The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a warning that fluoroquinolone antibiotics, taken by mouth or injection, carry a risk for permanent peripheral neuropathy. The safety announcement states:1
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required the drug labels and Medication Guides for all fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs be updated to better describe the serious side effect of peripheral neuropathy.
This serious nerve damage potentially caused by fluoroquinolones may occur soon after these drugs are taken and may be permanent… The topical formulations of fluoroquinolones, applied to the ears or eyes, are not known to be associated with this risk.
Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage in the arms and/or legs, characterized by “pain, burning, tingling, numbness, weakness, or a change in sensation to light touch, pain or temperature, or sense of body position.”
This is not the first warning FDA has posted about this family of antibacterial drugs. In 2008, they posted a black box warning about severe tendon damage. Now having the additional warning for severe and sometimes-permanent nerve damage, there should be NO question in your mind about the danger of these drugs, and I strongly recommend avoiding them if at all possible.
Just Say “Know”
Fluoroquinolones, a class of synthetic antibacterial drugs, are the only types that directly inhibit bacterial DNA synthesis. Several drugs in this class have been taken off the market due to their deadly adverse effects, but six of them remain FDA-approved for use in the United States:
Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) Levofloxacin (Levaquin) Gemifloxacin (Factive) Moxifloxacin (Avelox) Norfloxacin (Noroxin) Ofloxacin (Floxin)
Due to their tremendous health risks, fluoroquinolones should be reserved for treating serious bacterial infections that won’t respond to any other treatment, when the patient is made fully aware of the potential for serious adverse events. Instead, they’re often inappropriately prescribed for mild conditions like sinus, urinary tract and ear infections.
In fact, fluoroquinolones are among the most commonly prescribed antibiotics in the United States. I highly recommend you take pause before filling a prescription for these drugs, especially if you have a “routine infection” that has not been treated by other agents that have a safer side effect profile.
You should not expose yourself to this degree of risk unnecessarily! The dangerousness of fluoroquinolones definitely warrants some serious discourse with your health care provider about whether they are really necessary, versus safer treatment options.
Fluoridated Pharmaceuticals Can Be Extremely Damaging to Your Nervous System
Fluoroquinolones may be the deadliest antibiotics on the market. Besides nerve damage, they have been associated with damage to other body systems, including your musculoskeletal system, eyes and kidneys. What makes these particular drugs so hazardous?
It has to do with the fact that fluoroquinolones are antibiotics whose potency has been “kicked up” by the addition of a fluoride molecule. Fluoride increases permeability into hard-to-penetrate tissues, such as your brain.
Fluoroquinolones are quinolones with fluoride molecules attached—so they penetrate your blood-brain barrier. This ability to penetrate sensitive tissues is what makes fluoride such a potent neurotoxin, able to get into your brain and damage your central nervous system.
In terms of peripheral neuropathy, the FDA was not exactly quick to take action. Twelve years ago Dr. Jay Cohen documented the following fluoroquinolone-related reactions, and as you can see, nervous system problems topped the list.2 Yet it took more than a decade—and many destroyed lives—for the FDA to take action.