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Gulf War Illness Tied to Cipro Antibiotics
January 6, 2014 by Lisa Bloomquist. 5 Comments.
A U.S. military publication, The Air Force Times,
made the connection that victims of
Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome (Floxies) have
been screaming about for years that Gulf War
Illness is tied to Cipro. In an article entitled, New
FDA warnings on Cipro may tie into Gulf War
Illness, it was noted that the August, 2013 update
to the warning labels of all fluoroquinolone
antibiotics stating that PERMANENT peripheral
neuropathy is a possible adverse effect, prompted
The Air Force Times to make the connection.
Civilians suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome (an adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone
Cipro/Ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/Levofloxacin, Avelox/Moxifloxacin, Floxin/Ofloxacin and others) have noted
the similarities between Gulf War illness and Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome for years. It is beyond
likely, it is probable, that they are one in the same.
The Symptoms
The VA defines Gulf War Illness as chronic, unexplained symptoms existing for 6 months or more that
are at least ten percent disabling. The CDC case definition of Gulf War Illness requires chronic
symptoms in two of three domains of fatigue, cognitive-mood, and musculoskeletal.
Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome is a chronic, unexplained illness with symptoms lasting for months,
years, or, as the updated warning label notes, permanently. The symptoms of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity
Syndrome are too numerous to list, but a cursory glance at the warning label for Cipro/Ciprofloxacin will tell
you that the effects include musculoskeletal problems and central nervous system issues. Additionally,
as pharmaceuticals that damage mitochondria, the energy centers of cells, severe fatigue is often
induced by Fluoroquinolones.
A 1998 study entitled, Chronic Multisymptom Illness Affecting Air Force Veterans of the Gulf War, found
that the most commonly reported symptoms of Gulf War Illness are sinus congestion, headache, fatigue,
joint pain, difficulty remembering or concentrating, joint stiffness, difficulty sleeping, abdominal pain,
trouble finding words, (feeling) moody or irritable, rash or sores, numbness or tingling and muscle pain.
A 2011 study conducted by the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation found that the most commonly reported
symptoms of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are tendon, joint, and muscle pain, fatigue,
popping/cracking joints, weakness, neuropathic pain, paresthesia (tingling), muscle twitching, depression,
anxiety, insomnia, back pain, memory loss, tinnitus, muscle wasting.
The symptoms are similar enough to raise a few eyebrows. It should be noted that when a chronic, multi-
symptom illness suddenly sickens a patient or a soldier, and he or she goes from being healthy and active
to suddenly being exhausted and unable to move or think, it is difficult to pinpoint and describe exactly
what is going wrong in his or her body. Thus, even if the symptoms are identical, they may not be
described in an identical way because of context and differing areas of focus.
For victims of fluoroquinolones, it is as if a bomb went off in the body of the victim, yet all tests come
back normal so in addition to physical pain and suffering that the soldier/patient is going through, he or
she has to suffer through dismissal and denial from medical professionals as well. Neither Gulf War
Illness nor Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are detected by traditional medical tests and thus both
diseases are systematically denied. All blood and urine markers come back within the normal ranges, yet
the patient or soldier is suddenly incapable of 90% of what he or she used to be able to do. When a large
number of patients or soldiers (nearly 30% of the soldiers serving in the Gulf reported symptoms. Exact
numbers of civilian patients suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are unknown because of
delayed reactions, misdiagnosing the illness, tolerance thresholds, etc.) experience adverse reactions that
are undetectable using the tests available, there is something wrong with the tests. The patients and
soldiers arent lying and their loss of abilities isnt in their heads.
Exposure to the same Poison
Another glaring similarity between Gulf War Illness and Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome is that
everyone with either syndrome took a Fluoroquinolone.
Per a Veteran of the Marines who commented on about the use of Ciprofloxacin by
soldiers in the Gulf:
The Ciprofloxacin 500 mg were ordered to be taken twice a day. The Marines were the only service that I
know for sure were given these orders. We were ordered to start them before the air war, and the order to
stop taking them was giver at 0645 Feb 28th 1991 by General Myatt 1st Marine div commander. We were
forced to take Cipro 500mg twice a day for 40 plus days. so the Marines were given NAPP (nerve agent
protection pills) or pyridiostigmine bromide to protect us from nerve agent, and We were ordered to take
the Cipro to protect from anthrax. We were part of the human research trial conducted by the Bayer
corporation in the creation of their new anthrax pills. At that time they had no idea of the side effects of
flouroquinolones. Thats the class of medications that Cipro falls into. After the Gulf War the FDA and
Bayer co. started releasing the list of side effects. You do need to know what was done to you so you will
have to do your own research. Good luck to all of you and Semper Fi.
