Norfloxacin nightmare

by James
(Sydney, Australia)

I was prescribed norfloxacin to tackle a bad case of food poisoning. The initial 2 pills bought about no side effects, but within 3 hours of taking the third pill I felt that something was not right. My arms and legs were tingling like crazy and so was my face.

I thought that it could be due to stress or anxiety so forced myself to go to bed. The next morning the tingling had eased but my hands and feet were still feeling like electrical current was passing through them. I never took another does of norfloxacin.

Within the next few days I began experiencing joint pains, pains in tendons all over my body-but particularly my wrist and ankles. 2 months have passed and I've also developed twitching on my forearms and thighs with pain in the back of my knees.

I've seen 2 doctors who attributed the symptoms to anxiety or overuse of muscles/RSI and prescribed rest and relaxation. I'm 34 year old male who is otherwise fine and without problems before these events. I'm now using magnesium oil and tablets but so far I have not felt much benefit. In fact the twitch in my legs seems to be worse after the oil.

It's been 2.5 months now and the pains and limb weakness are still there which in itself causes stress which makes it worse. Now considering seeing specialist physio for wrist and ankle problems which will undoubtedly cost me a small fortune in shock wave treatment fees.

These medications are dangerous and should only be used when there is no alternative option. When I complained to my Doctor that Norfloxacin had not made me feel well he immediately prescribed a different antibiotic from a different class. The use of a Fluoroquinolone (FQ) antibiotic was never required.

Clearly more needs to be done to limit their use to cases where they are necessary. I'm in Sydney, Australia and there is no local literature or forums on this topic.


Joshua Answers:

Hello James.

As you've experienced, Fluoroquinolones antibiotics like Levaquin and Cipro and Avelox and Norfloxacin can be bad news.

It's not regular Tendonitis, not even close.

See: What Is Tendonitis

Fluoroquinolones have a very mechanical effect on the
body and then they're out of the system. But the system has been thrown out of whack, and in most cases stays out of whack, and can maintain or get worse, over time.

And for very good reason. An effective Levaquin Tendonitis Treatment is required. Levaquin is the worse, statistically, but Norfloxacin can cause the exact same side effects.

It's unfortunate that your doctors don't have a clue how to effectively treat you. And they gave you a Fluoroquinolone for food poisoning? Were you dying? Was there some huge bacterial infection putting you at risk for something other than feeling bad and dehydration?

Maybe it was worth the risk, maybe not, I don't know enough to really say.

What I can for sure say, though, is that Rest and relaxation have no hope of curing Norfloxacin toxicity.

Personally I wouldn't spend any money on extracorporeal shock wave therapy. If it's really just ultrasound, it's not going to do you any good.

If it's hardcore shockwave treatment that requires local anesthesia, I HIGHLY suggest that you do NOT do that. Your tissue and system is not healthy and will likely respond VERY poorly to the highly percussive nature. Bad idea. Or at least, it's a bad enough idea that I wouldn't risk it, were it me.

These two pages may be relevant for you:

How Much Magnesium Is Too Much?

Ciprofloxacin For A Prostate Infection


1. How much Magnesium are you taking?

2. What kind?

3. What else are you doing for self care?

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 Norfloxacin nightmare

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Apr 24, 2013
Food Poisoning?
by: Wayne

Are you forgetting the fact that you went to the doctor in the first place because there was something wrong? Was it food poisoning? Did you find out what kind of food poisoning it was? A bacterial intestinal infection, toxicity exposure, allergic reaction? Did you give any consideration to the realistic possibility that the 'food poisoning' resulted in the subsequent problems. This sounds like a false correlation; you took some pills and then you got sick. Please remember that you were sick before you took the pills.


Joshua Comments:

Those are good questions Wayne. And the sickness that a person takes antibiotics for, and the reasons they got sick in the first place, are definitely relevant factors to the conversation.

