Guest Post by Rachel Brummert, Executive Director and President of the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation
Suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity often means being misdiagnosed because its symptoms can mimic other diseases. On top of that obstacle, there is the sad fact that doctors have a hard time believing that an antibiotic such as Levaquin, Cipro, and Avelox can cause so much damage to their patients. Even worse, symptoms can be delayed for weeks and even months. Often when experiencing adverse reactions, a doctor may tell you to just stop taking that drug and assume this will resolve your symptoms.
The problem is, stopping the medication does not mean the symptoms will stop due to these delayed reactions. Adverse reactions can happen long after stopping it.
Going to the doctor can be an overwhelming experience for anyone, especially when you are desperate for answers as to what is happening to your body.
At Quinolone Vigilance Foundation, we strive to educate patients and doctors alike. We educate doctors because they often get their information about the drugs from pharmaceutical representatives, and those representatives downplay the risks involved.
Thankfully, physicians are becoming more aware and are willing to listen to their patients.
To prepare for your doctor’s appointment, we have some tips that may be helpful.
Remember that your doctor has only so much time to spend with you.
It would be helpful to write out a Fact Sheet to bring with you. List your symptoms as best you can, your medical history as it pertains to your visit, medications you are on or have taken. Having this summary will help your doctor have a general picture of how he/she can help you. Be sure to list what fluoroquinolones you have taken and the adverse reaction you had to it.
Doctors often depend on the FDA and they assume that if a drug has been on the market for many years, it must be safe. This is a common misconception that older drugs are safe.
You are your own advocate and if your concerns and questions are not addressed or if they are unwilling to consider Fluoroquinolone Toxicity as a root cause of your adverse reactions, it could be time to rethink your options.
Ask your doctor if they are willing to learn more about Fluoroquinolone Toxicity so they could better understand how to help you. You could either put together a folder with study results, FDA Black Box warnings and a few articles written about fluoroquinolones, or you can send them to www.SaferPills.org. Try not to overwhelm your doctor with the information in your folder. Remember, they can only spend so much time with you.
If you are seeing your doctor because of a suspected infection, and they want to give you a fluoroquinolone like Levaquin, Cipro, or Avelox, ask if there is a safer alternative. Fluoroquinolones are only meant as a last resort for life-threatening infections, not for routine infections or prevention.
Ask to be tested to make sure there is an infection in the first place and if there is, what kind of infection it is. Viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics.
Be sure to thank your doctor for listening to you, reading materials you give to him or her, and for working with you as a team.