Head pressure after taking Ciprofloxacin

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Hi all, I am very worried about this headache/pressure i've been having for the last 6 weeks, (on and off, mostly on). I started taking Ciprofloxacin & Doxycycline (in late October) after my Urologist told me I had prostatitis, he initially gave me a 14 day course of Cipro but upon going to the Pharmacy in the Hospital the pharmacist told me that another Urologist had said it should be for 28 days. I started getting horrible stomach aches and cramps after 2 days of taking the tablets, I went to my GP (junior doctor) he informed me to continue with Cipro and stop taking Doxy and get an ultrasound on my stomach which came out clear.

I stopped taking Doxy and continued with Cipro, at the 2/3 week stage of taking Cipro i started getting headaches and head pressure feeling as if it was coming from my brain. I saw a locum GP and she told me it wouldn't be from Cipro and it had definitely sounded like a virus, she also told me to see my optometrist. I did do so and my vision has become slightly worse. I saw another locum GP a week after with my headaches persisting and she told me it was due to Cipro but i should finish the course and give it 2 weeks before the side affects go. 

It's been 2 weeks and the head pressure/aches are still persistent, at times it gets better then worse with a bit of neck stiffness. I saw my GP (junior doctor) he was wasn't convinced it was the Cipro and that it was tension headaches and that I should come back in March!

But after reading a lot of forums i've seen that these along with tendon pain and stomach aches are the number one side affects, some of which are permanent. 

I'm very worried these side affects will be permanent. My stomach ache is gone but the headache/pressure remains. What shall I do!? I'm 24, male and usually go to the gym, I previously had Atrial fibrillation which was cured in January 2017 with a cardio version. Any advice will help as i'm stressing and panicking here!

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  • Posted

    Hi Kaz,

    I could weep at the plain ignorance of most doctors but have to accept that it's only because no-one higher up in the medical world realises just how dangerous this class of antibiotics can be.  The only symptom they seem to look out for is tendon pain, or possibly allergic reactions such as swollen lips. I  do think, however, that all your doctors including the urologist should have known that you shouldn't have been given Cipro because of your previous history of Atrial Fibrillation!

    What happened to you is actually very common; a fit young man with down-below pains gets prescribed Cipro because that's what the book says to do.  Did your urologist actually check if you had an actual infection?  I bet the answer is no. He maybe examined you and said it was slightly swollen.  Did they check a urine sample?  I bet not although it's not reliable anyway.  The main problem is that it's very difficult to check for an infection so they hand out the Cipro 'just in case'.  And the second pharmacist was right, it is usually recommended for 28 days (my belief is that, since there's no infection to get rid of the patient goes back after a shorter course saying the pain is still there!).

    The original pain was most probably caused by stress and there are exercises you can do to relieve the tension and pressure that builds up in this area.  That's the good news.

    The bad news is that what you've found out about Cipro so far can be true - for some people.  It's a very individual journey - which is why it's so hard for doctors to get to grips with it.  Cranial pressure headaches are not so common as tendon, joint and muscle pain which you haven't mentioned.  Vision problems are common along with gut trouble.  Also panic attacks, insomnia, anxiety and depression - which it sounds like you might have, especially since reading more about it!

    My advice is -  don't panic!  Make sure you don't take any Ibuprofen or other NSAIDs or any steroids as these can make things worse.  Take lots of probiotics (natural yoghurt, kefir, capsules or whatever) to try to get your gut working properly again.  Don't have any alcohol (more toxins and your body is already struggling to get rid of the Cipro), cut right back on sugar, sugary and processed food and try to eat as healthily as possible.  Also, be aware of any new pains in your tendons, muscles and joints.  Don't go to the gym and don't try to exercise through the pain - you will be in danger of possible tendon rupture for several months, even if you have no pain now.

    Be pro-active. You've already looked at forums etc.  Go to the discussion on here started by the moderator:

    http://patient.info/forums/discuss/fluoroquinolone-toxicity-syndrome-427305

    and in his pinned post you'll find lots of useful addresses including the Yellow card scheme where you can report your symptoms (the more reports they get the more doctors will take notice).  Join one of the groups - the UK one is for UK people only but there are lots of guys on there in exactly your situation. It's a closed group but they also have a website you can access which has a lot of information (you can message me for more info).  Floxie Hope (US) is good for information, articles and forums although some of the stories are a bit heavy so be warned! 

    Stay calm, you need support from people in your situation.  I'm guessing you're in the UK so if you follow this advice should should soon be amongst friends and will know you're not alone.

    Don't panic!

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    • Posted

      I was even given Fluoroquinolone in hospital after I had my pacemaker fitted in 2015.  I stopped it on day three.

