Danger Zone: Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics
One of the most advertised, most profitable, prescribed and misprescribed antibiotics in North America is the family of drugs called Fluoroquinolones. This class includes the following drugs (listed by generic and BRAND names), although brand names may vary:
- ciprofloxacin (CIPRO, CILOXAN)
- enoxacin (PENETREX)
- levofloxacin (LEVAQUIN)
- moxifloxacin (AVELOX)
- norfloxacin (NOROXIN, CHIBROXIN)
- ofloxacin(FLOXIN, OCUFLOX)
There are other drugs in this class but the generic names include the sequence floxacin. Discuss this with your doctor if you are advised to take an antibiotic and ask for an alternative.
The fluoroquinolones are very commonly prescribed for infections and misprescribed for colds, sore throats, bladder infections, sinus infections or community acquired pneumona (See Worst Pills, Best Pills). Remember that many infections are NOT bacterial but are viral and do NOT respond to antibiotics. You should never take an antibiotic for a viral infection as not only do they not work but they increase the resistance to antibiotics in the population.
In addition to being associated with other serious side effects such as the rupture of the Achilles tendon and retinal detachment, this class of antibiotics has impacts on the central nervous system and for this reason SHOULD NOT BE USED BY PEOPLE WHO ARE USING OR WHO HAVE WITHDRAWN FROM BENZODIAZEPINES. We do not have the information on their impacts on people using or withdrawn from other psychiatric drugs. There have been reports of people who have withdrawn from benzodiazepines for many months and have had a severe neuro-muscular or nervous system response (i.e. a return of withdrawal symptoms) after taking only a few of these antibiotic pills.
Dr. Heather Ashton has also issued a warning about this class of antibiotics.
An exception is quinolone antibiotics which displace benzodiazepines from their binding sites and should not be taken by patients on, or recently on, benzodiazepines.
Updated: February 18, 2013