The Myth of the Magic Bullet: Flox Tox

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September 7, 2012 | 23 Comments


  1. I too have been where you are all of the symptoms I have endured also. I am almost 3yrs out from when I was floxed on Oct 8 2009. I can finally drive again and walk with my trecking poles. I thought everything was finally on the mend. And now I have presented with severe multiple chemical sensitivity. I can smell any purfume, smoke or mold a literal block away. And I have a seziure that makes my brain and my arms nad leggs stop working. And then I go into a histeria that sends me laughing and cring all at the same time. It takes about 2 days to over come and then I am exausted. I am sitting here at 4am typing this to you because the pain in my back and leggs like a flu in my muscles is to strong to sleep. I am hopeing that this is the last new symptom as this terrible ordeal is working out of my body. My husband has been a supportive saint!! But I am seeing who my friends truly are as they leave me one by one. Please do not give up I know if we keep trying we will find a way to fight this blight on our bodies. hang in there you are not alone 🙂

  2. All I can say is this floxing issue is extremely common, please all join the various sites on Facebook, we are thousands of floxed victims who help each other, as the medical society turns a blind eye, and refuses to help, sites like Cipro is poison, Levaquin Toxicity, several very helpful Facebook sites

  3. I believe the pharmaceutical’s reign of control is coming to an end soon. You can thank the people in the groups that Virginia is talking about. There are true heros in this group, so damaged they can no longer work but spend their energy researching, lobying, seeking endlessly how to protect the rest of you from ever experiencing this “twighlight zone” hell . Do not thank the FDA they are the ones who passed this drug knowing full well of the damage it causes. They knew full well it was intended as a last resort antibiotic. Who told doctors to give it out for simple infections? I will never understand what business an antibiotic has to do with snapping tendons or causing retinas to detatch or psychosis just to name a few. This can happen with one or two pills. I know first hand. I suffered well over two years not knowing what in the world was going on with me, even doctors did not know, then I found the facebook site Virginia mentioned.I found so many people exactly like me, willing to help me. One more note, I have tried to explain why I am having trouble keeping up at work and had my dignity affronted in a very hurtful way. We deal with this every day.This only adds to the pain. Heartfelt hanks again to all the heros here.

  4. I have had a pretty severe reaction myself: In 2009, I went to the hospital for excruciating pain in my kidneys. I was given Levaquin for a suspected kidney infection, though Cipro and Factive (another Fluoroquinolone) were both already on my allergy list for a severe skin reaction to each. I had hallucinations while on Levaquin. About a week after I stopped, I went to throw something away, and I threw my shoulder out instead. I’ve have only had x-rays done on my shoulder, though the problem persists, I’m not sure what happened. That quickly became the least of my problems. Throughout the next year, I had a lot of trouble breathing, breathing attacks, chest pains, what seemed like chronic sinus infections, and vertigo with nausea and vomiting and a lot of trouble with my joints. My doctor, unable to figure out what was going on (he tested me for everything from MS and Lupus to Leukemia) and desperately wanting to help me, diagnosed me with asthma and decided to try Cipro again (he had his reasons, and, at the time, I agreed with him). But since I had a tendency to react, he decided prescribing Prednisone along with it would stave off the potential reaction. He was right, I didn’t have an immediate reaction. So, I would go on to do this combination two more times over the next few months. I kept getting worse. My joints were giving out on me more and more, my hips, ankles and right shoulder were a mess. My breathing had gotten much worse, I could hardly speak at times and had to leave my job.
    In May/June, 2011, I went to the ER for significant rectal bleeding, trouble breathing and chest pains. After a few tests, I was given Cipro and sent home. Three days later I went back to the ER because I had gotten much worse. They admitted me and stopped the Cipro and started me on Levaquin. They ran test after test and could not explain my symptoms. I was sent home without a diagnosis. About a week or so after I finished the Levaquin, the asthma attacks, among other things, became significantly worse and started involving my entire body twisting and flicking violently. Inside of an attack:

    My neck flicks back over and over, my eyes roll back, right eyebrow raises over and over while my left eye closes. My mouth grimaces to the right. My tongue feels like it is being pulled back toward my throat, and my throat spasms. My chest feels solid, especially at my diaphragm and I can’t catch a breath. My right shoulder shifts up, while the left downward, right arms twists outward, while my left twist inward violently. My fingers curl up and pull back toward my body, painfully. My hips twist the opposite of my shoulders, painfully. My legs pull upward, toward my body and twist inward and occasionally my toes would pull apart.
    These attacks are extremely painful.
    I was diagnosed with dystonia.

