James’ Story – Life After Levofloxacin Poisoning

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My name is James and I wanted to share my the experiences that I’ve had over the past two years and eight months, since taking 5 simple doses of levofloxacin 500mg pills.

If I wrote a story of my life prior to January 7, 2014 it would look like this:

I am 34 years old. I have a busy life. I’m married to my wonderful wife of 12 years and have a 9 year old daughter and a 5 year old daughter. Between working full time as a construction engineer, running my girls to girl scouts and dance, playing on a men’s softball team from May through September, being a volunteer firefighter, and being active in my community, I leave little time for myself. However, I have the energy and mental awareness to pull this all off and live a happy life. I don’t eat the very best diet, but I try to balance it out. I ride my bike as often as I can – usually for 18 to 20 miles every other day. I do situps, pushups, jumping jacks, and stretches every day. I have toned muscles, and am fortunate that I have been able to be in decent shape without really having to work out aggressively like others that I know. I like to go out with friends. I enjoy spending time with my family. We go camping and take family “mini” vacations a few times a year. Life is good for me. I have always had asthma, but it’s controlled with daily maintenance inhalers and has never prevented me from exerting myself.

I could go on and on about how great it was because it’s true. I was happy and healthy, and enjoying life.

The only major medical issue that I had in my entire life, aside from asthma, was that I was diagnosed with papillary micro carcinoma of the right lobe in my thyroid. This was found during a routine annual physical, which I always have done just to be sure that I am in good shape. I felt a little dizzy when taking the deep breaths while the doctor was listening to my lungs. As a result, he decided to to an EKG that was normal. He also felt my lymph nodes and there was nothing wrong there either, but he did notice a small lump in the right lobe of my thyroid. I had no history of thyroid cancer in my family, but he wanted to have an ultrasound done to check it out further. This happened in August of 2012. Between that time and December 2012, I had three repeat ultrasounds and two fine needle aspirations (biopsies where they stick a needle into your neck to collect a sample of the growths to be tested for cancer). Results were in, positive for cancer, and I had surgery on December 30, 2012 to remove the right lobe of my thyroid as well as the isthmus (the center connective tissue that joins the left and right lobes). The surgeon didn’t notice and other lumps and tested what was removed to triple check that it was, in fact, cancer.

Good news for me! Cancer was gone and my thyroid levels were not affected enough to warrant supplements. I was healthy again. I weighed about 235 pounds and it was mostly muscle with minimal fat.

Back to my current reality:

I experience confusion or clouded thoughts. I forget things a lot. My joints ache and pop all the time. I have flushed skin and rashes all over. I have IBS with diarrhea. My muscles ache. I am not social. I do not enjoy volunteering in the fire company, and have not been active with them for about a year and a half. I quit softball. I don’t have energy to play with my girls, who are now 12 and 8 years old and need a dad that can be active. My wife and I argue due to the fact that I just don’t have the will, strength, or energy to do just about anything. I’m not doing well at work, and most coworkers and supervisors notice it. I used to supervise a staff of my own and had that taken away from me due to my inattentiveness and disorganization.

I have low self esteem. I know who I used to be, and I am no longer that person. At least physically, and I a somewhat bitter about that.

How did this happen?

On New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2013, I was enjoying watching the New Year’s festivities on TV with my wife and daughters. We even stayed up until the ball dropped to watch the fireworks from our back kitchen window. It was a lot of fun, and we all went to bed feeling a little tired but happy.

The next morning I woke up to complete body aches and what I figured was the flu or maybe bronchitis. I spent the next 5 days laying in bed or on the couch before I started to feel better. I had a little difficulty breathing still and I figured that it was due to my asthma, which never bothered me before. Since it was a little concerning that my breathing felt a little labored, I went to an urgent care center (my doctor’s office was closed and the on call suggested that I go there if this was really bothering me).

At urgent care, after checking everything else out, they thought that my breathing sounded a little raspy when listening to my chest. They did an x-ray and found a small amount of fluid in my right lung. They said that it was pneumonia and that I needed an antibiotic.

I’ve heard of many different types of antibiotics before, and even had taken some for infections in the past. It was always septra, amoxicillin, or penicillin. When they told me that they were prescribing Levaquin (I got the generic version – levofloxacin), I had never heard of it. They told me that it was the “big gun” of the antibiotics and that I’d be feeling great in a few days. I was prescribed 7 pills of 500mg to be taken once daily, starting that night.

After three days I was already feeling great. My breathing was normal again and the other symptoms of the flu or whatever it was that I had were gone. I took the fourth pill and later that day I noticed that my head felt like I was in the “fog” so to speak. I took the fifth pill and that feeling intensified later that day and I also started feeling very weak. I decided that I was over the pneumonia and threw the remaining two pills out.