By definition, everyone who suffers from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome has taken a fluoroquinolone
Cipro/Ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/Levofloxacin, Avelox/Moxifloxacin or Floxin/Ofloxacin. Civilians are also
part of the human research trial conducted by the Bayer corporation as well as Johnson & Johnson,
Merck and multiple generic drug manufacturers who peddle fluoroquinolones as safe antibiotics.
The Case Against Fluoroquinolones
Of course, there were multiple chemicals and poisons that Gulf War Veterans were exposed to in the
1990-91 Persian Gulf War and thus it has been difficult to pinpoint an exact cause of Gulf War Illness.
The ruling out of the following possible causes should certainly be questioned thoroughly, but depleted
uranium, anthrax vaccine, fuels, solvents, sand and particulates, infectious diseases, and chemical agent
resistant coating have been found not to cause Gulf War Illness. Other potential causes of Gulf War
Illness include oil fires, multiple vaccines, pesticides, and, of course, fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro).
(It should be noted that non-deployed military personnel who served during the Gulf War period, but who
were not deployed in the Middle East, have also been afflicted with Gulf War Illness and thus toxins that
both deployed and non-deployed personnel have been exposed to should be the focus of investigations
into the causes of Gulf War Illness.)
The Air Force Times article is one of the first official mentions of the relationship between Cipro and Gulf
War Illness. Officially, the link hasnt been examined (though some very smart researchers are building a
case as you read this). Why Cipro hasnt been looked at as a potential cause of Gulf War Illness is a
question that I dont know the answer to. Perhaps its because most people think that all antibiotics are as
safe as penicillin. Perhaps its because most people have a tolerance threshold for fluoroquinolones and
dont react negatively to the first prescription that they receive. Perhaps its because even today, more
than 30 years after Cipro was patented by Bayer, the exact mechanism by which fluoroquinolones operate
is still officially unknown (1). Perhaps its because it is unthinkable that a commonly used antibiotic could
cause a chronic syndrome of pain and suffering. Perhaps its because the tests that show the damage
done by fluoroquinolones arent used by the VA or civilian doctors offices. Perhaps its because
fluoroquinolones are the perfect drug they take an acute problem an infection, and convert it into a
chronic disease-state that is systematically misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, an
autoimmune disease, leaky gut syndrome, insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc. and turns formerly healthy
people into lifetime customers of the medical establishment / pharmaceutical companies. Perhaps it is
simply widespread ignorance about the way these dangerous drugs work.
The Cliffs Notes version of how fluoroquinolones work is as follows:
The fluoroquinolone depletes liver enzymes that metabolize drugs (CYP450) (2). When the enzymes are
depleted sufficiently, the fluoroquinolone forms a poisonous adduct to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) (3, 4),
which destroys and depletes mtDNA (5). While the mtDNA is being destroyed, the fluoroquinolone is also
binding to cellular magnesium. (6, 7) The mitochondria reacts to being assaulted by producing reactive
oxygen species (ROS) (8, 9). Some of the ROS, specifically hydrogen peroxide, combines with the
excess calcium (there is a balance in cells of magnesium and calcium and the binding of the magnesium
results in an excess of calcium) to induce the expression of CD95L/Fas Ligand (5) which then causes cell
death (apoptosis) and immune system dysfunction (10) which leads the body to attack itself like an
autoimmune disease.
Damage is caused by every single step in the process. Additional damage may be done by the fluorine
atom that is added to fluoroquinolones to make them more potent. It should be noted that the complexity
of these cellular interactions is too vast to write up in this article.
Every symptom of Gulf War Illness is consistent with mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress (11),
both of which have been shown to be brought on by fluoroquinolones.
Though the tests used in typical medical practice show no reason for victims of fluoroquinolones to be ill,
that fact simply shows that the wrong tests are being used. Tests of mitochondrial function,
antioxidant/oxidant ratios and DNA will show the damage that is done by fluoroquinolones. The way to
determine whether Cipro is the cause of Gulf War Illness is to conduct a DNA mass spectrogram analysis
on afflicted Gulf War Veterans. If the DNA mass spectrogram analysis shows that quinolone molecules
have adducted to the DNA of the Veterans, thats a smoking gun of damage done by Cipro.
