Fibromyalgia or ciprofloxacin side effects

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Hello Does any one know if ciprofloxacin can cause fibromyalgia type symptoms or even the syndrome itself. I took a course of ciprofloxacin around 14 weeks ago. I am trying to decide whether they are my usual symptoms or fibromyalgia which has been suggested to me in the past.

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  • Posted

    Yes! I believe many people who are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia will find they have taken Cipro or one of the other Fluoroquinolones at some point before their diagnosis. Quinolone Toxicity Syndrome isn't recognised by doctors as yet but they're slowly (hopefully) coming round to the idea. The European Medicines agency recently announced new restrictions for this class of antibiotic and hopefully our meetings with MHRA will encourage them to make UK restrictions a bit more watertight. Or if you're USA, the FDA did all this in July 2016 but most doctors are still refusing to take it on board - even with two new black box warnings since then!

    Cipro symptoms can start immediately or gradually develop over the weeks and months following a course. Some people have no problem, of course, but then may take another course - or a third of fourth, and find they get symptoms then. One lady wrote on here that she reckoned she'd taken over 50 courses with no problem and then it hit her!

    This variety in how people are affected seems to depend on genetic make up, immune system condition and a few other things. No two people are affected in the same way although there are distinct patterns. All over aching in joints and muscles is one common feature and it sounds like this is what you're experiencing. Other common effects are depression/anxiety and insomnia - maybe also panic attacks. Some get crashing headaches while others get tingling or burning skin. There are a host of problems listed in the packet leaflet if you still have it.

    This assortment of effects is the main reason why doctors don't 'understand' it - or deny it can be the Cipro. Fibro is something they have come to accept even though no one understands its causes, which is why so many FQ-affected people (floxies) are given a Fibro (and/or CFS/ME) diagnosis.

    I hope this helps. Look through the discussions on this thread for more information and advice. One important thing is to not take any NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen, or steroids. Try to cut out sugar and alcohol too - as all these can make it worse.

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    • Posted

      Has the EMA letter gone out to British doctors yet ?

      I presume it is not understood why sugar or alcohol can worsen the effects.

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    • Posted

      I believe that several health authorities have sent out preliminary letters, according to people who've written to me. Also, several GPs' journals have hi-lighted the forthcoming recommendations which should raise some awareness. I and colleagues have already had a meeting with MHRA to help them with their wording (at their request). I hope our input may mean that their changes to PILs and SmPCs (Packet leaflets and Doctors' summaries) will make a difference.

      The EMA have yet to finalise their committee's recommendations, although the list of proposed changes is available on their website. I've been all through it and they have increased warnings and said FQs are no longer to be prescribed for 'ordinary' infections. On the other hand, they've said something like "unless other ABx normally used for this are innapropriate. To me they seem to have left it at very much the doctor's discretion - and if the doctor isn't convinced about the severity of possible side effects then he may not change his prescribing habits.

      I hope the UK changes will pack a bigger punch - but we'll have to wait and see. (Each EU nation's health authority can add minor changes to the recommendations but thery mustn't detract from them).

      Re sugar and alcohol, the non-scientific answer is that both are technically toxins! FQs damage just about every cell to varying degrees. They affect the way the liver functions so, as well as struggling to clear the FQ toxins from the body, the liver is probably only firing on 3 cylinders (or less) - add alcohol to the jobs it has to do and it just despairs! Sugar has often been named as a poison - I remember reading 'Pure, White and Deadly in the 1970's and not much has changed. FQs poison our bodies and sugar adds to the workload we have to do to try to recover. In the same way they affect how the liver works they affect the pancreas (which deals with sugar) and all the other endocrine glands as well (thyroid, adrenals, pituitary etc). The FDA announced a warning about FQs affecting sugar metabolism last year. If people keep drinking and eating sugary junk food, which is probably loaded with bad fats as well, their bodies will have twice the work to do - which will worsen whatever side effects there are.

      Why NSAIDs and steroids are a problem is more difficult to explain. The EMA recommendations have warned about the use of steroids along with FQs but ignored our request for NSAIDs to be added. They have also ignored our warning that these should not be prescribed AFTER the course of FQs is finished or stopped.

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