Dr. Joe Tatta: Welcome back to this episode of the healing pain podcast. I am your host, Dr. Joe Tatta. It’s great to be here with you. I have a really interesting guest today. Her name is Lisa Bloomquist. She is a patient advocate who was injured by Cipro in 2011 and runs a website called Floxiehope.com. Lisa is the guest blogger for hormones matter and collective evolution and she’s the host of the Floxie Hope podcasts. Lisa has vowed to continue to scream about the dangers of fluoroquinolone antibiotics until the medical profession starts paying attention to the Hippocratic oath until informed consent is established for the administration of these drugs and until a physician stopped giving them to children. Lisa is a Colorado native who enjoys the mountains, place or cat and especially talking about the potential dangers of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Lisa, it’s great to have you here on the Healing Pain Summit.
L. Bloomquist: Oh, well thank you so much for having me. You know, it’s an honor to be here and I appreciate any opportunity to be spreading the word about these dangerous drugs and, um, really helping people to have some informed consent and know what they’re getting into. But then they get prescribed these, these drugs. And, you know, hopefully, uh, by the end of this conversation, people will know to request an alternative if, um, if at all possible.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Yeah. I mean, I’ve been a physical therapist for 20 years and I can’t tell you how many ended injuries. Look at me, look at my injuries, muscle tears, you know, all sorts of chronic pain syndromes, energy deficits, fatigue that I’ve seen from people who have been on a course of these antibiotics to fight various things. But, you know, for the non-clinicians on the summit, can you tell us what are the typical names and classes of the fluoroquinolone antibiotics?
L. Bloomquist: Sure. But, uh, first off, let me just applaud you for even recognizing it when you see it because unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there, a lot of physicians who, um, don’t, don’t connect the dots even though these drugs have a black box. Warning on them about tendon injuries, uh, often they’re delayed and often they’re just so kind of bizarre and unheard of that a lot of people don’t, don’t put the pieces together. And I mean, who would really think that an antibiotic could cause tendon and muscle ruptures throughout your body? I mean, it’s really absurd. Who would, who would think that that could be true, but unfortunately it is true. It is what happens when people take these drugs.
Dr. Joe Tatta: So can you tell us what are the different types of antibiotic names? The kind of trade names that are involved with the fluoroquinolone antibiotics?
L. Bloomquist: Sure. There’s Cipro and the generic for that is Cipro, floxacin, Levaquin, levodopa, floxacin, Avalon ox, moxifloxacin, Suboxone, Ofloxacin. Um, and there are few others around the world that I didn’t name, but those are the ones that are available in the U S and they’re in class of antibiotics, fluoroquinolones, antibiotics. And I want to make it clear that even though all in antibiotics obviously have side effects and you know, we are learning more and more about the detrimental effects of ruining or microbiome. Um, I’m not trying to demonize and scare people away from all antibiotics. I understand the antibiotics have also saved a lot of lives, but, um, but people need to know that these are particularly consequential antibiotics and that there are safer alternatives out there in most cases.
Dr. Joe Tatta: And it’s so interesting cause you mentioned that, you know, antibiotics have an impact on our microbiome, particularly in our gut, but it’s, it’s not really well known that these types of, well it is, well no, but it’s not, not well known to the general public that these types of antibiotics can affect things like tendons, tendon ruptures, energy, things like that.
L. Bloomquist: Yeah, absolutely. And I’m, I’m really just trying to spread the word as much as I can so that people are aware of these horrible, horrible side effects so they can detrimentally affect all of your connective tissue. So your tendons, your ligaments, your muscles, your cartilage. Now all of those are structurally changed by these drugs and they are, um, you know, having permanently weakened tendons. Can you imagine what that could do to you as an athlete or just as someone who likes to be able to get out of bed without being in pain? Um, it’s, it’s really, it’s really quite horrible and unfortunately it also affects our mile and sheets and the, the um, uh, connective, I don’t know if Mylon is considered to be a connective tissue, but it does affect myelin. Um, uh, the, the tissue and substances that, that, uh, that protect our nerves as well. And so it can cause a huge amount of things. Since we’re talking about the pain aspects of one law and toxicity, a lot of people go through a massive amount of pain, uh, while they’re going through this horrible toxic reaction that can unfortunately go on for years.
Dr. Joe Tatta: And how, how are these antibiotics different from kind of the more traditional antibiotics that we’ve had maybe a couple of decades ago?
