Cipro flagyl toxicity jiu jitsu athlete

Cipro and Flagyl Neurotoxicity in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Athlete

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From Athlete to Barely Functioning

In 2016, I walked into the doctor’s office to be looked at for a stomach bug. I was prescribed Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) 500mg and 500mg of metronidazole (Flagyl), twice a day for 14 days. Within the first couple of days taking the antibiotics, I knew something didn’t feel right, but I continued to take them as prescribed.

Another day passed and I had a massive panic/anxiety attack. It felt as if my body was shutting down and I was going to die within a few minutes. After suffering all night long, I visited the doctor again and told him that it felt as though I was dying, that something was incredibly wrong and that I had never felt this way in my entire life.

He researched the side effects/symptoms of Cipro and Flagyl and based on what he read, he told me to stop taking it and see if there was any improvement.

I made it another few days before I couldn’t handle it any longer. My side effects were so bad. Less than a week after being off the pills, I went into work and was hit with another extreme panic attack. I couldn’t breathe again. I had extreme dizziness. It was like my body was shutting down. I told a coworker that I felt as if I was dying. I couldn’t walk and I needed him to call an ambulance immediately. From that point on, my life had changed forever.

In and Out of the Emergency Room

I had to stop working and I spent the next 8 months constantly in and out the emergency room. I went to multiple hospitals, saw multiple specialists, and my GP’s several times. I had several ECGs done, CT scans, ultrasounds, an MRI, and many rounds of blood work. Everything was negative.

I became delusional/depersonalized and suffered derealization. I was completely paranoid of life and in awe of my existence. I cried every single day.

I suffered with constant anxiety, severe panic attacks. I developed neuropathy with numbness in my arms and head and neuralgia with a sense of electricity in my brain or brain zaps. I developed tremors and body shivers. I felt hopeless, experienced intense fear and agoraphobia. I experienced tunnel vision and lost my vision to some degree. I had memory problems and was unable to concentrate. My dexterity declined and I lost the ability to walk or control my body properly. I developed high blood pressure. At times, I contemplated suicide. I was afraid of dying but also afraid of living.

I was prescribed Valium, a benzodiazepine, to calm my “anxiety”, even though I never had anxiety outside of it being chemically induced. This caused even more issues and I eventually had to stop taking it, no tapering involved.

It was like a bomb went off in my body and I have never recovered.

I still suffer from the following symptoms weak and shaken muscles and twitching, neurological symptoms dizzy when walking, extreme muscle pain tightness especially neck and shoulders, constant congestion, chest pain, chronic costochondritis, pins and needles in the hands and feet, and heart flutters especially at rest.

Prior to Cipro and Flagyl, I Was An Athlete

I had just turned 40 before all this happened and was high level functioning athlete. If I rewind 3-4 months before being given the Cipro and Flagyl, I had an accident on a job site, where some metal scratched my leg. I was given an antibiotic in case of infection, the name of which I cannot remember. That antibiotic started my gut symptoms that included reflux and so I was on Nexium for approximately 3 months. Those antibiotics gave me loose bowels and reflux etc. and that is when I went to the doctor and he prescribed me the Cipro and Flagyl. Since then, I have had fecal matter transplant done, which resolved over 90% of gut issues.

My diet was pretty clean and mostly protein and veggies. That is what it is now but probably even cleaner because of how aware I am of toxins, etc.

My energy before all of this was pretty good considering the output. I trained 3-4 days a week for approximately 1-2 hour sessions, plus worked physically 5-6 days a week. Although I would tire, it was nothing like it is now. I feel like I’ve run a marathon but have done nothing. I went from running 4 km just to warmup to not being able to walk within 2-4 weeks of taking Cipro and Flagyl.

I don’t smoke and only drink socially on occasion, a couple glasses of wine at most.

I’ve tried migraine medication, beta blockers, and vertigo drugs. All made me worse.

From holistic standpoint, I tried ozone. It helped marginally. I also tried an IR sauna saw some benefit but it also makes me worse if I go to hard.

Current Supplements

  • Omega 3s and high dose DHA
  • 400-800mg mag glycinate
  • ATP fuel 8 capsules
  • L Carnitine 800mg
  • Phosphorylcholine
  • Bitters, Quicksilver before meals – 2 squirts
  • Thorne B complex 12 – 1 cap twice a day
  • Researched nutritional glutathione 1/2 teaspoon – I do have glutathione deletion gene.
  • Hawthorn extract 3 tabs a day

I can’t really say if anything helping, as I still suffer from all these symptoms. I have recently discovered thiamine and begun supplementation. I have the glutathione deletion gene and also MTHFR. I am publishing my story for additional input.