    Over the next year (I am now 13 months out from the last time I took Levaquin), my ability to walk normally would become extremely impaired. My hips hurt at all times, my achilles are very tender, and the tendons behind my knees feel like they shrink up so I cannot fully straighten out my legs (especially my left). Most of my days had been spent flicking into dystonic postures (exactly the same motion as the dystonic attacks). I have tremors in my left hand, and my head nods and bobbles. These are just the worst of my symptoms, there are many more, including vision issues and anemias but that could take days.

    These reactions are not uncommon. Thank you for helping to get the word out there.

    • Jamie, I too was diagnosed with Dystonia, but I know that’s not an accurate diagnosis. Your description of your attack really spoke to me. I’ve never heard anyone else ever explain exactly what my attacks are like. I’ve never met anyone else who has this particular set of symptoms. I see many wonderful doctors and have made significant progress, but yet none of them have any idea about a cause or treatment for my twitchy episodes. here is a link to a video I made while I was experiencing an episode. I would very much love to contact you and talk about this. I’m starting to think that the intense antibiotics I took to treat Lyme disease may be the cause.

  5. No idea of the mechanism — but there’s been a lot of talk recently about treating some antibiotic-linked problems with fecal transplants — literally, introducing a bit of poop from a healthy person. The most common reason has been to treat C. difficile, that killer intestinal infection, which I guess is caused or provoked by fluoroquinolones. But there is talk of using it to treat MS, other autoimmune disorders and Parkinson’s among other things. Apparently we each carry around a whole Amazon jungle of useful bugs, most of which we know nothing about, that may do a lot more exotic things than just break down our food. Just like the Amazon, kill’em off before we even know what they are, and we get in trouble. Has anyone heard of Flox victims trying this?

    I had a scary reaction from Cipro + lithium. Had taken the lithium for a month, no problems. The first day I added Cipro (for diverticulitis) I passed out cold, twice, woke up on the floor totally disoriented at first. Never fainted before in my life, that I know. I used this website to look up interactions; it said both these drugs could alter your heartbeat (“QT prolongation”) and taking two such drugs together posed some risk of arrhythmias including one called torsade de pointes which just might kill you. Yikes. I stopped the lithium immediately and had no more trouble.

  6. I am currently undertaking a supervised titration of Diazepam, after being prescribed it for several years. 10 days ago, I had to go to hospital due to Epidymo-Orchiditis, for which I was prescribed Ciprofloxacin. Withing 24 hours of taking it I started to experience benzo-style withdrawal symptoms, which I thought was odd as I had only dropped my 4mg in four weeks. But I tried to grin and bare it as I wasn’t expecting it to be pleasant.
    It’s currently 2am and I am having the night from hell. I haven’t slept in two days, I have no concentration to even watch a TV show, I’ve had suicidal thoughts, depression, panic and varying other problems. After a bit of research on the internet, I find out that Cipro’ is a GABA inhibitor. The exact receptors that Diazepam is supposed to work on. So even though I’ve been taking my Diazepam as prescribed, it has had no effect and sent me in to a much deeper withdrawal than I should have been. the Dr. that prescribed the Cipro’ knew my situation and even knowing my history of mental health issues, gave me the meds. I had NO idea that a simple anti-biotic could have such profound negative effects. I am now praying that my GP knows of some anti-dote that he can administer to me in the morning?

    • Ashley, I have been on diazepam for almost 6 years. Just 10 mg a day in 2 gifts. In march of this year I came off my antidepressant (Citalopram) after things went fine and I had total control of my anxiety. Then along came ciprofloxacin. On the third day I started to have muscle pain and after a nap in the afternoon I woke up and everything looked upside down. After closing and again opening my eyes it was fine. I also noticed my sleep was affected. During the time of the antidepressants I noticed that all of a sudden my low dose of valium seemed to act paradoxial. THe only thing that seemed to work was to add (non prescribed) clonazepam to the mix, but since I felt guilty of self doctoring I called my GP to tell him that I had the feeling I was relapsing. I had no idea it could have been the cipro, but at this point I’m starting to connect the dots. I’m scared since I feel depressed and even suicidal. At this moment I started zoloft as some last resort in the hope I can withdraw from the diazepam and see if my gaba receptors will heal. If you read this I wonder how you are doing right now. Maybe we can support each other. Take care.

