Cipro & Magnesium

an article by Christine Spencer

As if having the connective tissue disorders Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Fibromyalgia weren’t bad enough, I found myself one night, with welling eyes of tears, realizing I had just been “floxed.” My initial thought was, “There’s actual terminology for this? This can’t be good.”

Just a few days prior I was written a prescription for the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin, usually referred to as Cipro, from the class of medications known as fluoroquinolones. A sense of urgency to get the prescription filled my determination. Not having taken antibiotics since my childhood, I didn’t quite realize what I was in for, neither did I think to do any research on the matter. Honestly, I was thinking, “Thank god I live in a time of antibiotics!”

I’m one of the “lucky” Cipro cases. Wednesday morning I received a call from my doctor to stop taking the Cirpo. He explained that I didn’t have an infection and that the medication was not needed. Having taken one pill on Monday and three on Tuesday, he instructed me to finish out the day by taking two more. Even as I took that last pill, I had a gut feeling that I shouldn’t.

Within days of taking the medication, I noticed that the tendons in my fingers and hands were aching: a wicked feeling that I had never felt before. “Was I typing too much yesterday? But my hands have never felt like this. I can feel every aspect of each tendon.”

As the hours rolled on, my body began to ache worse than any Fibromyalgia pain that had ever plagued me. Near my shoulder blade, I felt a sharp stabbing pain. As I attempted to walk, I experienced leg cramps. In my mind, I went from my usual sunny disposition to a severe depression with a doll-like stare over my eyes. My stomach had an ache that lasted for days.

If there is any one positive thing that the world of E.D.S. has, it’s the network of tips, assurance and guidance from others. Immediately I found myself in an E.D.S. support group asking if anyone ever had problems with taking Cipro. Honestly, I was googling Cipro & Gluten, thinking I was having an allergic reaction. Within moments, someone answered back using the term “floxed”. Apparently, there have been thousands of people, even those without EDS, which have reacted horribly to Cipro.

My anger was directed at my doctor for prescribing this medication to someone with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. As I spoke with him on the phone, he explained that neither of the two conditions were “contraindications.” I realized that I should not be angry at him, and it was my own fault for not researching this chemical I was introducing into my body.

Day by day, my symptoms were worsening, and it had been days since I even took the damned drug. The tendon coming up from my Achilles heel shocked me with intense pain whenever I took my dog for a walk. Shuffling substituted for walking, as I was afraid I would become one of the many I had just read about that had their tendons rupture. The all-over pain I was experiencing graduated into severe pain with muscle spasms, and my depression was not disappearing. A full week after my last dose of Cipro, I had to stop myself, four times, from crying during my car ride home. I felt as if I could no longer drive anymore. The walls were closing in.

As I researched, I came across numerous accounts of people being crippled from Cipro, with these horrible symptoms lasting anywhere between one and two years. The stories are sad, for the victims and their families, alike.

The more I researched and reached out, the more I was piecing together. One fellow EDSer mentioned something about a fluoroquinolone inhibiting a particular vitamin. In my findings, comments about magnesium deficiency kept catching my eye. For years, many people with EDS have complained of being deficient in magnesium; myself included. The following day, another fellow EDSer reached out and commented about a possible link with Cipro affecting those deficient in magnesium.

Within moments of searching online, I found two accounts of people turning almost completely around with the help of topical magnesium. Springing from my chair, for the first time in a week, I went to the cabinet and pulled out a bottle of magnesium cream I had almost forgotten about. Applying this cream to multiple thin-skinned areas of my body, two to three times a day for two weeks, I desperately hoped this would relieve some of my symptoms. Expecting my recovery to take anywhere between 10-14 days, I was elated when I woke up on the second day as if nothing had ever happened. The nightmare was over!

Attributing my quick recovery to my short duration of taking the medication, I realized I am one of the lucky ones. I escaped, but many others still suffer or still have the prospect of also falling victim to this horror.

With a sensitive nervous system as well as having the possibility of being deficient in magnesium, many people with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Fibromyalgia may want to ask their doctor for an antibiotic that is not in the fluoroquinolone family. My doctor recommended that I call all of my doctor’s offices and pharmacies to have them document that I react to fluoroquinolones, to avoid the fluoroquinolones Cipro & Levaquin, and to try either Bactrim or Keflex the next time an antibiotic is needed.

With my research and questioning, I came across numerous EDSers that were affected by Cipro and Levaquin; however, I also came across a few people that were not affected by these medications. Searching more, I read how some people were affected after they took these medications for a second or third time. With a little searching yourself, you’ll come across countless stories of people actually contributing their Fibromylagia to fluoroquinolone toxicity!

It seems as if a fluoroquinolones affects mitochondrial DNA content and behavior. The mitochondria is involved with cellular calcium signaling. Magnesium acts as an antagonist to the calcium channel therefore possibly reversing any damage from the fluoroquinolones.

