My Quinolone Antibiotic Nightmare

by John

I was poisoned by a quinolone antibiotic (just 2 pills!) over 4 years ago when I was 30. I had no problems whatsoever with tendons or joints before that.

The strangest thing is that my tendons and joints were not so badly affected right after when I was poisoned (It was my CNS that was mainly hit and I still haven't fully recovered from that). There *was* some stiffness and pains in achilles tendons and elsewhere but that passed after some months.

The only thing that did not pass was the constant "dry" clicking and cracking of the joints. Actually that has gradually gotten worse. I still have it pretty badly.

Anyway, after the initial tendon problems subsided, I was able to walk normally though I had many other problems from the poisoning that were not related with the tendons/joints.

Then after 3½ years (!) it hit me again - and now big time. Actually it felt like I had taken quinolones again (of course I did NOT take them, I would never touch that stuff again). One day, out of the blue, all my tendons and joints started to hurt really badly.

Achilles tendons, knees, shoulders were the worst. They felt stiff, the flexibility was totally gone. Walking became very difficult, I walked like a robot taking short steps. After 3 months or so the pains got unbearable. Many times I collapsed on the floor because the pain behind the knees, in the achilles area and all over the feet was so bad. I had to get a wheelchair.

Now I have been using the wheelchair for about 4 months. I cannot stand at all, let alone walk. I cannot straighten my knees, it feels like everything is tightened up in my body, especially in the feet, calves and knees. I cant move my toes much. Every kind of mild stretching makes it worse, it takes many days to recover from that.

Physical therapy was not a good idea. There is definitely something wrong with the circulation as well because my feet are almost always cold, purple and kind of numb-ish. On the other hand, sometimes they feel very hot!

As you know, the doctors are useless with this. All the blood tests are normal. My skin and muscle biopsies were slightly abnormal but the docs couldn't explain it. Recently I took an EMG and there were some abnormalities in the calf muscles. Haven't taken any MRIs yet so I don't know if there are tears or ruptures. Anyway, this is the quinolones for sure, there is nothing else that can explain all of this.

So far none of the supplements (collagenics, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulphate etc) have helped with this. I will try the bone broth you suggested.

What do you think about a new supplement called UC-II? Another thing I will try is Vitamin C IV.

Thanks for your thoughts.


Joshua Answers:

Hi John.

Quinolones attack connective tissue. Most often (that we know of) it's tendon. But it can and does attack everything. Internal organs, brain, Central Nervous System, etc.

Did you say that the CNS symptoms eventually passed?

1. The collagen supplements, including bone broth, are a support, definitely not a fix. The problem with quinolone cytotoxicity is that it damages the dna. So when tendon/connective tissue grows back, the new tissue is damaged.

Can this be 'fixed'? Nobody knows for sure, but the body is pretty amazing. Keep reading.

2. What you first need to deal with is the Oxidative Stress that results from quinolone poisoning. Thus the Vitamin C IV and Glutathione IV, and other supplements targeting that, like Magnesium, selenium, melatonin, etc.

3. Quinolones can/do make one significantly Magnesium deficient. This accounts for a lot of the 'tightness' and pain. Make sure you're staying at your Tolerance Level for Magnesium intake. See Magnesium Dosage.

4. If you haven't, read up on the Levaquin Tendonitis Treatment page.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Aug 01, 2010
by: John

Hello Joshua,

The CNS symptoms did not pass, they are only slightly better than in the beginning and fluctuate a lot. I have been taking some medications to mask these symptoms but they haven't helped a lot or they have lost their effect quite fast - in fact I think they might have even caused more harm. My plan is to get rid of them slowly.

Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions. Its great that you share information about these dangerous drugs on your site.

Jul 10, 2011
Quinolone Poisoning
by: Richard Schaefer

I was prescribed Levaquin about 5 years ago for a bladder infection. I was 51 at the time.

Within 3 days I couldn't walk up stairs with out significant pain in my ankles and knees. I called my doctor and he said there was no connection and to keep taking the drug.

I had never had a pain in in a joint in my life prior to that and knew it was no coincidence. I went online and was shocked at the amount of information regarding Quinolone damage to connective tissue. I immediately realized I was another victim - among many thousands.

Over the past 5 years I have experienced periods of partial remission - but the pain and stiffness always returns - flaring up in one joint and then another.

A few months ago the pain increased and the remissions have stopped. Now, it's just spreading and becoming more debilitating every day. There is no cure, treatment or hope.

I must stress these side effects are not rare - just under reported or ignored by the medical establishment.

I wouldn't take these these meds again even if it were a life and death situation.... Quinolone is poison.


Hi Richard.

I'll agree with you that doctors have no cure or treatment. But it's NOT true that there's nothing you can do.

