Stay away from levaquin if at all possible, severe leg and back muscle cramps

by Linda

I was prescribed levaquin for a case of early pneumonia. After the second dose of 750mg I started to have severe leg and back muscle spasms.

My legs at night felt as tho they were in a vice squeezing them harder and harder. I have also noticed vision changes,headaches,joint stiffness and feelings of doom. I went to Urgent care they stopped the Levaquin and gave me soma a muscle relaxor. Now 2 days after stopping the levaquin I now have tendonitis in my right middle finger.

I was wondering why walgreens placed to seperate sheets in with the medication besides the standard print out which talks about tendon rupture but leaves out info on muscle spasms,head aches etc....

I'm an RN and now terrified of this drug!


Joshua Answers:

Linda, you didn't leave your email! I hope you find this response!

Those incredible muscle cramps were from Magnesium deficiency.

Levaquin bonds with magnesium (that's why you're not supposed to take Mag with Levaquin, because it bonds to it and renders it ineffective).

That process can make a person severely Magnesium deficient, resulting in the pain and muscle

If the Urgent Care had, or had gotten you to an ER you could have gotten a Magnesium IV, and you could -very- likely have gotten out of that pain and cramping. And potentially could have avoided any other possible damage from the Levaquin.

Granted, that would probably have nullified the antibiotic properties of the Levaquin antibiotic, so it's a trade off.

While Levaquin Tendonitis is NOT the same thing as regular Tendonitis, magnesium insufficiency is a factor in both fluoroquinolone symptoms and the regular dynamic and a core aspect of the Pain Causing Dynamic.

See: What Is Tendonitis? (Levaquin tendonitis is not regular Tendonitis


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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Jun 15, 2013
Muscle cramps
by: Anonymous

I only took one 500mg pill and I was up all night and never intend to take another one.
Jim in Texas


Joshua Comments:

Hopefully that's just magnesium depletion (which causes anxiety symptoms including insomnia).

Get magnesium, any kind other than magnesium oxide, and start taking it throughout the day. Beware of Tolerance Level.

See: Magnesium For Tendonitis

See: Magnesium Dosage

May 16, 2014
Wife suffering from 5 day course of Levaquin
by: Chris

My wife took a five day course of Levaquin in Dec. 2013 and has been in decline for past 4 1/2 months. Severe tendinitis in legs making it increasingly difficult to walk. She can barely manage to make it through store.

She has twitching throughout her body that is 24/7 and literally driving her crazy. She also has major anxiety and short term memory loss. She has strange sensations in her skin as well.

She is taking magnesium, seeing a homeopath, eating organic, drinking only reverse osmosis water. Any thoughts?

How can we stop twitching? As bad as pain is it is twitching that is driving her insane.

Other ideas? Any info on class action suits? We need to generate better awareness about this poison!




Joshua Comments:

Hi Chris.

I'm sorry to hear about your wife.

I don't know all the specifics, but I know she's not getting enough magnesium into and onto her.

I have a lot of thoughts, but I suggest you get the Levaquin Tendonitis Solution and also/then get on the forum that comes with it (list all her symptoms, history, what you've been trying so far, etc).

I suggest you do that because me telling you a thing or two here isn't of service to your wife. "More magnesium" IS helpful, but there is of course (almost certainly) more to it.

Having said that, MORE MAGNESIUM. She likely needs more than she can get orally, so topical gels, etc. Twitching, memory loss, tendonitis symptoms, etc, is in large part (ultimately) to the massive magnesium depletion caused by fluoroquinolones like Levaquin.

I don't know anything about class action lawsuits (hardly seems worth it), but I've just started to hear some good things about strategies of going after the doctors.

Still, first things first, let's get her out of the bad stage she's in.

Jul 30, 2014
Have Multiple Sclerosis, shocked after being on Levaquin more times than I can count
by: Anonymous

I have been on leviquin more times than I can count.I have MS and unfortunately have been sick with pnuemonia several times over the last few years.

