Fluoroquinolone Risks: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and Side Effects



Fluoroquinolones are a class of antibiotics that are usually used to treat bacterial infections. They are prescribed for various conditions, including urinary tract, respiratory, skin, and gastrointestinal infections. Fluoroquinolones are available as ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, and norfloxacin. Despite being a popular remedy for treating various infections, fluoroquinolones do have side effects and risks. Some common fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms are tendon ruptures, nerve damage, fluoroquinolone-associated disability (FQAD), or fluoroquinolone toxicity syndrome. Therefore, their use is often reserved for serious bacterial infections when other antibiotics are not suitable.

What Causes Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome

Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome (FTS) is also known as Fluoroquinolone Associated Disability (FQAD) or Fluoroquinolone Associated Neuropsychiatric Disorders (FQND). The exact causes of FTS are not known. However, some of the probable causes include:

  • Direct damage to the cellular structure 
  • Disruption of mitochondrial functions
  • Fluoroquinolone can trigger immune disorders, causing FTS
  • Genetic susceptibility to FTS
  • Prolonged and excessive dosage of fluoroquinolone
  • Age, sex, and underlying health conditions
  • Using fluoroquinolone with other medicines

Ciprofloxacin Side Effects

In the online community, fluoroquinolone toxicity is often described as floxed, which means experiencing adverse effects of using fluoroquinolones. Ciprofloxacin is the most common type of fluoroquinolone used to treat bacterial infections. The common ciprofloxacin side effects are as follows:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarhhea
  • Headache
  • Dizzinessness of lightheadedness
  • Insomnia
  • Skin rashes
  • Long-term joint or muscle pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Photosensitivity
  • Changes in taste
  • Tendon rupture
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Treatment

The side effects of fluoroquinolone can manifest in various ways. Therefore, there is no single way of treatment. Usually, fluoroquinolone toxicity treatment focuses on managing the adverse symptoms. Here are some ways of doing it.

  • Immediately stop the medicines that are causing toxicity.
  • As pain is a common toxicity symptom, a lot of care is taken to control the pain. Pain relievers are often prescribed to treat muscular and joint pains.
  • Antiemetics are given to alleviate nausea and vomiting.
  • Antidiarrheal medications are given for gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea.
  • Physical therapy is suggested for those suffering from tendon damage. Physical therapists often suggest therapies and exercises to improve mobility, flexibility, and strength. 
  • Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are given to those who start suffering from depression and anxiety as a side effect of fluoroquinolone.
  • In extreme cases of depression, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is also advised.
  • Simple pain relievers may not relieve the patients whose pain has become 
  • chronic due to the impact of FTS. These patients may require long-term pain therapy. Some of the common pain management techniques include nerve blocks, acupuncture, and physical therapies.
  • A holistic approach to healing pain and in extreme cases stem cell treatment can be an ideal solution.
  • Patients may also need rest for a longer duration. 
  • Plenty of water and a healthy nutritious diet is also necessary to recover from FTS. 

FDA Recommendations

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises against using fluoroquinolone antibiotics for the treatment of three common infections without complications—acute sinusitis, acute bronchitis, and urinary tract infections (UTI). The agency made this decision because the chances of serious side effects outweigh the benefits for most people. The FDA says fluoroquinolones can be used for other serious infections or for those patients who have no other choice of treatment. 

This might include patients with allergies to other antibiotics or infections caused by hard-to-treat, resistant bacteria. The FDA approved changes to the labels and medication guides of fluoroquinolones taken by mouth or by injection based on patient reports of side effects. The FDA revised the boxed warning, the agency’s strongest, to address these serious safety issues, and updated the patient medication guide. The medication guide is a paper handout that comes with many prescription medicines.

Serious side effects reported to the FDA include an increase in ruptures or tears in the aorta, which is the main artery in the body, significant drops in blood sugar levels, ruptured tendons, pain, “pins and needles” sensations, and depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide and other mental health issues. About half of the patients who had serious side effects from fluoroquinolones said the side effects began after the first or second dose.

The symptoms of FTS can last longer than a year and may turn chronic. Therefore, medical practitioners should prescribe fluoroquinolones cautiously and only when absolutely required. Even though most symptoms can be treated, some may turn irreversible or have long-term consequences. 

At times, instead of using antibiotics, it is better to take a holistic approach to treat your chronic conditions. Holistic approaches do not have any adverse effect and you can only benefit. Stem cell treatment can be a solution to heal long-term infections. At Regenerative Masters, we take a holistic approach to healing any kind of chronic pain. We evaluate and treat the root cause of the problem, allowing the body’s natural healing process to take over. 

Our team of healthcare experts is here to assist you in finding the ideal treatment for your chronic pain. We have the necessary resources to help you heal your body and mind. If you’ve been diagnosed with a long-term FTS, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help you say goodbye to agony and live a pain-free life.

You can send your details to info@regenerativemasters.com or call us at (612) 800-5096.