From a Patient’s Perspective…

Woman_Falling_ApartI created this blog for one simple purpose—to help people who have had a serious, adverse reaction to Flagyl (aka, metronidazole), so they have a place to read about the condition and to answer questions that no medical professional was willing to help me find.  What you have has a name: Metronidazole-induced Central Nervous Toxicity (or metronidazole toxicity for short).

I am not a doctor; I was a patient.  All of my posts are based on my personal experience and information I found across the internet.  You will have to decide what to take from this site, but I hope it helps you through your recovery.

I haven’t had time to update this page.  Make sure to check out “Treatment” that will go into more detail about the mechanism behind metronidazole toxicity and ways to possibly improve symptoms!

Here is the quick sum-up of my experience with metronidazole:

In June of 2015, I was diagnosed with c diff (a gut bacteria), and prescribed metronidazole, 500mg.  Six days into taking it, I had a serious, adverse reaction, including difficulty walking, slurred speech, dizziness, extreme fatigue and feeling faint.  What followed was six weeks of debilitating fatigue, brain fog, depression, severe insomnia, muscle twitches, nausea, zero appetite, coughing, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, brain zaps (feels like lightning bolts surging through my skull), flushing face, chills, hand tremors, neck pain, and the absolute worst anxiety I’ve ever experienced (sound familiar?).

But what was worse was that the doctors flat-out did not believe me.  They insisted that the antibiotic was “out of my system” less than a week after my last dose; therefore, it couldn’t be the drug.  Of all the things that happened to me, this was the most disheartening, and if you are suffering from the same situation with your doctors, I am so sorry.  I hope that this website helps you better understand what you have and what to expect.

Now, almost a year later, most of my symptoms have resolved and the ones that haven’t are at least no longer debilitating, and I’m enjoying life again.  The first two months were the hardest, and it slowly improved over about nine months.

Most of all, this experience has left me completely disillusioned by the health care system.  If you are experiencing even some of the symptoms I’ve addressed, you are probably experiencing some form of metronidazole toxicity.  Your doctors don’t believe you—I do.  I believe you because I went through it, researched it, and now, I want you to have an easier time than I did in knowing what this condition is about.

The Most Common Questions I had while Dealing with Metronidazole Toxicity

  1.  Will I recover from metronidazole toxicity?

Most likely, yes.  While you certainly feel awful right now, the prospects for recovery are good and (for most people) seem to come soon after discontinuation of the drug.  People who are suffering from mood changes only are especially more likely to recover completely.  People who suffer from motor control problems (difficulty walking, slurred speech, etc) or autonomic dysfunction (aka, issues with the “automatic” operations in the body like breathing, heart rate, digestion), have a slightly less chance of complete recovery but it’s still the outcome for the majority of patients.  If nothing more, you should greatly improve over time.

  1. What is happening that’s causing this adverse reaction?

Essentially, metronidazole has no problem getting past the “blood-brain barrier.”  This is a dense set of cells that doesn’t let some substances cross from the body to the brain; as an example, the drug imodium cannot pass this barrier, which is why you will rarely see a review about it causing mental issues.

Metronidazole easily goes to your barrier, and an adverse reaction means that it is causing lesions to form on your brain.  These are only detectable through an MRI and are visible in 93% of patients who complain of metronidzaole toxicity (see source here or download the entire article, click metronidazole-neuropharmacol-2011-article).

What’s even scarier…these lesions are listed on the official FDA warnings about metronidazole (aka, Flagyl).  You can see the most updated version of this drug label here.  Page 8 lists the warnings and page 13 lists all the adverse reactions, including central nervous system effects.

These lesions disappear quickly after discontinuation of the drug in 83% of patients, so they are usually reversible.  They are found mainly on the cerebellum, followed closely by the brain stem (and sometimes the basal ganglia).

There are five tell-tale signs of metronidazole CNS toxicity in medical literature:

  • Dysarthria (slurred speech and/or dysfunction of speech patterns)
  • Ataxia (motor control problems, usually presented as difficulty walking–not numbness, tingling or burning, but the actual inability to coordinate your legs).  Arms and also eye movement can be affected as well.
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures–more prominent in older patients.
  • Altered Mental State–more prominent in younger patients.

While the “altered mental state” is subjective, from everything I’ve read, it’s usually described as mental confusion, severe anxiety, and/or depression.  Personally, I could not calm my body down (see my page on Anxiety here), but was always cognitively aware of time and place.

