We often trust doctors when they prescribe an antibiotic, however, a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones shows it can have some alarming side effects and should only be taken as a last resort. If you are working to manage Hashimoto’s low thyroid, it’s critical you support your healthy gut bacteria and your immune system and avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.
Fluoroquinolones are a category of broad-spectrum antibiotics typically given for infections of the kidneys, respiratory tract, acute bacterial sinusitis, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections
Fluoroquinolones brand names include Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Cipro XR, Proquin XR, Levaquin (levofloxacin), Floxin, Noroxin, Avelox, Factive, and certain generics. Basically any drug ending in “floxacin” is a fluoroquinolone.
The side effects are so bad it’s referred to as “getting floxed” and the FDA warns people to avoid this family of antibiotics unless there are truly no other options.
Fluoroquinolones raise the risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture
One of the most surprising side effects of fluoroquinolones is increased risk of tendinitis and tendon ruptures.
Fluoroquinolones weaken and alter the structure of tendons. It’s believed they do this by:
- Boosting levels of enzymes that damage soft tissue.
- Interfering with the way our bodies replicate DNA, essential to repair of minor damage that running might cause.
- Disrupting blood flow to collagen in the muscles and tendons.
- The Achilles tendon seems to be especially vulnerable, making fluoroquinolones especially problematic for runners.
Taking fluoroquinolones will give you a 70 percent greater risk of tendinopathy and a 30 percent greater risk of full rupture than if you took a different kind of antibiotic.
Signs of impending tendon damage may include tendon, join, and muscle pain soon after taking the drug, yet the risks can continue for weeks after you stop taking a fluoroquinolone.
The higher your dose and the longer you take fluoroquinolones, the greater your risk of tendon problems.
The most vulnerable populations include:
- Older people
- People with kidney disease
- Patients taking corticosteroid medications
Fluoroquinolones have a long and troubling history of side effects
Fluoroquinolone drugs have required warnings for years, to the point the FDA has assigned them a “black box” warning.
FDA alerts include:
- In 2008, the increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture.
- In 2011, the risk of worsening myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune neuromuscular disease.
- In 2013, the potential for irreversible peripheral neuropathy, which is serious nerve damage.
- In 2016, a “black box” warning for potentially disabling and permanent damage to tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and the central nervous system.
- In 2018, a warning of mental health side effects such as disorientation, agitation, nervousness, memory impairment, and delirium.
- In 2018, a warning of severe blood sugar disturbances that can lead to coma.
Because these risks outweigh potential benefits, these drugs should only be used for as a last resort after other antibiotic classes were tried unsuccessfully.
Fluoroquinolones help create antibiotic resistant bacteria
Fluoroquinolones also appear to help create antibiotic resistant bugs as their effectiveness in killing bacteria has dropped from 100 percent to about 70 percent.
Only use fluoroquinolones as a last resort
Despite the FDA warnings and that various medical groups have stopped recommending fluoroquinolones, studies show they are still commonly prescribed. If you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid, it’s up to you to educate yourself about what is safe before accepting a prescription from a doctor.
If you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid you may be more prone to bacterial infections. This is because autoimmune diseases such as Hashimto’s low thyroid involve an imbalanced immune system, a leaky gut, poor gut bacteria health and composition, and weakened adrenal function. Addressing these factors is paramount to managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid and will also help you prevent and resolve chronic bacterial infections. Also, there are many good alternatives to antibiotics that are often successful and safe.
Ask my office for more advice on managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid or your bacterial infection.
How to learn if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid
Many patients are not diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s until after several years and going through several doctors. It is a demoralizing journey richly illustrated in my book The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, through real-life stories from patients in my practice. Managing Hashimoto’s goes far beyond using thyroid medication as you must work to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid. For more information on identifying and managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid, contact my office.
About Dr. Josh Redd, Chiropractic Physician — Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, and New Mexico functional medicine
Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto’s disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto’s, and autoimmunity. You can join his Facebook page here.