From that point forward, I began to have all of the feelings that I mentioned above: dizziness, confusion, pain all over, popping joints in my hands and feet, brittle fingernails and toenails, weight loss, rashes all over my body, irritability, mood swings, lack of interest in things that I normally enjoyed doing, etc. My wife and I would argue a lot due to this. I felt like I was becoming useless. I felt horrible and knew how it felt to feel good, but I didn’t feel good.

I went to see my primary doctor in mid February after these issues got worse. I weighed 204 pounds – which I hadn’t weighed in almost 20 years. I had diarrhea daily since taking the pills. I was weak and my doctor was suspecting that maybe I had some form of cancer or infection that was causing all of this. He sent me for every blood test known to man, and it all came back normal.

I went to see him about every other month, not feeling any better, but put weight back on and was up near 250 by July 2014. It was mostly fat now, not really any muscle tone. The repeated blood tests kept coming back normal.

Frustrated, I insisted that it was hypothyroidism since all of the symptoms seemed to fit and I did have half of my thyroid removed when I had cancer. Those tests also kept coming back normal.

Over the next two years, I insisted to him that I had never felt this bad until I took the levofloxacin prescription that was was given at the urgent care center. He dismissed it each time that I complained about it. Almost like I was insulting his family member.

It wasn’t until this past July, when I told him that I wanted another doctor to look over my history, that he sent me for a blood test for low testosterone. I was now 37 years old and low testosterone wasn’t even on my radar. How could I have low testosterone??

Surprise, my levels were as low as an 80 year old man. Another surprise, he now told me that he is suspicious that my low testosterone might be caused by damage to my pituitary glad and that the levofloxacin may have caused the damage. He apologized for not looking into this sooner, and also for dismissing my idea that it was an antibiotic that caused this. He is now looking into this with other patients who have taken similar drugs and have mystery diagnoses.

A lot of the symptoms of low testosterone parallel the symptoms of hypothyroidism as well as those that I’ve read that are caused by being poisoned by levofloxacin.

Today is August 31, 2016 and I am due to see my primary again on Friday September 2 to get my prescription for a testosterone supplement. If all goes as I’ve read, I should begin feeling better within a week or two. I’m really hoping that’s the case. I’m tired of being tired all the time. I want to feel like I used to. My family needs be back. My employer needs me to perform.

While I don’t definitively know if levofloxacin caused my testosterone to drop so low and make me feel like I do, I suspect that it did. I had never felt as bad as I do now until I took it and have no other risk factors that could contribute to this.

It’s been a physical and mental struggle for me and my family during the ordeal. I feel like they sometimes resent me, but I know that they love me and want me to get better.

I will keep you updated.

Sorry for the novel!!

-James P.

December, 2016 update from James:

I wanted to share some supplements that have been helping me to have enough energy to get more active. My dad introduced them to me, and he is an older man who still runs marathons.  These keep him going.

Hammer Nutrition is the manufacturer. The three that I’ve been using for a few weeks now are:

1. Premium Insurance Caps

2. Mito Caps

3. Race Caps Supreme

They are not quite life changing, but pretty close to it – considering how bad I’ve been feeling in general.

I’ve noticed more energy, less brain fog, less muscle fatigue and soreness, less frequent headaches, and slightly more productive/restful sleep.

The best is the energy and decreased muscle and joint pain/fatigue.  It’s allowing me to talk longer walks and actually work up up a sweat, and attempt to lose weight.

As for the testosterone, so far that TRT has produced ZERO results. My levels are actually lower now that I’m on it. These supplements at least get me moving the way TRT is supposed to.

Please feel free to share the info on the supplements. They are for men and women. I recommend them since they are the first things that have given me any hope or results in about three years.

March, 2017 Update:

I had another two rounds of blood work done recently.  My testosterone levels are still way below the low end of “normal” range.  Zero improvement even with doubling my dose and being on it for 6 months. Also, ALT levels were very high. My doctor attributed that to the very high levels of vitamin E in those Hammer Nutrition products (E being fat soluble and stored in the liver). I am back to taking standard daily multivitamins, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, and now DHEA.  In the month that I’ve been on these, I actually better than I thought I would but I’m still not the person I should be.  The Hammer Nutrition products are working great for my dad and other people that I know, it just may be that people like me can’t take them because our bodies were “reprogrammed” and don’t process things like they should.