L. Bloomquist: Sure, sure. It’s so know the way that I sum it up is that these antibiotics are pretty much chemo drugs. So, you know, not to get too, too technical, but the mechanism of action for the fluoroquinolones is that they are top of why summaries interrupters, which means that they disrupt the DNA and RNA replication process for bacteria. Whereas some of the older antibiotics just destroy the cell wall of bacteria. So it’s a much simpler mechanism of action, uh, versus the disrupting of the replication of DNA. And, um, and, and really it is a chemotherapeutic type of drug when you get into that, that um, uh, cell destroying DNA disrupting type of type of drug. And, and when people kind of take that, um, that analogy further, like they, it’s, yes, chemotherapy drugs save lives when they’re used appropriately, but you don’t give a chemotherapy drug to someone who has a sinus infection or who has a simple urinary tract infection. Just the consequences of doing that are to sit here and like we were saying earlier, some of the concerns that’s like lenses of that are destruction of your connective tissues. And yeah, that’s a very severe consequence for a sinus infection.
Dr. Joe Tatta: What’s so fascinating to me is that you’re saying that these antibiotics attacked obviously bacteria, but at the most kind of primitive structure basically in the kind of core of the bacteria and affects the way protein is replicated. The way DNA, our DNA is basically protein is how it’s replicated. Now in our human cells we have something called mitochondria and those mitochondria are very similar to the bacteria that sometimes in beta. So in fact mitochondria are actually bacteria that we have kind of assimilated into us as human beings. But I know those antibiotics that actually attack the mitochondria in our body, which is why we have these symptoms of pain in our muscles. Fatigue or you know, joint contending ruptures. I’m looking at ruptures, things like that.
L. Bloomquist: Exactly, exactly. These sorts of things shown to deplete mitochondrial DNA and our mitochondria are the energy centers divide ourselves when you deplete mitochondrial DNA and induce oxidative stress, you know, if that’s a huge burden on the cells and you end up not only with pain, that things like chronic fatigue. So, you know, I really want to help people connect the dots. You know, not every case of chronic fatigue or every case of fibromyalgia is caused by these drugs. I’m not trying to say that, but there are a lot of people out there who, um, who developed chronic fatigue syndrome or who developed fibromyalgia or even autoimmune diseases after taking these drugs. And I want people to go back over their prescription records and really think about, um, whether or not the fluoroquinolones could be connected because certainly in cases of fluoroquinolones toxicity that I’m seeing, it sure seems to be connected for a lot of people.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Let’s talk about some of the symptoms. Cause obviously when someone’s provided with a Cipro medication, obviously they’re having some kind of infection in their body already. So it may be difficult for them to figure out, okay, is this symptom from me being ill or is it simply from the medication? So what symptoms should people look out for if they’re taking one or if they’re prescribed a Cipro or flow kind of one medication.
L. Bloomquist: You know, that that’s something that often comes up when, when talking to, to, um, to people about these adverse reactions to the drugs. Just kind of like, how do you know that it’s not just the bacteria that’s doing this? And it’s like, well, because like the bacteria is obviously dead by now and like killed it with the nuclear bomb. And also last time I checked sinus infections, can you give you permanent for earth oil neuropathy? You know, like, like that’s just, it’s just not, it’s, it’s unheard of except it’s not unheard of that these drugs could cause peripheral neuropathy. So, um, unfortunately because it makes it almost unreal sounding and bizarre founding, uh, these drugs cause a multi symptom chronic illness that can include a multitude of symptoms. I’m just going to read you this quick little, um, bit out of the British journal of medicine or BMJ, British medical journal.
L. Bloomquist: Uh, there was a case study done by a dr Beatrice Gollum and she went over actually five cases studies. And so this one I thought was really indicative. That’s what people go through. Um, this is a quote, I’m unable to live a single day without extensive pain and just discomfort. If my physician had been aware of the actual longterm permanent damage that can be caused Pfeifle or quinolones, I believe he would not have prescribed it for a simple infection if adequate and accurate. Morning said then on the Lubbock one label, I would not have agreed to take this drug. The phrase simple infection is…it’s not allowed. Um, I, I was not allowed, um, informed consent. My life has literally been destroyed, you know, just kind of like overall these drugs can devastate people’s people’s lives and everything from chronic pain. Um, I personally dealt with a lot of pain and my hands and my feet.
L. Bloomquist: 2013, the FDA updated the warning label for fluoroquinolones to note that permanent permanent peripheral neuropathy is a documented side effect. Um, like we were talking about earlier, the tendon tears. These tribes have a black box warning noting which is the most strict warning that the drugs can have before it’s taken off the market, saying that that they can cause tendon tears. Um, you know, there are some caveats that are kind of noted on the black box warning indicating that it’s only for people over the age of 60. And that’s just frankly not true. Um, I was 32 when I was hurt by these drugs. I’m a severe loss of energy, a chronic fatigue type of type of symptoms. Um, memory loss, um, anxiety, Oh, the anxiety can just be crippling. Insomnia can be really crippling. Um, a lot of the mental side effects were some of the most scary things that I went.