In addition to these documented issues, metronidazole toxicity can also cause autonomic dysfunction.  This is due to issues of the brain stem, which controls all the “involuntary” operations of the body.  These include issues with:

  • Digestion (usually constipation, but it can be diarrhea)
  • Anorexia (complete loss of appetite / will to eat)
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Irregular Blood Pressure
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Dysfunction of Salivary Glands (can cause white tongue / white patches)
  • Temperature Deregulation 
  • Respiratory Issues (asthma-like breathing problems)
  • Frequent Urination
  • Emotional Lability (dysfunction of fight-or-flight response)

There is little medical literature on autonomic dysfunction (aka, dysautonomia) due to metronidazole toxicity; however, the drug can cause damage to all regions of the brain stem: the pons, medulla and midbrain.  In addition, we have a support group on Facebook, and more patients complain about dysautonomia due to metronidazole than cerebellar dysfunction.  And I have dealt with most of these autonomic-issues myself.

Metronidazole can also cause polyneuropathy, which is burning, tingling and/or numbness in your body, especially hands, feet and/or face.  It can also cause optic neuropathy, which can impair vision.

  1. How long will it take me to recover?

This is a really tricky question.  I’ve looked at many patient reviews and most people share their initial experience, but never follow-up after.  Even in case studies, the time frame is difficult to measure because most doctors don’t follow patients more than 3 months after discontinuing the drug.

That being said, from best I can gather from reviews and case studies, people either have a resolution of all symptoms (65%) or show improvement 3 months after their initial reaction (29%).  That’s medical literature, but after over 2 years of doing research myself and listening to metronidazole sufferers, here’s what I’ve learned:

Flare up’s are unfortunately common.  Since June 2015, I’ve had several mild flare up’s and 2 major ones, including one in November of 2017, not long ago.  It was at this time that I happened upon a new medical textbook called “Thiamine Deficiency Disease, Dysautonomia, and High-Calorie Malnutrition.”  Looking back at my own research, it became clear that metronidazole destroys the thiamine (aka vitamin B1) in your body; when you are deficient in thiamine, you have:

  • Cerebellar Dysfunction (cerebellar dysfunction)
  • Autonomic Dysfunction (brain stem dysfunction)
  • Altered Mental State
  • Polyneuropathy

Thiamine deficiency can even cause lesions on the back of the brain, and medical literature is continuously compared metronidazole toxicity and another type of neurological disorder, Wernicke’s Encephalopathy, due to their striking similarities in symptoms and the appearance of brain lesions.  Wernicke’s is directly caused by thiamine deficiency.

You cannot correct a deficiency this great by just eating thiamine-rich foods; it requires months of high-thiamine supplementation and magnesium supplementation.  But this is actually good news, because this means that if you are having metronidazole toxicity issues like flare up’s, there’s something you can do about it!  

Please visit my “Treatment” page to learn more and get your quality of life back!

  1. Will I have a relapse?

Most people will not have a full relapse, but flare up’s are common.  I‘ve looked into this phenomenon quite a bit (reading case studies and page after page of patient reviews) and most people don’t complain about a delayed reaction or relapsing after the first reaction and discontinuation of metronidazole.  For most patients, the reaction seems to come on during administration of metronidazole and lessens after discontinuation until it either improves or disappears altogether.

This is not the case with everyone.  There is a possibility of a relapse in a small number of patients I’ve talked to directly; it usually happens within the first year.  It is rare but it can happen.

My theory is that this is due to issues with thiamine (and magnesium), and again, you can learn about this condition on my Treatment Page.  A relapse is possible if the thiamine deficiency is not properly addressed and corrected.  The treatment is cheap and you can start TODAY (I’m not getting paid a cent, by the way–I just want you to get better as I have).

And the most mind-numbing question of all…

  1. Why won’t my doctors believe me???

This is probably the most frustrating thing of this whole situation; you know you’re not well.  You know you’re not yourself—the anxiety, the fatigue…you feel like you’re dying sometimes, and your doctor refuses to accept that this could be due to the drug.  They might even refuse tests or insist you’re mentally ill, with or without a previous medical history of mental illness.  I went through this myself and it is terrifying.

Here is the bottom line—doctors are not trained to recognize, diagnose and treat adverse drug reactions.  Again, doctors are not trained to diagnose and treat your condition.

Adverse drug reactions are responsible for 100,000 deaths in the US every year.  This does not include the 20,000 people who die from illegal drug use; this does not include those who abused or used their prescription drugs incorrectly (a death rate that has drastically increased recently due to the opiate crisis–this number does not represent those patients).

