U.K. reporter Yee-Liu Williams publishes Ciprofloxacin Rising Antibiotic Resistance. The original can be found here.
In an age where rising antibiotic resistance is of great concern the most common sense basic action and steps are not being taken to restrict usage or know how to treat antibiotic drug victims suffering from crippling and long term ‘excruciating pain’ side effects.
Ciprofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, marketed by drug giant Bayer as Ciproxine, was brought on to the market in 1987. The drug was issued to soldiers in 1990s’ Gulf War in case of Anthrax, stockpiled after 9/11 against biological terrorism, and recently tied to Gulf War Illness.
This ‘potent drug’ – often prescribed by doctors as a ‘conveniently broad spectrum’ antibiotic – indeed has the ability to kill ‘super bugs'; used as experimental cancer therapy; but also has the potential to rupture tendons, soft tissue and cause permanent nerve damage.
Nevertheless it is considered as ‘acceptably safe and effective medicine to treat a range of infections’ according to Medical Healthcare and Regulatory Agency. It is clear where the responsibility lies.
All prescription drugs have side effects said the MHRA: “The decision to treat a patient with these medicines is a matter of balancing the expected side effects against the potential benefit. The potential risks are clearly described in the product information.”
Doctors regularly prescribe the fluoroquinolones to treat common and more persistent infections – such as urinary tract infections, prostatitis and sinusitis.
But the general ‘overprescribing’ of antibiotics by doctors is a known problem and nothing is being done to restrict their use or educate the prescribing medical profession of the severe risks.
Although it is acknowledged that a key role of the MHRA is “to provide doctors with advice on the safe use of medicines, however, the prescribing of any drug, including information on possible side effects, precautions for use and the clinical care of the patient remains the responsibility of the doctor,” said MHRA spokesperson from the Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines.
As Professor Dr David Healy, Director of the Department of Psychological Medicine at Cardiff University, and a former Secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology and executive of RxISK.org – an organisation dedicated to making medicines safer – acknowledges the British medical profession is ‘reluctant to recognise the life-threatening risks and side effects of the fluoroquinolones along with the diagnosis of ‘fluoroquinolone toxicity syndrome.’
According to Public Health England between 2010 and 2013 resistance to ciprofloxacin increased by 18% due to the rise in antibiotic resistance.
Cameron is recently quoted as saying:
“If we fail to act, we are looking at an almost unthinkable scenario where antibiotics no longer work and we are cast back into the dark ages of medicine.”
Although the Government is looking to the future to ‘boost development of new drugs’ to deal with the ’super bugs’ – little is being done at a local level where the British healthcare system cannot cope or offer treatment to the victims in ‘excruciating pain’.
But British victims who have been suffering ’with ‘excruciating pain’ side effects – some for many years – say the British medical profession has abandoned them.
Antibiotic resistance time bomb“I didn’t kill myself, Bayer killed me,” were the words of rock musician, keyboardist of Def Leppard in a suicide letter of September 2012.
When Dick Decent visited his doctor for a ‘trivial’ infection in November 2009, he hadn’t predicted that doing what your doctor tells you would leave him in ‘excruciating pain’ for three years, abandoned by the British medical profession and disabled in his final year before his death.
British victims, who are convinced they have been poisoned by the fluoroquinolone antibiotics, know only too well the misery Decent had to endure, and say they too have contemplated suicide as a release from the ‘excruciating pain’ from long-term ‘neurological side effects’ brought on by the potent drug Ciprofloxacin.
At the inquest, Decent’s suicide was put down to ‘depression.’ His widow, Sara Beardes, said this was ‘misleading’ and failed to acknowledge the true cause of his suffering brought on by a drug that left him disabled in his final year.
“It was not fair what happened to my husband – his life was taken from him because of this terrible drug. I do not want my husband to have suffered three years of torture for nothing. I would want, if nothing else, for awareness, recognition and action to be taken regarding the fluoroquinolone group of antibiotics.” said Beardes.
NICE guidelines indicates the quinolones should only be prescribed for serious infection e.g. Anthrax and not for simple infections.
In a statement, Bayer said the company considers patient safety of ‘paramount importance’ and takes all reports of adverse events ‘very seriously.’
But the reality is that the case of ‘fluoroquinolone toxicity’ goes unacknowledged and severe side effects minimised or ignored in Britain with little or no media coverage to raise awareness.
