Been Floxed and Told You're Crazy?!
First, we need to understand that a fluoroquinolone is a class of antibiotics which are often used to treat bacterial infections. Some of these antibiotics are very common, such as: levofloxacin (Levaquin), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), ciprofloxacin extended-release tablets, moxifloxacin (Avelox), ofloxacin, gemifloxacin (Factive) and delafloxacin (Baxdela). These drugs are approved by the FDA because it has determined “the benefits of these drugs outweigh the risk”. If you are on this page you know this is an incorrect statement and these drugs are very dangerous!!
Even though they’ve approved these drugs for use, the FDA also requires that these drugs wear a warning label, informing potential patients about the severe side effects that can be related to these drugs.
Often, these side effects can be permanent. Along with physical side effects, there are many mental side effects that are to be listed on the warning labels. When a patient takes one of these fluoroquinolones and continues to experience these side effects long after they’ve stopped taking the drug, they have been “floxed”. Possible side effects related to floxing include:
· Balance issues
· Ringing in ears
· Eye floaters
· Difficulty breathing
· Feeling overwhelmed
· Muscle twitching
· Spontaneous muscle jerks
· Feeling like you’re going to die
· Digestive issues
Because these side effects are all over the map, when a patient goes to their doctor and explains what they are experiencing, the patient often leaves without a true explanation for their symptoms, or possibly some sort of antipsychotic medication. The truth is, all these issues can be explained by the toxicity of these fluoroquinolones.
The Cerebellum and GABA Receptors
It is proven that fluoroquinolones can cause damage to the central nervous system and the GABA receptors, which are located in the cerebellum of the brain. GABA receptors are responsible for relaxing you and improving your sleep. They relieve PMS symptoms, improve attention deficit disorder, increase growth hormones, decrease inflammation, reduce depression, among many others. Their main job is to help you relax. The cerebellum is the part of the body that is most susceptible to toxicity. It also has one of the most important jobs—it acts as the gatekeeper between the brain and the rest of the body. As sensory neurons deliver information from the body to the brain—orientation, balance, temperature—they must pass through the cerebellum, which determines which messages are important enough to be delivered to the brain. The cerebellum also controls which motor neurons need to be sent from the brain to the body carrying information like which muscles to move, when, how quickly, how far. The cerebellum, which literally means “little brain”, sits at the bottom of the brain in the back of the head, and contains more neurons than the entire brain. Because fluoroquinolones affect GABA receptors, and those are in the cerebellum, the antibiotics directly affect the cerebellum, where there is more neuronal activity than any other part of the body. When the cerebellum is not functioning correctly, it cannot control which neurons are being passed to and from the brain, so all the neurons are able to get through, causing this enormous range of issues that we see as symptoms of damage caused by fluoroquinolone toxicity, or floxing.
Identifying and Treating Floxing
One way I can determine if you have been floxed is through an MRI scan, like the one pictured above. On the right, we see a normal brain with a normal cerebellum. But on the left, the MRI is showing a cerebellum with very evident degeneration happening. With all that damage, the cerebellum is nearly destroyed, allowing all messages to get through, causing neurological problems. If you have damage to your cerebellum, and your GABA receptors have been affected, you start having issues with relaxation. You get nervous, have anxiety, trouble sleeping, possibly night sweats. Your heart may feel like it is ready to beat out of your chest. You could possibly even feel like you’re going to die due to the severe cerebellum damage.