—I want to emphasize here that, with all the research I’ve done on metronidazole toxicity, I’ve only found two people who died due to its effects.  One was a rare case of liver function issues, nothing to do with the brain, and while the other was due to metronidazole toxicity, but at very high doses through an IV.  The patient continued treatment for over two weeks after toxicity symptoms began.  So can it happen?  Yes, but it seems to be rare and if you stopped taking the drug, is highly unlikely.

The harm caused by drug reactions has been called the “silent epidemic” due to the mortality numbers (and those left permanently disabled) challenging that of Alzheimer’s patients and many other common, life-threatening conditions.  Twice as many people die from adverse drug reactions each year than those who die in car accidents.

And yet, there is no mandate for doctors to report an adverse drug reaction to the FDA.  Even if they suspect or have even confirmed a diagnosis, reporting those effects is 100% voluntary.  Due to this lack of regulation, only 1% to 10% of adverse drug reactions are reported (10% being a really optimistic number).

This is why doctors do not believe a drug can cause such harm to their patients.  Not only are drugs their top weapon to combat disease, but doctors also lack the education to understand just how dangerous prescription (and even non-prescription) drug can be.  Because there is no regulation, they are misinformed about the dangers, and we, the patients, suffer the consequences of their ignorance and denial.

This isn’t entirely their fault, however.  It’s part of a larger problem.  Let’s break it down.

The FDA:  The FDA is directly funded by the pharmaceutical companies, not taxpayer money.  A quarter of all FDA employees will end up working for a pharmaceutical company.  There are thousands of employees at the FDA who are there to approve new drugs; there are–literally–about 50 employees there who monitor the over 3,000 drugs currently on the market.  They are underfunded, understaffed and their money comes from the companies they are supposed to regulate.

The Pharmaceutical Companies:  As for the pharmaceutical industry, they give a lot of money to medical universities.  At Hazard, there is a lecture hall named after Pfizer, Inc. (one of many medical buildings named after pharmaceuticals).  Many medical journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, advertise and take money from pharmaceuticals.  And when these companies conduct their clinical trials on new drugs, they do not have to disclose any trial to the FDA where the drug failed to work better than placebo (aka, a sugar pill).  They have the right to conduct 30 trials on a drug, and only disclose the 3 trials to the FDA where the drug happened to work better.

For every nine doctors, there is one pharmaceutical sales rep, and when doctors take gifts from sales reps, those doctors are six times more likely to prescribe new, more expensive drugs to the patients.  This problem is so widespread that even our current Congress (yes, 2017), put restrictions on it due to the corruption.

Of course, there is the strange mentality that doctors are just too plain smart to be influenced by “Big Pharma” and that advertisements and gifts only work on us stupid people.  In the US every year, the pharmaceutical companies spend 4 billion dollars marketing directly to patients (and if it didn’t work, they wouldn’t do it, right?).  They spend 23 billion dollars marketing directly to doctors.

To learn more about this phenomenon, watch the video below–it sums it up quite nicely.

Even if a doctor doesn’t give in to marketing ploys, they are still dealing within a group of peers who regularly do.  They are taught the benefits of drugs, and the adverse effects of them are either glossed over or omitted completely.  The only doctors who seem to understand this issue are ones who have experienced a drug reaction themselves.

The Human Factor.  In addition to the issue above, there is a basic, human element at work here.  Everyone, including doctors and patients, believe that drugs are supposed to heal.  That is their only purpose.  So when a drug not only doesn’t work, but actually harms…this causes a phenomenon called cognitive dissonance.  It creates a contradiction in a person’s thought process “The drug is meant to help, so how can it have caused harm?”  This contradiction causes psychological stress–it threatens the person’s belief and can lead to another issue, “Identity Protective Cognition.”

Here is a lighthearted video about this affect:

Telling a doctor (or anyone) a trivial correction to their thought process is one thing–most people can handle being slightly wrong.  But doctors exist to help their patients recover from disease or injury, so when you tell a doctor their treatment harmed you instead of healed you, you are threatening their identity.

Doctors really do want to help their patients, but just like all humans (including you), they are more interested in protecting themselves.

Therefore, it’s easier to deny the problem or even gaslight the patient (“You’re not sick from this drug I gave you!  You’re just an anxious and depressed person.”).  This is a recipe of a toxic situation, especially when you, the patient, are dealing with a serious medical condition that needs treatment and have no real power in the medical hierarchy to change minds that don’t want to listen.

This is especially difficult if you are dealing with an adverse drug reaction that causes psychiatric symptoms such as depression and anxiety.  It is difficult to test and diagnose, and if physicians cannot find anything physically wrong with you, they can easily assume it’s “all in your head.”