And, fluoroquinolones have a long standing history and are well known for MESSING a person up. So 'you took some pills and you got sick' is a very realistic and possible scenario when talking about fluoroquinolones like Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Norfloxacin, etc.

Feb 03, 2015
me too
by: diane

same dosage and same effects. i was given it for cystitis 3 days ago. after 3 doses i woke up with severe leg pains. the literature states side-effects of this drug is tendonitis for the over 60's. i have had no sleep with the pain and walking hurts.

Feb 17, 2015
by: Dom

I had taken also 3 doses and had all day yesterday shooting pain in finger joins that just comes and goes at random, very very painful.

Was standing in the bus holding a rain and as I moved something cracked with a lot of pain in the wrist today I have bruise on that spot. Really need to look what is causing it. Im in a lot of pain in my arms, this made my rhabdo recovery much worse.

People who promote some e-books, come on. I never understand when someone is trying to make money off people who suffer. There has been a lot of shams with anxiety e-books that promise to cure people. I never trust before I see any result. If I see that I happily pay for it.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Dom.

Do doctors try to make money from people that suffer?

Is the doctor that gave you the flouroquinolone antibiotic going to treat you for free?

Did you demand proof or a guarantee from your doctor that the treatment would work before taking the prescription?

Feb 17, 2015
more info on my norfloxacin nightmare
by: Diane

I complained to the doctor who prescribed it - a warning had been issued by the FDA in 2008 if I remember correctly. He said my pains were not due to the antibiotics but caused by the weather!

Following this episode I took another antibiotic, one much milder Clarithromycin. However it flared up the tendonitis in the legs and feet. I wonder if I am stuck with these pains?


Joshua Comments:

YOur doctor blamed your symptoms on the weather?

Wow, that's some serious witch doctory going on there.

I'd love for you to ask him for the evidence upon which he based that diagnosis!

May 12, 2015
What causes the neck clicking and back cracking after taking Avelox??
by: Enkel

I have been floxed from using simultaneously two fluoroquinolones Avelox + Noroxin for 10 days given by a lazy doctor for UTI.

He told me that Noroxin is not antibiotic but just disinfectant. I have been two months out.

My symptoms are joint cracking without pain except back pain when i sit too long , brain fog, fatigue. I feel like i have "loose screw" in my body.

My doctor said that it is a good for your bones to crack because you are young. They are ignorant because this is a different type of cracking. This is a non-healthy cracking like snapping. But who understand?

What causes the neck clicking and back cracking? Tendons or cartilages? Sometimes the neck make a noise like sand.

I hope the cracking or clicking of neck are not bulged discs caused from fluroquinolone. This is my concern.

Does this class of antibiotics causes herniated disks?

Thank you


Joshua Comments:

Hi Enkel.

1. Run, run far and fast, away from that incompetent doctor.

Noroxin (norfloxacin) is a disinfectant? What?!? It's definitely an antibiotic, because that's what Norfloxacin is: an antibiotic.

2. Fatigue, brain fog, snapping/popping from muscles that are too tight, those are symptoms of magnesium insufficiency/deficiency.

One of the primary mechanisms of fluoroquinolones is that they deplete the body of magnesium.

3. Fluoroquinolones don't directly cause disc damage, but all in all, they definitely can help quickly cause disc damage and all the dysfunction surrounding that dynamic.

Which basically looks like muscles can't relax and get stuck tight, and that compresses joints, so when you move they have to 'jump' to get range of motion, and that is the clicking/cracking/etc.

May 14, 2015
Norfloxacin- warning approved by FDA
by: Diane Reid

Listening to experiences and symptoms of others I thought this link might be helpful. Approved by the F.D.A

It mentions the word 'tendon' so many times and talks about them snapping, so to speak. Not only were my legs affected - my neck and shoulders, lower back, and knees ( appeared enormous), my fingers ( unable to open my hands in the morning) were affected.

