867582 tn?1311627397

Regarding Cipro for UTI

Hey MSers and Limbolanders, I just got over a bad UTI that has taken four antibiotics to eradicate!!

One of the antibiotics (the 3rd one) was Cipro (which I had actually requested because I had read that it was so good for urinary tract infections).  I will say that Cipro was, indeed, effective at zapping my infection.  However, after reading about the many dangerous side effects of Cipro (which is a fluoroquinolone) I will say to everyone here (especially those over 60 and/or those on NSAIDs):  Please, have your doctor consider a different antibiotic before using any that are in the fluoroquinolone category!!!

Though frequently prescribed, fluoroquinolones (such as Cipro or Levaquin) are extremely dangerous with longlasting disabilities that may result from them.  At least, read up on this category of antibiotics before you decide to accept one.  You need to fully know about these before you are really sick and are prescribed one.

In the United States, a black box warning (also sometimes called a black label warning or boxed warning) is a type of warning that appears on the package insert for prescription drugs that may cause serious adverse effects. It is so named for the black border that usually surrounds the text of the warning.  In 2008, the FDA ordered the black box warning for all fluoroquinolones (which include Cipro).

I started taking Cipro before I knew how dangerous it was (I'm over 60 and on aspirin).  I had to stop it after the 3rd day because of really bad side effects.  I was having to jump out of bed a dozen times at night with industrial-strength Charlie-horse cramps affecting my thighs, my calves.  I had to stand on my legs to try to get relief and even then the excruciatingly painful cramps were slow to go away!!   During the day, my leg muscles had been so tight, I felt like they were made of wood.  I felt like Pinocchio's sister!

One of the fluoroquinolones, Trovan, has been banned in the U.S. and it is probably only a matter of time before others are. Many people have to suffer and/or die before a drug is banned.

One of the dangers causing disability to people who have taken these antibiotics, such as Cipro, is tendon rupture which can occur up to a year after stopping use of the drug.  Usually it is the Achilles tendon that ruptures, but it could be any tendon in your arm, hand, or elsewhere which could cause permanent disability.

To summarize:  The fluoroquinolones are great at killing bacteria and I know Cipro is particularly great at ending UTIs, but this success may come at a great price to the patient.  Always ask for safer alternative antibiotics before resorting to fluoroquinolones.  Be forewarned.  Just because they are often prescribed does not mean they are safe!

14 Responses
Avatar universal
Hey there, WAF.

I will never again let someone give me Cipro for anything at all. Many years ago I was prescribed Cipro just to knock out a sinus infection if I had one, so that they could be sure my symptoms were caused by something else.

Never again!!  I got a horrible pain in my back and was extremely sick for several days. At that time Cipro was new on the market, and 2 doctors did extensive research about my case without finding a cause and efffect with Cipro. But that was then. I bet they've changed their tune by now. I was sure then and am sure now that Cipro was the cause. My liver enzymes even went sky high.

Most UTIs are wiped out by much more benign antibiotics, so I agree with WAF 100%.

867582 tn?1311627397
Dear ess,

I'm so glad you had no residual damage.  But now, being in your 60s, you would likely have had an even worse course with Cipro.  The warnings intensify for those over 60 and anyone on NSAIDs (aspirin is an NSAID).  The scary thing is that most people just don't know about how lethal the fluoroquinolone category of antibiotics can be - like me, they only hear about its many successes (and, face it, those antibiotics are very good at ending infection which is why they are often used).  All other possibilities of antibiotics should be used first!  Actually, if it came down to it, I think I would rather risk Anthrax than take Cipro again!  Online you can find testimonials of people whose lives have been ruined by Cipro, Levaquin, or by other fluoroquinolones.

My boss just finished a course of Cipro, totally unaware of the risk she was taking by using it.  When I mentioned to her the possibility of tendon rupture, it was like a light went on for her because she had suddenly developed an extremely painful condition in one of her feet, like something had popped and didn't know why it had happened as she had not stressed it.  She had not even suspected the Cipro.  

Younger people are more likely to get away with using it unscathed, but she is only in her 40s.  Also, some younger people have had the tendon rupture.  

Now I have to wonder, for the next year, what may be coming from my three-day use of Cipro.  

Thanks for sharing your experience with Cipro Ess.  I'm with you:  Never again!!