Last round of it I had horrific leg finger and most recently shoulder pain. I just chalked it up to MS . The shoulder the doctor took more seriously after many tests determined severe tendonitis, the pain was off the charts.

At least a 1/2 dozen er visits. And loss of the majority of use of my left arm I remembered in the paper work from pharmacy something about one of the drug I took had tendonitis as a possible side affect . I thought it was a different one but this one popped up. It shoulld be onn the saftey lable on bottle. Not buried in a stack of stuff the Pharmacy gives you.

Is the magnesium a short term fix or permanent solution? Thank you for the info..


Joshua Comments:

Magnesium is both a short term and long term requirement.

Part of how Levaquin causes so much pain and problem is that it depletes the body of magnesium.

You're body can't work without adequate amounts of magnesium.

Magnesium isn't the whole picture, of course, but it's a REQUIREMENT if one wants to start recovering from bad and lasting fluoroquinolone side effects.

It should be criminal that doctors don't pay attention to this....but that's just my opinion.

Apr 02, 2015
by: Anonymous

Took 500 mg levaquin once a day by fourth day was calling Dr....advised to stop kidding! I had face muscles tingling, muscle spasms throughout body but mostly in legs and torso area. Emotional rollercoaster up and down. Arms felt tingling and weak......Only praying side effects are gone soon.

Is anyone else have similar experience?

Will never take again. Why would a Dr give this med but not mention the possible side effects?

Please be careful!

May 09, 2015
I thought I was having a stroke!
by: Anonymous

I have taken Levaquin several times for upper respiratory problems each time saying never again to the my doctor.

Last December I had a really bad case of bronchitis, which my doctor said was maybe even pneumonia and prescribed levaqin and predosone, after the third night my chest felt tight, had anxiety and muscle spasms in my legs and back and my I heart felt like it was racing so fast it could jump out of chest and with palpitations.

I thought I was getting ready to have a heart attack and my husband rushed me to the hospital. M

y blood pressure was 178/90, not normal for me.

The ER Doctor checked me out and ask what meds I was taking and I showed him the bottles for the Levaquin and predosone and he said "I don't know why doctors prescribe these kind of antibiotics, they are too strong and shouldn't be used unless as a last resort, throw them away"!

At that point he gave me a new prescription for a different antibiotic and told me my blood pressure should go back down to normal and go home and rest.

And by the way, evidently Levaquin and Predosne are not to be used together! I Never connected the possibility that my ongoing daily and nightly leg muscle twitching (mostly while resting) in my legs might be connected to the Levaquin.

But, I did the muscle spasms, while I was taking it in the past, I had terrible muscle spasms that made my muscles feel like rocks and looked contorted with my toes pulling down.

I Even said something to my doctor about the spasms and he ignored me as always. I have not been back since and do not plan to go back, I think the pharmaceutical companies give doctors kickbacks to prescribe their horrible drugs.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous.

If a doctor ignores a complaint/symptom, that's a good sign to find a new doctor.

And yes, Levaquin (or any fluoroquinolone antibiotic) should not be taken with corticosteroids.

Flouroquinolones deplete magnesium, which accounts for the twitches/spasms/cramps/high blood pressure/palpitations, etc. That may not be the only reason, but it's a BIG reason.

Sep 20, 2015
When will it go away? 2 days of levaquin, twitches and legs exploding and mouth sores
by: Trenika

I was prescribed 500 mg of Levaquin along with methylprednisone.

I had no clue what I was taking. After day one I had mouth sores. After day 2 I was a mess. My legs and arms were on the verge of exploding . I had fever and hives.

I felt as if I had a chronic illness. I stopped taking the Levaquin after I read the papers. I'd only taken two. Doctor acts as if he was surprised.

Now seven days later, I am trying to eat better but the muscle twitches are becoming worse. I am an avid runner and I think trying to exercise worsened the twitches. I took an Epsom salt bath but still no change. I am also doing vitamin C as well.

