For a long time, I have been an advocate for reducing our reliance on antibiotics unless someone really, really needs it. Our immune response is capable of defending ourselves most of the time with rest. Our reliance on antibiotics acts like a crutch to our immune system. This crutch allows bacteria to multiply and create a resistance to antibiotics. Our health system would collapse if we were not able to treat simple cuts with antibiotics. If that happens, using broad spectrum antibiotics such as Cipro (#Cipro) will be just as dangerous as contracting a bacterial infection since it will also kill good bacteria. Basically, this becomes the downfall of humanity to an extent.
Ciprofloxacin which is known as Cipro for short is a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolone. Fluoroquinolones are synthetic broad spectrum antibiotics with a fluorine atom attached. This class of antibiotics prevent bacterial DNA from unwinding and duplicating so they can’t re-multiply. Being a broad spectrum antibiotic is dangerous since each person carries bacteria in their gut. The medication in question kills any bacteria whether they are beneficial or dangerous. This leaves your gut and intestine open to a massive bacterial infection without your body being able to defend itself.
The benefit of being a broad spectrum antibiotic is that it can treat a wide variety of infections. The World Health Organization considers Cipro as one of the essential medications for society. Let us consider some of the treatments Ciprofloxacin is used for. As listed above, the most common treatment options are bacterial infections including infections of bones and joints. Secondly, there is endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of your heart), gastroenteritis (inflammation of the lining of the intestines) and anthrax. In keeping with the inflammation theme, add prostatitis (prostate), cellulitis (skin) and otitis externa (ear).
Cipro Side Effects
As wonderful and important that antibiotic is, there are the side effects of Cipro to consider. Let us begin with the easy ones such as nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, and trouble sleeping. You can also include light/sun sensitivity, unusual bruising or bleeding,change in urine color or volume or jaundice. It will also be a concern if you show signs of a new infection such as a persistent fever or sore throat. As good as these broad spectrum antibiotics are at eliminating harmful bacteria. they are just as effective at eliminating good bacteria. Keep in mind that your gut has important bacteria to help you process food and remove those nutrients. Elimination of these “good” bacterium will allow your body to be infected with foreign bacteria.
The more serious side effects include vision changes, tremors, seizures, fainting, a fast or irregular heartbeat and mental or mood changes. These changes can include anxiety, confusion, hallucinations, depression and rare thoughts of suicide. You can’t mix Cipro and alcohol because of increasing dizziness. The latest side effects involve the tendons. Increased use of this antibiotic can be associated with tendonitis and tendon rupture. As you become older especially after the age of 60, the risk increases especially if you had a kidney, lung or heart transplant.
There has been a controversy brewing because of the overuse of Cipro for UTI infections. This has a lot to do with doctors being influenced by using newer broad spectrum antibiotics. Now, UTI is short for urinary tract infections caused by bacteria. The typical treatment for UTIs are specific older antibiotics such as zithromax or doxycycline. Somewhere along the line, doctors started to abandon this practice in favor of fluoroquinolones.
Recently the FDA has issued a warning on the use of fluoroquinolones for treatment of simple bacterial infections such as sinusitis, bronchitis, and urinary tract infections. The three most common fluoroquinolones are Ciprofloxacin, Levofloxacin and Moxifloxacin. It turns out that these types antibiotics seriously affect your tendons, muscles, joints, nerves, and central nervous system. It is not clearly understood why but the damage is severe to receive a black box warning from the FDA. Additional studies have confirmed that overuse of these broad spectrum antibiotics should only be used as a last resort. When all other options fail. This might go against the pharmaceutical companies goal in terms of profit but is important for the overall care of the healthcare system.
Have you had a negative reaction to any broad spectrum antibiotics?