Some new news, finally, I am seeing an endocrinologist who will follow me for my thyroid, low testosterone, and (wait for it) pituitary glad.  Apparently, it’s possible that my pituitary gland was damaged (from levofloxacin?) and that could be causing all of my hormone and other issues that no one can explain. The endo will be testing my pituitary gland for damage and will help me out with that if it is damaged.

I never even thought of the pituitary glad, and now that I’ve researched it – it seems to make sense and could be the missing piece of my puzzle. It’s likely throwing my thyroid and testosterone levels off.

Time will tell…

Take care,

James

** The story above is truthful, accurate and told to the best of the ability of the writer. It is not intended as medical advice. No person who submits his or her story, nor the people associated with http://www.fqwallofpain.com, diagnoses or treats any illness. The story above should not be substituted for professionally provided medical advice. Please consult your doctor before trying anything that has been mentioned in this story, or in any other story on this site. Please also note that people have varying responses to the treatments mentioned in each story. What helps one person may not help, and may even hurt, another person. It is important that you understand that supplements, IVs, essential oils, and all other treatments, effect people differently depending on the millions of variables that make each of us unique. Please use appropriate caution and prudence, and get professional medical advice.

25 thoughts on “James’ Story – Life After Levofloxacin Poisoning

  1. I am sorry for your pain, James. I, too, was harmed by Levaquin. My whole endocrine system was disrupted and I have yet to balance my hormones (I am a woman so different hormones involved). I have no doubt the Levaquin affected your testosterone level. I really hope the supplement works for you and you get well soon!

  2. James I was wondering what your levels were for Testosterone Please I know you mention Low but how Low mine in 2013 was 16 UK standard another time it was Low but they did nothing can you Post or reply your numbers with Ranges thanks lots

  3. So sorry for all you have been through. As someone who has been on asthma meds all my life I want to share something with you.

    When I got floxed by Cipro I got hit hard. Without repeating it all here, I had around 30 side effects—from excruciating pain to blurred vision to fluid around my heart to olfactory nerve damage that made everything in the world asphyxiate me. Nightmarish. But the worst was my breathing. It was 50 times worse than the most awful asthma attack. I literally was gasping for breath, and felt like I was suffocating. It wasn’t asthma. I believe it was mitochondrial damage to the heart muscle or damage to the autonomic nervous system.
    Anyhow, my prophylactic inhaler, Qvar (actually all of them I believe) contains both fluoride and a steroid, which can both exacerbate the FLQ toxicity. I felt trapped—what if I got asthma ON TOP of this horrific breathing? What if I continued to make the side effects worse by continuing the inhaler? At this point I was so bad, I really just wanted “out” so when my naturopath suggested H2O2 IVs, I My naturopath suggested H2O2 IVs.

    A regular MD said that was dangerous. (I no longer see regular MDs unless they are integrative…they are brainwashed in pharmaceutical treatments and no nothing about natural cures.) I did some research and saw that even places like Mayo clinic was using H2O2 for lung cancer patients. At this point I was in such bad shaped I really didn’t care if I lived or died, so feeling I had nothing to lose, I I started on the IVs. After about 5 of them I started to wean off my inhaler. I went from two puffs twice a day to one puff twice a day. Then one puff once a day. Then I stopped. I ended up getting about a dozen H2O2 IVs. It has now been over a year and I have not used any asthma meds. I will need an occassional H2O2 Iv for maintenance, but so far I have had only one in the last 8 months. I am just mad I spent my life taking a drug that harmed my bones, and likely led to early osteoporosis. (Again years of doctors saying it couldn’t possibly harm your bones, and now the literature says they can.)

    Anyhow, if you want to find a good ND or integrative doc, this might also help you since you can eliminate the fluoride and steroid.

      • In addition to not having ANY asthma the past year, in spite of NO asthma meds, I also wanted to share a couple other things. RE the IBS with diarrhea—-this stuff just destroys the good microbiome in your gut. I had diarrhea for over two years. You want to make sure you are getting a good probiotic with a number of different strains. Get a good brand and the kind that needs to be refrigerated.) Something else that can help is called Restore (you take a tsp a few times a day.)

        I also had popping in all my joints (I had over 30 side effects at least a half dozen of which were terrifying). The knee that had the most popping, I recently found out had a torn meniscus. Fluoroquinolones just eat through any kind of connective tissue—not just tendons. Instead of surgery, I opted for prolozone injections. (its an anesthetic and ozone.) So far so good. It helps your body heal itself. Just wanted to give you hope that if something similar happens there are safer, more bio-compatible alternatives. I know how you feel. I had toyed with the idea of being the oldest female contestant to go on American Ninja Warrior. Then my body fell apart after Cipro. But I have rebounded quite a bit thanks to naturopaths, an acupuncturist and HEALTHY alternatives. I have no confidence in western medicine any longer. The only MDs I see now are integrative.