  7. My doc put me on a valium reduction of 5 mg every other day. I had difficulty urinating and developed a uti. My urologist put me on 5 rounds of cipro with Ibprophen. I have not been the same since. Agitation extreme reaction to any valium reduction insomnia back and pelvic pain and seizure like periods where I can’t talk or stutter extreme weakness cold then bouts of crying and depression and just a general malaise. After a lot of reading it looks like I had the perfect storm with valium, cipro, and ibprophen. I am not getting better and am wondering if there is anything that can help me.

  8. I believe the two pictures of “the myth of floxing” and “the truth of floxing “would make an awesome t-shirt to spread the word of what these medicines actually do.
    I was floxed eleven years ago and live with the damage that Cipro & Tequin have done to my body.
    Do I have to have permission to put these pictures on a t-shirt?
    Thank you for all the information this page offers.
    Miriam Brown

  9. . I was prescribed Cipro for prostatitisin May 2009. On the fourth day I had to stop. I took 7 tablets of 75mg Cipro and my head was exploding and my feet felt like they were being burned. I suffered terrible insomnia and strange mental sensations that I cannot describe well but the effect was that I was terrified and suffered panick attacks.

    I was a competitive cyclist. About 6 weeks after taking the cipro while out on a training ride I felt my legs just start to seize up. I lost power and had to stop half way up a hill I would never have had a problem with. In the following days and weeks I could no longer ride and had dificulty walking. I lost the grip in my hands and a tendon in my right forearm tore.

    This went on for about 18 months before I felt able to get back on my bike and start to build my fitness up but only gently. After two years I started to feel a lot better, but some symptoms never left. I still got twitching in my lowe legs and my hand grip always suffered.

    I thought that i had survived the worst of this. Until that is I had a cortisone injection from my doctor into a shoulder injury in May 2015. 6 weeks later I had all the tendon pains back and I am off the bike again. My forearms and calves and ankles are worst affected. I also have developed a noticeable worsening in my tinnitus (which i have had for many years). I did some online support group research and found that some post floxies had had severe relapses after taking cortisone. I can only assume this is what I am now suffering.

    You will never get much info from the medical world. The only real info I have ever found is from fellow sufferers.

    Never ever take cipro. Frankly, even if my life depended on it I would refuse it.

  10. I have been suffering in pain everyday since I took Cipro in 2008 for a UTI I have lost most of what muscle I had. I am 56 and still push to work everyday with not much choice. I’ve been to many doctors with no help at all. I’ve had blood test after blood test only showing inflammation in the blood work but never finding what the problem is I’ve been to a Lyme specialist and rumatologist and had my Colon checked the doctors find nothing. I do have sleep apnea and was told by a nurse practitioner that was causing all my problems uggggg I don’t think so!!!! I don’t have much faith in the medical field anymore. The tendon pain is horrible.for sure. Not really sure what to do next. I really think the FDA and doctors and the makers of these drugs should be held accountable. Thanks Mike

  11. It’s just heart breaking to hear how so many lives have been altered from these toxic drugs & that most Drs are in denial about them. Leave us who have been poisoned to deal with it on our own. I was given Cipro for a UTI back in 2017, and although I’m not as ill as I was 2 yrs ago, I still deal with the damages it caused through out my body. Currently going through a relaspe due to taking a cold medicine. Life as I knew it before Cipro is gone. Now it’s life living with the damages from being floxed. What is hard for me is that no one knows my struggles daily.

  12. I was over floxed 10/05/2020 by IV in hospital & had a reaction in n hospital & all they did was switch arms & continue. I am having moderate to severe symptoms (tendons one of them) thank god i looked up flox stories & what helped (Magnesium) and what NOT to do steroids/NSAIDs which has helped tremendously but I am not out of woods yet. Some progress with FDA but not nearly enough. The prescribing Doctor loves the stuff & did not tell me a thing & he now all but ignores me on subject. He is firmly in his superiority & obliviousness. I wish he’d take some of it himself & I truly fear for the next person he does this too. He is not the only doctor in the hospital that views it as 1st go to antibiotic & refused to discuss any alternativew. Sad part is I didnt need any antibiotic.
    All i can say is please dont rely on any doctor to check on or report anything to FDA. There is no prescribed treatment for reactions or protocols to diminish it when it happens. Doctors get that wrong too. They dont want to know they are doing damage in prescibing it so the cycle continues. You being floxed are are stuck to figure it out yourself so please for Gods sake & any to help future floxies. Do it yourself. FDA website – Form 3055B. Fill it out. Track your progress and keep good records. Lets get this family of antibiotics off the market to the general public and start developing some treating protocols to save people this viciousness. I thank you floxie websites & stories as to what works & what not to do as I deal with this because you have helped me understand and hopefully saved me some of the side effects & damage with your online information. God Bless You All!!
    FDA Form 3500B