I wish I had a good solution here for this problem.  The only thing I can say is this—it is NOT you.  It is the drug.  And it will get better.  You will have to be patient with yourself and know that you’re not the problem.  You are right—they are wrong.  It’s as simple as that.

I hope this helps you as you continue to recover from this horrible reaction.  I want to say again that I’m so sorry you’re going through this, and I wish you the best in your recovery.

Sources for this blog post:

  • To learn more about metronidazole toxicity, click here for the link to a accumulative case study (it’s where a lot of my information came from).
  • Here is another link to another study–click here.
  • Here’s another one: click here.
  • Another:  click here.
  • Another case (this one talks about longer resolution of all symptoms, so it’s beyond 3 months out for you, there’s still hope of recovering completely).  Click here.
  • To see that you are NOT alone, visit askapatient.com to see other people’s experience going through this horrible reaction.  There are two main listings there, one for Flagyl (the brand name) and one for metronidazole (the generic name).
  • For information about adverse drug reactions in general, click here.
  • “When Medicine Hurts: The Silent Epidemic” – click here.
  • “The Epidemic of Silence with Adverse Drug Reactions” – click here.

I plan to post more on here as time goes on.  I hope at least this first post gives you a better understanding of what metronidazole toxicity is, and maybe helps to relieve some of your anxiety in at least knowing you are not alone in your struggle.

Feel better!  My heart goes out to you!

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49 thoughts on “From a Patient’s Perspective…

  1. I am so grateful for your blog. I just completed a week of metro and have been off it for 3 days. Throughout the time I took it I felt off, but ignored it as a temporary side effect. Since I’ve been off it, the side effects have not gotten better, and the anxiety is worse. Similar to you, the doctors told me the metro was out of my system and could not be the cause of my feelings. Its like I’m having constant panic attacks through the day, and I can’t pay attention to anything. Understanding what is wrong and that I’m not alone is very helpful. I just hope this heals sooner than later.

    Can you provide an update on how you’ve been feeling? What you’ve been doing since the last blog entry?

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  2. My friend who had a severe reaction to ciprofloxacin posted this. I myself had a huge reaction to lamisil nearly 3 years ago and I’m still not better. Basically all the same symptoms you mentioned, including joint pain, perhaps mild neuropathy (tingling in hands) and bad dreams that cause quite bad anxiety. I’ve improved quite a lot over time and I’m hoping one day I’ll be over the bad dreams, anxiety, joint pain and fatigue. I’ve heard of people having fatigue for many years but getting better post drug reaction.

    Hopefully I’ll get better. The dreams can be horrible. My sleep just isn’t refreshing anymore and it can be like going to another land in my sleep. Can be truly crazy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really sorry to hear that. It’s unbelievable what these drugs can do, but what is worse, is that the medical professionals not only don’t know how to treat the problems, they many times dismiss it as if these drugs can’t cause them. It seems like the best remedy has been time, but like you, I’m uncertain if I’ll heal 100%. I wish you the best in your recovery–yes, it can absolutely be so crazy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the response! Are you aware of fluoroquinolones such as cipro? The reactions people have to those drugs are insanely bad. There’s an entire community of ‘floxies’ who have been damaged by these drugs. Have you heard of the site floxie hope? The person who runs it liked a post from a page calledhormones matter with this blog on it, that’s how I came here.

        How are you doing these days? Have you ever looked into mitochondrial damage/dysfunction being another culprit in these reactions/symptoms?

        One of the people on floxie hope actually got better using a diet/ supplementation protocol made by Dr. Terry Wahls, who claims to have gotten her severe MS into remission (effectively cured) by using this diet that apparently helps the mitochondria heal and nerves to be remylinated (I think that’s the correct spelling).

        Another drug that cause similar, severe reactions is lariam. There’s some huge scandals going on and it’s crazy doctors don’t understand what these drugs can do.

        You’re more than welcome to email me if you’d like to discuss this stuff some more.

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      2. Erin,

        Thanks for all your research and sharing your results with all of us! I appreciate all your efforts.

        Question: I had a BV infection in late Spring 2018 after trying a few antibiotics which didn’t work. I was put on Tinidazole (Tindamax), 500mg x 2 day, 5 days. Previously in 2016, I had taken Levaquin and had major problems which sent me to the ER twice. Mostly tendon issues. I had also been given in the past metronidazole and had also had a bad reaction so stopped medication. I put both drugs on my hospital allergic reaction list.

        The doctor mentioned to me at the time that Tinidazole was in the nitroimidazole family but I was unaware of any issues with this drug. Subsequent to finishing the dosage, I have been to the ER three times with tendon pain all over and peripheral neuropathy. Symptoms this time are very similar to Levaquin but I never had PN with Levaquin.