  4. James,
    So so sorry what happened to you. It does have devastating effects on the whole family. My husband has been great but I know there have been times when I havn’t been easy to live with, and we also have had our fair share of arguments at times, but I would not have got through this with out him.
    James, I want to let you know that I am 73years young and two years out after cipro. I am nearly recovered and I want you to understand this IS POSSIBLE for you to.
    Are you on suppliments ?
    Have you changed your diet ?
    I have been on the protocol from The Levaquin Toxicity Solution and researched and added other things along the way. I’ve had a couple of IV’s glutathione and myer’s, ( couldn’t do more as the doc was to far away) I been up and down many times, had terrible PN pain and and.
    I am presently having ozone autohemotherapy, I have had three sessions so far and I am starting to feel Normal for the first time in two years. My Doc says to have about 12 sessions all told. I dont know if this could help you but you sound like you have a lot of oxitive stress, which ozone therapy could help with
    There is tons of information about it out there, maybe you could research it.
    Mine is administered by a Medical Doctor who has been doing it for 20 years with great results.
    All I can say is if an “golden oldie” like me can recover, so can you.
    So hang in there James and don’t give up.
    Hugs,
    Barbara

  5. It’s the Levaquin for sure! All of my hormones were beyond messed up. My thyroid went low, my cycle changed drastically, my DHEA for was off the charts for a female, my testosterone was high, and all my female hormones were messed up.

    • It’s crazy how all different hormones get messed up from this, and crazy how not everyone tolerates it. That goes to show you that these drugs are not for everyone, and shouldn’t be just prescribed as freely as handing out bottled water.

  6. I’m sorry James to hear about your tragedy with Levofloxacin. I took one pill of Levofloxacin tonight and my left foot started tingling three hours later. I was also dizzy. I decided to call my doctor and report what was going on. He treated me like if I was crazy. He said he had not have any problems prescribing this antibiotic before. I asked him to change the antibiotic. He did.

    Why is this drug still on the market??? This is wrong!!! How much money is Johnson and Johnson paying to the FDA???

    Please visit my facebook account. I started a campaign against this drug.
    edel y. garcia almodovar

    • Same with Cipro and Bayer, Edel. Doctors always say that you are crazy and it has never happened before. What they are not aware of is that it as happened A LOT, only the patient was told it was because they have fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue, or lupus, or a hundred other things. This has been going on for DECADES.

  7. Has anyone ever heard that you shouldn’t put ANY fluoride into your body? Fluoride is in so many things, not just water. I took Levaquin 1 year ago May and have a huge diary full of symptoms. What up with the book The Levaquin Toxicity Solution? Norton doesn’t trust the website and it scares me to even by the book through their website.

    • I think that answer is “it depends.” I believe Lisa (of this site) is ok with fluoride. For myself, since I was floxed so badly, I am just not taking any chances. I get fluoride free water and toothpaste; I avoid teas (mostly grown in this country) because of the high fluoride content. I buy wine from other countries that don’t fluoridate. There is some naturally occurring fluoride in the ground and in even spring water, but that is vastly different than the toxin we are all fed here in the U.S.

  8. Morrisog,
    Sorry I dont understand why you are scared to buy the Levaquin Toxicity Solution through their website.
    I have bought the book over a year ago and then you get access to Kerri’s site. There you will find tons of useful information about suppliments and help with pain etc.
    Perhaps you could explain why your scared ?

  9. James you’re going to get better because you are proactive in finding treatment. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what on earth happened to me. The funny thing is it’s been 11 YEARS since I was treated with that garbage and until a couple days ago I had never heard of flouroquinolone drug effects but I had ALWAYS remembered one thing that stuck in my head. About 11 years ago I remember very well that I was 17 and I went in for kidney pain and possible UTI blah blah so I was given an antibiotic. I have no clue what exactly was given to me but to this DAY I remember being in the shower about 30 mins after having taken ONE pill and experiencing CRAZY pain in my muscles.

    I always looked back and couldn’t figure out what on earth changed that day but since then I get very very paranoid if I use marijuana (used to be a big time user of that and since that day I’ve hated it and it makes me feel like I’m living in hell) and also I couldn’t even enjoy as much as a cup of coffee or I experienced the effect of about 8 cups of coffee. I’ve also had a generalized feeling of anxiety and uneasiness that I’ve always had but was greatly amplified that day. Surely I think I was given a floroquinolone pill of some kind since that event with unknown antibiotic for a UTI stuck with me so clearly over 11 years until hearing about it now and it makes sense.

