Cipro Toxicity_Meeting Point Health

Cipro Toxicity

Ciprofloxacin, or “Cipro,” is in a class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones, which include Levaquin (levofloxacin) and Avelox (moxifloxacin). Although these drugs are commonly prescribed for sinus infections, chronic bronchitis, and urinary tract infections, they have received multiple “black box” warnings over the years, including:

  • tendinitis and tendon rupture (2008)
  • increased myasthenia gravis (2011)
  • irreversible peripheral neuropathy (2013)
  • potentially permanent damage to muscles, tendons, joints, nerves and the central nervous system (2016).

Although they are excellent at killing or stopping the growth of bacteria, their potency and lethalness should be reserved for only the most dire bacterial infections, where benefit may outweigh risk. Even then, there may be other antibiotics that can be used with equal effect.

Nevertheless, healthcare providers continue to prescribe these drugs at alarming rates– more than 26 million Americans every year. Perhaps the most insidious thing about cipro and other fluoroquinolones is that the side effects can occur hours, weeks or even months after exposure, and for some, may be permanent without proper treatment!

So what makes this class of drugs so harmful? The answer lies in what makes it so effective – its ability to kill and destroy. If you had mice in your attic, you could hire an exterminator, or you could burn your house down. Fluoroquinolones are like a fire that destroys everything it touches. For this reason, it has its origins in being developed to treat cancer and can be useful for anthrax poisoning, and in the most severe cases of bacterial infections that don’t respond to other types of treatments.

One of the many things that fluoroquinolones destroy is your cells’ mitochondria.

You may remember the phrase “the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.” Mitochondria is also very closely related to its primordial ancestor, bacteria. You see now why this might cause a problem! In your cell’s mitochondria, your body produces ATP which is what gives you energy, builds proteins, synthesizes RNA and DNA, helps nerves communicate, and pretty much keeps you going.

Scientific studies starting in the 1980s having increasingly shown that fluoroquinolones impair mitochondrial function, and in 2013 Dr. Collins and his colleagues at MIT showed that these drugs triggered oxidative stress, basically inhibiting mitochondria from functioning.  Some people are able to use this drug and clear it out of their system with no lasting side effects. Others, are advised to avoid these drugs at all costs, particularly those with:

  • autoimmune diseases
  • MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) mutations
  • skin disorders
  • high blood pressure
  • those with a history or risk of arterial blockages or aneurysms
  • certain genetic disorders (such as Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome),

The seriousness of fluoroquinolone toxicity cannot be underestimated. In 2016, the FDA recognized a potentially permanent syndrome that it calls fluoroquinolone-associated disability (FQAD). It has also been called Cipro Toxicity and being “flocked.” This class of drugs has also been responsible for over 6,500 deaths, mostly from aortic dissection (tear) and aneurysm (bulge). This is due to the fact that besides affecting mitochondria, fluoroquinolones also break down collagen in the body causing everything from tendon rupture (a hallmark of fluoroquinolone toxicity) to death from cardiac complications.

Other serious effects of Cipro Toxicity include:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • brain fog
  • panic attacks
  • trouble sleeping
  • chronic fatigue
  • chronic pain
  • digestive issues
  • breathing difficulties
  • vision problems
  • psychiatric symptoms.

Since only an estimated 1-10% of adverse events are actually reported to the FDA, the current number of more than 60,000 reports may well be closer to a million Amercians. Some conditions that stem from fluoroquinolone toxicity may have been misdiagnosed as Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or Gulf War Syndrome– the latter a result of Cipro being prescribed to those who may have come into contact with anthrax during this war.

Even though fluoroquinolone-associated disability has been recognized by the scientific community, there is no diagnostic test at this time and no FDA-approved treatment plan. Many healthcare professionals who have developed protocols are those who have experienced this pharmaceutical injury first hand. At Meeting Point Health, we use a personalized approach to medicine and will use a variety of modalities including proprietary IV treatments, peptides, stem cell treatments, as well as foundational support with nutrition and supplementation to help you recover and restore your body to optimal health.


Bactericidal antibiotics induce mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage in Mammalian cells

FDA Says Risks May Outweigh Benefits for Antibiotics Levaquin, Cipro

FDA updates warnings for fluoroquinolone antibiotics

FDA: Certain antibiotics may bring serious risks

Fluoroquinolones and collagen associated severe adverse events: a longitudinal cohort study

Fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms in a patient presenting with low back pain

The Molecular Mechanism of Transport by the Mitochondrial ADP/ATP Carrier

When antibiotics turn toxic

Author picture

Medically reviewed by Dr. Stephen Matta, DO, MBA CAQSM and Mary Anne Matta, MS, MA, LAC

Send a Message to Meeting Point