        So my question is do you know through your research if all of the drugs in the nitroimidazole family have similar symptoms as Metronidazole? Appreciate any information you may have on the subject.
        Thanks,
        Kathy

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      3. Hi, Kathy. I haven’t studied tinidazole, except that it is in the nitroimidazole class with metronidazole and has similar side effects as metronidazole. I think, based on that information, that tinidazole probably has a similar chemical structure as metronidazole, and probably has the potential to cause the same problems (like Levaquin and Cipro pretty much have the same side effects). Metronidazole is well-known for causing PN, so tinidazole probably has the same problem. Sorry to say.

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  3. I started taking Metronidazole for a tooth abcess. I’m having a severe reaction myself after a week of taking them, last night being the worst of them so I completely stopped taking them. Having a very rough time here. Still have Very bad anxiety the next day, feel like crying, headache and head feels hot and swelling with those lightning bolt things you described, very shaky, chills, nauseous. I’m scared. This blog helped me feel less anxious that i’m not going crazy and that its the drugs. They you for writing this!

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  4. I was on metrodazole for 9 days was a 12 day course but on day 9 I had a major panic attack and ended up in a&e it was extremely scary and stopped the meds. That was October 7th and I’m still having panic attacks and constantly feel scared and anxious. I am so glad I’m not the only one but I just feel like nobody believes me. I’ve been put in diazipam just hate feeling like this has anyone got any ideas on recovery. I can’t go on like this.

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    1. I can tell you I’m almost recovered. Stay strong, the first few months are the worse. Stop any medication, eat healthy, excercize, think positive and try and meditate, you will get better! Don’t give up!

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    2. Hi Keri,

      First of all remind yourself that this is going to get better. Secondly, if you can, start practising mindfulness meditation. There’s an app/site called headspace that I highly recommend. It can be hard at first to sit still when you’re feeling that anxious, but as things got a bit easier and I felt like I could sit still, meditation really started to help. Also, I found this forum post on supplements for anxiety, you might want to give one or two of them a go. I’d just start slowly to make sure you can tolerate them. Also, remember that medications can interact with supplements so id read up and check to see if it’s ok to take them with diazepam. The person on the forum post seems to think these supplements helped them a lot more than drugs though, which is worth noting.

      http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?threads/completely-eliminated-my-severe-anxiety-symptoms-with-three-supplements.18369/

      Keep us up to date and keep your doctor informed. If your doctor won’t listen, maybe see if you can get a new one. Unfortunately the NHS are rubbish at dealing with these reactions from my experience. Only when I first had my reaction was I taken seriously in a&e but that was on my second visit after I’d gotten in touch with an emergency doctor who informed them that it was serious, they didn’t even see me the first time! After that when I went to my GP, they tried to make out it was all in my head on several occasions until I saw a more caring doctor who’s been quite helpful.

      Do you have helpful people around you? It’s important to have support at a time like this.

      Remember it will get better!

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      1. Seathasky – Good to hear you’re better! Just goes to show people can and do recover. How long ago did you have a reaction?

        Looking back at my comment I wrote earlier, I’m not sure if I recommend mixing supplements and medications. I’d say it’s one or the other since that thread recommends using combinations of supplements for anxiety.

        I personally didn’t use anything to get through the toughest period, but there were times of day when things felt bearable so I felt like I could look forward to them and tolerate the less bearable feelings earlier in the day.

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      2. Late September is when I first had my reaction to the medication. It took a good month after for the extreme symptoms to subside. Anxiety is definitely alot better. I’d say I’m about 85% better. I have bad days still but I’m definitely much much better. I did develop a wierd sinus thing that I’ve never had before since then that causes headaches and pressure but overall I am recovering very nicely. Change in diet and exercise were the two things that made this horrible experience heal me faster! Thank you for all your help!

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      3. Seathasky –

        Glad to hear you’re doing well, that’s really great!

        Just to let you know I’m not the person running this site and I didn’t have a reaction to metro – I had a reaction to lamisil, but it also caused me severe, intolerable anxiety. It alerts me when people comment here and I do feel like I can advise people to a degree since I’ve been through something quite similar, but it’s metro girl who deserves thanks! And I hope she doesn’t mind me commenting here or me asking Keri to update us. It’s just encouraging to see people recover from these reactions! It definitely seems like metro girl is the person to listen to here though.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Hi, Keri. I’ve emailed you a response. Diazipam (Valium) is actually a good treatment for this; it’s what they use for dogs with metronidazole toxicity and it seems to speed up recovery. Strangely, they’ve never tested this with humans, which is insane. Just be aware that Valium should’t be taken more than a couple of weeks due to its addictive nature.

