Cipro Side Effects (Fluoroquinolone Toxicity) – (Podcast 63)

If you have anthrax, Fluoroquinolone drugs are a great idea. Otherwise, avoiding Cipro might be the best move you can make for your health. On today’s podcast, you’ll learn about the side effects of these drugs and hear a heroic story about Fluoroquinolone toxicity. You might have heard of Cipro, as it is one of the better known Fluoroquinolone drugs. Sadly it is becoming a much more common treatment for digestive issues in conventional medicine.

And that makes this a very important topic for you and your loved ones. This class of antibiotics can be used by doctors against many types of illness (not just IBD) and digestive issues. Understanding how they work, the risks and yes the benefits will help keep you and your loved ones healthy for life.

Different Classes of Antibiotics Work Differently

Up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t understand the difference between how certain antibiotics are created or how they acted in the body. I’m still not an expert by any means, or a doctor who receives years of training on this stuff, but based on what I’ve learned there are certainly some classes of antibiotics that you might want to stay as far away from as possible.

Is Leaky Gut Making You Sicker?


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against all antibiotic use. I’m for their use only as last resorts and life or death situations. I think most people believe in the credo first, do no harm. Unfortunately, in conventional medicine practice I’m not sure many understand the risks involved with antibiotic use.

And when it comes to a certain class of antibiotics, called Fluoroquinolones, this podcast may save your life or that of a loved one. Erin, from Fluoroquinolone Victims Advocacy Network was kind enough to come on the podcast and tell me all about her struggle with Fluoroquinolone drugs and how she helps people affected by them today.

On This Podcast with Erin, We Cover:

2:10 How Fluoroquinolones saved and then ruined Erin’s life
7:08 Common Fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms
11:26 A “Good” diet was working but SCD completely changed Erin’s health
15:59 What are Fluoroquinolone drugs and how they are different
22:15 When to Take Fluoroquinolone drugs and when NOT to
26:36 Have insomnia or anxiety? Could be Fluoroquinolone toxicity
32:01 If you suspect Fluoroquinolone toxicity, start with these steps
38:07 Get more info on the Floxtalk radio show


I hope this podcast better prepares you for any future decisions you are faced with. It certainly opened my eyes to some of the more ideal uses of certain antibiotics.

Have you taken Cipro? Tell me about the experience in the comments below.



P.S. – If you can’t see the audio player on this post, you can download the mp3 here. Also, you can listen to the show on iTunes here.

Steven Wright

About Steven Wright

Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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33 thoughts on “Cipro Side Effects (Fluoroquinolone Toxicity) – (Podcast 63)

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    I guess I’ll start at my UTI in May. I took Cipro for the entire course and still had uti problems, but while on it I had back ache, brain fog, major muscle and knee pain, increased urination, side pain, and a trip to the ER for tingling in face hands feet, dizziness, spike in blood pressure, and was told it was anxiety. I didn’t associate it with the cipro until the second round and doing some research. By then it was too late it did its damage. Now I’m four months in and having throat problems, swollen glands for no reason, temple pain, getting an ultrasound done, every other symptom known to flooding and I’m just so str seed out and sad.

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      I took cipro on several occasions last year. I noticed my ankles around my echillis tendon are swollen and I understand that can be a side effect of taking cipro. In time will the swelling go down and what would you recommend as far as diet goes or anything else. I’m a 71 year old woman still working part time and know not to take cipro for a bladder infection or for any kind of ailment. Thank you for a response, much appreciated. Judy in Santa Cruz, Ca

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    Kimberly Kinnaird says:

    I took cipro 18 years ago. I struggle with peripheral neuropathy and until recently, insomnia. I tried the GAPS diet (similar to SCD) and found the bone broths very soothing to my gut. Through GAPS, kefir, sprouted sourdough bread and fermented foods, I did heal from gluten intolerance.
    Recently I added Great Lakes collagen/gelatin …green canister…. To my morning coffee, and my insomnia vanished within a week. Amazing.
    When my hands and arms burn, I found relief from a supplement called Curamin.
    My next adventure is to try some Glutathione and Hydrogen Peroxide IV treatments.
    Good luck to us all.