If you have been affected by taking these antibiotics and have not suffered liver damage, I personally and strongly believe that a topical magnesium treatment may be your best medicine toward recovery. The vitamin is able to instantly absorb into your bloodstream, bypassing your first phase of metabolism (not to mention your possible decreased ability to efficiently absorb nutrients through your gluten-damaged gut). Please note, that if you have liver damage from taking a fluoroquinolone, you may have trouble with supplementation, as there are some cases of people being hospitalized from magnesium treatments. Please take the supplementation with supervision and precaution. This would also be a good time to mention the importance of taking a probiotic to protect your digestive tract anytime you are taking an antibiotic. Probiotics do not decrease the efficacy of the antibiotics, but they do help replace the essential “good bacteria” in your gut which are indiscriminately destroyed along with the harmful ones by antibiotics.

Fluoroquinolones are very strong medications, as they are sometimes referred to as “the nuclear bombs of antibiotics.” If you have a known similar connective tissue disorder and you find yourself in the situation of having to take an antibiotic, know the risks and talk to your doctor about other options. If your infection is not in need of a medicinal Hiroshima, then taking the safer route may save you and your loved ones a great deal of unnecessary pain.


8 thoughts on “Cipro & Magnesium

  1. Christine, I too was flowed by Cipro three weeks ago and found articles on Magnesium Oil. Once I found a store that had actually heard of it, I too was MUCH better after two days. This experience has made me a believer in Essential Oils!

  2. I also was floxed by Cipro given for a bladder infection. It was December of 2008. I remember it well because I went from being a very healthy woman to an invalid seemingly overnight. However I didn’t attribute it to the Cipro because I had finished the regiment before I couldn’t walk. While I was on the medication my body was in a lot of pain and I remember thinking that this was the worst bladder infection I had ever had. My body never ached like that before. Little did I know that it was the Cipro attacking my muscles. But during the treatment I was finding it more and more difficult to walk. It still didn’t occur to me that Cipro was the culprit because the insert told of tendon damage and rupture that could occur with activity but didn’t describe muscle pain as side effect, so I continued the drug believing my body was just having a bad infection. The problem was I eventually became an invalid wracked with so much pain I didn’t want to live anymore and neither I or my doctor could figure out what happened. For two years I was tested for everything under the sun to no avail. No answers as to why I couldn’t walk and why I was in so much pain. It wasn’t until my mother had the exact thing happen to her when she was prescribed Cipro for a bladder infection that I put the two together. I started researching this drug and found many sites such as this one reading story after story of the horrors that this drug caused that I realized what happened to me. My doctor was reluctant to believe it was the medication, but did note on my chart that I was never to be given it again. I would rather die than be given this again.

    So long story short. I researched and found a doctor who was having success treating his patients with magnesium. While it was only anecdotal proof since no studies had been done to prove effectiveness, I figured I had nothing to lose. I hobbled my way into the store and bought myself some magnesium. Within a week I noticed that I could stand up a little straighter without writhing in pain and my limp was gone. I thought this might just be the “placebo effect” and didn’t want to get too excited about this just yet. But my husband noticed a difference as well and I hadn’t shared with him what I had done. Once he mentioned what he was seeing I told him what I had did all he could say was Oh my God keep it up because I can see a big difference in you. I realized that I wasn’t imagining it. So I continued. I just kept getting better as the days wore on. I couldn’t believe it. Could I really be healing? After 2 years of agony, could I really be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? For the first time I had hope that I was going to conquer this beast. Unfortunately the form of magnesium I was taking was giving me the laxative effect which is typical of magnesium use. But rather than stop treatment I researched types of magnesium to see if I could find one that would be better. Thankfully I found a magnesium that is called Angstrom Magnesium. It is called this because it actually is the description for it’s particle size and it’s ability to be absorbed directly into the blood system rather than traveling through the digestive track where magnesium causes the diarrhea. Because of it’s size, smaller doses can achieve better results than those having to be digested. So I gave it a try and I am so glad I did. Within a couple of months my pain subsided to the point that I almost forgot about it. I was able to return to doing things I hadn’t been able to do for 2 years and I just kept getting better everyday. It has been 5 years since I started taking the magnesium and I can say that I don’t think about what happened to me anymore. I don’t have the constant pain to remind me. Still there are times when I can overdo and I will feel a soreness in the groin where the pain was the worst but with an overnight’s good rest, I am good to go the next day. I have my life back which I never thought was possible. I still take the magnesium daily as I can feel it in my muscles when I forget, but it is the only thing that I take. I don’t need any pain meds or anti-inflammatory drugs at all. I don’t know if Cipro damaged the magnesium receptors in my muscles so that I must take it daily in order to stay healthy, but I am glad that I have found relief regardless of why it works for me.
    I hope in sharing this that others may find the relief as well. I say try it, you have nothing to lose and possibly everything to gain.

    1. Sorry for the poor grammar in prior post where it says “when I told him what I had did”. This comes from rewriting and not noticing I hadn’t changed the did to done and after posting there is no way to edit so forgive my faux pas.

  3. Floxi.. has destroyed my life. I been using the magnesium. . Gell.. I am still fighting it as I have taken Ciprofloxacin. More than 5 time . I am so so angry at myself. Because I should have know better. Thank you for your cander. I pray we all can recover and live normal lives. .

  4. What brand of magnesium lotion/oil? Stopped taking Cipro after on it for 3 days. Horrendous side effects, not over it yet. What about cleansing with Sonne #7 and #9 Bentonite detoxifications? Removes positively charged toxins, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, pesticides, chemicals and metabolic toxins. Thank you.

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