      If you want to go all-natural, that’s perfectly understandable and the safer option. If you feel you need something long-term (if it comes to that), I’ve had success with mirtazapine and so has another patient I’ve spoken to.

      I have more details in the email. I hope you feel better! Hugs, Erin

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  5. Hi everyone, I’ve been offered panic management counselling don’t know if it will help but it’s worth a try. I had a really bad day Friday but that was due to barriers! Receptionist at the doctors to be precise. My diazepam runs out Tuesday and I really needed an appointment but the receptionist said there was nothing til later in the week but then I cried and she has managed to get a dr to ring me today ( just waiting for the call!!) This week I have taken the diazepam 3 times a day 2mg per tablet and today I am beginning to feel like me again. I’m just scared If I stop the diazepam will it go back to how I was? I’ve been doing so much research and have found the metronidazole affects the gaba receptors and the diazepam calms the gaba receptors. Just don’t know if the diazepam has done the job or will I plummet back down. I can’t afford to be of work much longer and what with christmas and my 40th birthday coming up I’m scared my life is not mine at the mo. I looked in the mirror today and for the first time in 2 wks I saw me! Guess that’s a good step. Why am I waiting for a down again?? When will all this stop???!!!!

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    1. Counselling could definitely help. In my opinion it doesn’t address the root source in these situations, which is anxiety as the body’s response to these drug reactions, but anxiety can definitely get into a spiral where you feed it. Most people aren’t equipped to deal with this kind of anxiety, so it’s good to get counselling and gain he resources (so to speak) to deal with what you’re going through. Again I really recommend meditation and the headspace app/website in particular. It’s a paid service but their anxiety pack has been very useful for me. I really recommend buying a month of headspace and doing the anxiety meditations, I think you’ll find it helpful. Also, the ‘mindfulness for dummies’ book comes with a CD of meditations that I found really helpful.

      I think if you’re starting to feel like your old self then that’s really positive, especially so soon. Try not to have anxiety about anxiety, if you know what I mean. It sounds like you’re heading in the right direction. There’s always the chance that you could be someone who gets over this quite quickly, but even if you don’t get over it very quickly one thing is overwhelmingly likely – this will get better, just keep reminding yourself of that.

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  6. So I was on diazepam for a whole week at 3 2mg tablets a day and was feel great. Had a good weekend and mon,Tues, Wednesday were good so I cut the diazepam down and guess what I did it way to quick! Wednesday eve panic was back and my energy levels were zero. Really can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel right now. I know there is no quick fix but I’m feeling really down again about it all. Doctor has given me another 28 tablets of diazepam so here we go again!

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    1. Hi, Keri. I’m really sorry to hear that but going two steps forward, one step back, is very common with this. Good and bad days. Be careful with the Valium–it can become addictive. When you decide to wean off again, maybe try with 3 quarters of a pill to start with. I hope you had a better day today.

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  7. So my doctor has decided to give me sertraline it’s day 2 and I’m feeling like I’m back to square one 😦 feel so anxious again and it’s so close to christmas! 😦

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    1. Hi Keri,

      As always i think Metrogirl will know better than me. But I think there’s two things to keep in mind here – one is that the symptoms of med reactions seem to be cyclic, meaning they get worse then get better and then get bad again, but the flares should get more tolerable with time as you improve. I don’t know that much about metro reactions but I know this is the case for other drug reactions so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the case with metro.

      Secondly, they say that meds like sertraline take a little while to start working, so you might have to hold out for it to start taking effect.

      Have you tried any mindfulness? I really do recommend headspace

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    2. I’m so sorry, Keri. I know how difficult it is. Beenie is right–this is a “good day/bad day” type of situation. You start to do better and then get worse for a few days, then a little better, then a little worse. It’s incredibly confusing and frustrating, but it’s all normal for this. I know that’s not very comforting, but just because you’ve taken some steps back, doesn’t mean it won’t get better. It’s just the way this condition works.

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  8. Hi everyone it’s now March and Im still suffering. December was a bad month and I spent my 40th birthday in hospital having my gallbladder removed. I developed sepsis and thought great that’s the reason for the way I’ve been feeling. Six weeks later my body was still healing slowly and then the anxiety hit me again. I also had really bad joint aches and my head had, what I could only discribe as head rushes. My bloods are showing my pituitary gland isn’t working properly wonder if the metronidazole could of been a factor in all of this? I’m having more good days than bad now but it’s still a long process. I haven’t been to work since Nov and I’m still not ready to return. Good luck everyone glad I’m not alone xx

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    1. Hi Keri, sorry to hear you’re still struggling.

