Some of the most common antibiotics may also be the most dangerous

November 29, 2017 Kaitlyn Matousek


Can the antibiotics prescribed to treat UTIs be dangerous? 

Antibiotics like Cipro and Levaquin are often recommended to treat UITs, the second most common infection in the United States. But these drugs can have serious consequences. 

Antibiotics commonly used to treat UTIs have been linked to serious long-term side effects including nerve damage and ruptured tendons. In July of 2016, the FDA (U.S Food and Drug Administration) strengthened its warning labels on fluoroquinolones, a class of antibiotics used commonly to treat respiratory infections and UTIs. 

Fluoroquinolones are a class of antibiotics including Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), gemifloxacin (Factive), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), norfloxacin (Noroxin), and ofloxacin (Floxin).These antibiotics are effective at fighting off bacterial infections because they prevent the multiplication of bacterial DNA. Approximately 33 million Americans use the extremely strong antibiotics to kill bacterial infections each year. 

The FDA cautioned that these drugs shouldn't be prescribed for sinus infections, chronic bronchitis or simple urinary tract infections unless no other treatments options exist. 

Two huge problems of overprescription of these intense antibiotics are antibiotic resistance and permanent harm to patients health. UTIs are the most common bacterial infection in the US and fluoroquinolones are regularly prescribed to treat UTIs. These antibiotics don’t only have a huge list of possible negative side effects their overprescription has left them ineffective. A study published in the International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences found that bacteria in UTI infections are ‘resistant’ to the Fluoroquinolone drugs between 63-91% of the time.

Negative effects of fluoroquinolones can range from short-term discomfort to permanent severe damage and varies person to person. Antibiotics should not be seen as a magical perfect cure-all drug. To best care for yourself stay informed about the risks and benefits of any drug to make the correct decision for you.    

Common side effects

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain

Long-term side effects

  • Tendon problems-ex. tendinitis, tendon rupture
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Stroke
  • Arthritis
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Kidney or liver damage
  • Permanent nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)

Allergic Reaction

Seek immediate medical help if you experience any of these symptoms

  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Severe rash

Drug Interactions

Fluoroquinolones can also negatively react with other medications. Taking common over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, Motrin, and Aleve with fluoroquinolones can increase the risk of negative central nervous system effects and seizures.

What does this mean for you in your everyday life? Keep fighting the good fight on preventative care. Anytime you can avoid antibiotics, it’s a win. Think eating healthy, maintaining an active lifestyle, and supplementing with preventative supplements like Uqora to keep you healthy and out of the doctor’s office.

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