I will never forget that agonizing pain in the early hours when trying to sleep, it crept across my back slowly like burning needles.

Like pain of torture.

Jan 12, 2016
by: Janice

December 2015, shortness of breath and lethargic 3 months post right knee replacement surgery.

Ruled out pulmonary emoboli with lung scan and found pneumonia.

Prescription given for Levofloxicin (Levequin) 500 mg. once daily for 10 days which I completed full prescription.

Day two getting up from bed, shooting pain started in left foot. As days progressed on medication, severe pain in both legs around calves and knees; shooting pain left hand to index finger; left upper arm. Pain progressed to areas of neck. Now also have pain in right upper arm.

As of yesterday when sitting pain shooting from knee area to thigh of left leg. 3 weeks since last dose of Levequin and pain remains and increasing. So difficult to stand from sitting position each and every time, difficult walking for any distance. Difficulty carrying light grocery bags or purse. Difficulty getting to sleep to find comfortable position and difficulty staying asleep.

On day 2 of Levequin, I lost hearing in left ear. Been put on Pulmocort nebulizer for that symptom without effect, so I have stopped this med.

Does Levequin induced tendinopathy symptoms improve as time progresses?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Janice.

Symptoms can improve with time but A. often don't especially the worse the symptoms are and B. I certainly wouldn't plan on it/hope for it, I'd get to work actively trying to reverse the mechanisms causing the symptoms.

In my experience, of people doing 'nothing' for self care, symptoms either go away within a year, or they don't (meaning they last a long time/forever).

Having said that, long lasting symptoms aren't necessarily a function of 'permanent damage', they're more a function of, the way Fluoroquinolones like Levaquin affect the body, the body for the most part can't recover with out help. It's not like stepping on a nail, it's more like massive nutritional depletion (unless you put that nutrition back in, the body doesn't have much of a chance).

May 07, 2017
Would I feel better, Dead?
by: Suffering still

Its May 2017 and I have suffered daily pain, numbness and sensitivity since taking 400 x 2 a day for a week given by my Dr. for urine infection.. did not even send me to Lab. Symptoms started about ten days later.. burning back, legs, feet and hands with tingling....body jolts. I am in my mid seventies and should not have been given this life or death drug. I had other medical issues such as ibs d, migraines etc.

Now i deal with these illnesses plus the Norflox damage. For the cheap cost of the drug my life is not the same and never will be.

I will never forget what this lazy Dr did , nor the drug companies, FDA and Health Canada.

Karma, I hope.

May 07, 2017
Bioflavenoids and tendonitis
by: Diane

No sure whether its flavanoids or bio-flavanoids? - come with Vitamin C. They help heal tendonitis.I was almost crippled with the pain in my legs. I was told to eat berries every day and the tendonitis did settle eventually, within a couple of weeks there was a difference.Vitamin C is a great healer too, so I took large doses of that too.


Joshua Comments:

'Flavinoids, 'bioflavinoids', same thing.

Vitamin C is important for connective tissue health and repair (and immune system function, and is an antioxidant, and etc).

So if there was damage, the the Vit C can help that heal.

It can also help decrease pain/symptoms by helping to decrease the side effects of oxidative stress that Norfloxacin causes.

May 08, 2017
Magnesium also aided a quick recovery for me.
by: Diane

When I reacted initially to Norfloxcin, my poor circulation and tendinitis lasted about 2 or 3 months. Not long.

I understand that this range of antibiotics leaches magnesium from the body. I had been taking chelated Magnesium for many years on a daily basis for bone health. Magnesium relaxed my muscles, as well as other benefits,and taking 600mg daily with sufficient calcium, I believe contributed toward my speedy recovery alongside the daily consumption of raspberries/strawberries or blueberries.

So that may be why I had a quick recovery in 3 months. I cannot recommend any other form of Magnesium for the Muscles. Magnesium Oxide, for example, is for the kidneys..

