Floxed by Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

by | Jul 15, 2018 | Articles, Chronic pain, Conditions, Fatigue

Floxed refers to the devastating effects of a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones (FQs) and may include symptoms of extreme fatigue, tendon rupture, joint and muscle pains, nerve pains, and nervous system disturbances.

The symptoms may resolve after stopping the FQs, persist for years, or wax and wane as time goes by.  I’ve witnessed the symptoms appear immediately when starting the FQs, or worse yet the symptoms can also appear long after the FQs are taken or only after multiple rounds of FQs, thus making the diagnoses of FQ side effects tricky.

The offending FQ medicines include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), gemifoxacin (Factive),  levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), norfloxacin (Noroxin), and ofloxacin (Floxin).  There are subtle differences in the side effect profiles, but for sake of this article we’ll lump them together as FQs.

FQs kill bacteria by preventing bacterial DNA from unwinding and duplicating.  Unfortunately, like most medications, there are a host of unwanted side effects in the host, that being the person taking the drug.

FQ Toxicity

In summary, FQs can cause:

  1. Tendon Rupture
  2. Nervous system disturbances
  3. Heart, kidney and liver damage
  4. Diabetes
  5. FQ Associated Disability (FQAD)

The main mechanisms of toxicity appear to involve:

  1. Oxidative stress
  2. Binding of metals (Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Iron, and likely Selenium)
  3. Damage to mitochondria
  4. Disruption of cellular energy pathways
  5. Damage to DNA

FQ Associated Disability (FQAD)

In 2016 the term FQAD was coined to describe the long term symptoms observed in some patients after taking FQs.

It is uncertain, but suspicious, that FQs can bind to cellular components and linger in the body for years.  This may be part of the ongoing symptoms associated with FQAD. It’s hard to say if “detoxing” FQs from the body is a relevant issue as it’s not certain they are still present shortly after stopping the drug.  But, for certain, the lingering symptoms are due to the damage to the body which is difficult to repair.

There isn’t really a diagnostic test for this condition.  It’s simply matching the temporal relation of taking FQ to symptoms.  There isn’t a simple pill to fix it either.  We see many patients who have seen many docs before finally getting the correct FQ toxicity diagnosis.  Even then, they are usually left dangling as there isn’t a treatment to offer.

Treatment of FQAD

  1. Antioxidants
  2. Mineral replacement
  3. Mitochondria repair
  4. Restoring cellular energy

Our treatment protocol, in general and aimed specifically at the FQ issues, involves combinations of intravenous NAD, ozone, nutrients (Myers) and antioxidants (glutathione), along with numerous supplements aimed at targeting the 4 areas above.  We also utilize peptide and stem cell therapies.


Doctors can’t practice medicine out of state of licensure, so we have to consult with patients here in Colorado.  Simply making a diagnosis and giving supplement recommendations is considered practicing medicine and can get us in trouble with medical boards.

We treat a lot of people for FQ toxicity.  It’s heartbreaking to have at least 1-2 people with FQ toxicity contact us every single day.  We encourage you come here to consult, preferably stay a week or two for intensive IV therapies, get on our supplement protocol and ultimately try to find local resources back home for ongoing IV therapy as needed.  At that point we may then continue to give guidance and even phone consults as you have an “established” doctor-patient relationship with us here in person.

The floxed symptoms and recoveries are extremely variable, but we can say most of our patients recover most of the way.  Some people just come out for a day, others have stayed over a month.  We realize, of course, the financial hurdle / barrier it presents, so we’re happy to accommodate whatever people can do.  If you or someone you know has been floxed, have hope because we’ve helped numerous patients recover and reclaim their health.

Testimonials of Floxed Patients

“Although the FQ toxicity symptoms have disrupted my ability to study or work and taken an extremely large toll on my mental wellbeing, my very positive experience while being treated at your office has given me renewed hope that I can recover and resume my life. I am very grateful to you and your colleagues for being so caring, friendly, and hospitable.  In terms of recovery at this point, I no longer appear to be having issues with insomnia and waking up every 2 – 3 hours. My mood has also drastically improved. Although I may still deal with the neuropathic itch after a hot shower or while trying to fall asleep, there have been multiple instances throughout treatment where I have not encountered the itch for the first time in 2 – 3 months. The degree of the tendon pain seems to be at least somewhat proportional to how clean my diet is, so I am hoping that addressing the leaky gut is a long-term solution.”  – Tyler, Florida

“Dr. Rollins and the team are world class. From the moment I arrived, I was apart of the family. The office is calming and inviting and everyone is friendly. I have been struggling with extremely difficult side effects (joint pain, tendonopathy, fatigue, brain fog) from fluoroquinolone toxicity from cipro for over two years and hadn’t been able to find effective physicians who understand this complicated condition until Dr. Rollins. He has a unique and well thought-out treatment plan driven by biochemical rationale based on my particular symptoms. He has helped me feel better as I navigate this ambiguous and painful condition. Special shout out to nurse Deb who not only provided expert care but really made feel welcome and comfortable — couldn’t have done it without her. Thank you so much Dr. Rollins, Deb and team for helping me feel like me again.” – Wyatt, Texas


Some of these are difficult, highly scientific reads, but well worth at least an overview.  Credit to the authors for much of the information shared in my article above.

Treatment of FQAD: The Pathobiochemical Implications

When antibiotics turn toxic

Fluoroquinolone-induced serious, persistent, multisymptom adverse effects

Fluoride Toxicity Research Collaborative

Floxie Hope Links and Resources


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