“It has destroyed my life,” laments Terry Aston, a former truck driver whose life hasn’t been the same since she took antibiotic Levaquin to treat an infection back in 1991. Levaquin is a drug belonging to a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones, or FLQs, which include other brand-name drugs Avelox and Cipro. Responsible for debilitating side-effects such as numbness, burning sensations, and muscle weakness, FLQs have been prescribed to many people who say they weren’t made aware of these potentially permanent effects.
FLQs have been given “black box” warnings, the strongest ones mandated by the FDA. However, many “floxies,” members of an active online community who have been seriously harmed by FLQs, are demanding that more side-effects be added to the drugs’ warning labels, including the risk for mitochondrial toxicity—a serious muscle weakness condition that has been linked to Parkinson’s and ALS. “We want it out there and we’re not going away until we get change,” Aston said. “These are serious drugs with serious side effects.”