a new combination of herbs my PhD Doctor of Chinese medicine prescribed. My bowels all but stopped. I had to stop my herbs. My symptoms are returning.
    While I was initially approved for Short Term Disability leave from work, after I used all my sick leave, I have been denied Long Term disability coverage by my private policy, since I don’t meet by their LTD criteria for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Tendonitis. The determination was that I can now go back to work and can perform all the functions of my job, although that means 10 hours daily/five days weekly of fast and continual keyboarding, mouse clicking and screen scrolling, along with phone work, in the confines of a noisy, fluorescent lighted, high pressure institutional basement cubicle office environment.
    I thought perhaps Mayo Clinic would have a department devoted to Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Treatment, but I see that is not what the community has found. Nor did I find any mention of FQ Toxicity treatment on their web site. I have found an Integrative Health Center in Grand Junction, Colorado which mentions by name FQAD toxicity treatment, and provides (when I contacted them) information about possible treatment modalities. They have one physician dedicated to treating their existing FQAD population and the 1-2 patients daily who contact that facility, seeking help for the symptoms we know so well.
    After establishing there as a patient, you can be treated near your home, if you have an approved setting which can give the IV’s and other treatments that the Integrative Care facility MD (Dr Rollins) may prescribe. The cost is out of pocket. Price list is provided.
    I’m more than eight months into my recognized poisoning by Levaquin and fluoroquinolones. Thanks to my own ongoing online research and the information the Colorado center provided, my view of what happened to me — and to you — is expanding. I see this situation includes fluoride poisoning. I see the reason I became so sensitive to anesthesia. I am see why taking any steroid, why taking NSAIDS, probably even acetaminophen, and using fluoride toothpastes, trigger worsening symptoms. I am maturing in my ability be vigilant in my own defense.
    I see I am — and YOU are — rather alone against a big world. I sometimes feel quite maligned, very lonely, marginalized. I pray, I meditate, I walk gently, I believe carefully. I’m scared. I want my health back.

    I also would like to ask the community one thing. Have any of you, along with your other efforts, utilized laying on of hands, in the setting of really persistent prayer-group efforts, focusing on healing?

    I am your fellow sufferer and seeker of healing in this experience.

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