The Levaquin Tendonitis Solution ebook

I also very much agree that side effects are under reported and, as in the case of your earlier doctor, unrecognized. And even willfully unrecognized, in that doctors seem to be unwilling to admit that a drug they give out daily could -possibly- have adverse side effects.

It's also unfortunate that we can't sue doctors (like your original doctor) for saying things like 'There's no connection.'

Feb 04, 2012
antibiotics in chicken another possible cause for recurrence of symptoms
by: Mr. G.

Poultry are fed fluoroquinolones to keep them from getting sick in cramped factory farming conditions. Eating poultry can reintroduce these evil antibiotics to the system of an already-floxed person, and a second floxing can be worse than the first.

I was floxed in 2001, and am still not 100% better over 10 years later. After two doses of Levaquin for systemic e. coli and I was hallucinating so badly I luckily stopped taking it at once. The damage was done, however, and got worse for a couple of years before it gradually started getting better. I've been feeling worse again lately, and discovered this information about quinolones in our food supply. Yuk.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Mr. G.

Thanks for sharing.

Yep, there are a lot of 'residual' toxins, poisons, contaminants, etc put into our bodies from our factory farming practics.

Battery raised chickens are, IMHO, highly worth being avoided at all costs.

As you've brought to light, the anti-biotics pumped into factory farmed animals are one of the reasons that I've switched to all organic, pastured meats, eggs, raw milk, etc.

It's worth the extra cost, and often isn't much more expensive at all.

Jun 04, 2012
Nightmare Now Happening
by: Anonymous

I believe I took just one quinolonone antibiotic threw it up and it was still enough to do damage. There must be a natural way to reverse this. I'm a runner and I have lumps on my legs and my joints and tendons are painful. I have never experienced anything like this and I think this is too evil for it not to have happened by pure coincidence. Someone knew what they were doing.


Joshua Comments:

I tend to agree. 'Someone' knows, and
someone' doesn't care.

See the Levaquin Tendonitis page and The Levaquin Tendonitis Solution ebook.

So you just took one dose orally. Tell me more about the history/symptoms.

Apr 02, 2014
Floxed with Levaquin in January, joint pain and tendonitis
by: Melinda

After two rounds of other antibiotics I was given Levaquin. After 4th tablet of 500mg I was unable to walk due to Achilles tendon and plantar fasciitis. I got a headache, joint pain, earache, dizzy, unable to concentrate, nausea, heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, in that order, very quickly. I stopped taking the pills, looked up my prescription and found out about Fluoroquinolone poisoning.

Doctor agreed I'd been floxed when I went to see him the following Monday and gave me a Vit B12 shot. Everything else I've done on my own over the internet.

I've done supplements: Mag, Cal, Vit C, E, B complex, iodine, liquid Zeolite, ice & heat.
As far as I know most of that helps but not sure how much to take for how long.

I started having symptoms a month ago - January 18, was seriously floxed for a week then started to get better.

One month in I'm having another round of joint pain and tendonitis.

From what I've read I'm doing some of the right things, maybe not all.

I'd like to know how much magnesium is best and what else/how much of other supplements support the magnesium.


Joshua Comments:

Hello Melinda. You didn't leave an email address or mark the 'notifications' box, so I hope you happen to find this response.

1. Good news. Sublingual Vit B12 is just as good or better than a B12 cyanocobalamin shot.

2. More magnesium. You need as much as your body needs. See: Magnesium Dosage (will open in a new page) and watch out for 'tolerance level'.

Magnesium depletion is responsible for much if not all of your immediate symptoms. Mag depeltion isn't the whole story, but it's a main theme.

3. I appreciate that you've taken the initiative and done your own investigation etc. That's one of the top three factors necessary for recovery. Along those lines, I suggest that you get The Levaquin Tendonitis Solution ebook, as it collates a lot of research into one spot, with a self care plan.

It gets kind of complex, and giving you tidbits here doesn't do you much justice (for instance, Magnesium requires B6, Vit D requires magnesium, etc).

4. That's awesome your doctor agreed that you'd been floxed. That's a rare occurence..for all the good it's done you. Maybe he'll prescribe a magnesium and/or glutathion IV drip?

Related: Chance Of Recovering From Ciprofloxacin Side Effrects

Feb 16, 2015
Uti Cipro Tendonitis Nightmare
by: Marie

I'm a 64 yr. old female, had a UTI in Dec. 2012 this is the nineth month of terrible pain.

Took Cipro then Levaquin in a three week period, been diagnosed as bursitis then RA now fibromyalga. been on steroids, Savella, Lyrica, Gabapentin.

Steroids helped for a few days but other meds had side effects I could not cope with and they didn't do a thing for the pain. Only thing that helps at all is 800 mg of ibupropen and half a tablet of hydrocodone.

