Taking Antibiotics Ruptured My Tendon; the Hidden Dangers of Everyday Drugs We Assume Are Harmless

Daily Mail (London), February 7, 2012 | Go to article overview

Taking Antibiotics Ruptured My Tendon; the Hidden Dangers of Everyday Drugs We Assume Are Harmless


Byline: JO WATERS

WHEN Judy Thomas was prescribed a strong antibiotic to shift her chest infection, she didn't think twice about it.

'It was a few days before Christmas and I was just relieved to get something before the holidays,' says Judy, 59, a housewife from Ferndown, Dorset.

'It was a high dose of 500mg of ciprofloxacin twice a day for five days. My GP didn't mention any possible side-effects.'

Three days later, Judy woke up with an all-pervading tight feeling in the backs of both calves.

'I could barely walk; I thought the tendon was going to snap,' she recalls. 'Ten days later, when I was standing making tea in the kitchen, something did seem to snap in the back of my left calf. The pain was so sharp I felt like I'd been shot or kicked, and I blacked out for a few seconds. Afterwards, I was in excruciating pain.'

Next day, she went to A&E with her husband, Geoff, 64, and her left leg was put in plaster because doctors suspected a ruptured Achilles tendon. 'I was baffled because I hadn't been doing any exercise and it's something I thought you only got with running or sport,' says Judy.

'It was my sister Sally, a retired nurse, who Googled it later that evening and discovered tendon rupture can be a side-effect of taking ciprofloxacin. Imagine my horror when this was confirmed by my GP the next day.'

It can take six months on average to get back to normal activities after an Achilles tendon rupture, but in some cases much longer. A month after taking ciprofloxican Judy is still incapacitated.

'I've been left unable to walk properly,' she says. 'I can't bear weight on it and have been confined to the house. Now I'm terrified the tendon in my right leg will rupture, too, as the doctor I saw in A&E said it was showing signs of severe damage.

'I've got pins and needles in my left arm and shoulder, too, which started at the same time. I'm worried this is also connected to the antibiotics, and might be permanent.'

One in six of all prescriptions in the UK is for antibiotics, with the drugs given for everything from ear infections to sore throats.

BUT what many patients don't realise is that like all drugs, antibiotics can cause side-effects. Amoxicillin, the most commonly prescribed antibiotic in the UK, can cause rashes and diarrhoea, but also nausea, wheezing, itching and a swollen tongue.

Another antibiotic, Flucloxacillin, can cause diarrhoea and nausea, and in rarer cases breathing difficulties, jaundice, bruising and abdominal pain. And erythromycin, used to treat middle ear and throat infections, cannot only cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea and a rash, but less commonly temporary deafness, skin blisters, jaundice and fever.

'There's been a perception that antibiotics are a bit like vitamins in that it won't do the patient any harm to take them, even if it's not absolutely certain they do have an infection,' says Dr Kieran Hand, consultant pharmacist at Southampton General Hospital and a spokesman for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

'We are realising antibiotics are not completely harmless, and prescribing them is not a decision to be taken lightly.'

This is particularly true for a class of powerful broad spectrum antibiotics called fluoroquinolones, which include ciprofloxacin (the drug Judy was prescribed), levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, ofloxacin and norfloxacin.

Just under a million prescriptions for these drugs were given out in the UK in 2010 for conditions such as chest infections and urinary tract and gastro-intestinal infections.

Some of the alarming side-effects listed for fluoroquinolines include inflamed or ruptured tendon, chest pain, rapid heart beat, black outs, swelling, hot flushes, sweating, pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas) and tinnitus.

It's only the fluoroquinolone group of antibiotics that have been linked with tendon problems and other muscolo-skeletal issues. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Taking Antibiotics Ruptured My Tendon; the Hidden Dangers of Everyday Drugs We Assume Are Harmless
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.