I'm scheduled for surgery in Dec and am concerned that it may not happen. Not sure if it's safe to go under with all of these twitches.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Trenika.

1. Of course your doctor was surprised. If doesn't know that it's a bad idea to prescribe corticosteroids like prednisone concurrently with Fluoroquinolones like Levaquin (common knowledge) then it's par for the course that he doesn't know the possible side effects of Levaquin.

2. Scheduled for surgery for what in December?

3. Personally, I wouldn't run right now until you knock these symptoms down and see what's what.

Hopefully the twitches and 'exploding' feelings are just from magnesium depletion caused by the Levaquin (they are, but the key question here is the 'just' part. But the other symptoms are significant.

4. Why did you take the Levaquin? (Fever and hives related?)

5. I would not rely on time, as per the 'when will it go away' question.

We find that people (who don't do anything in particular) either get better within a year, or they -don't-.

So in scenarios like yours I would HIGHLY advise that you get The Fluroquinolone Toxicity Solution (previously called The Levaquin Tendonitis Solution).

Hopefully you're just suffering from the sudden magnesium depletion. But Fluoroquinolones can be bad news, and tips and tricks aren't going to get you the results you want, thus a complete plan of attack as per the program, and support in the forums if needed.

Sep 22, 2015
Why I took Levaquin for face swelling possible infection
by: Trenika

I'd been battling some facial swelling of which not one physician could explain to me why. I thought I'd resort to going to an older family doctor. He told me I had an infection. Thus Levaquin was prescribed.

I've never had hives in my life until the Levaquin. My eyes were bloodshot. My entire body was as red as a beet after 2 pills and two decreasing doses of prednisone. The fever actuall slowly progressed after the first dose. It finally broke but it's been nine days since Levaquin and five days since any Prednisone and I still have a couple of hives here and there. This morning my right calf and ankle was so painful that I could barely walk.

In fact, I had no idea that it was anything wrong with it until I got out of bed at two o'clock this morning and walked to the restroom. I rubbed it down with magnesium oil and it took about two hours for the pain to subside. The twitching has moved to my back now.

I was offered to be sponsored for a tummy tuck of which I have waited 15 years. That is the surgery in December. I wanted to be in optimal shape so I had increased my mileage in running and leg presses as well. I've run twice since Levaquin and the first time was fine, of course I couldn't do what I'd been doing. The second time was a disaster. That is when the twitching started.

I am supposed to work out today and am very concerned that even with all of the supplements I'm taking something will happen. I don't know how not to be active. This drug is poison!


Joshua Comments:

Did the doctor confirm that you had an infection? Or was he just guessing?

Why did he give you Levaquin (one of the most powerful antibiotics) as opposed to any other antibiotic?

Well, you have until December to try to turn this around. Depending on your exact scenario, it may or may not be possible.

I wouldn't continue to run until you feel better. 'Disaster' is bad, and is happening for predictable reasons.

Having said that, if tendon damage has already been done, then running isn't going to 'hurt' it more....although it could help cause a tendon rupture (but again, if it's going to rupture, the damage has already been done).

Dec 14, 2015
Stop The Leg Cramps Now
by: Anonymous

Over the 45 years of practicing pharmacy, I've had to dispel the patient's erroneous information that the primary cause of muscle (leg) cramps was the lack of potassium.

There is a component to the causation of electrolyte imbalance, but it misses, by far, the primary cause.

Jan 02, 2016
Cipro and all other fluoroquinolones
by: KathyS

You are right to never want to take this again, as well as all other antibiotics in the same class such as cipro, levofloxacin, and many others which are all fluoroquinolones.

They are indeed toxic to at least 1% of people, but more likely 5-6% since most doctors don't recognize the symptoms of the toxic effect and are misdiagnosed as MS, fibromyalgia, lyme disease, possibly even responsible for Gulf War Syndrome and some PTSD, etc.

For me, it caused tendon issues in both shoulders and knees within 3 days of taking it. There are many other problems that it causes.