L. Bloomquist: Yeah. Like I’ve lost my memory. I had last night reading comprehension, um, massive amount of anxiety and getting through that was actually even tougher than having my feet hurt. Going from being in process two, barely being able to walk, you know, that was, that was frightening on its own. But losing my ability to think was even scarier. So tell us about your story, how you were put on these drugs and what did you go to a physician for and you know, why were prescribed to you? So I took Cipro floxacin for a urinary tract infection and um, it was a simple urinary tract infection that I honestly probably could have kicked with some cranberry juice and a healthy immune system. But, um, but unfortunately I decided to take some sick roadblocks is and to treat it. And interestingly, I had some symptoms immediately after I finished the prescription.
L. Bloomquist: I didn’t have any symptoms while I was taking the drug. It was only after I finished taking it, I started having symptoms and I got these big black floaters in my peripheral vision. Um, I thought maybe that my retina was detaching and I went to the, um, I went to the doctor and they said, no, your eyes, your eyes look fine. Um, everything. I just felt kind of off for a couple of days. And then about two weeks later, it sounded like a bomb went off in my body. Um, my hands and feet hurt, um, to the point where it was very difficult to use them. Um, I had a, like I was saying, a massive amount of, a massive amount of anxiety. I broke out with some hides all over my body, you know, that were definitely the most obvious symptom. And I went to the doctor and the doctor said, you know, we don’t really know where hives come from, take some Benadryl.
L. Bloomquist: And I took some Benadryl and it didn’t help, you know, it made everything. Like I don’t think it made things worse actually. It just, it just didn’t help. I was taking too much Benadryl and it wasn’t helping. And I was going, Oh my goodness, like, what’s going on? And then I got a referral to a rheumatologists and they were about as helpful. They said, um, take some Claritin, you know, Benadryl, Claritin, whatever, you know, and, um, and I decided that the doctors didn’t really have any answers for me and I sought some alternative medicine. Um, went to an acupuncturist and at my occupants wrist was really able to, um, give me some herbs and calm my nerves significantly. Um, one thing that, that my health insurer did provide that was really quite helpful was they actually provided, um, a mindfulness based stress reduction class.
L. Bloomquist: Kaiser Permanente provided that and that’s, you know, kind of alternative medicine type of type of medicine. But that, that helped immensely. Like certainly the symptoms that people are going through. It’s not um, all in their head by any means. But um, but anxiety is one of those things. It does make everything worse. And so anything you can do to get the anxiety under control is helpful. So, um, you know, my, my symptoms went on for about 18 months, uh, being weak, lacking energy. I think kind of you throughout this conversation, I’ve mentioned at least most of my symptoms, but uh, yeah, it was a really scary time for me.
Dr. Joe Tatta: So you said it went on for about 18 months, but how long were you actually on a course of Cipro for?
L. Bloomquist: Oh, that was only three and a half days.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Right. So you came on, obviously, you know, the weeks after the medication ended, but they last for months afterwards.
L. Bloomquist: Yeah. Months or even years, you know, and, and all of these, and I feel like these drug commercials out there, they make it sound like, well if you just stop taking the pill, then the, then the side effects will be transient and that’s just not, it’s not true for fluoroquinolones toxicity. Once, once that reaction starts, once that flocks bomb and it starts to go off, um, people, people can be sick for a very long time afterward and I’m not sure if it’s damage that’s done to the cells or there’s some sort of lingering, um, lingering drug in the, in the cells. They honest honestly that just it’s not well documented and acknowledged that these drugs can cause a syndrome.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Yes, both. I mean I’ve done, you know, medical research into pub med and there’s not a whole lot about the mechanism behind the side effects to the fluoroquinolones and it’s very poorly researched or at least poorly publicized, shall we say.
L. Bloomquist: So on my website, so my website is Floxie hope.com. That’s F L O X I E H O P e.com. If you click on the links and resources page, like there are, I’ve collected more than 200 journal articles at that, these drugs and about the damage that they do. Um, unfortunately in all the research that I’ve done, I’ve been really curious to figure out what the damage mechanism is and there are truly multiple possibilities that are quite possible. Yeah. Be the microbiome destruction. And you know, the more we learn about the microbiome, the more we’re learning how important it is and how destroying it can have multiple effects on multiple SIM systems. It could be, uh, magnesium depletion. These drugs have been shown to eat magnesium. It could be, um, all of these drugs that fluoro and fluoroquinolones stands for. Fluorine. It could be it’s Maureen toxicity. Um, it could be like we were talking about the mitochondrial DNA depletion.
