Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics (Ciprofloxacin, Levaquin, Avelox) and Thyroid Gland, Thyroid Hormone, and Iodine Metabolism Dysfunction.
Hi, I’m JMR.
This website was created to describe how Fluoroquinolone Toxicity (FQT) permanently damaged my Thyroid Hormone and Iodine metabolism (TH/Iodine metabolism). “Floxed” is the term used when a person experiences adverse reactions to the fluoroquinolone (FQ) antibiotics. In my case, getting floxed caused major problems with my thyroid system.
If you’re unfamiliar with Fluoroquinolone Toxicity, there are a lot of websites describing the numerous adverse effects, symptoms, and body systems damage that can occur from using the popularly prescribed fluoroquinolone (FQ) antibiotics Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, and more. Links to some of these websites are provided on the right of this page. In my case, one of the systems permanently damaged from using the FQ called Ciprofloxacin was my thyroid-related endocrine system.
If you’re unfamiliar with Thyroid Disorders, there are also numerous websites providing information on symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of thyroid conditions. I’m providing a few links to some of these websites as well, although many many more exist. It seems there are millions of unhappy people diagnosed with thyroid abnormalities littering the internet. I became one of them after taking the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin.
Not everyone who takes a fluoroquinolone antibiotic will develop thyroid problems. And not everyone who develops Fluoroquinolone Toxicity will develop thyroid problems. But I believe that “thyroid-related problems” are probably more prevalent in both of these populations than is currently recognized. I also believe that anyone with a pre-existing thyroid condition is more susceptible to the adverse effects of this class of antibiotics. As well, I believe that anyone who has taken these antibiotics is more susceptible to developing either immediate or delayed thyroid-related problems. These thyroid-related symptoms may be delayed depending on how healthy the thyroid gland was at the time of the FQT, and because of the compensatory mechanisms that kick in once the thyroid system experiences a toxic insult. I think anyone who has ever taken an FQ antibiotic will always be at an increased risk of thyroid problems, even if it’s years and years later. So learning how to “take care of your thyroid gland” is probably a really really good idea for anyone who has had exposure to these drugs, in the hopes of preventing potential problems later on.
There is a lot of published research available showing how damaging the fluoroquinolone antibiotics are to many different body systems, but almost none of it includes the thyroid system or the endocrine system in general (one of the few clues we have available to us is that hypothyroidism, along with hyperparathyroidism and diabetes mellitus, is listed in “Table 3: Potential Risk Factors” in the 2011 Mayo Clinic paper entitled: Musculoskeletal Complications of Fluoroquinolones ). Someday, studies will be published showing the association between fluoroquinolones and thyroid abnormalities. Until then, it will be up to patients themselves to try and figure out if this association exists for themselves. I created this website to describe the symptoms I experienced during my acute and delayed flox reactions, and why I believe that these reactions included a “thyrotoxic” component. I also discuss how both Thyroid Hormone Medications (T3 and T4), as well as Iodine alone, affected my floxing symptoms greatly, capable both of dramatically improving my symptoms overall — or making them markedly worse. This aspect, in particular, made it quite clear to me how much my TH/Iodine – related problems were interacting with my FQT problems.
This website is written from a very “thyrocentric” view, ie, I explore and explain most of my FQ Toxicity through the lens of “thyroid related issues”. There are any number of systems that are damaged from being floxed, and underlying mechanisms which exist to explain that damage, such as DNA, oxidative, mitochondrial, and GABA/glutamate damage. Any and all of these, plus a whole bunch more, could be occurring with FQ Toxicity. However, this website won’t be going into those topics in any depth, simply because I believe other people, websites, and available published research are exploring and writing about those angles. This particular website here is dedicated to the thyroid endocrine damage I believe the FQ’s cause, and therefore will be heavily “thyrocentric” in approach.
