There’s no doubt that antibiotics come with risks. But in many cases the benefits outweigh the risks…
I mean, if a dose of antibiotics prevents pneumonia from turning into sepsis (a blood infection that can kill you), it doesn’t seem like a big deal if it also gives you diarrhea.
Then again, there are times when antibiotics aren’t worth the trouble they cause…
Like when they’re prescribed for a virus. Or “preventatively” for an infection that doesn’t even exist yet. Or especially when they put you at risk for a serious and potentially deadly aortic aneurysm…
An antibiotic trigger for an aortic aneurysm and other health problems
The FDA just issued a warning about fluoroquinolone antibiotics, a class of antibiotics used to treat everything from respiratory infections to urinary tract infections to the plague.
Apparently, these common antibiotics raise the risk of a serious health problem — aortic aneurysm.
An aortic aneurysm, in case you don’t know, is an abnormal bulge in the wall of the aorta, the blood vessel that brings blood from your heart to your body. If this bulge ruptures, it can cause internal bleeding that might kill you.
After looking at reports of patient problems and several recent studies, the FDA determined that people who take fluoroquinolone antibiotics are twice as likely to develop an aortic aneurysm. Of course, some people are more at risk than others…
Elderly people, people with high blood pressure, people with a history of blood vessel blockages, and people with genetic conditions like Marfan syndrome or Ehlers- Danlos syndrome should avoid fluoroquinolone antibiotics at all costs because they have a higher risk of developing aortic aneurysm.
But even if you don’t fall into one of these categories, it might be better to play it safe…
Research shows fluoroquinolone antibiotics can also cause dangerously low blood sugar and impair mental health. They have side effects that impact the muscles, nerves, joints and central nervous system too.
Finding alternatives for fluoroquinolone antibiotics
So, if you’re prescribed an antibiotic and it happens to be a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, ask your doctor if there are other options. Some popular fluoroquinolones to watch out for include:
- Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
- Gemifloxacin (Factive)
- Levofloxacin (Levaquin)
- Moxifloxacin (Avelox)
- Norfloxacin (Noroxin)
- Ofloxacin (Floxin).
If you have an uncomplicated infection, your doctor should have no problem prescribing you something else. In fact, a couple of years ago, the FDA recommended that only people with conditions that can’t be treated with other antibiotics receive fluoroquinolones.
So, if you have anything other than a stubborn, life-threatening infection, skip the fluoroquinolones — and skip the risk of dying from a dose of antibiotics.