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    • Posted

      Hi Miriam,

      Thanks a lot for the response. I have noticed my calfs ache slightly but I thought that was mainly due to the amount of running I do. I'm really really worried about these headaches and brain fog. Will this ever go away, that's my main concern, if I had known of the side affects during consultation I would've never taken the tablets. I'm very very worried now Miriam, what shall I do? I don't want to keep getting fobbed off by my doctors, I'm only 24 I don't want this problem for life, I wouldn't be able to cope!!

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    • Posted

      Re-read my reply.  Try not to panic or stress as stress especially can increase the negative effects and join a group where you can get ideas, info and support from others going through exactly the same thing.  If you're in the UK, the UK group (address in the link I gave you) will be ideal.  Also look at the UK website - there is an easy-reading version of a new research paper which you could try giving to your doctor as we find that to have a doctor on your side is very helpful.

      You will keep getting fobbed off by doctors as, in our experience, none of them are very willing to say it could be the Cipro that has caused your, or anyone's problems.  Many sufferers are sent on a long rigmarole of seeing different specialists and consultants who all shake their heads and say no.  Ultimately, you might be referred to a psychiatrist of some kind who may declare it's all in your head (this has actually happened to more than one person!).

      If you really can't cope you might find an anti-depressant such as Sertraline may help you stay calm and get some sleep.  Try not to go down the benzo route as these are terrible to withdraw from and you can end up needing more and more.

      Maybe stop running or at least tone it down so that your legs are never under any stress. It often seems that the more fit people end up with more problems in this area.  Read and learn what you can about it, the more you know the better equipped you are to deal with it.   Please do join a group as it's easier (and less public!) to get help and advice! 

      Above all, stay strong and positive, you ARE young which is a good thing and means you should get over this very quickly. 

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    • Posted

      Re-read what Miriam said about what you should do.  Avoid some over counter meds (like NSAID etc) and probably exercising or stress the tendons.

      I was prescribed Cipro and taken 1 tablet with some obvious symptoms showing up, and I stopped taking it.  Brain fog and similar psychological issues were some of them.  Brain fog lasts a couple of days and gone away.  I had other symptoms, such as tingling sensation, that come and go for some time (a couple of months?) and that gone away as well.

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  • Posted

    Hey kaz, we have a lot in common, I'm a 24 year old male who is into strength training and fitness, my doctor had suspected prostatitis and gave me cipro recently, all it took was 5 tablets, and now I am experiencing calf and ankle aches,insomnia, depersonalization, 2 weeks after stopping cipro. What I found helpful was to stop going to the gym completely, especially if you are lifting weights, the additional weight will bear more stress on your achilles tendons and calves, which need rest at the moment. I was panicking as well, but miriam reached out and gave me helpful advice, just stay calm , buy some probiotics, and try to restore the good bacteria in your stomach, which will help you absorb nutrients to heal your body. The reason that the drug causes aches in your muscles and head, is because it depletes your body of magnesium and in some cases could alter the mitochondrial dna present in your cells, and your tendons don't heal properly. Thus it's really important to take a break from the gym at least for a month, just so you don't cause micro tears from lifting weights that heal incorrectly because of cipro. If your aches are getting really bad, something that helped me was soaking my feet in an epsom salt bath, which helps magnesium to directly get into your feet. The vision problems you are experiencing is due to the cipro crossing the blood brain barrier, that's how potent it is, if you experience an increase in floaters in your vision, def see an optometrist as the risk of retinal tears increase after taking cipro. Feel free to ask any questions, don't worry we are young, we have age on our side, we just need to the courage to fight this poison. 

     

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    • Posted

      Hi Praj and Kaz,

      Just to say well done to Praj - you've learnt a lot in the last few days!  Also well done to Kaz for hanging on in there - I hope you're feeling a but better and more calm about the whole situation. 

      I need to add that I would recommend you stay away from the gym and any physical exertion for a lot more than a month.  Cipro (and the other quins such as Levo and Moxifloxacin) continues to create new damage in your cells for several weeks or even months depending on how your body is managing to deal with it.  It creates oxidative stress which, once it gets out of control, is self-perpetuating and can continue to cause all kinds of damage.  You've maybe heard of free-radicals wreaking havoc in your cells which is why you need antioxidants - well this is free radical damage with bells and whistles!  What Praj says about mitochondrial damage is correct as well so it's a double whammy.

      You need rest, more rest and healthy eating and drinking to repair the damage as much as possible.  Only don't go overboard with any one thing.  Try everything in moderation until you're sure it's ok for you.  By this I mean any supplements such as magnesium or probiotic capsules and antioxidant tablets or drinks.  You never want to do too much of anything in one go (I have a friend who thought that since live yoghurt was good he should eat a whole 500g pot in one sitting! BTW I reckon  Greek natural yoghurt is best!).

      Good luck with it guys. Message me if you're interested in joining the UK Facebook group, there are (sadly) lots of other guys in a mess because of suspected prostatitis. And ladies,  for various different reasons, of course!

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