For anyone wondering about my own health status: I am five years out, and I am not recovered. And even though I learned an awful lot about the thyroid system, way more than I ever wanted to, I didn’t find an answer or cure or treatment for my own case of FQT. The only thing I really found out and confirmed for myself is how much my thyroid system was coming into play with my floxing symptoms. In fact, I believe that if I didn’t have the “thyroid problems”, there’s a chance I might have been one of the people who would have a better recovery or improvement story to tell. Having both FQT and thyroid problems has made my journey much harder. Understandably, most people want to hear from others who have successfully recovered. So if you’re looking for a recovery story, I’m very sorry I can’t provide it. I wish I had found “the answer”, not only for myself, but for others as well. This didn’t happen, but I did learn some things along the way, most notably, how very much thyroid-related problems were contributing to my floxing syndrome. This website is my attempt to provide this information for others who may suspect the same, and are interested in learning more.
Update: Most of this website focuses on the possible associations between Ciprofloxacin and TH/Iodine issues I developed as part of my severe FQT/FQAD reaction. As the years went on (I’m almost on Year 7 of this ordeal), it became apparent that my thyroid problems were only a part of my bigger FQT/FQAD problems. Consequently, I ended up exploring and researching topics under “TH/Iodine Problems Were Not The Only Issues” and “Additional Mechanisms to Consider”, which could affect TH/Iodine metabolism, but were more fundamental to a number of processes. This was extended considerably as I learned more and researched even more mechanisms in “Additional Targets of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics: Examples and Research (Part 1 and Part 2)”. In these last links (Part 1 and 2), I provided numerous FQ-related scientific references organized by topic directly on the webpage for people to copy and paste and provide to medical professionals and others who may not understand (as I initially didn’t) just how dangerous these drugs really are. For people researching these FQT/FQAD reactions, some of the ideas I present along with these references may be helpful in helping to elucidate or spur further ideas and mechanisms for consideration.
This website was written in the spirit of “Take what you want and leave the rest”. I hope that those who choose to read through this information will find it thought provoking at a minimum, and hopefully will find something useful to them in their own journeys of FQ toxicity and thyroid pathology as well.
I also would like to say that I am not selling anything on this website: no supplements, drugs, “the answer” , or any definitive treatments, cures, or “detox” for FQ toxicity or thyroid pathology. There are no ads on this site, and for the most part, it’s a pretty boring format: lots of writing.
Please feel free to share any page or PDF on this website with anyone you know, whether they have been floxed or not, or have a thyroid problem or not. My story, and this website, can be a cautionary tale about how these popularly prescribed antibiotics can participate in irreparable harm to the thyroid system and endocrine system in general. Please feel free to provide links from whatever pages you feel are relevant in the comments sections of news articles or news videos for the same reasons. Although anecdotal in nature, I still feel the PDF document “FQ Adverse Effects In Their Own Words from Physicians” is powerful in the stories told. I think it’s important for the general public — and other unsuspecting physicians — to realize that physicians and other medical professionals are victims of this drug toxicity too. And the fact is, if your own doctor, nurse, and pharmacist isn’t aware of these potential reactions, how can they possibly warn you of them?
This website is a work in progress. Therefore, changes, updates and edits will occur as my time, energy, and inclination permit. This includes “linking” the sections up a little more. The following links are also at the top of this page and other pages.
About: Summary of my flox story and thyroid/iodine story
Book 1: I present my information in a “Book” form here. At the bottom of each page will be links to “Chapter” headings. By clicking on these, you can skip to any “chapter” you like. Or, you can simply click on “next” at the bottom of each page to move on to the next chapter.
Note: There’s a lot of information in this “Book”, and it’s long. You may want to read “Get to the point . . . .or, I Don’t Want To Read The Whole Thing” first, to decide if you’re interested in reading more.
Disclaimer: Please note and read.
Video’s: These are mostly news clips of FQ -related stories. Local news TV stations across the country have been running brief stories warning about the dangers of these drugs.
PDF’s: “Book 1” presented in PDF form for downloading, as well as additional FQ-related writings by me or others.
References: References in PDF form for ease of downloading and creating your own library.
Surveys — Please Take: You can help. Please contribute much needed data, and forward to everyone you know.
This website is dedicated to all the flox victims the world over, along with everyone else experiencing intractable thyroid conditions and other chronic “invisible mystery illness” conditions. People who are healthy and have never experienced these conditions (such as myself before I was floxed) cannot even begin to understand the challenges, and the incredible strength, it takes to live day after day with these conditions, for weeks, months, years, or a lifetime. My heart goes out to all of you.
A big “Thank You” to Aaron Melvin for help with setup and maintenance of this website.