667078 tn?1316000935
I was on Cipro in high doses four months and had no problems. I am on two drugs now that can kill me.  This is where knowing a drug and having competent Doctors comes in. I ask the Pharmacist for the insert that comes with the drugs, not just the leaflet they give you and I read it.

Many otc drugs are just as dangerous. Tylenol can be great and it can be deadly.


867582 tn?1311627397

You're in the younger age group and less at risk with Cipro.  I'm glad it didn't adversely affect you.  And I agree with you  that virtually anything can be harmful.  Some people are allergic to relatively harmless drugs and also anything taken in excess could be harmful.

However, when our government orders a "black box warning" put on the packaging of all fluoroquinolones, that should tell you something  about that class of antibiotics - that they have been distinguished from the rest of the drugs as having particularly dangerous side effects.  In other words, the FDA has distinguished, or set apart, fluoroquinolones as being particularly noteworthy of requiring warnings to the consumer about their potential for causing possible serious adverse effect.  Most drugs in use have not been ordered this "black box warning" by the government.  

Please at least fully educate yourself on the fluoroquinolones so you can make an informed decision.  As you get older, your risks with the fluoroquinolones will increase.  Reading about the irreparable suffering others are experiencing from their prior use of fluoroquinolones may help put things into perspective.  If your infection can be resolved with an antibiotic that, by law, does not require a "black box" warning, why not use it instead?  

Of course, if you choose to use fluoroquinolones despite all this, that is your choice but you, at least, will be able to recognize the source of possible later side effects, should they occur.

867582 tn?1311627397
More on the "black box" warning:

A "black box" warning means that medical studies indicate that the drug carries a significant risk of serious or even life-threatening adverse effects. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can require a pharmaceutical company to place a black box warning on the labeling of a prescription drug, or in literature describing it. It is the strongest warning that the FDA requires.

The FDA required Cipro and all other fluoroquinolones to carry the above-described "black box" warning.


Avatar universal
Thank you for this.  I recently took a 3 day course of Cipro for a UTI.  I have alot of tendon pain already, as I am also battling Lyme disease, but I will "BOLO"!  (Be on the look out.)

Thanks again, Amy
667078 tn?1316000935
Thanks so much for your knowledge. Your posts always enlighten me.

645390 tn?1338555377
I had Cipro for a UTI after surgery about 3 years ago. I ended up with C-Diff and VERY sick.  I will never take Cipro again.
562511 tn?1285904160
Be wary of the quinolone antibiotics, especially folks with MS.  Do your homework on this one.  

Yes, all medications come with risks.  Many drugs can directly cause disease or awaken latent diseases.  Cipro, Levaquin, Trovan, etc can cause direct damage to the central or peripheral nervous system that can last a lifetime.  If you are unfortunate to find your health irrepairably damaged by the quinolone drugs, you will be out of luck for treatment or often a diagnosis for sudden and severe damage or disability.  The devastation these drugs can cause is just now coming to light.      

I nearly died from Levaquin.  Unfortunately I was given this antibiotic for no real reason and I suffered dearly for it.  (but that's another story)    I am concerned that some of our veterans have been damaged by the fluoroquinoloes as they were given out like candy to our military personnel.  
Avatar universal
Has any one here in limbo-land (no one can figure out what this wrong with me, MS is part of every doctor's conversation but no one seems to be able to diagnose me yet- 2 years into this progressive, debilitating misery) found they had a sudden exacerbation of paresthesia/numbness/vertigo/mental fog while on one of these drugs?
562511 tn?1285904160
Take a look at this site:

While the fluoroquinolones have a place in medicine, the side effects are just coming to light.  They should not be the first choice in treating simple infections.

A highly regarded neurologist, Herman Weinreb, now deceased lectured on the subject
" I mentioned interferon gamma, this was actually a clinical trial that was a very important negative trial because interferon gamma worsened multiple sclerosis.  Interferon gamma is something you put out at a very high rate when you're having a viral infection.  A very important new kind of anecdotal discovery, this hasn't been published yet, but this is now becoming accepted - an antibiotic Ciprofloxacin - very commonly prescribed for chest infections, bronchitis, urinary tract infections can actually trigger exacerbations in MS.  And how does it do this?  Well Cipro is an antibiotic that induces the genes for interferon gamma.  So there is that connection again between the immune system and flare ups of MS

Now ciprofloxacin is an all-purpose antibiotic and the word hasn't yet gotten out.  So I tend to see a lot of patients whose MS begins when they're being prescribed something like Cipro.  Is this true for the other floxacins?  There are cousins of Cipro that are available, there's oxfloxacin and levofloxacin.  We're not sure yet, but if I had MS I'd avoid any drug that had the word floxacin in it."

