Mark's Story

 It all started off in January 2002. I was diagnosed with epidydimitis (which was obvious due to my symptoms and warmth of the scrotum) and prescribed amoxiciclin combined with clavulan acid( Augementin)
for 7 days. As soon as I had finished the course, symptoms returned. Unfortunately my doc went on vacation, so I had to visit the ED of the university hospital to obtain more antibiotics.

The diagnosis was confirmed by ultrasound and no bacteria were found in the urine. (the absence of a positive culture does not necessarily rule out an infection of the testes and prostate). I was put on a course of Doxicycline (Vibramycin)for 4 weeks, with no tolerance problems at all. The Doxy improved my swelling of the scrotum and eased the pain. However, throughout the year 2002, things were never quite back to normal. Dull pain persisted.

An effort to check prostate fluid and/or ejaculate was not made. (Recurrent epidymitis with a negative urine culture is strongly suggestive of involvement of the prostate).  However, residual urine was considered to be "relatively" high for a person of my age as measured by ultrasound. In the course of that year 2002, I noticed intense pain in my prostate after my daily ejaculation sessions, which would last for about 1 hour.

(Masturabation significantly improved my symptoms.) This is when I started suspecting that something was wrong.
In May 2003 (20 months into the problem) I agreed to have a cystoscopy performed for bladder inspection.
This is where I made my life-altering and stupid mistake. I was convinced that a flexible fibre cystoscope would be used. (I had informed myself on the internet that flexible cystos are o.k., as they were only using this gel anesthetics for the urethra, I was very sure that a flexible cysto would be used.)

As you might have guessed by now, a rigid old cystoscop was used. The procedure itself was not painful. And it was done professionally with no bleeding afterwards. However, my prostate was severely bruised  and the pain that occurred 1 week late was unbearable. ED once again. No bacteria were found in the urine.

The doc prescribed 14 days of ciprofloxacin (500mg twice daily) (the maximum allowed dose and duration for  outpatient use in my country).

I asked him to give me Trimethoprim/Sulfa (Bactrim Roche). He muttered something about bacterial resistance and then the nurse suggested that "it was the best option for me to take the cipro".

Being in intense pain, I just wanted to get rid of all my problems and forget about the cysto, which actually (surprise surprise) didn' reveal anything normal.  DURING the cipro regime the following events were observed:

On day 3, very mild tinnitus and abnormal sensitivity for sounds. I checked the PDR and I decided to continue nevertheless as "tinnitus and hearing loss are usually reversible". Furthermore, I was rather tired and slept for 12 hours every night.I could tell when the drug plasma concentration reached its peak level.

On day 10 my prostate pain was substantially less and so I finished the prescription (another 4 days).  No psychological alterations were detected. I was rather pleased with myself to have got through that
long prescription of this powerful antibiotic with no APPARENT damage.

However, 5 weeks (!) after having finished my prescription, I reported to the ED (in tears) because I couldn't walk due to intense pain in both of my knees.

Blood tests revealed no inflammatory process. Urine fully normal. No swelling, no local temp. rise. Nothing. X-rays were not obtained due to radiation consideration. MRI was thought to be too expensive. To put it in a nutshell: I was treated like a hypochondriac and told to take a few ibuprofen. They refused to report my case to the health authorities. (A cause/relationship link was denied due the long latency period (i.e. because problems occurred so much later.)

Finally, I found the yahoo quinolone victim forum and was relieved to hear that my symptoms had also been experienced by many others.

I did very extensive research on quinolones and their cartilage damaging effects. I spoke to various experts from all over the world including veterinary pharmacologists. I also read Stephen Frieds extremely informative book "Bitter pills", which focuses on quinolone antibiotics.

My results in summary:
(I have all documents and records to prove it). Fluoroquinolones may also cause permanent irreversible
cartilage damage in susceptible human adults  and thus trigger off an osteoarthritis (arthrosis) month, years or
decades down the road. MRI is not sensitive enough to detect early degenerative changes. Adult Horses are not given quinolones due their arthropatogenic potential. Horse owners must be provided with a written informed
consent about these serious musculosceletal adverse effects. Adults are LESS susceptible to this chondrotoxic effect than adolescents. This is NOT equivalent to INSENSITIVE to this chondrotoxic effect.

Some manufacturer (but not Cipro's) state in the US-Label that side-effects which were observed included:

Levofloxacin: Arthrosis (=osteoarhritis)

Trovafloxacin: Arthropathy

Since being floxed I have not been able to do any sports. My girlfriend quit , because she didn't believe me.

My case was eventually reported to the national health authorities along with scientific literature. However, they think I'm mad. My physician thinks that I was genetically susceptible to this toxic effect.

I am partially physically  disabled, especially when trying to walk a few miles. Quality of life questions me staying alive at all.

However, job work is not affected.

I wouldn't even want by biggest enemy to have to endure the crippling and non-abating toxic side-effects that these drugs cause within the human body.

Last Updated 4/26/04