A RECENT EMAIL CONCERNING
The Flouroquinolone class of ANTIBIOTICS are valued by the medical community because they are considered to be 'broad spectrum' antibiotics. This means that they kill all bacteria --- including the good bacteria that make up 80% of your body's Immune System. Unbeknownst to many, this class of antibiotics is not new, having been around since the early 1980's. Although the first tendon-related side effects of the drug were reported almost immediately after its release in 1983, tendon problems are becoming almost ubiquitous with this class of drug (HERE or HERE). Interestingly enough, all antibiotic use is associated with Tendinopathy, but Cipro and other similar-class antibiotics doubles the risk to approximately 1 in every 250 people taking them --- an ASTOUNDING NUMBER when you consider the number of people regularly taking these drugs here in the US.
The thing that is so sad about all of this is that according to organizations like the Infectious Disease Society of America, the American College of Physicians, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the most common use of antibiotics is for illnesses that are almost always viral in nature (HERE). Although information continues to pour forth telling doctors to change their prescription habits (HERE), the most common reasons that doctors prescribe antibiotics continues to be Upper Respiratory Infections (URI's), SINUS INFECTIONS, Sore Throats and Bronchitis ---- health conditions that are caused by viruses approximately 9 times out of 10 (HERE).
The thing about Viral Infections (like the vast majority of bacterial infections) is that they are self-limiting. This means that in 'healthy' people, the body's Immune System takes care of these infections just fine without any outside help (excepting homemade chicken soup). Taking antibiotics for a viral infection will not only not help you get better faster, they will actually weaken (destroy might be a better word) your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to the next infection --- an infection that you will undoubtedly be prescribed antibiotics for. Do you see a viscous cycle beginning to spin? Sickness ----> Antibiotics -----> Weakened Immune System -----> More Sickness ----> More Antibiotics -----> A Further Weakened Immune System -----> Still More Sickness ----> Even More Antibiotics -----> An Incredibly Weak Immune System -----> Repeat Ad Infinitum.
HOW DANGEROUS ARE CIPRO AND OTHER FLOUROQUINOLONE ANTIBIOTICS?
For anyone who has been through a Cipro-induced nightmare, the prognosis is iffy to say the least. A recent study by Drs Khaliq and Zhanel published in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease says that although these tendon weaknesses / injuries occur in an average of 8 days exposure to the antibiotics, they take anywhere from 2 to 20 months to heal. But the truth is, if you rupture an Achilles Tendon (the most common site of antibiotic-induced tendon rupture), it may "heal" but it will never be the same. And as you may have already guessed, the Achilles is not the only place this sort of tendon damage is occurring. Antibiotic-induced tendon damage has also been shown to affect the Rotator Cuff, Hands / Fingers (including the thumb), as well as the Knees.
HOW COMMON IS THIS PROBLEM OF ANTIBIOTIC-INDUCED TENDON DAMAGE?
In doing the research for this Blog Post, I came across a POST by Dr. Matt Mintz. Mintz's column was published in response to him finding out about the "Black Box" warnings that were to required by the FDA for drugs like Cipro. He essentially poo pooed the whole thing, saying that, "these problems are not life threatening" and then referred to the number of people injured as, "a ridiculously low number if one considers the millions and millions of prescriptions that have been written for quinolone antibiotics such as Cipro". The interesting thing about his post, however, was the rabid backlash he received from the general public. As I write this, there are 144 comments at the end of his blog post --- most of them from people who would like to have a firm face-to-face with the good doctor over his idea that tendon-based side effects are neither widespread nor serious.
If your doctor prescribes you Cipro or one of the other similar antibiotics, think twice about having that prescription filled (truthfully, run like the wind). Otherwise you may be sending me a letter similar to Randy's. As you may have noticed from our VIDEO TESTIMONIALS on Tendinosis, I successfully help lots of people with various TENDINOPATHIES. However, I really do not quite know where to start as far as helping people who have been damaged by Cipro. If you have a good solution, post it. For more information on this topic, visit CIPRO IS POISON.