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    Hmmm…this is all very interesting. Five weeks ago I was in the hospital because I had an abscess from my bowel that included my appendix and my right ovary. I needed surgery to remove that abscess, had a bowel resection, partial hysterectomy and removed the appendix. The doctor put me on IV for Cipro and Flagyl antibiotics prior and after my surgery. Everything went well and I’m feeling better than I have in 6+ months. So, not sure what all this means. Perhaps IV is different/better than pills? Don’t know. I’m not on any antibiotics now.

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    Twelve Cipro pills taken in October of 2009 completely destroyed my life!!! It’s been nearly five years now and I’m still completely disabled and my body CONTINUES to degrade and fall apart! Prior to taking those poison pills I was a perfectly healthy & able-bodied 30-year-old, minus some sudden bladder pain which my doctor at the time decided was prostatitis despite there being no bacteria found. NOW I’M A CRIPPLE. Death to Bayer Pharmaceuticals! This is beyond disgusting.

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    I took Cipro and a few weeks later I started experiencing peripheral neuropathy. Five years later I was bed bound, feeling like I was losing my body and my mind. Six months later I found the book Could It Be B12?: An Epidemic of Misdiagnosis which changed my life. I realized I had all the symptoms of B12 deficiency since taking Cipro. It was a progressive thing, the symptoms just crept up year after year. I now inject B12 daily, take 5mg of folic acid and other supplements to try and get my mitochondria working again. Changing to a Paleo diet has really helped my energy but I still have peripheral neuropathy and tinnitus. Neurological damage does become permanent so it is best to try B12 injections as soon as possible. I am back to work as a pharmacist part-time but I will regret taking Cipro forever. Click on my website link for a complete list of my symptoms.

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    My one experience with cipro over ten years ago put my ulcerative colitis into remission. I was feeling strange and woozy by day 5 but all of my symptoms cleared up and I went on to be symptom free for 10 years.

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    This Friday I ate 1 dozen raw oysters and a dozen fried shrimp. Saturday night I ate the same thing. Sunday for lunch I had she-crab soup and ahi tuna, rare. I have had no worsening of symptoms. I’m afraid to say I let all the crap on the internet scare the shit out of me and I have lived my life outside of my normal for 4 months. This includes being afraid to take meds that may help me cope. I’m glad I’m over those fears. Cymbalta, gabapentin and Xanax have been life savers for me. This, of course, just applies to me and not everyone else, but I would encourage everyone to not live in fear because of what others have said. You may as well be dead if you are going to live like that. Give things a chance. If something does cause your symptoms to worsen, then avoid it. BUT…The mind is a powerful thing and if you have already convinced yourself something will make you worse, then it will.

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    Just found your site. Was misdiagnosed in Emergency on November 7th and given a course of Cipro. After a night of alternating insomnia and night terrors, I awoke to the most excruciating charlie horses in my calves ever. I didn’t clue in fast enough that this was reaction to Cipro so I took one more days worth. The pain in my legs is now constant, so much that I’m having trouble walking. Cannot sleep. Feeling anxious and paranoid. Want to cry – not weep mind you, gale force sob. I’m wondering what I can do right now to mitigate any possible permanent damage? I love my tennis, my walking, my swimming, my happiness. I’m scared. Thanks for this site. It makes me feel a little less alone.

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    New FDA warnings on Cipro may tie into Gulf War illness,,

    Why doesn’t anyone care about this story? Maybe we have heard so much about the Gulf War illness it just doesn’t matter anymore? Cipro is a Fluoroquinolone a toxic drug force feed to our military. What am I missing? I know thousands of people hurt by Cipro, Levaquin and Avelox I know no one cares about them but I thought when this story broke regarding the government poisoning our troops someone might give a crap since I am sure the military still forces feeds Cipro to our Armed forces. Feeling disappointed in humanity.

    The Fluoroquinolone Wall of Pain and please care enough to Sign the Petition
    Visit us at

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    Hi, thanks for all this information. I suffer from Cipro side effects since 1.5 years. There are so many great ressources (like this) in english. I am from Germany and there you can hardly find anything that helps. So I published my own blog about my story to help other people – because most doctors in Germany dont know what to do.

    Thanks again.