I had to take the drug as I had a resistant bacterial infection that was proven by a culture before I would take it, and no other antibiotics are effective against. That is the only time this drug should be prescribed, when life or limb is at risk.


Joshua Comments:

Depending on who you talk to, up to 30ish% of people are negatively affected in a variety of ways.

Aug 26, 2016
Levaquin and Cipro
by: Anonymous

I had taken Cipro earlier this month and then I was prescribed Levaquin and Prednisone. My symptoms have slowly been getting worse. These antibiotics are nothing to play with.

I stopped taking Cipro because of random breast pain (burning sensation located in my left breast). My doctor had kept urging me to keep taking it, I tried once again and then quit on my own because of the same conditions.

I was just recently put on Levaquin and Prednisone. I randomly stopped the prednisone before I stopped the Levaquin. I finally stopped the Levaquin.

It's now day 2 off Levaquin and I've got random muscle twitches/spasms all over my body and bad muscle tightening/swelling. It sucks. I keep hoping that all of this goes away soon. Prayers for me and everyone else going through this.

It definitely makes you wonder if that's whats really causing this or some other condition.



Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous.

I'm sorry that your doctors have put you through this.

1. Anxiety is due to the magnesium depletion that Fluoroquinolones like Cipro and Levaquin cause.

2. Doctors should not prescribe Fluoroquinolones and corticsteroids together. Research shows it's a bad combination.

3. If you have side effects of levaqin or cipro and report it to your doctor, your doctor should tell you to STOP taking it.

That's what the FDA's black label warning tells them to do.

4. Hopefully you had a bacterial issue that resulted in the fluoroquinolone prescription. It's scary that this powerful (and dangerous) antibiotic is all too often given for viral or fungal issues.

5. Personally, I wouldn't wait and hope things get better. I'd get to work reversing the negatives caused by the Cipro and Levaquin.

The Fluroquinolone Toxicity Solution tells you what's causing your symptoms and what to do about it. Plus it comes with a forum we run for support and a community of people working with the same program.

Oct 10, 2016
Magnesium test
by: Leslie

What do the do to test your magnesium????


Joshua Comments:

Hi Leslie.

They do a blood serum test to test magnesium levels.

But it's not a good test, because it's measuring the wrong thing.

THe body is designed to keep magnesium blood levels within a certain range, so your blood level can be 'in range' and you can still be deficient.

You want to know how much magnesium is in your cells, not in your blood.

If you're going to get your magnesium levels tested, make your doctors do an intracellular test, meaning they take a cheek swab.

Feb 18, 2017
by: Dan

hey, 39 years old and very athletic.

2 days ago i took 500mg of levofloxcin that night I had insomnia, anxiety and my calves started to twitch. I DID NOT take another pill i quit the drug and the next night was able to sleep but my calves are still twitching maybe worse 2 days later. you seem to claim that magnesium will clear it up. do we still find that the case. and how long does it take for this to get better?? will it get worse???

I live in a poor 3rd world country where the doctors are very over worked and don't have time for rarities. any answers will be welcome.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Daniel.

Fluoroquinolones depelete magnesium, the lack of which can/does result in in muscle twitches/spasms/cramps/etc.

So yes, it's still the case the magnesium helps.

I would avoid activity for a while, at least until. Partly because if you're having twitches etc then your muscles aren't working correctly and thus may not do well with the demands of running down the road/trail/whatever. And let's go with that the only downside of the fluoroquinolone that you're suffering is mild magnesium depletion.

Magnesium oxide is better than nothing (and some argue that it's just as good as other options). So use what you have available.

Jul 18, 2017
Levaquin and Prednisone
by: Anonymous

Hi, My exoeriebxe was probably 15 to 20 years ago. I was given Levaquin 500 mg and Prednisone for a terrible repiratory infection that would not get better.

It still didn't get better so Dr said he wanted to admit me to the hospital because he had given me the strongest medicine he coylf give me by prescription, so I needed to be there so that I could be closely minitored while being medicated.