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Image by Julián Amé from Pixabay.

This story was published originally on April 26, 2021. 


  1. Methylene blue brought me here, but I don’t see it mentioned anywhere. I think the universe just wanted me to comment this 2 years later. Hope things got better for you.

  2. I’d like to help anyway I can. The process that led me to this post has been the hardest of my life. After taking levofloxacin.. If you can relate and need help or advice please reach out to me. My brief story.. After taking this I proceeded to feel strange. The initial feeling were that of insomnia and bad dreams and changed to vision changes, headache, pressure in head, and feelings of fear. I was unable to spend time with ppl i love and friends i normally feel good with. I became weak in energy and I could not regulate my own body temperature. It felt like I was in a nightmare.

    What helped me in the beginning when the top of my head was tingling was CBD. To me this was an only temporary help. After that I focused on cleansing my liver. I did everything possible for 4 months with all the recommendations of CoQ10, PQQ, and heavy B vitamins. When panic attacks got really intense theanine calmed me. I also took high doses of GABA before bed. This imbalance creates ups and downs and one minute you might feel like you are making progress and the next seems impossible. I travel all around the world and before this occurred i never felt hesitant. This can change the way you feel because of damage on a cellular level. If you are experiencing this and feel like it’s impossible just know that there is light ahead even if it will take some time. I had feeling of not wanting to live and that there was no hope.

    It’s really important to build your gut health. What’s helped me the most now has been multiple infusions of glutathione.. what i do now ( I’m 6 months in) is NAC, super dose of B1 ( thiamin ) a continuous probiotic, and even though it sounds a bit crazy.. it’s important to recognize that you are healing. Such a long process changes your thinking pattern and it’s important to know that even though it seems like a long time tour cells are rejuvenating and healing. Please call if I can help. 831-600-5860

  3. I took cipro four years ago and it turned my life upside down. I’ve since learned that cipro’s mechanism of action makes it extremely good at destroying bacteria of all kinds. Unfortunately it sees your body’s mitochondria as bacteria (since it essentially is), and coupled with its highly efficient profusion through almost all tissues in the body at low doses, it can destroy mitochondria pretty much anywhere in your body. I’m not fully recovered but taking care of your mitochondria is the road to recovery. Because you have brain injury from it I would recommend trying methylene blue and see if that helps at all. Anything that supports mitchondrial health is where you should invest your time and energy. Hang in there.

  4. Thankyou for the response I have been doing a heap of reading and research I am have got the ttfd but I have been doing IM injections which have definitely made all symptoms worse especially the dysautonomia and heart palpitations, I have increased intake of glutathione and also taking b complex and magnesium glycineqte High dose, hope symptoms will ease a little as they are brutal.

  5. I’m so sorry.
    Every time I read something like this I feel furious prickles of anger.
    It’s the same story all the time. I wonder how often we have to observe this before something gets done and we stop damaging people in this way?
    The MTHFR really interests me, because it is quite common in connective tissue diseases and concerns the metabolism of B vitamins.

    My thoughts would be:

    1. If you’re taking B vitamins try to take folate and not folic acid to avoid high homocysteine levels because of your MTHFR.

    2. Correct any vitamin D deficiency, if blood tests indicate. I found getting my D levels up kept me out of hospital and minimized symptoms.

    3. Check iron, calcium, phosphate and magnesium levels and in consultation with a doctor I would correct anything where necessary.

    Be aware if you are supplementing iron and you don’t tolerate ferrous sulphate you could try a more gentle preparation like Maltofer. Take iron with vitamin C to aid absorbtion. Always have another blood test in 3-6 weeks to see how your levels are looking to avoid oversupplementation/iron overload.

    4. Probiotics. I take really strong ones with 64 billion CFU. Cannot recommend highly enough.

    5. Keep your electrolytes as balanced as you can within your diet.

    6. Check your thyroid function. I was just thinking of thyroid because you said anxiety and heart palpitations.

    Here are some ideas of what could be causing your dizzyness, muscle twitching and neurological issues:

    a. Deficiency. If you are anaemic or B vitamin deficient (common in chronic illness) you can have many of these tingling, neurological, dizzy or orthostatic intolerance type symptpms.

    b. Dysautonomia/POTS. It may be a good idea to arrange a tilt table test to see if you have any underlying OI. This is a simple test you can have in a cardiology department. There are treatments available if your symptoms relate to this (Midodrine, Florinef, etc). Doctors may be unaware, but POTS can cause both high and low blood pressure. Especially hyperadrenergic POTS.

    c. Neuropathy. If you fail to find any answers or improvement in the above, I’m certain your doctor can still investigate further. Nerve conduction tests can be arranged with a neurologist to get to the bottom of any persistent symptoms you may be having.

