The Common Antibiotic That Can Do More Harm Than Good

The FDA advises restrictions on a commonly used antibiotic.

The FDA has advised that restrictions should be placed on fluoroquinolone: a commonly used antibiotic.

Fluoroquinolones are broad-spectrum antibiotics used for different treatments such as urinary tract infections, sinusitis, bone and joint infections, abdominal infections, skin infections, and bronchitis.

Currently available FDA-approved drugs include brand names such as:

  • Avelox (moxifloxacin),
  • Cipro (Ciprofloxacin),
  • Factive (Gemifloxacin),
  • Johnson & Johnson’s Levaquin (levofloxacin),
  • Moxifloxacin injection (Moxifloxacin),
  • and Ofloxacin.

In 2011, more than 23 million patients were prescribed one of the above drugs.

In a safety review, the FDA has shown that fluoroquinolones drugs in any form (capsules, tablets and injection) can cause serious side-effects involving joints, muscles, tendons, nerves, and even the central nervous system.

As a result, the FDA has announced:

“We are requiring the drug labels and Medication Guides for all fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs to be updated to reflect this new safety information.

We are continuing to investigate safety issues with fluoroquinolones and will update the public with additional information if it becomes available.”

Antibiotics work by stopping the bacterial growth or killing the bacteria that cause infections and illness.


Antibiotics have their advantages: from the time that penicillin was discovered until now antibiotics have provided incredible services to modern medicine.

Without antibiotics, everything from a minor cut or wound to many infections could be fatal.

Paradoxically, though, antibiotics can make the body more prone to superbugs (bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics), damage our immune system and destroy our gut microbes.

Now, due to the serious side effects caused by Fluoroquinolone, the officials advise patients:

“Fluoroquinolone should be reserved for those who do not have alternative treatment options.”

The FDA database previously recorded 3,000 deaths and 200,000 complaints of serious side-effects associated with Levaquin and similar drugs.

Recent research suggests that one in three antibiotics prescribed is pointless — and this leads to drug resistance.

Dr Katherine Fleming-Dutra, the leader of this research told Medical Daily:

“Additionally, our estimate is a conservative estimate — we are focusing on instances in which no antibiotics were needed at all.”

“We don’t consider the rest of inappropriate antibiotic use or misuse — for example, when an antibiotic is needed, but the wrong antibiotic is chosen, or the wrong dose is used, or the antibiotic is prescribed for too long or too short a time.”

In other words, she added:

“At least 30 percent of antibiotic prescribing is unnecessary, but the total amount of inappropriate use (overuse plus misuse) is probably much higher.”

For more information on fluoroquinolone visit the FDA site.

Antibiotics image from Shutterstock