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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 11/15/17

Cipro and Life Altering Side Effects

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Message Nancy Gretzinger

Cipro is a popular broad-based spectrum antibiotic widely used by many doctors to treat bacterial infections like sinus infections, uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and bronchitis. It is part of the fluoroquinolones(FQ) family that includes generic ciprofloxacin (Cipro), gemifloxacin (Factive), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), norfloxacin (Noroxin), and ofloxacin (Flexing).

In Jay S Cohen, MD book, How We Can Halt the CIPRO and LEVAQUIN Catastrophe -- The Worst Medication Disaster in U.S. History, states "indiscriminate prescribing highly potent "big gun" antibiotics for everyday minor infections such as sinusitis, sore throats, or bladder infections is unnecessary and medically unsafe. Antibiotics such as penicillin prevent bacteria from multiplying until they die. FQs kill bacteria outright. Drugs designed to injure the genetic structure of bacteria and thereby kill them. Further study needs to be undertaken to ensure that FQs did not also injure human DNA. Strains of many bacteria now resistant to antibiotics, including FQs are emerging at a rapid pace."

What many doctors and patients don't know is that the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has issued many warning and communications about Cipro since 2008 up until 2016. These warnings have progressively added more side effects and suggested restricted use.

In 2008, the FDA required a boxed warning, the most serious type of warning, to be added to the medication package inserts available at pharmacies, alerting patients of the risk of tendon damage and rupture. Tendons are tough cords of tissue that connects muscles to bones. The FDA acknowledged in its upgraded warning on FQs in 2008 that "Fluoroquinolones exert a toxic effect not only on tendons but also on cartilage, bone and muscle" (referenced Physicians' Desk Reference, 62nd ed. (Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, 2008).

Because of the risk of worsening symptoms for those with myasthenia gravis (a disease that weakens muscles) the FDA added this to the Boxed Warning in August 2013. In Cohen's book, he mentions a woman died after taking one pill. Her medical chart had reference to her myasthenia gravis that was overlooked by her doctor.

In 2013, the FDA released a new warning, reports Cohen, about peripheral neuropathies: If a patient develops symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, the fluoroquinolones should be stopped. and the patient should be switched to another non- fluoroquinolone antibacterial drug unless the benefit of continued treatment with a fluoroquinolone outweighs the risk. Peripheral neuropathy is a nerve disorder occurring in the arms and the legs. Symptoms include pain, burning, tingling, numbness, weakness, or a change in sensation to light touch, pain, or temperature, or the sense of body position. It can occur at any time during treatment with a fluoroquinolone and can last for months to years after the drug is stopped or may be permanent. Patients using fluoroquinolone who develop systems of peripheral neuropathy should tell their healthcare professional right away.

Lindsey R. Baden, M.D., an infectious disease physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, and a member of the November 2015 FDA panel. "Fluoroquinolones play an important role in treating serious infections such as those caused by bacteria that are resistant to other types of antibiotics," says Baden. But in the case of less severe illnesses such as a mild bacterial sinus infection or uncomplicated bladder infection, the drugs "should typically be reserved for second-line or even third-line treatment after other antibiotics have failed," says Baden.

May 12, 2016, the FDA drug safety communication advised that fluoroquinolones should be reserved for these conditions only when there are no other options available due to potentially permanent, disabling side effects occurring together. The drug safety communication also announced the required labeling updates to reflect this new safety information.

On Apr 24, 2017, the FDA studied 4,916 people who had taken Cipro. This comprehensive report included most common side effects over time from https://www.ehealthme.com/drug/cipro/side-effects/#print , pain, weight decreased, urinary tract infection, tendonitis, renal failure acute (a condition in which the kidneys are suddenly unable to filter and eliminate waste from the blood, as stated by Mayo Clinic), hives, weight decreased, vomiting, fever, rhabdomyolysis (a serious syndrome due to a direct or indirect muscle injury. It results from the death of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream. This can lead to serious complications such as renal (kidney) failure. (This means the kidneys cannot remove waste and concentrated urine). .webmd.com "- A to Z Guides "- Reference, tremor and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). .ehealthme.com/drug/cipro/side-effects/#print

It's unlikely you get an accurate description of FQ's toxicities from most doctors or pharmacist. Cipro's side effects are indiscriminate- there's no prediction to whom will be affected. Patients appreciate doctors who listen to them, treat them as intelligent human beings and don't dismiss them out of hand.

(Article changed on November 15, 2017 at 23:05)

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Dr. Nancy Gretzinger, Ed. D is a forty year plus retired educator. She taught special education at the preschool and elementary level, held positions at the building and district level and enjoyed rural, urban, suburban and inner-city school (more...)
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