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    michael leach says:

    Just found your site. I’m 33, and considered myself healthy and active until a couple days ago. Had slight discomfort in lower groin, went to MD, got Rx for Cipro and Flomax. Noticed soreness right away but figured it was from exercising. After 3 days I was having anxiety and all my joints ached. It’s been 48 hours since my last dose and the side effects seem to be getting worse, headache, heart racing, hurts to move at all, throat hurts, etc. In trying to stay positive but this is maddening. Last week I worked out 4 days and ran a Warrior Dash and now it hurts to walk across the room. I’m already Paleo and gluten free, going to look into SCD to see what the difference is.

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    Was given an antibiotic shot yesterday at the dr. office. The nurse who gave me the shot told me it could rupture my tendons AFTER he gave me the shot! I had to ask him a few times what he said, asi couldnt believe what i was hearing.
    I still didn’t fully understand so I went online and found this information.

    I had forgotten about it until I began feeling very weak in the backs of my legs and heels as I was walking today. I have a business where I have to be active and walk a lot & pick up things. Will this shot cripple me? I’m very concerned.

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      I was given Cipro for a super bad bladder infection several years ago. Shortly thereafter both of my achilles tendons and heels became severely inflamed. One of my co-workers husband had recently been given Cipro and ruptured the tendon in his elbow. His doctor had told him tendon inflammation with possible rupture was a side effect of the Cipro and there was nothing he could do. When my co-worker told me this, I knew my tendon problems were from the Cipro I took. It got difficult for me to walk. They never ruptured, and I babied them as much as I could – reducing my time on them, keeping them elevated when I could, and making sure I gently stretched them out by pointing my toes towards my head before I got out of bed. It took time but they did heal completely. Keeping them stretched is huge. Never get out of bed without stretching first! Wishing you a speedy recovery.

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    Steve, thank you so much for this podcast with my dear friend, Erin. I recently met Erin because I’m a fellow floxy. I’ve loved listening to you on Chris’s podcasts and only recently started following you here. My story is similar to Erin’s except my illness wasn’t life threatening. I’ll celebrate my 3 yr flox-anniversary later this month. My first 1 1/2+ yrs was beyond miserable. Learning about leaky gut and trying to heal myself that way has been a life saver. I’m not sure I’ve followed a specific program, but have identified the foods my body believes are toxins and have eliminated those. I think ultimately I’m somewhere between Paleo & SCD. I’m 95% back… golfed yesterday and today with my 11 & 14 yr old boys and don’t need to lay low for the next 3-5 days to recover like I use to. I can’t thank you enough for helping us get the word out about Fluoroquinolones. Keep up the great work and thank you again!!

  14. Avatar

    My experience with Cipro forever changed my life almost 5 years and to this day I am feeling the affects. What started out as a possible food poisoning and treatment with Cipro led to being on the medication almost 21 days despite my concerns of not improving or feeling better. Eventually I through research convinced my dr. to test me for c-dif – two tests later it was confirmed. By the time I was diagnosed I suffered from severe bloody stools and 10-15 bowel movements a day. I developed ulcerative colitis and internal hemmorhoids. I was then treated with Flagyl and thankfully I recovered from C-dif and a colonoscopy revealed major damage from both the cdif and colitis. The recovery process was a year long and remission was in place however my body never felt quite right – my hands and feet would lose feeling almost like pins and needles – this went on for several years. Today I am fighting a 9 month battle with a UC flare up due to taking a 5 day Zpak for a sinus infection. Prior to this I was in complete remission without use of any medication. Today I am on Lialda and Canasa suppositories. I did have a recent setback due to the frequent bowel movements- developed stage 3 thrombosis hemmorhoids – surgery happened 3 weeks ago so I am now getting back on track. I have eliminated all dairy and wheat products and almost immediately I noticed improvement. Long story short – Cipro ruined me and the fact is as a result so much of my good flora was wiped out and I now realize that any antibiotic taken by me can cause this all to repeat.

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    Sharon Riggs says:

    Was prescribed Ciprofloxacin HCL 500mg and Metrnidazole (Flagyl) on 6-13-13 for an unknown possible bacterial infection. Was having severe stomache gut pain, throwing up, diarrhea which started in April. After numerous tests, urine, blood, stool, xrays, and two trips to emergency, one before the drugs and one after, still showing “nothing signiciant”, saw another GI today who is doing colonoscopy & stomach scope after abnormal CT showed some questionable results.