      Once again as I always say metro girl will know better about reactions to this drug, but I really feel I have some insight as the drug reaction I had seems to have been very similar, at least in terms of anxiety.

      When you say about how you’re wondering whether metro played a role in your ill health recently, which parts do you mean?

      I’d be surprised if it played a role in your gall bladder issues or sepsis, but I don’t think you meant that did you?

      I think it’s kind of the reverse in a way, I think this latest stress – surgery and infection – has likely caused your flare in anxiety. I know 100% that illness causes flares in the symptoms I’ve had since my med reaction, especially anxiety. As a matter of fact, having a pretty bad case of the flu caused me to have a relapse in my reaction symptoms, which was very severe at the time – anxiety, insomnia, terrifying dreams. This didn’t come on until I started recovering from the flu and the severe symptoms lasted about 3 weeks, at which point it suddenly let up and everything felt bearable again.

      Of course I’m not saying this is your story, the very fact you’re having more good days than bad days is brilliant and a very encouraging sign although it might be hard to see when you’re struggling again. But I have no doubt that the trauma will have likely brought about a flare in your anxiety, I’ve spoken to others who’ve had med reactions who’ve experienced the same thing.

      I know it’s disheartening that this has lasted so long, I’ve been there and it’s crazy that some pills can do this to you, but try to remind yourself of your progress and take each day as it comes, even each moment if you need to. Because feelings are temporary, they always change and I’m confident this will get better for you. Time is the healer.

      I know I keep banging on about meditation, but it helped me through some very anxious times. There’s loads of videos on YouTube and mindfulness meditation in particular has been studied quite a lot, and has been shown to help anxiety and depression. I can’t recommend it enough. Just ten minutes a day can help quite a lot.

      Best of luck with everything 🙂

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  9. Hi everyone,
    So I have a few questions if it’s alright…..
    The anxiety is supposed to come back from time to time? There is no way to fully recover from it? What about the depression?
    The biggest improvement with me is the sleep. It’s been a week since I stopped taking this drug and I’m sleeping better now, I actually got 11 or more hours of sleep last night (better then 4) without taking sleeping pills.
    I pray to god it stays like that, I still have a few problems like the brain fog, weakness in the arms and feet, numbness in my belly, tingling in my back and the fatigue.
    Everything else is going great, appetite is slowly coming back, anxiety and depression are slowly improving, and vision is getting clear. I just hope to god if I get over the anxiety and depression then I’ll get over them for good and I hope the same for all of you, it’s always nice to know we are not alone.

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    1. Hi Atel,

      I thought I’d respond to you since it’s been a couple of days. As you might have already read, I had a reaction to lamisil, not metro, but I’ve had some very similar issues.

      In my experience recovery for many people is cyclic, in that it gets better, gets worse again and on and on, but the trajectory should be a positive one overall.

      If it’s only been a week since you stopped metro, I would think (although it might be easy to get swept away with the anxiety), that you shouldn’t fear long lasting side effects. I’d be aware that for some people suffer for a while, but if things are a lot better after just a week that’s a very good sign. Hopefully they continue to improve for you. In these early days improvement is very important and it marks the rest of your journey.

      Take care of yourself as well as you can right now and do whatever you can to help yourself with the anxiety. Try your best not to ‘buy into’ the anxiety as best you can too. In my experience the fact that you’re feeling better already is a good sign. Hopefully things will become much more tolerable quickly.

      I’m sure you’re welcome to comment here when you need to. I get email notifications when people comment and in many ways I feel very seasoned with severe drug induced anxiety as a result of an adverse reaction. I’ve been through it all, anxiety, depression, fatigue, joint pain – things can and do get better for most people.

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      1. Hey Beenie,
        Thank you so much for replying, it helps alot to know and hear about people’s experiences and the fact that they got over some of the symptoms is very encouraging.
        I pray to god that it continues to get better for all of us and hopefully we all heal completely.
        I’m glad you got passed some of the ugly symptoms, it really gives me hope.
        Thank you again for replying.

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  10. I am off the Metro and having still having severe panic attacks, anxiety. My doctor has put me on Sertaline. Can that help?

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  11. Hello I’ve recently had the same experience as everyone else. I’m feeling really down and starting to feel crazy if you could contact me I’d really appreciate it.

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      1. Well the same as stated drs don’t believe me when I say it’s Medicine. I’m wondering if I should try to fight this my self or get medicine for the anxiety. What do you think could help me to stop thinking about how I’m feeling I can’t take this .

