I took Levaquin for a lung infection about 6 months ago

by Mo
(Fairfax, Virginia)

I am a very active, (Degree in Personal Training and Nutrition) 49 year old, female with sudden onset of severe joint pain (tendinitis) in both elbows, knees and hips.

I also have some pain in both shoulders. I was recently diagnosed with a labial tear in the left hip. The pain is severe! Even holding a cup in the left hand is too painful for that elbow.

I have always been in great shape, so this is devastating! I eat a high protein (fish and chicken), low fat diet, little to no processed foods, lots of bright colored veggies and fruits. I stick to whole grains and supplement with whey protein, Omega 3 and 6, CLA, BCAA, Glutamine and Glucosamine.

The onset of tendinitis started about three months ago, about three months after taking Levaquin. Other than the Levaquin, what else could cause these symptoms and is it possible for the reaction to be so delayed?


Joshua Answers:

Hi Mo.

Sorry to hear that.

What else could it be besides Levaquin?

From how you've describe it, I can only think of a couple unlikely options that would cause that big of a pain and damage response.

1. A drastic nutritional deficiency (which Levaquin happens to cause). Those don't naturally happen that fast no matter how you look at it. 3 months going from fine to not just 'in pain' but 'damaged' only happens from a significant external factor.

2. Gluten intolerance. Causes all sorts of problems. This is actually a lot more likely, due to the nutritional deficiency and adrenal fatigue etc it causes, but I'd have to ask more questions about your health etc. Joint pain, yes, muscle pain, yes, torn labrum....not so much.

And, what you describe matches thousands of other Levaquin descriptions.

Why a 3 month delay between taking Levaquin and symptoms? Is that possible?

Yes, it's possible
and happens.

The best answer I have for that is: Your body was very healthy and it compensated/adapted/fought off the negative factors of the side effects. Levaquin did what it did, but you were able to tread water physically until all the negative factors started dragging you under.

Said another way, the ecology of your body was a clear flowing stream. Now it's becoming more and more a stinky, boggy marsh. The body doesn't work very well in those conditions, and when the body doesn't work very well, it doesn't feel very good.

Probably you had the tear in the hip joint before you felt any actual pain.

Now you're stuck in a dynamic where your body is not detoxing effectively, your body is creating A LOT of metabolic waste product, your body doesn't have the nutritional building blocks it needs to optimally perform various important tasks, etc.

Normal Tendonitis is not big deal, easily fixable.

Levaquin doesn't cause Tendonitis per se, it causes a much deeper systemic issue.

More questions, more answers.

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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Comments for I took Levaquin for a lung infection about 6 months ago

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May 22, 2013
Degrading chronic tendonitis from Levaquin and Cipro?
by: Ouch

I was prescribed Levaquin for an alleged kidney infection in 2009 (it's now 2013). In addition, I have been prescribed cipro at least twice in the past 8 years.

When on the Levaquin, I experienced joint and tendon pain all over. I told my dr. I was concerned, especially having read the "black box" warning on the drug. She dismissed my concerns saying that was a rare side effect.

I have been an extremely active person for years, including rigorous self-defense, running and hot yoga. In the past 3 years or so, I have been diagnosed with tendonitis in both shoulders, elbow, hand, and feet, and have had a chronic, sometime acute pain in my knee that is likely tendon based. (MRI shows no significant tears- ortho dr. wanted to do exploratory surgery).

PT has not helped with one shoulder, and in the past 5 months I've had two flare ups where I have tendon pain in several places at once.

Dr.s attribute it to overuse, but can't explain why some parts of me that I don't use much would have tendon problems.

Tested negative for fibromyalgia and other auto-immune diseases. Changed my diet to eliminate wheat (most of the time) and made a drastic cut in amount of sugar. Stopped eating soy and curtailed other foods that are thought to cause inflammation.

For some reason nobody bothered to ask if I'd taken quinolone drugs.

I read something recently about the connection and called the rheumatologist I last saw. She said my chronic tendon issues could very well be from the drugs.

So, has anyone else experienced a chronic degradation like this with all over pain? It's only the last year I've started having these "flare ups." It's impacting my life tremendously and I'm frustrated as hell.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Ouch.

The problem with vague, non-obvious problems (get hit by a car, doctors know exactly what to do...slow onset pain/problem with no identifiable cause (like a nail sticking out of your skull)....not so much.

Regardless of the lead up, you're where you're at now.

Yes, absolutely people can and do have delayed onset of symptoms of levaquin.


May 22, 2013
Joshua Replies to Ouch - Degrading chronic tendonitis from Levaquin and Cipro?
by: The Tendonitis Expert


There are a variety of reasons for this, including your body's nutritional status, overall health and vitality, etc.

One likely explanation for a slow onset of delayed levaquin and/or cipro symptoms is due to one of the prime actions of the fluoroquinolone mechanism:

Magnesium deficiency.

Fluoroquinolones massively deplete the body of magnesium. Some bodies more than others, it just all depends.

So let's imagine for a moment that your body was depleted of magnesium. Either a lot or a little, but you didn't notice, but your body DID. So your body compensates as much as it can, like bailing water out of a sinking ship. It does it's best as long as it can, then it starts to fail, and you start to feel it.

Magnesium insufficiency/deficiency is not the kind of thing that time can heal. So no amount of rest will fix this.

