Benign Fasciculation Syndrome, also called BFS, is a very uncomfortable health problem that must include the involuntary contractions of muscle fibers, which is the definition of fasciculations. But a syndrome is a constellation of symptoms, and in this case, that can include problems like: muscle aching, muscle pain, burning Neuropathic pain, and can include other symptoms. People often suffer for years with this uncomfortable and painful issue that has sometimes been found to be a precursor to motor neuron diseases. 1
It’s a bit confusing that this condition is called BENIGN fasciculation syndrome, since those who have it can be in severe pain and even have chronic inability to sleep, but benign simply means that it’s not dangerous. So, to recap, this is a constellation of symptoms that present with uncontrollable muscle twitching with several other symptoms, but even though it can be extremely painful, it’s not considered to be a dangerous condition by the medical profession.
When these fasciculations occur in people who have neurologic conditions, such as ALS (the disease that Stephen Hawking had), then they are considered ‘malignant’. The terms ‘benign’ and ‘malignant’, while usually associated with cancer, are unrelated to cancer and just mean dangerous or not dangerous, so don’t confuse these conditions with being related in any way to cancer, they just happen to use the same medical terminology.
What Causes Benign Fasciculation Syndrome?
That’s the million dollar question because the medical profession simply isn’t able to answer that question at the moment. Because of this, people are left to suffer for years, or even progress to motor neuron disease (as we mentioned) without anyone really knowing what causes this problem or what to do about it. 2 There are a few drugs that seem to help some people, but it is a bit hit-and-miss, meaning that they only seem to help a small percentage of people, leaving most without much help.
Discussing all of the possible causes of BFS is beyond the scope of this website, and since we are a site that discusses the Fluroquinolone class of antibiotics, our focus is the fact that there are many reports of people first getting fasciculations after taking one of these antibiotics, and we are going to discuss why the fluoroquinolone antibiotics causing this problem is a legitimate theory. If you have BFS and believe they may have been caused after taking any one of the antibiotics, please look on our List of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics page to confirm you took one of the drugs on the list. If you are unaware of the dangers of these drugs, or think this theory is implausible, I highly suggest you read our Introduction to Fluoroquinolones Page for more information on these dangerous drugs and the serious problems they can cause, up to and including death and permanent disability. You can see a List of Fluoroquinolone Drugs here which includes such drugs as Ofloxacin, and Levofloxacin. But back to BFS.
How the Fluoroquinolones Could Cause BFS
Many people have experienced symptoms similar to BFS after taking Levaquin, Cipro, Floxin, Avelox, and other antibioitics, and there are many plausible reasons why they could cause this uncomfortable syndrome including:
A combination of the above problems may affect many people who are ‘floxxed’ or become damaged or injured by the fluoroquinolone antibiotics, and may be why both the elderly and Athletes are at High Risk of Fluoroquinolone Damage, because they tend to be low in both iron and magnesium, each for various different reasons.
The Fluoroquinolones Cause Neurologic Damage
The fluoroquinolone antibiotics are agents well-known to cause neurologic symptoms such as:
Neuromuscular blocking like in Myasthenia Gravis 4
They are also well known to cause muscle pain, weakness, muscle cramping, and even muscle twitching similar to those experienced by BFS sufferers. Few studies have been done on the Fluoroquinolones to understand better why these symptoms occur, but some studies have determined that it’s possibly an effect on the neurotransmitters, or from a condition known as oxidative stress, caused by these antibiotics, that may be affecting the brain 5.
While we don’t necessarily know exactly why this is being caused, we do know that it is being caused and that these same mechanisms could cause the twitching, muscle cramps, and other symptoms that may be confused with Benign Fasciculation Syndrome or even be diagnosed as such without taking into account that the patient may have received a fluoroquinolone antibiotic.
Nutritional Problems Causing Twitching and Muscle Cramps From the Fluoroquinolones
The rest of the issues mentioned that may cause the twitching, muscle cramps, and neuropathies from the fluoroquinolones that can be confused with Benign Fasciculation Syndrome are the nutritional deficiencies of magnesium and/or iron depletion. While this may sound far-fetched, believe me, it’s not. These nutritional deficiencies from this class of antibiotics are well-understood and well-documented. I’ve devoted an article on Iron Depletion from the Fluoroquinolones, and likewise magnesium depletion is a foregone conclusion and can explain a huge number of the symptoms people experience as being ‘floxxed’.
Why is Iron Depletion or anemia significant to the symptoms that may be confused with or diagnosed as BFS? Surprisingly, it’s quite well-known that iron deficiency can lead to the symptoms of restless leg syndrome which are quite similar to, and a differential diagnosis of, benign fasciculation syndrome.
In fact, giving iron to those with low ferritin levels (a marker of iron storage) has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of restless leg syndrome 6. But since doctors never look for Iron Poor Blood unless there is outright anemia, it’s likely that many people with these types of involuntary muscle movements might be suffering from low iron and not be getting the right tests to be diagnosed properly. Iron and ferritin levels should be part of the standard work up for anyone with these problems.
Lastly, magnesium deficiency is possibly the most undiagnosed problem related to symptoms of Benign Fasciculation Syndrome and the Fluroquinolone Antibiotics. Again, these antibiotics bind to magnesium, and with half the world already suffering from Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency and not knowing it, this can and does easily push people over the edge into full blown magnesium deficiency, which, among other things, can cause symptoms that are similar to BFS or restless leg syndrome. Unfortunately, Magnesium Blood Tests are virtually worthless, so even if your doctor has tested you for magnesium deficiency, he probably missed it.
While we are not trying to say that everyone (or even anyone) with Benign Fasciculation Syndrome got it from taking the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics, what we are saying is that it is certainly possible and many who have been ‘floxxed’ by this class of antibiotics experience issues remarkably similar to BFS and the two conditions may also have some of the same underlying reasons for why they are experiencing these painful and even debilitating symptoms.
If you are suffering from any of the symptoms of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity, we highly recommend following the protocol in the Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Solution book. With a money-back guarantee, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by the information you’ll learn.