Strong antibiotic puts patients in danger, doctors say

Ciprofloxacin treats infections

The antibiotic Ciprofloxacin has the capability of damaging the brain and can lead to nerve damage, doctors said. Other side effects that doctors and patients allege include psychotic episodes, tendonitis, ruptured tendons and C diff colitis. 

The drug, Bayer introduced in 1987, was prescribed for everything from urinary tract infections to pneumonia and bronchitis. But doctors now have to consider antibiotics as the cause of neurological issues. 

Earlier this week, Rosemarie Yancosek, a spokesperson for Bayer, said in a statement according to the Duncan Banner that the benefits of the drug continue to outweigh the risks. Neurologist Shamik Bhattacharyya told the Boston Globe that doctors rarely suspect antibiotics as the culprit of brain dysfunction, but they should. 

Bhattacharyya and colleagues combed through case reports going back to 1946 and found that nearly half of patients given antibiotics developed delirium and other brain problems and 14 percent had seizures, according to the study

Demand for this drug has remained high. Yancosek was commenting on pending litigation. The German pharmaceutical giant was accused of paying $ 398.1 million Barr Laboratories, now Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, to delay introducing a generic version in a practice that violates antitrust laws, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Yancosek said the drug's label warns of the dangers. 

The Food and Drug Administration considered a doctors' petition to examine the potential side effects to add a black box warning, so that only patients with serious illnesses consider taking the drug. In Aug. 15 2013, the FDA required the maker of Cipro to add a warning for peripheral neuropathy, permanent nerve damage. Any drugs packaged before that do not  have the label. 

Four U.S. postal workers, who were prescribed Cipro during the 2001 anthrax scare, filed a Cipro lawsuit in New Jersey against Bayer, but it was later dropped for lack of grounds. Thousands of others who feared anthrax exposure were also encouraged to take the drug. 


Local 10 News' Andrea Torres contributed to this story. 


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