Maybe you eat well, but the proof is in the pudding, and you went from 'fine' to 'hurting'.

Hopefully getting enough Magnesium into you will help your body work optimally again and the pain will go away.

It's generally more complex than that, but sometimes it's just that simple.

May 23, 2013
Research on Magnesium and Tendonitis
by: Ouch

Funny you just wrote this reply. I have not stopped doing research on all this and last week found some anecdotal evidence suggesting tendon problems may sometimes be attributable to magnesium deficiency.

So I got some magnesium citrate and tried 600mg. Nothing. Except vivid dreams and upset stomach. Went down to 400mg and been taking it for 4 days or so. Unfortunately, I've noticed no difference, and from what I've read of magnesium deficiency, most people notice a difference almost immediately. I'll keep taking it for a while to see if there's any difference, but not holding my breath.

I do want to note that there does not appear to be any clinical research to support the theory that magnesium deficiency contributes to or causes tendonosis or tendonitis.

I'm also now starting on a silica supplement as a last ditch effort. I've taken it before and if nothing else, it seemed to make my eyelashes much longer. (unfortunately, when I stopped the biosil, my eyelash length decreased again.).


Joshua Comments:

Hi Ouch.

1. Some people are more irritated by Magnesium Citrate than others. I don't have a problem with it, some do.

So for your next bottle of magnesium try something other than citrate, and of course something other than oxide.

Also, shoot for a tolerance level across an entire day, as opposed to how much you can take at once. For instance, try 300mg at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You'll get a higher total in across a longer time period.

2. 400mg a day isn't all that much, I wouldn't expect that you, suffering from the side effects of Levaquin and Cipro, -would- notice anything from 400mg/day, for only 4 days.

It's Just. Not. Enough.

3. You said "from what I've read of magnesium deficiency, most people notice a difference almost immediately".

There are a variety of different symptoms of magnesium insufficiency/deficiency. It depends on what one has going on, and it depends on how much one takes, and various other factors (do you have enough of the vitamin that is required for the body to utilize Magnesium?)

And tendonitis isn't exactly a symptom of magnesium deficiency. Lack of magnesium affects other factors than then cause tendonitis symptoms and tendonosis.

Also, and this is a very importand concept, you don't have Tendonitis. You have Levaquin Tendonitis. These are two VERY DIFFERENT ANIMALS.

You'll find that doctors have little to no clue about why you hurt, and even less about what to do about it. They'll treat it like regular tendonitis (which is doomed to fail), and generally won't admit the possibility that Fluoroquinolones could possibly do such a thing.

"Gee, why do you hurt somewhere you're not doing repetitive motion..." *scratches their head in bemusement, and then decline to investigate and find any kind of answer*


May 23, 2013
Joshua Replies to Ouch - Research on Magnesium and Tendonitis
by: The Tendonitis Expert

4. Research is a funny thing. I agree, there's not a lot of research specifically on tendonitis. But there's not a lot of research on A LOT of topics. Specifically to Mangesium and Tendonitis this is partly because western medicine pretty much doesn't believe in the value of nutrition in connection to health. Even though there's tons of reasearch proving it.

Adequate levels of Vitamin D reduces the incidence of breast cancer by 85%. But I don't see doctors or the AMA rushing to make sure their patients have adequate levels.

High dose Vitamin C via IV reduces post-surgery healing times DRAMATICALLY, but, for instance, the surgeon laughed at me when I said we (my gal friend having cancer surgery the next day) wanted Vit C IV during the surgery.

I have some complaints in regards to this topic, as you may well imagine.

Having said that, let's just say that there is NO research on magnesium and tendonitis.

Let's instead look at the function of Magnesium in the body (muscle function, muscle regulation, muscle tone, nervous system function, etc).

Let's look at the mechanism of fluoroquinolones like Levaquin and Cipro: = massive depletion of magnesium, kill off of of mitochondria in connective tissue cells, potential damage to connective tissue DNA.

Let's look at the semi-famous research where they took beagles (dogs) and gave them Levaquin, and measured/studied the tendon damage the dogs experienced. I had to stop reading that research....

Poor puppies....

Anyhoo. Let's say for argument's sake that there is no research linking Magnesium to tendonitis symptoms. Let's instead look at what causes tendonitis symptoms:

* too tight muscles (can't relax due to lack of magnesium)

* overactive nervous system (can't relax due to lack of magnesium)

* calcium build up/calcium expression (the body expresses calcium when there's not enough magnesium)

* decreased circulation to muscle and tendon due to the 'half squeezed sponge' effect, hard time getting nutrition in, hard time getting waste product etc out


Taking fluoroquinolones like Cipro and Levaquin causes muscle pain, tendon pain, nerve pain, tendon degeneration, etc. Go ahead and ask a doctor why it does that. They won't know. Which is unfortunate, and should be criminal.
I'm not a doctor, and I know.

How do I know? Because there's tons of information out there, though admittedly it might not be where you think it is. Research levaquin, research fluoroquinolones that have been taken off the market due to the damage they caused, research the Lipitor patent that includes magnesium to prevent the muscle ache and pain lipitor causes, the function and mechanism of magnesium in the body, the mechanism of muscle function, etc etc.

I can't think of a way to wrap this up eloquently, so I'll just stop here, and we'll go from there.

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