Articles Fluoroquinolone Dangers & Side Effects


Blister packs of pills, tablets and capsules.

Fluoroquinolones are a class of broad-spectrum antibiotics widely used to treat respiratory illnesses and urinary tract infections. Prescribed courses range from 3 days up to several years.

Other types of antibiotics include:

  • Trimethoprim (a synthetic antibiotic)
  • Sulfamethoxazole (sulphonamide antibiotic)
  • Amoxicillin (a semi-synthetic penicillin)
  • Nitrofurantoin (a synthetic compound)
  • Ampicillin (a semi-synthetic form of penicillin)

The Dangers of Fluoroquinolones

We are faced with grave concerns about safety and efficacy that can no longer be ignored. We know that antibiotics destroy good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as Lactobacilli in the vagina, and that a balanced microbiome is essential to good health.

Resistant micro-organisms are able to withstand attack by antimicrobial drugs, such as antibacterial drugs, antifungals, antivirals, and antimalarials, so that standard treatments become ineffective and infections persist, increasing the risk of spread to others.

World Health Organisation

Drugs that end with the suffix "floxacin" all belong to a class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. Several earlier versions of fluoroquinolone antibiotics were removed from the market for causing dangerous side effects.

Fluoroquinolones are broad spectrum antibiotics commonly prescribed to treat systemic (affecting multiple parts of the body) infections, including urinary tract infections. They work by inhibiting bacterial replication, blocking their DNA replication channels. Like all antibiotics, quinolones, have the ability to cause side effects. However, this broad spectrum class can cause severe adverse reactions.

A fluorinated drug can have a similar toxic effect on the body in exactly the same way as any excess fluoride exposure does. In 2008, the FDA ruled that fluoroquinolones must have black box warnings on their labels about the risks of tendinitis and tendon rupture. In the past 10 years, they have issued several more warnings of the potential for permanent damage causing: peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage), aortic rupture and tearing, and likely adverse affects on glucose homeostasis (the prcoess of maintaining steady levels of blood glucose).

It is now thought that the DNA of mitochondria are damaged by fluoroquinolones. Mitochondria are the basis of all energy production at a cellular level, as well as other cell functions that are vital to life.

How much fluoride is acceptable?

Drinking water contains about 1 part per million, or 1 milligram of fluoride per 1 litre of water. Dental fluorosis, a condition caused by 'excessive' intake of fluoride over an extended period of time. The most obvious symptom of dental fluorosis is a chalk-like discoloration of teeth with white spots that are visible on the tooth enamel. In more severe cases the affected areas have a yellow or brown discoloration. In extreme cases, fluorosis may result in a pitted tooth surface.

Fluoride causes dental fluorosis by damaging the cells that form the enamel, called ameloblasts. Damage to these cells results in a mineralization disorder of the teeth, whereby the porosity of the sub-surface enamel is increased.

Fluoride consumption can exceed the safe dose when a child drinks a lot of fluoride containing water in combination with other dietary fluoride sources, or by just swallowing fluoridated toothpaste.

Preventing Dental Fluorosis

Parents should take the necessary measures for preventing dental fluorosis on their children teeth:

  • Powdered or liquid concentrate infant formula should be mixed with water that is fluoride-free or contains low levels of fluoride.
  • Do not use fluoride toothpaste until the child is two years old unless advised to do so by a dentist.
  • For children aged two and older, place only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on the toothbrush at each brushing.
  • Avoid toothpastes with flavours that may encourage swallowing.
  • An adult should supervise the use of fluoride-containing dental products by children younger than six years old, and check that they do not swallow it.