There he gave me both Levaquin and Prednisone through an IV for three days. Not sure the strength but obviously more than 500 mg.

Day three he came and told me he was releasing me because insurance would not let me stay beyond three days. I cried and begged him to keep me because, I told him, I feel terrible all over.

He said he couldn't and looking back now, it was a blessing that he got me off the IV. But I am positive he kept me on both prescriptions.

When I was released, my husband took me out for a steak for lunch. The minute I tried to cut my steak, both my hands started to draw and my fingers curled. I dropped my knife and fork and never regained the grip in my hands to hold them. My husband had to cut my meat and feed me.

He was so embarrassed and very afraid.
That began my long journey with damage from Levaquin.

I have what they call Fibromyalgia. Most days I hurt all over and feel so ill that I don't get out of the house. When I do feel like getting out, I tire so easily. I get up feeling as tired or more tired than when I went to bed. I ache all over. I have had muscle twitches in my legs and sometimes my arms or face for years. Now I am getting bee sting sensations randomly all over my body. Very painful.

A few years ago when I could still work, I could barely walk in my right foot. An Orthopedic Dr told me my tendon was seperated and torn loose in my heel.

But the worst thing started 5 years or more ago when my right leg got the most horrible spasm that would not go away. My entire leg was stiff and hard as a rock. I could not move it at all. The pain was excruciating. I was screaming and crying.

My husband carried me to his truck and rushed me to Vanderbilt ER where I lay for what seemed an eternity before a Dr came and tried to move my leg just killing me, xrayed it, told me nothing was broken, I knew that! and sent me home with pain meds and muscle relaxers. I couldn't even walk.

His nurse said Dr, she can't walk. Could she at least get crutches?

Now the spasms are in both legs! They wake me in horrible pain. None of my Drs know why.

Neurosurgeon wants to do surgery for spinal stenosis in three areas of my back plus a ruptured disc. I have had 2 surgeries already for this.

Could that be causing my spasms and cramps?

Could the Levaquin/Prednisone cocktail have caused this? I get spasms still in my hands, and my arms, rib cage etc.

I take as much Magnesium Citrate as I can without having really bad diarrhea. 500 mg.

I have to have some relief. The pain in my legs and the fatigue is debilitating. I wish I had never seen this medicine because I get worse as time goes by.

Jul 22, 2017
Response to Jul 18, 2017 Levaquin and Prednisone by: Anonymous
by: KathyS

Yes, the Levaquin and prednisone are most likely responsible for your symptoms.

I'd suggest staying away from drugs and use whole fresh foods and some supplements to help your body as much as possible.

There is a Facebook support group that is very helpful, Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Group. You should join and get some help from others who have been harmed by these antibiotics and have had some success with managing their symptoms.

I hope you can find some relief and healing.

Aug 29, 2017
Levaquin & magnesium
by: AnonymousMichael

Some background: I'm now 84 and have been working out for over 40 years. About 15 or so years ago I started experiencing an irregular heartbeat toward the end of my 50-minute high-intensity exercise sessions - no other symptoms or shortness of breath, and recovered rapidly when done. However, I also started having occasional severe cramps in my thighs while relaxing on a recliner after a session.

Then one day I happened to read that lack of magnesium (mg) can irritate the heart muscle. I figured if it bothers the heart, it probably bothers my legs. So I started taking 500 mg of mg citrate daily, and both irregular heartbeat and muscle cramps vanished forever.

Fast forward:
Early this August I experienced a touch of appendicitis for which the doctor prescribed Levaquin 750 mg daily for 14 days. I read the warnings about the drug and asked my MD if it was okay to exercise. He said no problem. So, even though my abdominal discomfort had vanished I started the drug on Aug. 9th. Pretty quickly I started feeling kind of off - vague headaches, some spaciness, a lack of energy, but continued my exercise routine - 45 minutes on the exercycle (pulse ~150 bmp) with a 2-mile walk afterwards or the next day.