    I hope these suggestions help? Good luck with everything and hope you feel a bigger improvement soon!

  6. I had many of the same symptoms for 3-4 years. Thiamine is the only thing that has made a big difference. I would think about dropping the other supplements and try just the thiamine for a while, see if helps then add the other ones they recommend on this site. All supplements seemed to make me worse until I got my thiamine levels up. I take 100mg solgar hcl 3 times a day.

    • Woow,
      how long does it take to feel better?
      I have been using thiamin ttfd and thiamin HCl since december, but I feel the paradox reaction is still very strong even many months have passed

    • Hello

      I can confirm that. I got Cipro and Metronidazole in 2017 and developed exactly the same symptoms. what helped me significantly was thiamine.

      get well

    • Hi Ryan and Cipro2017, in similar boat post Cipro for years. Curious to try thiamine and wondering if you started small in dosage like 100mg daily or less and then increased from there in weeks time? Tolerated well as have read comments on paradoxical can happen? Have tolerated supplements in the past ok. Is this something to replenish for a good while and then stop or decrease and stay on or 100mgx 3x a day, for life? Learning, appreciate it!

  7. I would definitely try to get some IV nutrients. Most IV places have the Myers cocktail and you should be able to customize as well. They really work well.

  8. April 2016 I was given cipro/flagyl for diverticulitis. Within three days I had massive anxiety and could not move my legs. I stopped taking immediately and slowly improved. Two weeks later my second toe on each foot turned purple, swollen, twisted and sore. My left toe is still crooked today. My doctor was not happy her partner prescribed cipro, but said flagyl was ok to continue. I didn’t take it. This got me researching past records of symptoms and prescriptions. I realized I was having delayed symptoms to cipro for years. This past fall I had gallbladder surgery and warned them about cipro (and possible flagyl reactions). That evening after surgery I had another massive anxiety attack in the hospital and then another two more the following week at home. And twice since then I have experienced pain in the toes again with a new issue of waking in the night with my top lip swelling up. I have the same genetic mutations as you and tried the same supplements. In December I added a VNS (sort of) device, Modius Health, vestibular stimulation of the hypothalamus. It’s been really helpful.

    • All these all too common symptoms are due to energy deficiency in brain. Many drugs injure the mitochondria, the “engines” of the cell. Metronidazole has a formula, part of which is the same as thiamine. So it takes the place of thiamine and causes an artificial thiamine deficiency. It has led to the formation of a metronidazole toxicity group on line. To counteract this robbery of thiamine, you have to take megadoses of thiamine as a thiamine derivative called TTFD, (thiamine tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide) (Ecological Formulas) and Thiamax in the UK. If you are in this state, please read about Refeeding Syndrome in this forum before starting treatment. There is plenty of writing about thiamine on this forum, so do your homework!

      • Dr Lonsdale-
        Can thiamine still be effective or is it necessary if you don’t eat carbohydrates? This may sound like a silly question but more and more people are eating animal foods and limiting or eliminating all or most carbohdrates, me being one of them. We shouldn’t need much thiamine if we’re not living off carbohydrates but I’m curious as to how much it’s needed if we are deficient but have shifted our fuel source away from hat which requires larger amounts of thiamine?

        • Dr. Lonsdale no longer replies to comments, so let me see if I can answer for you. Yes, you still need thiamine. Thiamine is involved in processing each of the macronutrients and then at several points within the mitochondria. How much you need depends entirely on what foods you are eating and how much thiamine is in each of them. Track your intake using the free app Cronometer. The RDA, which I believe is entirely to low, stands at about 1.2mg per day for a healthy adult male weighing 70kg/154lbs who is moderately active. Deviations from those variables i.e. health issues, difference in weight, difference in activity level, plus consumption foods, pharmaceuticals or exposure to environmental substances that block/degrade thiamine would increase the need. Understand too that the RDA was set as bare minimum required to prevent symptoms of deficiency, not necessarily the deficiency itself, in that specific population. Other research showed that 1.5-2.5mg was a better at protecting health. None of that early research considered limiting factors. With that in mind and depending upon all of those variables, intake for health is likely to be somewhat higher. Will it be as high as someone who consumes most of their thiamine through fortified or enriched carbs, probably not, unless of course, one is exposed to the other variables that degrade thiamine.

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