Trigger warning – suicidal drug side-effects.
My GP prescribed Ciprofloxacin a few days ago to treat potential infection of my resurgent bilateral lymphoedema.
It damn near killed me.
Reading the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) and the Cipro pages, particularly those covering side-effects and drug interactions, at Drugs.com showed why.
I don’t generally read PILs unless I actually have problems, not least because they can create more worries than they alleviate, but after spending two days profoundly depressed, weeping uncontrollably and edging ever closer to pulling the plug, I finally did so.
The first thing that struck me was the advice, in the event of – you’ll love this – “completion of suicide” I should stop taking it and report it to my GP. Call me Mr. Picky, but isn’t it rather late by that point? I mean, I’m good, but that’s going to be bloody hard while I’m lying on the floor going cold.
There’s also the fact that taking this drug with Hydrocortisone is a bad idea (it can precipitate tendinitis and/or tendon rupture). I have Addison’s Disease – Hydro keeps me alive!
There are other drug conflicts too, not least with Theophylline and its derivatives, like Aminophylline (which I take as Phyllocontin Continus). The advice is to “GENERALLY AVOID: Coadministration with Ciprofloxacin may increase the serum concentrations of theophylline and the associated risk of toxicity.”. There are 28 references listed, covering this problem – missing them all is inexcusable.
On a good day – for any patient – the line between the therapeutic dose of Aminophylline and the toxic dose is very, very, narrow – anything that disturbs that equilibrium is to be avoided. And that includes weight loss, as I discovered to my cost in 2013 (admittedly my weight loss was huge – some 35kg).
Ciprofloxacin is also contra-indicated in heart failure. It could have killed me – or driven me to take my own life** – had I continued to take it.
**I was already depressed by the sudden and unexpected return of my Lymphoedema, caused, I have no doubt, by the refusal of the ambulance crew to take my wheelchair with me into hospital recently, forcing me to walk for a week – covered here.
I feared that a life-threatening event would happen at some point as I’ve told you about the cardiologist who says I don’t have HF – flying in the face of a substantial body of opinion that says I do.** His contention is that everything can be blamed on COPD. Only problem with that is I now have another fuckwit consultant telling the world I don’t have COPD!
**Including my nurses who deal with a huge number of Lymphoedema cases and know Heart Failure, as a causative agent, when they see it. They have never been in any doubt.
For new readers, Heart Failure and COPD were diagnosed as long ago as 1996, both have been confirmed multiple times since then. I have both – failure of the medical profession to accept the majority opinion on that will inevitably kill me, as this event so nearly did.
In addition to the foregoing, Cipro is very restrictive. I take calcium (prescribed), as well as a fair amount of dairy products – milk, yoghurt, cheeses. I take a lot of drugs and they can wreak havoc on my stomach. Milk and yoghurt help sooth it.
Cipro, taken twice a day, has to be taken on an empty stomach – no food, including milk or yoghurt, or certain drugs and supplements – like calcium and zinc – for 2 hours either side of the dose. That’s 8 hours out of my day (I have only one meal a day – what would happen if I had the usual three I have no idea). In my meds schedule I do not have 8 hours to spare – I’m always taking something.
After spending 48 hours peering into the abyss courtesy of Cipro, considering the various ways, including driving me to suicide, that it can kill me, I want nothing more to do with it.