  13. Thank you so much for this excellent article! I can’t believe, looking back, that I didn’t leave a comment here back when it was written. At the time, I was running Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Group, the main FQ support group on facebook. I still run many of the smaller groups that focus on specific symptoms or specific treatments, or subsets of the population, like Christian Floxies, for example. This graphic is still considered to be about the best we have seen, many years later, and it is widely shared throughout our continuously growing community. Thanks again for your continuing support for those of us who have been floxed over the years and for your tireless advocacy for all who have been harmed by pharmaceuticals of one sort or another. I look forward to more articles about FQs and would love to help make them happen. I look forward to working with you in the future as I evolve from being an FQ toxicity advocate into more of a patient’s rights advocate. Let me tell folks a bit about why.

    In 2007 I was prescribed Cipro, then Levaquin, back to back, which isn’t supposed to happen. It was prescribed for hospital acquired MRSA from surgery to drill out failed hardware for a broken ankle. The reaction was immediate and intense, but doctors were convinced I was an alcoholic going into withdrawals due to an intake error, 3 beers a day, not 30. My blood pressure was all over. Oxygen plummeted. Liver and kidneys were troublesome. I developed pulmonary edema. Doctors added a dozen drugs, sort of stabilized me and sent me home. Soon I was back with blood clots and I have been in and out of hospitals ever since. Following is the short list of health issues I have endured or am still dealing with in the order I can remember them.

    I of course had the telltale FQ injury, tendon ruptures, although in my case the Achilles tendons only tore, they did not completely disconnect the way my Peroneus Brevis and Peroneus Longus did, the two tendons outside the Achilles. I also needed a cartilage transplant from a dead child. My lung collapsed, then pleurisy, now COPD. Bloated failing veins carved from 13 entry points so far, plus painful injections to shrink countless smaller ones. Torn lumbar muscle. Hernia. 6 bulging discs when I was extreme snowboarder/chef months prior. Diarrhea from hell. Shaking and twitching. Insomnia. Every visual and auditory disturbance imaginable. Crushing intracranial pressure and a variety of headaches. Confusion and brain fog. Anxiety attacks I never had before. Depersonalization and psychosis. Wounds won’t heal. Old wounds reappear. Hair fell out. Teeth crumbled away. Neuropathy and phantom pain that appears and disappears for no reason. Serious lack of energy. I also deal with depression. again, that is the short list.

    13+ yrs later, I am still disabled. I can barely take care of myself and help take care of my younger sister, who is also floxed. We organize the only annual FQ related event in Toronto each fall, even this year with covid. We are doing our best to raise awareness and to help those who have been harmed. I urge everyone who reads this to follow up by searching for other articles, websites, support groups and so on. There is nothing rare about this. There are literally millions upon millions upon millions of us who are routinely misdiagnosed with lupus, ALS, Parkinson’s, MS, autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue and of course fibromyalgia. If you know someone who isn’t responding to meds for one of these conditions, perhaps it’s because they are actually floxed. Have you been floxed?

    Mark A Girard
    Patient’s Rights Advocate

  14. Wow! I have had so many of the symptoms described here and never rec’d a specific diagnosis except for fibromyalgia which I knew in my heart was incorrect. I refused to take a medication to treat fibromyalgia. Glad I did. I have taken Cipro at two different times however I’ve never correlated it to these symptoms. But it’s really starting to add up. I’m going to research back to look at the dates of when I took it and when the symptoms started. I still have some effects but the worst have seem to have dissipated over 4 years. My heart goes out to all of you that are suffering !
    I appreciate all of the sound information abs stories here – thank you!

  15. I was prescribed cipro for a UTI (which was really a hernia). One pill ruined my life. The tendons that were damaged in 14 places are mostly healed. I continue to do daily cold/heat treatments to maintain them. With severe food allergies, the slightest misstep can lead to days of pain, or twitching. Cipro damages your P450 endocrine system that metabolizes foods, medications, and toxins. Medications using CYP1A2 and CYP3A4 are made dangerous. That accounts for over 60% of medications. Because all 3 medications for my blood cancer became dangerous, it’s likely Cipro will kill me by making my blood cancer untreatable. It’s progressed badly in the 7 months since one pill of Cipro.

    I put my affairs in order to work on my next novel before Cipro. Now at least most of my affairs will be in order if I die.

    There are two pages that helped me:
    This is a must-read book for those hurt.

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