Linda's Story

I am now (4/04) a 54 year old female, size 6-8, in otherwise good health, but I suffer from adverse effects of Levaquin.

On 10/05/02, I had several sharp pains in my lower right abdomen for one day and went to the ER suspecting appendicitis. The ER doctor diagnosed a "kidney infection" based on a urine sample (no culture/no time) and the nurse came in with a pill and water, which I took.  She then told me it was Levaquin, an antibiotic, and gave me the written prescription, which I filled. The only pain I had when I went to the hospital was the right abdominal pain.

Over the next hours, days and weeks I developed increasing, crippling, debilitating pain and weakness in all my joins and muscles. I couldn't sleep and lay in bed crying off and on all day and night. I couldn't hold my legs still in the evening or at night, which was agony and I had no idea what caused it. After 3 weeks, I asked the doctor if the pills could have caused it and she answered no way. I then went to the druggist and asked the same question.  She said Levaquin could cause such problems, but it was extremely rare. There was nothing about these potential side effects on the info sheet I got with the medicine; she said it was so rare that not worth mentioning there.

For the first 6-9 months I was in extreme pain almost 24/7, with very brief periods of some relief. I was unable to exercise, or walk without extreme pain, I was too tired to do anything, I cried a lot, and visited my doctor several times to get help which he was unable or unwilling to give me. At my insistence, he finally sent a Medwatch report, but told me at the time that he did not believe it was the cause of my problems.  He referred me to a rheumatologist who diagnosed fibromyalgia, and began me on a series of medications to no effect.

He then started steroid shots every 3 months, which has offered me some relief. Within 2 months, the pain and weakness returns with a vengeance, until I am barely able to walk just before I get the next shot. He said they don't know what causes fibromyalgia, but I do. 

It's caused by indiscriminate use of powerful antibiotics which do permanent harm to our bodies while killing every known bacteria, even those we depend on for good health.  The ER doctor never even did a culture before giving me the strongest antibiotic known to man and that irresponsible action has changed my life. I may never recover. I refer to myself as a Levaquin survivor and tell everyone I meet not to allow anyone they love to take Levaquin, Cipro, or any other fluoroquinolone. There is no doubt in my mind that one day it will be outlawed, but unfortunately that will be too late for me and others like me. A lot of very wealthy people are gaining their wealth over our broken bodies.

I am able to work some; I am a freelance writer. However the insomnia and frequent pain often causes me to be so foggy I can't put two words together. My family worries about me - I was the strongest in the family and now I am the weakest. I can no longer lift my grandchildren or run like I used to. I can't climb up on things, or move heavy items, none of the things I was able to do 10/01/02, before I swallowed the first pill. Now I need help with everything. It's frightening and frustrating for them, knowing I can't find help. Pain is a constant presence in my life now and I am learning to live with it. But something must be done to protect the ones who haven't yet been hit.  It's only a matter of time.

Last Updated 4/26/04