Ofloxacin is a member of the Fluoroquinolone family of dangerous drugs that this entire site has been dedicated to educating the public about… with good reason! It’s in the same class of drugs as Levaquin, Cipro, and Avelox, just to name some of the more famous, or even ‘infamous’ of the drugs in this class. Levofloxacin, which is also infamous for it’s Levofloxacin Toxicity, is basically a derivative of ofloxacin, so be cautious of Levaquin, as you should be of all of these drugs, as we outline on our Introduction to Fluoroquinolones.
On a more personal level, this drug is also known as Floxin, and was the subject of the book ‘Bitter Pills’, in which the author’s wife was seriously injured with long-term neurologic problems after taking just a single dose, given to her as a ‘sample’ by her doctor, for a minor infection that, as you’ll see in a moment, should have never been treated with a Fluoroquinolone drug in the first place (and probably not even treated with antibiotics at all).
Ofloxacin, was first created in Japan in 1985, and was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, the FDA, in 1990, just two years before another Fluoroquinolone antibiotic, Omniflox, was completely removed from use after only 3 months on the market after Postmarketing Surveillance found a series of ‘dangerious adverse reactions’ including:
- Several deaths
- Many cases of dangerously low blood sugar
- Kidney failure
- Deadly Blood Coagulation Problems
- Liver damage and liver failure
- And these are not even including severe allergic reactions, which are entirely different than the drug reactions being discussed here
Floxin Known to be Dangerous Decades Ago
Floxin was marketed as “… the first quinolone avaialable in equivalent IV and oral doses” meaning that it’s big advantage over other antibiotics or antimicrobials was that if someone had a serious infection, they would normally have had to stay in the hospital and get antibiotics through an intravenous line (IV), but that taking Ofloxacin by mouth (orally) was ‘equivalent’ to getting it intravenously, and so was a huge advantage for both patients and anyone paying the bill for a serious infection.
It was also marketed as a substitute for the antibiotic called Keflex, or Cephalexin, even though it turns out that Keflex is a far safer drug and that, according to the FDA, ‘simple’ infections should have never been treated with any of the Fluoroquinolones, unless the patient had no alternatives, due to the fact that the risk of dangerous reactions ‘generally outweighs the benefits’.
“[F]or patients with acute bacterial sinusitis, acute exacerbation of
chronic bronchitis and uncomplicated urinary tract infections…
fluoroquinolones should be reserved for use in patients with these
conditions who have no alternative treatment options.”
FDA updates warnings for fluoroquinolone antibiotics
The FDA wrote that in 2016, but the UK’s British Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy warned against using any of the Fluoroquinolones “for the treatment of trivial infections… [but] should be restricted for treatment of difficult to treat infections” 16 years prior to the FDA writing their warning to doctors. As you’ll see later, the country of Holland considered these drugs dangerous as far back as 1987, almost a full 20 years before the FDA issued their warning.
But FDA warnings mean little to doctors who base their drug prescribing mostly on habit and the educationt they receive from drug companies. Few doctors read the literature on these drugs, and we still see people being harmed after being diagnosed with the types of infections both the FDA and the British Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy have been warning about for more than 2 and a half decades.
Since it’s now a generic drug (the original company lost the patent and so the same formula can be made by any drug company), there are now over 500 brands of generic Ofloxacin at the time of time of writing. So, if you want to avoid this drug, you’ll need to make sure that you read the label of every drug you are given and make sure that you know what the generic drug names of all drugs you take are. If you are unfamilar with the problems associated with this class of drugs, please read our Introduction to Fluoroquinolones to enlighten you on the dangers of these drugs.
Neurologic Problems from Ofloxacin
Did you take a Fluoroquinolone and think that you were going crazy? You’re not alone. Although it’s less well-known (or at least less acknowledged) than tendon rupture or some of the other adverse reactions of these drugs, neurologic problems like seizures, depression, and even mental illnesses, are all too common. In fact, they are probably some of the most commonly noted adverse effects of all of the Fluoroquinolones, and Ofloxacin is no different.