L. Bloomquist: It could be, um, hepatotoxicity. So basically liver damage, um, it could be oxidative stress. You know, all of these things are documented effects of these drugs and all of these things. Any one of them individually could be responsible for causing a multi symptom, harmonic illness, uh, picking out which one it is. I, I just don’t know. I don’t have that information. Um, I hope that more people will be studying it. The FDA is certainly, um, you know, they’re making changes to the warning label, like they know about these things. Maybe maybe they’ll get some studies.
Dr. Joe Tatta: So with your website Flocksy hope, can you tell us about some of the kind of interests you have in stories from other patients or medical professionals about, you know, the interest around this drug and its use and maybe, you know, taking off the market or getting, like you said, better warning labels. What is the interest in?
L. Bloomquist: So first off, floxie hope is a site that I started in 2013 and I started it after I was at least 90% recovered. Like I, I was, I must be covered other than kind of some trauma that comes with being poisoned. Um, but, but overall I was as quite recovered and I wanted to give people some hope that recovery is possible because if you look up these stories online, you hear a lot of horror stories from people about, um, being Oh, for years and never recovering. And really having their lives ruined. And I wanted to give people some hope. And so there are recovery stories on Foxy hook.com and I think that those recovery stories and those stories of hope and healing are incredibly important for people. They, they’re important for anyone who’s going through a mysterious chronic illness, frankly. Um, so, so I think that that is one of the most helpful things that I have on, on the website, but I don’t want to give the impression that, Oh, it’s no big deal.
L. Bloomquist: You’ll just recover any year, you know, like not only is it not okay to take away someone’s ability to walk and think for a year or two years of their life. Um, there are people who don’t be covered. There are people who are sick, they like for the rest of their lives who, um, who have relationships ruined, who, um, even die from these drugs. So like they don’t want to downplay that at all. Um, and then that’s, that’s part of my website is doing that is the recovery stories. And then I also have a bunch of research noted on the website. And then also, uh, you know, I blog about several things, sometimes all very hopeful posts about recovery. Sometimes I’ll write angry posts, sometimes I’ll write about, um, the ineptitude of the FDA. Uh, you know, the most recent posts that I just put up, um, no, we’re, we’re talking in July.
L. Bloomquist: So the most recent post that I put up was about the fluoroquinolones that have been being removed from the market. And there are about five drugs in this class that have been taken off the market because they’ve been too dangerous. And basically in looking at the research and the literature, the drugs that remain on the market are not any less dangerous then the ones that have been removed from the market. You know, the ones that have, that have been removed from the market and the ones that still are on the market cause blood sugar fluctuations. And that’s another thing I should mention is the blood sugar, sugar fluctuations, um, people who are diabetic, uh, it’s something that may contribute to diabetes that it’s not even being looked at. And I don’t know why it’s not being looked at because it’s documented that it causes blood sugar irregularities.
