Hidden Dangers: The Dark Side of Powerful Antibiotics

When Nancy Garlow of Florida visited her doctor for a minor infection, she walked out with a powerful prescription, unaware of the risks associated with the medication. The antibiotic belonged to a class of six drugs known as fluoroquinolones (FLQs), including Avelox, Levaquin, and Cipro, which have been linked to potentially permanent nerve damage and debilitating pain. Severe side effects of the medicine overtook Garlow, as she struggled to walk after just 5 days of taking the antibiotic, which carries a “black box” warning—the FDA’s strongest indicator of a drug’s risks. Similar reports of serious side effects and even deaths associated with FLQ drugs have been surfacing since 1997. Dr. Charles Bennett of the University of South Carolina has voiced his concern about the number of adverse effects these drugs cause, and filed a petition with the FDA to urge stronger warnings labels on Levqauin’s side effects. An upgraded label warning patients of nerve damage was issued in 2013, however many still feel the new label is simply not enough.

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