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I’m a big fan of antibiotics when you need them.
Many antibiotics have other effects that are very positive — such as being extremely anti-inflammatory.
However, there seems to be an escalation of the use of very powerful antibiotics in a way has serious side effects.
I want to talk about that right now in today’s newsletter.
I’m talking about the fluoroquinolones, antibiotics such as:
Ciprofloxacin, aka “Cipro”
These are extremely powerful.
In fact, they are the most powerful antibiotics that are available right now.
And they should be reserved for life-threatening situations.
But what are fluoroquinolones used for?
They’re being prescribed for upper respiratory infections, urinary infections, and other things that are much less than life-threatening.
This is unfortunate because these drugs also have some very serious potential side effects.
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The first very well known issue is tendon problems.
These drugs accumulate and could destroy the mitochondria in the muscles and tendons.
Muscles repair themselves fairly quickly, but tendons do not.
So these drugs have a history of causing extensive recurrent tendon damage with use.
They’ve known about this problem for a long time.
But the reporting has been delayed for decades.
So now it is evident in the rearview mirror that thousands of people had debilitating tendon disease from taking these antibiotics.
They should have known a long time ago, but the drug companies probably succeeded in covering it up.
The most common site of tendon injury is the Achilles tendon, the strongest and most weight-bearing of all tendons.
Fluoroquinolones cause a tendon injury similar to the one that athletes get from overuse.
Doctors often misdiagnose the injury because they’re unaware of the possibility that the damage is from the antibiotic.
Microscopic evaluation of fluoroquinolone-related Achilles tendon injuries has shown features also seen in tendon overuse injuries in athletes.
The next issue is that these drugs also cause liver damage.
Anytime you put something that has fluorine in your body, you risk liver damage.
Fluoroquinolones can be very toxic to the liver.
Damage appears as:
hepatitis, pancreatis, jaundice, liver injury and hepatic failure.
Liver enzymes start getting out of whack.
Bilirubin levels rise too quickly.
And the liver damage shows up in an ultrasound or biopsy.
Either test will show the death of the liver cells — the degeneration of the liver.
If you have a urinary tract infection, it’s not generally worth it to take this antibiotic.
Now, if you have a really severe infection, then it’s time to take this one.
And there’s another of fluoroquinolones side effects that we need to discuss.
It’s the worst of all.
These antibiotics cause pancreatic damage and diabetic problems:
Remember that these drugs affect the mitochondria.
Mitochondria in the pancreas beta cells, the ones that produce insulin, are very sensitive to damage.
These beta cells are not easily able to repair themselves so that fluoroquinolone damages especially alarming.
The result is high blood sugar.
Fluoroquinolones affect the function of the mitochondria in pancreatic beta cells which may diminish the insulinotropic effect and contribute to the hyperglycemic episodes.
I could give you many, many other studies to look at.
But I do not want to bore you.
These fluoroquinolones should be reserved for life-threatening situations.
If your doctor is prescribing them, ask if you can try a different antibiotic.
One antibiotic that has particular promise is the old one called minocycline.
It’s very anti-inflammatory and broad-spectrum.
It’s a type of tetracycline but much more effective in many cases than the tetracycline alone.
Many doctors are unaware of it is likely because it’s an older antibiotic!
But it is particularly useful.
And it can usually fix the problems that you’re having without having to resort to fluoroquinolones.
It’s an effective way to avoid the dangers of fluoroquinolones.
Fluoroquinolones Reported Hepatotoxicity
Effect of fluoroquinolones on mitochondrial function in pancreatic beta-cells