These reactions get little notice by the medical community, or are denied outright as having been caused by the drug, because they are so vaguely defined, common in the population, and, to most doctors, not able to be accurately correlated with the Fluoroquinolone drug that was taken. But patients are all too aware that these neurologic symptoms came on out of nowhere once they took Ofloxacin or other FQ drugs, and the drug companies and the FDA are very much aware of this. Even in very early small human trials of Floxin, in a group of only 32 elderly patients, half of which were given a placebo, 1 patient was forced to drop out of the study due to “dizziness, ringing in the ears, nausea, vomiting, and faintness” that had not resolved at the 6 month checkup… and the patient had only taken one single pill.
While the company called this ‘statistically insignificant’, the FDA noted that adverse reactions were 3.4 times higher in the Ofloxacin-treated group than the placebo group. And this was in a study of only 16 patients! While the ‘official’ numbers for adverse reactions to the Fluoroquinolones is 1%, just in this small sample, one person dropping out from side effects is over 6%. Even if no other patients had side effects, which is unlikely, the rate of SERIOUS adverse reactions in just one study was 6 times higher than those ‘official’ numbers for ‘all’ adverse reactions. It’s not hard to figure out that 6 times more reactions is obviously not ‘statistically insignificant’, even for someone like me who is not a genius at statistics.
Later clinical trials showed that women tended to have higher rates of these neurologic problems than men, however, the total number of people tested in the clinical trials for drug approval was a grand total of 3296 people. Like with Omniflox, the vast majority of information about a drug is gathered in the Postmarketing Studies that occur once the drug is on the market- meaning that every time a doctor gives you a drug, you are a ‘guinea pig’ for that drug. This is why the consumer protection website, Public Citizen, recommends that new drugs not be taken for at least 5 years after their approval by the FDA, unless there is a specific medical reason why another drug will not be effective for that condition.
These neurologic issues were the main focus of the book Bitter Pills, mentioned earlier, since those were the main reactions the author’s wife and others highlighted in the book were suffering from. His wife ended up getting diagnosed with bipolar depression, and described her neurologic issues as “like I was on horribly strong cold medicine” while one of their acquaintences had a seizure after taking the drug, and later described her ongoing sensations as if “… there was a cloud in my head…” Many others have developed adverse neurologic reactions such as:
- Horrific insomnia
- Crippling anxiety
- Memory loss
- Severe headaches
- ‘Brain fog’
- Increased Intracranial Pressure
- Loss of balance
This list doesn’t even include other ‘non brain’ nervous system issues such as the quite common and very painful problem of Peripheral Neuropathy. The reason these drugs are able to cause these types of problems is that they are able to cross the ‘blood-brain-barrier’, a protective mechanism for the brain that stops dangerous toxins from invading the brain. This ability is a double-edged sword, however; if you have a brain infection, then an antibiotic that can cross the blood-brain-barrier is going to be the most likely to save your life.
However, if you do not have a brain infection, then taking a drug that crosses the blood-brain-barrier could be disastrous, as little enough is known about the chemistry of the brain, and even less is known about what specific substances crossing into the brain will do when they get there. The blood-brain-barrier is there for a reason, and taking a drug like Ofloxacin that crosses this important neurologic protective mechanism may not be a smart idea unless life or death is at stake, and there are no better alternatives
Neurologic problems are not the only side effects of ofloxacin, however, we have simply spotlighted these problesm on this page due to these reactions having been highlighted in Bitter Pills, and that they are so common but are not as well-recognized as reactions with black box warnings, such as Tendonitis and Tendon Rupture or Peripheral Neuropathy, and if you experience these problems, your experiences might be dismissed or ignored by your medical providers despite the fact that these reaction have been occurring for decades and simply looking at the package insert would assure you these reactions are real.
While doctors seemingly aren’t even bothering to look at the side effects profile or the package inserts of these drugs, and often deny that these problems have anything to do with the drugs they are prescribing, in the Netherlands, their very effective post marketing drug reporting system catalogued so many incidents of pychoses and other neurologic problems by 1987 that it was already on their ‘most dangerous drugs’ listing… 3 years PRIOR to it even being approved by what is supposed to be a regulatory agency designed to protect the public from dangerous drugs!
Even worse, since we know that 50% of All Antibiotics are Prescribed Unnecesssarily, we know that doctors are still giving these drugs on a massive scale for problems that antibiotics like Ofloxacin shouldn’t even be given for, like colds and flu; or even for conditions that someone does not have now and may never have, such as for prevention of Traveler’s Diarrhea! How’s that for serious malpractice, or at least utter negligence?
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.
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