Published on March 31st, 2019 | by Dr. Doug Pucci0
Pain, Fibromyalgia and Cipro Toxicity
by Doug Pucci
Fibromyalgia has been one of those “mystery” ailments that can create tremendous amounts of pain, yet doctors still don’t have a definitive answer as to its cause, nor is there a cure. A wide net has been cast as to possible risk factors, including chronic stress, certain infections, autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, traumatic injuries and more, most of which puts pretty much everyone at some level of risk.
The number of people suffering with this life-changing, debilitating condition is growing; today it affects about 10 million people in the U.S. alone, and about 6 percent of people worldwide, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association. The chance of being diagnosed with fibromyalgia increases with age—currently 8 percent of people suffer with this disorder by the age of 80.
One other important risk factor associated with developing fibromyalgia that has come to light more recently is the use of a certain class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. While some may not be familiar with the term, most have probably heard of Cipro (generic name ciprofloxacin). A common go-to, broad-spectrum antibiotic, Cipro is readily prescribed for UTIs, bronchitis, ear infections, sinusitis and a wide range of other bacterial infections. Some doctors also prescribe Cipro for infections caused by viruses, even though viral illnesses don’t respond to antibiotic treatment and shouldn’t be treated with them.
Fluoroquinolones aren’t just associated with fibromyalgia—Baylor College of Medicine reports that these antibiotics have received an U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “black box” warning because they may “disrupt the normal functions of connective tissue, including tendon rupture, tendonitis, and retinal detachment.” When a drug receives a black box warning—the most serious the FDA can give—doctors are supposed to inform their patients of the warning and the potential harm the drug can cause. However, many doctors are not communicating any of this information to their patients, putting them at risk without their knowing or giving them the opportunity to request a different approach.
In addition to side effects, there is concern that there may be a connection between fluoroquinolones and cardiovascular problems, as well as “severe aortic problems”, including aneurysms. A 2016 FDA news release states that the potential disabling side effects that may affect joints, the central nervous system and muscles can be permanent, occurring anywhere from hours to weeks after use. It concludes that fluoroquinolones should only be prescribed for serious bacterial infections or when there is no alternative treatment.
While antibiotics have their place in medicine and are necessary to fight certain illnesses and, in some cases, save people’s lives, the problem is that Cipro use should be limited to more powerful bacterial strains, including life-threatening infections. As reported in The New York Times, University of British Columbia pharmacological epidemiologist Mahyar Etminan stated that fluoroquinolones are being overprescribed “by lazy doctors who are trying to kill a fly with an automatic weapon.” In fact, the Drug Law Center reports that more than 26 million people are prescribed fluoroquinolones annually.
Many common viral and bacterial infections will clear up on their own with proper care; we can help the body fight back by increasing our intake of “natural antibiotic” foods such as manuka honey, cinnamon, garlic, foods rich in vitamin C and more. If necessary, safer, less powerful medications or botanicals can be prescribed. Avoiding the overuse of antibiotics is a must, and the best treatment is prevention, which means strengthening our immune system and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.
Dr. Doug Pucci, DC, adheres to a functional medicine approach to patient care and believes in treating underlying, root causes of disease. In practice, he provides nutrition, comprehensive testing for health biomarkers, toxicology, and brain/body well-being. For more information, call 201-261-5430 or visit GetWell-Now.com.