The interferons that are part of the disease modifying drugs (DMD)  are Alpha interferons (if I remember correctly) not gamma interferons.  

It is my belief that Levaquin activated or caused my MS.  It's a very long story, but immediately after finishing a course of Levaquin,  I experienced total body pain and severe cognition problems.  I was given this antibiotic for a bout of pelvic pain with no other indication of infection.  Boy, was that ever a mistake.  

I went from totally healthy state to a rapid downward spiral.  At that time I only saw a gynecologist for yearly exams.  Suddenly I was seeing every kind of doctor under the sun.  I told the prescribing doctor that it felt as though my brain was being fried.  Turns out it was.  :-(  The rheumatologist who treated me said she has seen several cases of drug-induced arthralgias/myalias from the fluoroquinolones.  My WBC count went up to 23,000 for about a year and a half.  Many trips to the ER.  Then I was dx as Fibromyalgia.  Then came the dx of MS on my first visit to a neurologist.  

Unfortunately, many of the doctors who pass out this class of antibiotics like candy do not recognize the potential for central nervous system toxicity (whatever the hell that means).  As time goes on, more and more is becoming known about the potential for devastation from this class of antibiotics.  There is debate on whether or not just the bacterial DNA is disrupted, but ones own healthy DNA as well.

I believe that if I were ever to take a fluoroquinolone again I would not see another day.  Levaquin kicked me to the moon and back.  

Funny thing is, while I was in the midst of an adverse reaction, Levaquin was offered to me repeatedly as it was suspected I had meningitis and other awful diseases.  Thank God I had a thread of cognition left to refuse to be treated for an unknown non-existant infection.  That is what got me into trouble in the first place.

The above is just my opinion. It may be anecdotal story, but it is very real to me.  

Avatar universal
Well I'm 24 years old and it took me 5 months for my blood sugar levels to stop going up and down like crazy. I just now started walking more than 1 mile, but still feel awful and I can't get back to my life... let's not mention work.
Before Cipro, I was going to the gym daily.

There are many people who will not experience any side effects from it. Most people won't! Or maybe you will get the side effects, but never attribute them to the antibiotics, just like in my case, at first.
BUT, please, PLEASE do not take this type of drug, unless you are dying.
Avatar universal
I just read this reply and I am going through the same exact issue. I had to respond!! I am 48 now and went though this starting on 9-11-2015.
I am on my second opinion from a neurologist. I went to a urgent care clinic for what I thought may be a kidney stone or a UTI because I had only a burning sensation during urination. I was prescribed Cipro. The urinalysis and abdominal scan were both negative. No UTI and No stone. Within a few days of starting the coarse of Cipro, I felt like I was sitting on a hot plate. I decided to see a urologist and again was tested for infection, all negative. The urologist thought that the burning sensation I had was due to my prostate being  congested! He performed what is called Prostate Massage or Prostate milking. IT was the worst thing I have ever experienced outside of the next month or so. When I started the Cipro and for about 2-3 weeks post cipro, I had not only the feeling of sitting on a hot plate, but then the real issues began. I couldn't sleep at all due to the burning in my entire saddle area was on fire, I bowel movements became very erratic, I could not empty my bladder without standing in a hot shower.  A severe headache sent me to the ER. I thought I had meningitis or a brain bleed. I test were negative, CT of the brain, blood work, and urinalysis.
I guess you get the main point, As of now, the only test that have been out of range was the CSF from the spinal tap. I have had MRI's of the brain and lower spine/ negative. The 2nd  neuro is thinking maybe MS. I currently have and believe it will be permanent, numbness from my saddle area down my right leg to my three lateral toes. Prior to Cipro, I was feeling great with no S/S of any kind other than the burning urination. Which I think the urologist cured with the prostate massage.
I do have one question? Is it possible for the side affects of Cipro to cause a change in my CSF??? now causing the doctors to think it may be MS.
667078 tn?1316000935
I do not know that much about Cipro to say. A spinal tap for MS is different one for menegitis. It looks for different things and the tests are different so if you need one for MS make sure it is a MS LP. If they think MS they must have a good reason. This is an old post you might want to start your own post to get more responses.

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