L. Bloomquist: And I think that people just don’t think, you know, maybe they think that it causes blood sugar irregularities while you’re on the drug that does aren’t persistent. And I think that that’s just an incorrect assumption. I think that it causes blood sugar abnormalities for a while afterwards. Um, liver damage and hepato toxicity, I think that’s how you pronounce that. Basically Liberty, I’m in that. But the ones that are still on the market are documented to cause that. And um, some of the fluoroquinolones have been taken off the market for causing acute liver damage and causing people to die. People have died from these drugs. And so kind of exploring a little bit of the outrage of like, what’s the difference between these ones that have been taken off the market and the ones that, that remain on the market. I don’t see much of a difference. So, you know, maybe maybe we should strictly restrict the use of these drugs. Some people in the community of people who have been hurt by these drugs really think that taking them off the market completely is the answer. And I don’t entirely disagree with that, but I do understand that, you know, sometimes we need big guns in our arsenal, but I think that they should be treated like chemotherapy drugs. They should be treated as a last resort and not given out like candy from you’re a CVS.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Right. And no, that’s a good point. I mean, you know, drugs have what were called pharmacol kinetics, so classes of drugs all tend to work the same. So you know, five were taken off but four were still left on those four that were left on the market. You still have similar mechanisms and sometimes those mechanisms are different in your body versus my body. So they need to be looked into, you know, very closely, you know, the, the most common side effect for them. And usually muscle pain or tendon tear is, and I think really close to that are really neurological symptoms. And then you bring up a really interesting point with diabetes because diabetes has an autoimmune mechanism related to it. So when people start having blood sugar fluctuations, they can kind of look toward that side effect, if you will, from those medications. But as a patient who’s been through this, if you’re giving advice to another patient, if a doctor wants to prescribe you prescribed Cipro for you for a certain, you know, infection, let’s say, what’s your advice to, to how to communicate with your physician? Because a lot of times physicians are advised by the hospital they work in or peers or pharmaceutical companies that this is a good drug to use. But what’s your advice from patient to patient,
L. Bloomquist: eh, from patient to patient, I think, and to the physicians as well. First of all, first and foremost, make sure that it’s a natural infection. You know, so many people, sinus infections are often viral. Uh, prostate infections are often, um, either, I don’t know if they’re viral or if there are people having a, uh, um, uh, response, a stress response basically in those, in those muscles. And, um, I know that I had some pelvic pain not too long ago. That was a, it was a muscle cramp pretty much, and it was horribly painful, but like, it wasn’t an infection. I don’t have a prostate, so, you know, I know that, but, but anyhow, like, um, make sure that it’s, that it’s an actual bacterial infection and make sure that you get it cultured for urinary tract infections. A lot of people have, um, just an irritated bladder or, um, introduce this DDL cystitis.
L. Bloomquist: I’m mispronouncing that. I see, um, instead of an actual infection and, and make sure that you have an actual infection first and foremost, you know, I think that that is important for all antibiotic use. And then once you get a culture and you are sure that it is a bacterial infection, take the most, um, the nine and specific antibiotic possible and hopefully your doctor will be able to guide you with that. But, um, a lot of doctors, you know, they’re busy, they’re busy people, busy humans, and it’s easier a lot of times to just prescribe broad spectrum antibiotics. And I think that a huge amount of education is needed to let physicians know that, that, um, a broad spectrum antibiotics are not the best answer. You know, take the time to find the specific antibiotic and then second off that or quinolones specifically are a lot more dangerous then say drugs and penicillin class or cephalosporins or doxy cycling or Z packs.
L. Bloomquist: You know, all of those drugs they have, they have some consequences, you know, they can, they can upset your debt. Um, downstream things can happen from a, from a messed up gut, but they are less likely to pause a multi symptom, chronic illness. And then I think after, after you do that, look on sites like ask a patient.com and to read the reviews of drugs. You know, people who review these drugs don’t have any incentive to lie. You know, they’re telling the truth. Make sure that there’s no support group for victims of your drug. Like never take a drug that has a support group for people who are victims of it. Kind of good rule of thumb.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Great. Great point. Um, can you tell our, our Watchers and listeners about the free gift you have for the, for the summit?
L. Bloomquist: Sure. So the frequent is a is an ebook called hacking fluoroquinolones and it is available both on my website floxiehope.com and it’s also available through, um, Dr. Tatta. Um, you, you will have it right. You know, you’ll have a link.
Dr. Joe Tatta: It’s on the website. You have some people opt in, they have an opportunity to get your free gift. They’re wonderful, wonderful. So please,
L. Bloomquist: please do opt in and um, and you will be able to access the hacking fluoroquinolones ebook, which goes over in more depth. All of the mechanisms that I talked about, you know, all of these damage mechanisms for fluoroquinolones, they’re, they’re really horrifying. But I hate to say it because there are so many people who are hurt by these drugs, but I also find it to be very fascinating just trying to put together these puzzle pieces. And even though, you know, we’re talking about fluoroquinolones, I think that a lot of the puzzle pieces that have to do with why quinolones or similar puzzle pieces too, those are other kinds of mysterious diseases of maternity. You know, things like autoimmune diseases have a lot to do with the gut and they have a lot to do with my mitochondria. Maybe even have something to do with um, with mineral deficiencies and even flooring too. So, so all of these things, they really fit together. And you know, I, I hope that the community, all of the people who are suffering from these multi symptom chronic illnesses can somewhat realize that we’re on similar teams and learn from each other. I certainly tried to learn from other people.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Excellent. So I want to thank Lisa Bloomquist for being a guest on the healing pain summit today. Please make sure to check out her website called Floxie hope that’s F L O X I E H O P e.com and make sure to check out her free gift if you liked her interview. And hopefully you have the opportunity to share with your friends. Please click the link below for sharing it on Facebook and on Twitter, and we will see you in the next episode on the Healing Pain Summit.