Took one Cirpo, bad side effects, should I stop taking?

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I've been given a pack of 500 mg cipros for a UTI and I took one this morning. I was really scared of it developing into a kidney infection so I took it despite reading the horror stories online. After taking it, I immediately started feeling dizzy, light headed, nauseous, my eyes had trouble focusing, and some of my joints started hurting. I read that this medication can cause tendon rupture so I stopped taking it immediately. I'm writing this now over 12 hours later still feeling horrible after a day of throwing up.

My headache is horrible. I haven't been able to get out of bed to function all day. It feels like a really bad migraine and worse of all, my UTI hasn't even improved slightly.

I'm going to see the doctor in two days for both the UTI and these side effects, but I'm worried now. Will I end up developing a resistance to all UTI medication? How long will it take for these side effects to fade?

Thank you so much for reading!

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  • Posted

    Don't panic! The stories about the side effects do read like something from a horror book but you're unlikely to have too many problems after just one tablet. Dizziness, blurry vision and aches and pains are the sort of things that happen straight away and most people either shrug them off (thinking it's the infection) or ask their doctor - who generally says to keep taking the tablets. This is against the latest advice in Europe (where are you?) which is to stop as soon as you notice any pain or side effects.

    When did this UTI start and had you been given other antibiotics for it before the Cipro? I ask because Cipro should never be used for a UTI unless there is a reason why you can't take other antibiotics. It should only be used if two other antibiotics have not got rid of the UTI.

    Have you ever taken Cipro before? If so, did you notice any problems then?

    Have you ever had problems with other antibiotics before? If not, I have no idea why your doctor would give you Cipro instead of Trimethoprim or something else. As you've read, Cipro and the other fluoroquinolones can be very dangerous to some people.

    You won't end up with resistance to all UTI medicine - it doesn't work like that! They tell you to finish a course as you might develop bugs that are resistant to whatever medication you stop taking. With Cipro however, it's more important to stop taking it at the first sign of side effects - so well done.

    Drink plenty of fluids - lots of water but also cranberry juice if you can get some and also milk if you can. Water will flush out your kidneys and bladder, the cranberry helps prevent bugs from sticking to your bladder wall and milk helps to prevent the Cipro from doing too much damage. If you can take some probiotics (capsules or live yoghurt), this will protect and replace the good bugs in your gut. Finally, try to get some antioxidants - Vit C is important but also Vits A and E (be careful not to overdose on these) plus if you see some Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) this is also a good antioxidant.

    Were you throwing up because of the tablet or did you make yourself to get rid of it? Either way it's not a bad thing but this and the migraine probably mean you're becoming dehydrated so do start drinking water straight away. Being dehydrated will also make your UTI feel worse so the more you can drink the better at the moment.

    I'll post this now but do come back with any other questions.

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    • Posted

      My last two Uro's said no to cranberry juice. One when I said I was taking it when having prostatitis. The other said not to take it after my laser procedure as he said it is acidic and would cause stinging when urinating. I also used to take cranberry capsules at one time.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for this response, it made me feel so much better. I live in Thailand which is in South East Asia. I don't think we have any of the same laws as in Europe.

      The UTI started on the night of the 22nd so this is about day 3/4. I haven't been given anything else and I also asked the doctor if I should be worried after being scared of the stories, but then they told me that it's unlikely to happen to me. I've also never taken cipro before nor have I ever had any problems with any antibiotics I've taken. I have no allergies that I am aware of. I threw up because of the cipro and how nauseous I got.

      I'm going to see a different doctor tomorrow, hopefully they give me something else to take! I'll stick to drinking water, cranberry juice and milk today. Thank you so much for this response, it really made me feel a lot better.

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    • Posted

      I was wondering if I could take anything to help combat the headache as a result of taking cipro? I have some tylenol but I don't know if it will be effective.

      I usually take ibuprofen to help with my cramps when menstruating, how long do I have to wait before being able to take ibuprofen again?

      Thank you so much!

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    • Posted

      Hi Sierra, unfortunately there are few doctors around the world who understand how Cipro works (and don't forget there are other fluoroquinolones - the names vary across countries but there is Levofloxacin, Moxifloxacin/Avelox and Ofloxacin and they all work in the same way.)

      It's good that you read about Ibuprofen as I forgot to mention it! Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs and also steroids can make the symptoms very much worse so avoid them for maybe a year - how long exactly depends on how severe your side effects are and how long they last.

      Your doctor was right - it was unlikely to happen to you but it did! It happens to more people than the manufacturers and the medicines agencies (e.g. FDA) admit. Many people take several courses before they have any side effects while some people, like you, only take one tablet. I think some time in the future doctors will be able to check our genes to know which drugs are safe to give to which people but until then I think it's best to warn everyone that this might happen.

      I actually don't know what is best for your headache as some people find any drug upsets them once Cipro has triggered off a reaction. This includes additives in food and drinks (including alcohol) so be careful about what you eat and drink. You could try the tylenol (called paracetamol in the UK) and see if it helps - for some it does while for others nothing seems to work. I just had a look at a big forum and some say they use peppermint oil - you can put some drops in a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam - or put some on a cloth to inhale and also rub a little on your head where the pain is. I don't know if it will help or not though!

      I'm sorry I'm not more help to you. There are many groups specifically for people who are affected (called 'floxies' - they have been 'floxed') where you can find answers or at least help. I can't give a link here but look for names like fluoroquinolone toxicity group. This one is international so you may find some others from your country there.

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    • Posted

      Many urologists are not keen on 'alternative' rememdies, also many don't understand how they - nor how fluoroquinolones - work!

      Cranberry juice is acidic but I understand it's best to keep the urine acid as bacteria prefer it to be alkaline. A UTI causes stinging when urinating so not sure how a urologist can tell the difference.

      Cranberry juice has been shown to prevent bugs in the urine from clinging to the bladder wall and thus prevents them from forming a colony. I suggested this as something to drink (best diluted with water) as it's important to keep the bladder and kidneys regularly flushed through.

      To be fair to the urologists, prostatitis and laser procedures are not quite the same as a UTI. I guess you took it as a preventative? I think it's a good thing to do and take it every day - I always check the percentage of cranberry though as some brands are only 10% while a german supermarket and the brand leader both have 27%!

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    • Posted

      I ended up taking a tylenol and it helped take the edge off a little bit, just enough so I could function relatively well today. I'll try and find a group like that when I feel a little bit better.

      Thank you again! You've helped me a lot through this process.

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    • Posted

      Thanks, pleased that I could offer you some help. In Europe and the USA there are many doctors who still don't understand - or believe - that the side effects can be so bad, even after both continents have held reviews and issued warnings. I have heard that in all parts of Asia, South America and also some Eastern Europe countries, the fluoroquinolones are handed out all the time - in many places you can buy them over the counter!

      I must warn you that there is no typical timescale to the side effects - you may find they all stop very soon or they may continue for some weeks or months. It's impossible to know, which is another reason the doctors don't believe as they are all told that the side effects stop once the patient stops taking the tablets!

      Do join a group as soon as you can (the name I gave you already is very good) because you will find many people who are willing to help you - some will have better advice than me, I'm sure!

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