I am still working 40 hrs weekly but now have decided to retire within the next few months. I feel I can no longer go on feeling this way and keep working. It is so draining during the day that most nights I go right to bed when I get home at 6:00.

I have to sleep sitting up with pillows under my arms and it does not give me any good sleep.

I have had a complete body bone scan, a marker test, blood, urine, stool tests, with no results.

The dr, now tells me he thinks the antibiotics did it but can't tell me if I will get any better.

I really don't know what to do, some days I feel I can't take much more of this it has altered my entire life.

If anyone has any real worth while suggestions please respond.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Marie.

The good news is, your doctor admitted that the symptoms are/could be caused by the fluoroquinolone antibiotic. That's a rare occurrence.

The bad thing is, your doctor has no idea how to help you recover. This, unfortunately, is entirely common.

It's been a while since you posted this. Give us an update on where you're at, and we'll go from there.

Feb 16, 2015
Should Have Drank the Cranberry Juice!
by: Maria

I woke up one night with a simple UTI, simple but the most serious I have ever had and I was in more than a little pain. Drove myself to the doctor the next morning where I was prescribed a 5 day twice per day course of Cipro at 500 mg. I should have driven to the grocery store to pick up u sweetened cranberry juice but I never believed it would really work.

I was again in enough pain and discomfort that I took the first pill in the car before getting home.

I only wish that I had waited and took the time to research what the doctor gave me. I take some of the blame because I should have been more proactive. I know I have takes Cipro in the past on at least one other occasion but I do not recall the side effects being as bad.

Symptoms started after the first day. I got a pounding headache that was as bad as I have ever had. I took Advil, not realizing at the time that this was a bad choice. I took it a couple more times over the course of the 5 days on Cipro plus had sushi for dinner the first night because I was wiped out. Hindsight is a bitch.

The stomach cramping, brain fog started soon after. I am a runner and I noticed right away that I could not seem to get enough air into my lungs which scared me since this was never a problem before.

By day 3.5, my side effects were enough to cause me enough alarm that I began doing the research I wish I had done before I took the first pill. I was ready to stop taking it at this point but I stupidly let my husband talk me into finishing the course because it is apparently the worst thing in the world not to finish ALL your medicine when fighting an infection.

I finished it and by the second day post, the stabbing pains in my muscles, stiffness, numbing and tingling in extremities as well as an itchy red rash on my arms began. In addition my right eye will not stop twitching. Pretty stupid of me to have read as much as I did and still continued the last 3 pills.

Ironically, I never felt well in regards to the original infection so I had another culture on day 5 of the Cipro. It did come back negative but I was told beforehand that false negatives sometimes happen when still taking the drug so who knows.

I feel like I have turned a real corner in terms of my health and what it really entails to safeguard it. I am doing a ton of stuff nutritionally and holistically to try to counteract this experience and support my immune system.

I don't know what is in store for me to come but I am trying to turn this negative situation into a positive one by becoming more proactive about my health and questioning EVERYTHING that goes into my body.

Before this, I didn't know Cipro and Levaquin were related but 14 years ago my mother was given Levaquin after sinus surgery and she had a psychotic break. Before taking it she was fine and she was so out of touch she didn't know enough to take herself off it.

Doctors wanted to admit her to the psych unit. I remember yelling at the doctor who told me that the drug was commonly prescribed and that he had never heard of this happening again. Looks like nothing has changed and it absolutely needs to.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Maria.

Cipro strips the body of Magneisum. And magnesium depletion is a huge factor in mental/emotional symptoms including anxiety, brain fog, as well as the actual physical function of the brain.

You didn't leave your email or check the notifications box, so I hope you find this response (and so I'm keeping it short.)

Mar 20, 2015
I Took Quinolones in the Past With No Problems, Then One More Time and BOOM, They Blew Up in My Face
by: Jane

I'd taken a good half dozen courses of quinolone antibiotics over the years with seemingly no ill effects. This led me to ignorantly believe that I was one of those people not susceptible to the side effects. Apparently, I had just not hit my limit yet.

About two and a half months ago, I was prescribed a 10-day treatment of 500 mg. Levaquin once daily for a UTI. On the night I was due to take my 6th pill, I noticed that my left Achilles tendon stung a bit.

I decided not to take the pill, since I was aware the drug could damage tendons.

The next morning, I woke up with severe pain in both Achilles tendons. It felt like someone had poured acid on my heels. I dragged myself back to the doctor who had prescribed the drug. To his credit, he acknowledged that the drug could do this, told me not to take any more of it, and put me on crutches, heel lifts, and braces to protect my tendons. He also prescribed a magnesium supplement.

The first 2 weeks were miserable. I was in severe pain all over with tendons stinging in my feet, knees, back, shoulders, and wrists. I did not get up unless I had to go to the bathroom, and dreaded it every time.