    I took drugs for almost seven days before realized these are poisoning me. First day threw my guts out, second day could not raise my head, so sick, third day, diarrhea so bad that looked like bloody black mush, wound up in ER second time, because I had no control over my body, was seizing shaking uncontrobally, got no treatment other than Morphine & anti-nausea shot & CT scan and sent back to GI Dr. First one I saw gave me the drugs. This one was more concerned about finding cause. I am having chronic fatigue, joint/gut pain, headaches, continued diarrhea. Foods I could eat before now make me sick or have reaction to, even my dearly loved apples make me hurt. I know these drugs did me more harm than good. I just got SCD book and have been reading and following. Lucky to have alternative MD to help me heal my gut in the meantime. Also acupuncture has helped a lot with digestion, pain, energy. My sister just told me she was taking it for sinus infection, but no more since I told her the side effects which she is also having, joint pain, depression, “nerves shot” etc. I want to thank all of you for continued efforts to help all us victims who blindly ” trust” because we are so sick and scared and just want our normal life back!

  16. Avatar

    I was given cipro for an unidentified bacterial infection which put me in hospital twice for a total of 5 days. I wasnt just given that though, I was given Domperidone, omeprazole, amoxycillin, carbocisteine, doxycycline, moxifloxacin,carbomint and cetrizine as well as some paracetamol. When you get an infection over in Asia it seems they just throw all the drugs they can find at it. Anyway, one of them probably saved my life.

    The after effects have been depression and anxiety. I sleep fine but life seems very different. I overreact to noise, get stressed easily, suicidial ideation etc

    Was on an ssri and that was helping, came off it and not been quite the same. Was doing Paleo plus fish oils, plus strong human strain probiotic plus exercise. Got into exercise a bit more recently and ive been getting pains in my head, part of me thinks im undergoing a detox of sorts but to be honest I dont know. Trying St Johns Wort & Kombucha as a last resort, tried just about everything else including just ignoring everything and pretending I’m fine.

    I had a cdsa done and it came back with either eating too much fat or not absorbing it so I suppose like most of this community its probably leaky gut & dysbiosis and detoxification issues. My cdsa also showed lactobacillus wiped out and bifido on low while an overgrowth of a possible pathogen called Citrobacter Freundi. Its linked with diarrhoeal diseases and its also been implicated with bacterial meningitis, don’t know how the hell it survived the many medicines I was given, it also survived Udos Super 8(non human strain probiotic) Any thoughts are welcome.

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    Debra Cook~ dearest woman, my heart goes out to you tonight as I read your story. I’m sure there is even more to it than that. I’m not sure what all to say, but, I have been through some very extreme and difficult health situations myself. I just want to encourage you and say that even though you are suffering and have been through hell, there is help out there. Don’t give up. Good for you for sharing, I think it’s healthy that you could express and reach out during this time in your life. Remember it is a season, and seasons DO change. They may last longer than we would like, but they do have to change. Keep on researching and you will find answers. Prayers and love & Peace to you my friend. I dont want this to sound cliche, but i have learned this from experience,, God sees you and knows your pain. He loves you more than you know. <3

  18. Avatar

    My primary care doctor treated me off and on for 5 years with cipro and steroids when I would have a crohn’s flare.

    I had odd symptoms of muscle/joint pain, talking to dead people, loss of time – which various doctors I went to related back to a bad wreck I’d been in 15 years ago. It sort of made sense? I had been warned that with the concussion and all the muscle and ligament damage that I’d “never be right”.

    In August of 2012, the bottom fell out. I had been on a round of steroids for the crohn’s and it didn’t help. I had told the doctors at the time that my feet felt like needles shooting through them. My hands were going numb and tingling up to my shoulders. I was told I had peripheral neuropathy, supposedly common as I also have celiac disease. Nothing to be done about it. When I went back after 3 weeks of still having the massive diarrhea, constant nausea and vomiting, they prescribed more steroids and cipro.

    By the 4th day on this round, the numbness had spread throughout most of my body. All the way up to the middle of my nose. It felt like porcupine quills were protruding from my lips. I couldn’t feel my tongue. Muscle spasms ripped through my body, the worst being the one’s in my head. It felt like giant worms swimming constantly in it. I couldn’t walk. My left leg was as if it wasn’t attached to me. Brain fog doesn’t even describe what I was going through.