N.B Magnesium should never be taken without Calcium. It can give you a bad reaction. recommend you Google, or seek advice about what, when and how before taking it.


Joshua Comments:

Regular intake of magnesium absolutely could/would decrease the downsides of taking a fluoroquinolone.

As far as calcium, we generally get enough from our diets but we can't use it unless we have enough Magnesium and Vitamin D.

Is there something specific about the N.B. Magnesium (Nature's Bounty?) that would cause a reaction unless taken with Calcium?

May 09, 2017
For Joshua magnesium with calcium supplementation if vegan
by: Diane

If you do not eat dairy foods, only then do you need to take calcium citrate supplementation. those who do not eat any dairy will be tense and awake all night - thats the reaction. I am told by 2 vegans it was a nightmare for them. they would never take magnesium again! Intravenous Magnesium causes dreadful side-effects, vomiting, headaches etc.

But I am talking supplements here which was recommended by a medical doctor in the UK who was also suffering CFS. She said the ratio of calcium to Magnesium is 2:3. Dairy eaters need not bother themselves with any of this.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Diane.

That's.....pretty sketchy info/advise (pretty good article though, thanks).

A vegan with smart food intake (far too many don't eat well, granted) still shouldn't need to supplement calcium.

And if they do, and they're supplementing more than 600mg/day of magnesium, then that 2/3 would be too much (in my opinion).

That tenseness thing isn't from not enough calcium, it's from not enough magnesium. Those vegans are setting themselves up for various problems by swearing off magnesium forever.

IV magnesium can cause those side effects you mention, but A. primarily don't and B. can be super beneficial.

Even vegans should be getting enough calcium from
a (good) vegan diet, but across the board the body can't utilize the calcium if there's not enough Magnesium and Vit D available in the body (which is important to keep in mind when evaluating research and theories and anecdotal experiences).

You are of course the final arbiter of your nutritional intake, so do what you think is right (and there's trial and error/scientific method, where you try some things and see how you feel, and adapt as appropriate).

Jun 16, 2017
Then what is an alternative?
by: Jordan

Ive seen a lot of complaints all over the web about fluoroquinolones but not once, have I ever seen an alternative form of medicine offered for someone who has an illness that needs Norfloxacin or Cipro.

I am not trying to be rude but I am getting frustrated searching the web for alternatives. The reason I'm asking is because I'm in Thailand and have had diarrhea for 7 straight days with stomach cramps. I was given Norfloxacin to get rid of the bacteria causing it. What other choices do i have?

FYI Escherichia coli, followed by Campylobacter jejuni, Shigella spp., and Salmonella spp. Enteroaggregative and other E. coli pathotypes are the most commonly found bacteria to cause my symptoms in thailand.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Jordan.

1. "but not once, have I ever seen an alternative form of medicine offered for someone who has an illness that needs Norfloxacin or Cipro."

Fluoroquinolones aren't the only type of antibiotic to fight bacterial infections.

Some are better at combatting specific bacterial infections than others.

2. The doctors prescribing your Norfloxacin don't even know why you are having diarrhea, they've just prescribed a 'general' and powerful and 'shotgun' approach (fluoroquinolones).

3. The doctors can do a culture of your poo and find out exactly what you have going on and which specific antibiotics will work best for exactly what you have.

This test is called a 'culture and sensitivity'. This should be done on every infection (but isn't), meaning doctors are just guessing and prescribing a powerful shotgun approach antibiotic and hoping for the best.

4. You probably do but very well may not even have a bacterial infection. There's other things that can cause ongoing diarrhea.

Your doctors didn't check or investigate. Norfloxacin is powerful and potentially damaging....which if it was a life or death bacterial infection very one could be very well advised to do what you gotta do and take the Norfloxacin.

But if it's not a bacterial infection at all then a FQ antibiotic is a terrible idea, and if it's bacterial but not life or death, then it may or may not be worth the risk, especially if there are other classes of antibiotics available.

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