Though the crutches relieved the pressure on my Achilles, which were the worst, they did my back, shoulders, and wrists no favors. One night the pain was so bad, I just cried and got on the floor and crawled.

I saw some improvement in the 3rd-4th week. The rest of my tendons settled down quite a bit with the exception of my feet.

By the 6th week, much of the pain in my feet had subsided. I thought I was getting better, only to one night experience a sharp pain on the bottom of my left heel. There was no bruising, but it was a bit swollen. The next morning, the swelling had gone down, but by that night it was a little swollen again. It went up and down like that for 3 days, then got better.

I went through another longer phase of improvement that made me once again think I was getting better, then a week ago, I experienced a sudden, stinging pain in both of my Achilles that left me praying I'd make it from the bathroom to my bed without my feet snapping off. It was touchy for 5 days, then seemed to improve again.

If my condition is healing, it's definitely not a linear healing. I keep having longer runs of improvement, each followed by a painful setback.

It's 2 and a half months now, and I still can't leave my house. I still can't walk very far without pain, and I'm still on crutches. It's not anywhere near as bad as before, but it's still very crippling and extremely unpredictable.

Trying to stand in one place for any length of time is impossible. 5 seconds of trying to stand still will result in sharp twinges of Achilles pain. Then again, I'm quite wobbly now. There's been some muscle atrophy in my calves and, to a lesser extent, my thighs. I've read that the first muscles to go are the ones that stabilize you.

I've also experienced some mild neuropathies like the occasional involuntary ankle jerk, a strange sensation like bubbling under my skin in the lower extremities, a pins and needles feeling at night in my ankles and wrists that's not painful, and about a half dozen sharper zaps that felt like strong shocks of static electricity and were somewhat painful.

I thank God that I did not take that 6th pill. I almost did, because the pain that first night was so mild. Now I think that if I'd second guessed myself and gone ahead and taken that pill, it would've blown me apart. My advice is, if you, for any reason, must take a quinolone antibiotic, STOP at the first sign of a problem, regardless of how mild it is, and make your doctor give you something else. Better yet, don't take one at all, unless your life depends on it.

These are the supplements I've been taking in addition to the chelated magnesium with calcium that my doctor put me on:

1.) a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement
2.) vitamin C
3.) a probiotic
4.) cranberry juice (sweetened with stevia) 8 oz. twice daily (it's a natural vasodilator that's supposedly good for floxed people)
5.) a can of sardines (with the bones in olive oil) once daily (it's a good source of Omega 3).

I live in Panama, so I don't have access to the huge variety of supplements available in the USA. This is why e.g. I'm getting fish oil from sardines instead of a pill. Currently, I'm avoiding meats, fish, and dairy that could contain quinolone antibiotics. Sardines are an oily fish that are not farmed and are also extremely low in mercury, plus cheap, so they've been a lifesaver.

In addition to that I've been eating lots of fresh veggies and leafy greens, plus fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, olive oil, and a little sea salt.

My questions are:

Is there anything more I could be doing to heal myself?

Are these cycles of improvements and setbacks normal?

Is it a good sign that my cycles of improvement keep lasting longer each time before experiencing a setback, or is there just no rhyme or reason to this?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Jane.

"Is there anything more I could be doing to heal myself?"

Yes. Primarily, you need more magnesium. Get rid of the magnesium with calcium you were prescribed. The amount of mag you'd need to take provides you with WAY too much calcium.

Was the prescribed magnesium 'oxide'?

Also, no magnesium Oxide.

Do you still have any neuropathy pains?

"Are these cycles of improvements and setbacks normal?"

Yes. Completely.

"Is it a good sign that my cycles of improvement keep lasting longer each time before experiencing a setback, or is there just no rhyme or reason to this?"

Yes. Improvement can either be linear or as you describe.

The body is always trying to heal/get to optimal. But when it doesn't have what it needs to do so, it claws it's way there as best it it makes changes, you feel better/get better, but then the reality of the mechanism shows the actual measure of 'health'.

How are your symptoms now?

Apr 14, 2015
Other sources of quinones
by: Ben

I had a minor floxing 5 years ago and I was mostly ok after 2 weeks.

I just spent two months traveling around Latin America. I love chicken especially rotisserie chicken and literally ate it almost every day. Well as I'm sure everyone here knows that taking any type of corticosteroid including topical ones with a quinolone is a bad idea. Well a pharmacist suggested a steroid creme for a rash I had and 5 days into using it BAM woke up and couldn't walk my Achilles hurt so much. I was already familiar with floxing and it's the first thing I thought of

I am absolutely convinced that I got enough antibiotic residue from the food I was eating in Latin America to poison me. I WILL NEVER EAT NON ORGANIC MEAT AGAIN. I am now two weeks into it and dealing with foot Achilles leg arm and hand pain.


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