Millions of civilians have also been hurt by fluoroquinolones. I can connect fluoroquinolones to almost
every chronic disease that has increased in prevalence since the introduction of fluoroquinolones to the
mass population in the mid-1980s. Additionally, DNA is damaged and thus the effects are
intergenerational and many of the chronic diseases that plague children can be linked to fluoroquinolone
use by parents.
Some very well-respected researchers are working on more furthering the case that Cipro is responsible
for Gulf War Illness. If any Gulf War Veterans want to take on Bayer before those studies are released,
the way to do so is through obtaining a DNA mass spectrogram analysis and having it analyzed by a
toxicologist. It is proof of damage and it is necessary. When that proof is obtained, I encourage all Gulf
War Veterans to use it to fight those who poisoned them Bayer and their corroborators in the DOD and
the FDA.
To any Gulf War Veterans who read this you are soldiers and you are warriors. I know that you have
been weakened, but you are still alive and those of you who can fight, should, because a grave injustice
has been done to you. It is an injustice that is also being inflicted on innocent civilians. There is nothing
okay about the poisoning of our military men and women, or the American public, with chemotherapy drugs
masquerading as antibiotics. I encourage you to fight Bayer and their corroborators like what they are
domestic terrorists. It is a fight that you can win. The truth, and a significant amount evidence, are on
your side.
Post Script: The authors web site, with more information about fluoroquinolones, is Further information about fluoroquinolones can be found through the Quinolone
Vigilance Foundation
Numbered Sources:
1. Inorganic Chemistry, New uses for old drugs: attempts to convert quinolone antibacterials into
potential anticancer agents containing ruthenium.
2. FDA Warning Label for Ciprofloxacin
3. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, The Mechanism of Inhibition of Topoisomerase IV by Quinolone
4. Findings of Toxicologist Joe King
5. The Journal of Immunology, Mitochondrial Reactive Oxygen Species Control T Cell Activation by
Regulating IL-2 and IL-4 Expression: MechanismN of Ciprofloxacin Mediated Immunosuppression
6. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Effects of Magnesium Complexation by Fluoroquinolones
on their Antibacterial Properties
7. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, Biochemistry, Quinolone
Binding to DNA Mediated by Magnesium Ions
8. Science Translational Medicine, Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and
Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells
9. Journal of Young Pharmacists, Oxidative Stress Induced by Fluoroquinolones on Treatment for
Complicated Urinary Tract Infections in Indian Patients
10. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Ciprofloxacin Induces an Immunomodulatory Stress
Response in Human T Lymphocytes
11. Nature Precedings, Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Injury in Chronic Multisymptom Conditions:
From Gulf War Illness to Autism Spectrum Disorder
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# About the author
Lisa Bloomquist
I am a Colorado native that enjoys the mountains, pilates, blogging and my cat. I
was severely adversely effected by Cipro in 2011. Before I took Cipro I was in
perfect health. Since those fateful pills in 2011, I have been fighting for my health.
Most of my health has returned and now I am screaming about the dangers of
fluoroquinolones so that others can learn from my experience. I will continue to
scream until those in the medical professions start paying attention to their
Hippocratic Oath, proper informed consent is established for administration of
these drugs, and they stop giving them to children.

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R 5 comments on Gulf War Illness Tied to Cipro
January 6, 2014 at 6:16 pm
Hi Lisa I was adversely affected by quinolones this summer as well. Glad to hear you are
doing better and that you are fiercely advocating. I am doing the same. Facebook posts,
telling friends and family, etc. Please continue to educate others on the adverse possible
reactions to continue with prevention.
Lisa Bloomquist
January 6, 2014 at 7:25 pm
Im really sorry that you were hurt by a quinolone too! It sucks, for sure. Thank you
for advocating! Its a really ridiculous situation people should not be hurt by their
antibiotics. Its absurd and its wrong. It needs to stop and people like you who are
telling all your friends and loved ones about how you were hurt by
Cipro/Levaquin/Avelox is part of the solution. Thank you for what youre doing!
January 6, 2014 at 1:47 pm
To be clear, none of the military Times (Army, Air Force, Navy, etc) are official publications.
Lisa Bloomquist
January 6, 2014 at 3:40 pm
Noted. Thanks for the comment!
Lisa Bloomquist
January 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm
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Sources #11 and #8 specifically (plus all of the other sources listed and linked to for a
more solid case, but 11 and 8 together will give you some good info) are certainly
more to base the assertion on than the Air Force Times piece. I appreciate that the
Air Force Times brought it up though.
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