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The CBC, CTV networks on July 8th aired the warning from the United States Food and Drug Administration. " US Issues warning about Cipro-type antibiotics."

"The government safety officials Tuesday imposed the governments most urgent safety warning on Cipro and similar antibiotics, citing evidence that they may lead to tendon ruptures, a serious injury that can leave patients incapacitated and needing extensive surgery."

The FDA ordered makers of the Fluoroquinolone drugs to add a prominent 'black box' warning to their products.

A couple of years ago I was prescribed Levaquin/Levofloxacin which is also a Fluroquinolone by a Urologist. I read the pamphlet from the drug store. The side effects listed seemed to effect only pregnant or breast feeding mothers. There was the usual advisory re headaches, diarrhea, constipation.

After the second day of taking the pills there was severe pain in my hamstrings. I was unable to comfortably sit in my chair; the pain was excruciating.

On page three of five of the Health Watch there is a warning to the medical profession. "Rupture of the shoulder, hand and Achilles tendons that required surgical repair or resulted in prolonged disability have been reported in patients receiving Quinolones. Lavofloxacin should be discontinued if the patient experiences pain, inflamation or rupture of a tendon".

I read the notice to patients : " Each person reacts differently to a treatment. If you think this medication may be causing side effects talk to your doctor or pharmacist." I called the hospital resident and was told to continue taking the pills for 45 long painful days.

The FDA had several hundreds of complaints of tendon ruptures. "They advise that many of the injuries can be preventable if the patients stop taking the drug at the first sign of pain or swelling in a tendon and call the prescribing doctor and switch to another antibiotic.

Fluorquinolone antibiotics may be toxic to some people." I sadly followed the doctor's directions to not stop taking the pills.

A CAT scan ordered by a Neurosurgeon at the University Hospital showed that the Levaquin had severely scared my hamstrings.

What to do, where to go? I went the rounds of appointments: sports medicine clinics, chiropractor, acupuncture, aqua therapy and even a body scanning specialist.

I applied copious globs of Glucosamine , MSM, Bengay and Ultra Balm rubs - all to no avail.

I found relief came with time, stretching and exercise along with a proper mental perspective. Recently, I have found help in the capable hands of Veronica who is a massage therapist at Body Mechanics at the downtown Y who broke down the scar tissue in my hamstrings.

I guess we all have to ask, who do you trust? The doctor who prescribes the pills, the druggist who simply fills the prescription or the pharmaceutical corporations. Health Canada at the time of writing has not seen fit to join with the FDA to warn Canadians of the possible consequences of taking Fluorquinlone antibiotics.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com