Karen's Story

March 2005 I had symptoms of a UTI. I don't have a regular doctor, so picked a reliable clinic I had heard about. No bacteria was found in the urine sample, but I had been flushing my system so thoroughly, that wasn't a surprise. The doctor said he would put me on a "gentle" antibiotic, Cipro. I said okay, not knowing anything about it. After I took the first pill, I became nervous--sweating, detached--and at supper with my parents, I just didn't want to eat. Driving home, I could barely stay awake (not like me at all). After 3 pills, I began to experience panic attacks. My hands were cold but sweating; my feet and hands and lips were numb; vision blurred; I couldn't form a coherent sentence because the words got tangled up in my mouth; my heart would race; and my body temperature fluctuated from about 97 degrees to 99 degrees. I felt like I would collapse on the floor and not be able to reach the phone to call for help. I am not a nervous person by nature, and although I have had one prior panic attack in my life, I've never experienced 3-4 hours of waves upon waves of panic and fear. I also had an overall "drunk" feeling. Once the attacks would subside, I would collapse from exhaustion. When the attacks and exhaustion weren't happening, I could tell that I really shouldn't be driving anywhere as I would do stupid things like change lanes without looking. Just thinking about food made my stomach rebel.

Tracking the symptoms, I figured out that they came regularly within a certain number of hours of my taking a pill. I researched the internet, and one site listed as possible side effects everything I was experiencing, while also assuring me that I was completely unlikely to experience those symptoms. I stopped taking Cipro after 4 pills, called the doctor's office and told them my symptoms and told them I had stopped taking the antibiotic and wouldn't take it again. They said to continue the stoppage, that if the UTI symptoms came back, they would prescribe something different.

I am very healthy, exercise regularly, and eat a diet heavy on vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. I'm at my correct weight and do not have high blood pressure or anything else that would cause the symptoms I experienced. Despite starting to have the symptoms of per menopause, I am not prone to anxiety attacks (I've had only one in my whole life until this point). I'm very glad that I found this site and I am telling everyone I know about this family of antibiotics. I have flare-up tendonitis in my knee, wrists, and elbow, so I can only hope there is no permanent effects from taking the drug as I use my computer keyboard to make a living. I have not worked for 3 days, which, since I work at home has not damaged my source of income. This afternoon, after nearly 24 hours from taking the last pill, I was finally able to eat a sandwich and enjoy it, but the thought of my regular fruits and vegetables still makes me nauseated. I would love to say that the anxiety has disappeared with stopping the dosage, but it's still there, although in a much milder form. At least now I know what it is. Thank you so much for creating this site. I can't believe these drugs are allowed, but somehow, I can't be too surprised, either.

All best, Karen.

Last Updated 3/06/05