The antibiotic is still being prescribed freely by British doctors oblivious of the serious neurological and permanent nerve damage – despite growing alarm over its use in the United States.
This antibiotic has also been implicated in the food chain farming process and also raises grave concerns for long term neurodegenerative disease being reviewed by US Foods Drugs Agency.
In the US several fluoroquinolones have already been withdrawn due to drug safety issues and the serious side effects of the antibiotic are well reported in the media.
With more than 2,000 lawsuits filed against drug maker Johnson & Johnson settling with 845 plaintiffs in November 2012 for the branded FQ Levaquin.
US law firm, Baron & Budd, filing first lawsuits for ‘Cipro’, based on a 10-Year study, that provides evidence of oral FQs that doubles the risk of developing permanent ‘peripheral neuropathy’.
Budd said: “This is validation for the many fluoroquinolone victims who have struggled to be taken seriously but now afflicted with severe and irreversible peripheral neuropathy.”
Rachel Brummert, Chief Executive of the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation, said:
“Medical professionals in the UK and all over the world need to recognize the multi symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity, and the severity of the risks associated with the fluoroquinolones. We call on the UK regulatory authority to launch an immediate investigation into its current use and to create strict safeguards so more people don’t suffer irreversible, but preventable, harm.”“The failure of regulatory authorities and the makers of fluorouquinolone antibiotics puts patients at an alarmingly high risk of developing lifelong, life-threatening neurodegenerative disorders, disability and death,” said Brummert.
Lisa Bloomquist, leading activist and researcher, of another activist group FloxieHope said:
“Fluoroquinolones damage and age cells that can lead to prolonged illness. Several studies have shown that they have been explored as cancer fighting chemotherapy drugs. It is inappropriate to use such damaging drugs to treat simple infections. They are over-prescribed and should be thought of as chemo drugs.”
British ‘Floxed’ VictimsMost people don’t learn of the risks to the fluoroquinolones until it is far too late – once they have been “floxed” – as is commonly known amongst sufferers across the world. Unlike other antibiotic drugs – when side effects normally cease if discontinued – serious side effects can persist for years.
Robert Oldfield, 62, a former teacher from Stafford, prescribed ciprofloxacin for prostatitis, in 2009 has stopped taking medication because of increased effects.
“If I died today I wouldn’t care because I have no life. My neurologist now acknowledges ‘fluoroquinolone toxicity’ – but if I am to die I want it acknowledged the harm caused by this drug – otherwise my life has been wasted.”“I believe there are number of people out there who don’t know why they might be ill – they should check if they have ever been prescribed Ciprofloxacin.”
Jane Allan, 49 from Essex, suffering since 2012, was prescribed the drug for a persistent cough:
“My life is living hell – the doctors don’t know anything, can’t diagnose it, can’t treat it – how many others are suffering like me?“I can’t live with the pain anymore – the constant burning, all over muscle pain, sleepless nights – I just want out – to find a way of how to die painlessly and quickly.”
It is the insidious ‘delayed nature’ and myriad of side effects – often worst long after the antibiotic has been taken – that affects the central nervous system – with onset from initial dosage that can progressively get worse – even when the drug is discontinued.
Side effects include but are not limited to: severe burning electric shock type sensation, constant muscle pain, ruptured tendons, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, tingling, numbness, memory loss, inter cranial head pressure, dizziness, insomnia, anxiety, depression, neurological degenerative disease and many others.
The total number of victims, or wider pattern suffering in Britain, are unknown due to admittance by the MHRA of lack of under reporting.
MHRA have confirmed 61 deaths potentially linked to the fluoroquinolone antibiotics since 2000 with 1,874 ‘spontaneous unique reports’ with associated 5,195 adverse drug reactions.
There are no plans to research the concerns raised by British victims where the MHRA and EMA Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee maintain they ‘continuously monitor safety signals’.The deaths attributed to ‘antimicrobial resistance’ are said to cause at least 50,000 deaths in Europe and the United States; with 700,000 deaths implicated globally every year according to economist Jim O’Neill.
The worldwide deaths are predicted to rise more than 10-fold by 2050 presented in the recent study commissioned by David Cameron.
Calls for further enquiry and investigation may fall on deaf ears in the race for a ‘disinfected future’ but also presents a doomed world of Pharmageddon. At its core social and health policy fails to address the problem.
So what action is being taken today for suffering victims and to prevent other unsuspecting patients from high risk of developing lifelong, life-threatening neurodegenerative disorders, disability and death?