Doctors issued urgent warning over commonly prescribed antibiotic's scary side effects

Doctors have been told to watch the number of people taking this medication.

Fluoroquinolones health hazards
© Kateryna Hliznitsova / UNSPLASH
Fluoroquinolones health hazards

TW: mentions of self-harm

Discover our latest podcast

Modern medicine is obviously extremely helpful when we are under the weather, but you have to be careful when dealing with medication. You should avoid mixing certain meds with coffee, and others with alcohol. It was recently revealed that one single course of antibiotics a year raises risk of this life threatening illness by 70%. Now, antibiotics are causing another scare.

Doctors have been told to ‘stop dishing out common antibiotic’ after the medication has been reported to cause ‘irreversible harm’. Here’s exactly the type of antibiotic in question and the risks patients run.

The type of antibiotic

The medication in question is used to treat a range of illnesses from UTIs to sinusitis. Named fluoroquinolones, this group of antibiotics are from now on only to be prescribed to patients when all alternative drugs have been ruled out.

Dr Alison Cave, at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said that medical professionals ‘have listened to the experience of patients regarding long-lasting and potentially irreversible adverse reactions following use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, in some cases prescribed for mild-to-moderate infections’:

We recognise fully the importance of limiting the use of these medicines.

The risk patients run

In September 2023, health chiefs issued a warning that explained people who took these antibiotics were at an increased risk of mental health issues, amongst other things. This was unfortunately brought to the fore by the case of a retired GP who took his own life. The man had no previous history of mental health issues, and was being treated with a fluoroquinolone called ciprofloxacin at the time.

The medication has also been associated with serious and potentially permanent damage to the tendons, muscles, joints and nerves. Yet, doctors had been prescribing the meds for a whole selection of health problems including bronchitis, pneumonia, conjunctivitis and STIs. Other examples of this type of medication include levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, norfloxacin, ofloxacin, and ciprofloxacin.

Dr Cave urges those taking these meds to ‘carefully read the advice in the patient information leaflet about possible adverse reactions’. If you have any issues, alert your GP as soon as possible.

Read more:

Serious warning issued over this common antibiotic's 'rare link' to suicidal behaviour

Clozapine revealed as Britain's deadliest prescription drug

Doctors make astonishing discovery of new type of bacteria in London hospital

Sources used:

The Sun: DRUG FEARS ‘Stop dishing out common antibiotic’, doctors told after warnings over suicide risk and ‘irreversible’ harm

European Medicines Agency: Fluoroquinolone antibiotics: reminder of measures to reduce the risk of long-lasting, disabling and potentially irreversible side effects

New study reveals heartburn medication could have long-lasting side effects New study reveals heartburn medication could have long-lasting side effects