On the 12th day of taking Levaquin, after walking about a mile, I became aware of a slight pull in my left calf. This increased gradually but was not bad - however I recalled the Levaquin warnings so cut short my walk. Heeding the warnings in the literature I decided not take the last two Levaquin pills.

Since using the exercycle (which doesn't flex my foot) is okay I have continued my routine (at a somewhat lower intensity)- but I can feel a pulling sensation in my calf while walking at my normal stride length so I cut my walks short.

It's now Aug 28th. Since stopping Levaquin I have ridden the exercise bike for 6- 45min sessions. I've tried walking several times, but completed only one 2-mile walk. Fortunately I can walk okay around the house and such.

All that said:
Connecting the benefits I experienced with taking mg supplements, with the fact that magnesium interacts with Levaquin and reduces its effectiveness, I'm wondering if the magnesium has protected me in some way from some of the bad effects of the drug that I've read about in many places on the web. So I'm going to increase the mg by 20% to see what happens. I am hoping for the best - and being alert for the worst.

I hope this note helps anyone suffering from Levaquin side effects.


Joshua Comments:

"I read the warnings about the drug and asked my MD if it was okay to exercise. He said no problem."

Yeah..... :(

But, it's not the exercise that is/was the problem, it's the negative effects of the fluoqoruinolone on your body.

Avoiding exercise doesn't eliminate risk of damage.

"I'm wondering if the magnesium has protected me in some way from some of the bad effects of the drug ..."

That would be a safe bet.

"So I'm going to increase the mg by 20% "

Short of or along with the Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Solution, I would absolutely do that.

Nov 20, 2017
right leg pain after 5 days of Levaquin
by: Dawn

I had Mycoplasm pneumonia and was given Doxycycline but it was not helping and the doctor switched me to Levaquin.

I finished the course and all of a sudden I was at work and my right leg started spasming.

Since then I have had continuous spasms and pain in my right leg from he thigh to my toes. I get woke up almost every night with severe cramping.

I do take Natural Calm Magnesium 1 tsp. 2 x a day. Is there a better source of Magnesium to help this night cramping?

How can I know if there is tendinitis in my thigh? I sure hope this is not a permanent condition.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Dawn.

Hopefully that spasming and night cramping is just from magnesium depletion. Take as much magnesium as you can (little bits throughout the day so you don't get stuck on the toilet) and let us know what happens.

Nov 20, 2017
Levaquin & magnesium
by: Michael

To add my $0.02 to this chain: I was prescribed 14 days of Levaquin about four months ago for an inflamed appendix. The MD prescribed Levaquin, saying that there was an 80% chance the appendicitis would not return. I gulped when read the warnings. When, on the 12th day, I started having a cramp in my calf while exercising, so I stopped taking the drug. The pain had gone away, but the worry generated by the black-box warning hadn't.

Then I remember reading that magnesium interacted with the drug. It happens that for many years I have been taking 400-600mg of magnesium citrate daily - it stopped both heart palpitations nearing the end of intense sessions on the exercise bike, as well as occasional severe cramps in my thighs when relaxing on a recliner afterwards. So I kept all fingers crossed that the Mg would minimize the bad side-effects of the drug also.

Since then I have had no drug after-effects. However, about six weeks ago the appendicitis returned. This time no Levaquin for me! I went to the emergency room - the MD there removed the offending organ the same afternoon through three small holes in my belly. I went home the next morning and recovered very quickly, resuming my 6x per week workouts with no after-effects. So far so good! BTW, I'm 84.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Michael.

Well that sounds like it worked out pretty well!

Taking magnesium while taking fluoruqinolone antibiotics like Levaquin can decrease the effectiveness.....but it also helps counter the negative effects of fluoroquinolone's mechanism of depleting magnesium.

So all in all, I'd say that was a win for you.

Also, rock on for being 84 and working out regularly! Awesome.

And definitely stick with the magnesium forever. It's a super super smart (and cheap) way to keep one's body and brain working better.

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