    It’s been hell but it definitely DOES get better (I’m getting closer to normal) and unfortunately I do think forms of testosterone therapy are important. I wanted to inform you of how IMPORTANT it is to have a endocrinologist that understands balancing your hormones for optimal sex drive and to prevent gyno symptoms. Likely what will happen is you will get a crazy boost to sex drive and mental focus for about 2 weeks and then you will become SAPPED again. You need an endo that understands that at that point estrogen has actually probably dropped and there’s drugs and ways to balance that which I am not completely knowledgeable on but it is now your job to research the subject and find an endo who is committed to balancing your hormone profile with you. The reason all of this sucks is the possible risk of prostate cancer with testosterone treatment and the unknown of very longterm use of these treatments (but regular checkups will monitor this). You can always try a diet high in fats and sprinting and weight lifting before using outside testosterone, but truly supplementing may be your best bet (I haven’t taken this route yet but may consider it as I’m only about 75% better with diet and exercise, though thats really good considering it’s only been 2 months on my new regimen). If you do take the natural diet and exercise route do NOT go on a LOW FAT diet. You need plenty of dietary fat to convert into testosterone. A low fat diet with these symptoms would be an absolute shitstorm. You’ll get to feeling a lot better once that all is sorted out, and congrats on narrowing it down and taking action.

  10. Hi I took levofloxacin 500mg twice a day for 7 days for resistant helycobacter pylori.
    On the first day of taking the tablet I started to get vision problems simuler to migrains losing vision in corner right eye!! And everything looked smokey plus pain side head and eye I felt very tired I fell to sleep and when I woke up had pressure headache but not to bad !! Next morning I woke up and vision wasn’t right !! Couldn’t see from corner left eye property and the room looked light and smokey! I tephoned the doctor and he said come see him ! I asked could it be the knew tab I was taking for stomach he said no !! He did tests and bloods he said it sound like perennial arthritis and that if I don’t here anything from him at the end of the day not to worry !! I didn’t herald anything! !
    On the forth day I had pain in achilies heel both legs getting out of bed and aching all over body I couldn’t walk !! I telephoned the pharmacy and asked for advice! ! The lady pharmacist said she not familiar with the medication but would check !! She came back and asked how many days I had left it said 3 she said finish course and take pain Meds! ! The pain got so bad I couldn’t sleep as my right knee kept locking when in bent position and I couldn’t straighten it my arms neck hands wrists hurt ! It was he’ll taking them last 6 tablets !! I finished them on the Saturday night !! On the Sunday I went to work had problems gutting up from the chair feel leGSM painful no strength in legs hut bad walking up the stairs and down my arms and hands hurt when I tried to use them in had strange pressure headache! On the Monday I decided to go to the hospital the first person I saw told me I don’t think we can doffer anything for that !! He had to lift me from the chair !! I then saw a trainie male nurse and shoes him the tablet box he said they were talking about that antibiotic when he was doing training and he got a more qualified doctor to come see me !! He checked my achilies heel as I had developed lumps on them and said they not ruptured !! Then went away !! The young doctor came back and said go home and rest take painkillers if I feel popping go back or get worst he said I had a rare reaction and must never take them again !! It’s early days for me but I don’t know what to do next !!

    • Well first Shirley I would find a good INTEGRATIVE doctor or naturopath (preferably one that does IVs) and stop seeing the regular docs you are seeing. It makes me furious they way they dismiss out of hand that it could be the cipro or levox. OF COURSE IT IS. How they can look at this group of symptoms and think it is just a HUGE coincidence is beyond me. (Not to mention the warning from last July about the constellation of side effects effecting different body systems….but then again, the FDA doesn’t bother to send the warning to doctors, and the doctors don’t take the time to inform themselves.)

      Right away, I recommend avoiding fluoride, gluten, gmo (esp be wary of any non organic meats that could contain antibiotics.) Get a good magnesium supplement—I would take anywhere up to 800 mg a day and try to avoid the citrate type (threonate is good, orotate, a chelated type). You also want to add vitamin E, a good multi-strained probiotic (the kind you refrigerate w/ 30+ billion units. Take a look at older posts. There are many, many posting on what to do right away. Here is a link to Lisa’s suggestions. https://floxiehope.com/tips-for-the-newly-floxed/

      And hard as it is, try not to freak out. You are dealing with this at a very early stage which is good.

  11. Thank you very much for the good advice !! Apart from pain I’m getting hot and cold constantly! ! It’s new to me and I feel so confused !! I’m on the sick from work atm and worry that my local doctor will put my condition down to something else and fob me off !!

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