    My husband called back to the doc’s office, who promptly prescribed gabapenten for the neuropathy. I was instructed to take 1 100mg capsule a day and work my way up to 3 a day. If they didn’t help with the neuropathy, they’d up the dosage. By day 3 of 1 pill daily, the depression I already had pushed over the edge. My husband came home from work to find me trying to get the hands to work…to pull the trigger of a pistol. Yes, extremely suicidal. The doctor’s solution was to start me on anti-depressants. My solution was to stop taking and and jest cover myself in ice packs to try to quell the neuropathy.

    After several months with massive gait difficulty, neuropathy, muscles spasms, chronic diarrhea (on average 25 trips a day, most intense at night – very little sleep), speech changes (including being able to see the word or object, but not being able to say the word, along with my accent changing from my southern drawl to that of someone from say, England.. othertimes India.. Ireland.. Scotland..), and 20 doctors later, I was finally referred to Scott & White in Temple, Tx.

    I had expressed my concerns to all of the doctors seen regarding the cipro and it’s side effects, enhanced possibly by the steroids. None cared about the cipro and blamed it all on the steroids.

    At Scott & White they tested me for every possible disease known to mankind. I was MRI’d from head to toe, so many blood tests that I can’t even recall them all. The neurologist there was very thorough in her investigation, including nerve conductivity testing involving electrical probes. I’m sure this isn’t pleasant for anyone, but I feel it was somehow worse for me due to the neuropathy – even the slightest touch to my skin felt like someone hit me with a cattle prod…

    I was referred to a gastroenterologist there, she did an upper & lower scope. Top side was great, bottom side was severe crohn’s in the entire large colon, spare the ilium. I am now on remicade iv infusions. The thought is that all the neurological hiccups are due to the massive inflammation. I was also treated for severe malnutrition.

    The remicade was started in February 2013. Although the gut has improved and I have a day here or there with minimum speech and gait difficulties – it’s still there. I still believe it’s the cipro side effects, but can’t get anyone to confirm it. I struggle daily, changes in barometric pressure send me into a tailspin.

    My husband is extremely frustrated and talking of leaving. He can’t handle the changes to my body, voice and thinking as I go through these battles. Part of me can’t blame him…. His tantrums over it stress me out and magnify it all – perhaps we’d both be better off if he did leave?

  19. Avatar

    Was given Cipro last July for pseudomonas and haven’t been right since. Lots of symptoms that I never had before. Had a very sudden issue I thought was acid reflux and or gall stones back last Thanksgiving. I started using Braggs apple cider vinegar and did a diet similar to SCD. I have now added digestive enzymes with HCL & pepsin, Kefir, and plenty of steamed veggies. Seems to help. But my left ankle still swells if I sit for long. I just decided that I never want Cipro again.

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    I took Cipro prescribed as the second antibiotic for a reluctant UTI. I was angry that the physician, who was supposed to be Alternative, had no other solution. I was frustrated that my own home remedies seemed not to work.
    Thanks for making the poisonous aspect public. I avoid drugs of any kind……….

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    Yes I took Cipro. People are now starting to call it “floxed,” as in , you got “floxed.”. It damaged the lining of my gut. It is basically poison. I will NEVER accept the use of this drug that doctors ridiculously pass out like it’s harmless candy. Was prescribed for a simple UTI that could have been treated without damaging chemical substances- and paid for it with gut damage and who knows what else- Cipro also damages/supresses the mitochondria.

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      i too was prescribed this for uti, took 1 tab and reacted right away with rash and all numbness…. had no idea it was so bad. thankfully i only took 1 tab, but hmmmmm could that have been the start of my digestive disorders ??

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    Cipro, unfortunately, is what has been more or less been pinpointed to starting my SIBO. Although I have had IBS most my life, after taking this antibiotic, it was as if I got slapped in the face with IBS-D 20+x a day.

    However, I do not want to worry people. I may be a unique case. And, if I were to re-do taking this drug, I would go about it with taking fermented foods, kefir, etc, to ensure that this would not have happened.

    Long story short; the SCD diet has saved my life. I may have flare ups, but what a great feeling of having my bowels under control, and not ever worrying about ‘is there going to be a bathroom..?” Gaining back my health has been an incredible journey!

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