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    1. I understand–it’s really difficult. Some people do try to “wait it out” and most people do recover from the psychiatric issues over time; however, it’s not so easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel when everything is still dark and grim. One thing I will say is to try to keep your calorie intake up–I assume you’ve lost your appetite, so a nutritional drink like Boost Drinks could help with that. Kefir for the gut, and magnesium powder (I like Natural Calm) might help build up the body some.

      But if you feel you need something stronger, like an antidepressant, that is something you’ll have to decide. I know people who have gone the antidepressant route, including myself, and it has helped. I like mirtazapine because it helped me sleep, but if you decide to take an antidepressant, I’d suggest to start slow, on the lowest dose or even just half of the lowest (I never took even the lowest dose of mirtazapine because it was so powerful I didn’t need to). It’s been over two years since my reaction and I no longer need mirtazapine–in fact, I’m quite happy, despite a few physical symptoms that have lingered. Good luck.

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    1. Hi, Maria. Sorry for the late response–I didn’t get a comment notification. I think it could help, as long as the acupuncturist knows what she/he is treating. It’s neurological in nature, so you need the appropriate acupuncture for the condition. I tried it when I was really sick and it helped a little but only for a very short time. I’m trying it again now, and it has helped more, especially since I know what to treat (the back of my brain). It’s helped with my morning fatigue and mental clarity. All my psychiatric issues cleared up a long time ago, so that’s something I don’t need treatment for now, although I don’t see why acupuncture wouldn’t help some.

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  12. I had the side effect with Metronidazole 1 year ago, now I am fine. I can say that it was all about anxiety and episodes of panic attacks. At the beginning Metronidazole can give anxiety symptoms, there are people that can manage side effects better than others, they are more resilient in terms of psychological strength,with the bad effects lasting only a few days or in some cases not existing at all. When it comes to anxiety the worst possible thing that escalates it, is FEAR, so my advice here, is DON’T WORRY and DON’T WORRY especially about Metronidazole because IT DID NOTHING TO YOU, it only gave you an effect that your mind with the appropriate help can manage. The best help for me came from the reassurance of a Psychotherapist, and sessions of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, the therapist also advised me to do Mindfulness Meditations to calm down anxiety, stress, insomnia etc….you can find downloadable Apps to do Mindful Meditations, in extreme cases a Psychiatrist will help with appropriate prescriptions. My reaction to Metronidazole was quite heavy and unfortunately instead of trying to calm down with the appropriate help, I started to search online where I came across to blog like this, that instead of being helpful in encouraging me to soothe my emotional pain, added more FEAR and Worry escalating the problem at Sky-rock level. So concentrate on the recovery of your EMOTIONAL BALANCE and not on what Metronidazole did to you (which is just nothing) don’t let yourself be influenced by scaremongers and by your own fearful thoughts. Be Mindful, Calm, Accept what happened, do not fight against your symptoms and soon or later they will vanish 100% sure !

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    1. Mike, I’m going to approve your comment, only to show just how ignorant someone like you can be and what people like us are facing in a world that likes to believe something like this can’t happen when science–in fact–says it can.

      There are various case studies, systematic reviews and even the FDA label itself talks about metronidazole neurotoxicity, things that can be viewed with an MRI while a patient is still ingesting this medication. I knew nothing of these things when I had my reaction; I had no idea metronidazole went everywhere in the body, including the brain. I had c diff, a gut infection, and assumed metronidazole might mess up my gut flora, that’s it. It wasn’t until four months after my reaction (and dealing with ignorant people like you) that I discovered the information I’ve posted on this blog and decided to share it with others in hopes that they, too, could have the knowledge to know what really happened to them.

      Just because you’ve been lucky enough to have only one symptom (the first warning sign of neurological damage, anxiety) while others have had several symptoms, and you’ve managed to recover because you had a minor reaction compared to others, means nothing. Just because you’ve gotten reassurance from a psychotherapist and done CBT (even, in actuality, your symptom probably would have disappeared on its own with TIME), only shows how little medical professionals know about legal drugs and how patients like you blindly follow instead of thinking for yourself.

      If you have bothered looking into this blog further, you would have noticed a “Treatment” page, one that talks about the mechanism behind metronidazole toxicity–metronidazole depletes your body of thiamine (aka vitamin B1), an essential nutrient that your body can’t create on its own. The symptoms of thiamine deficiency and metronidazole toxicity (even the brain lesions) are identical. I’ve even had an article published recently on Hormones Matter, an online medical magazine, that highlights this. Metronidazole is almost chemically identical to the third ring of the thiamine chemical chain–when it comes into contact with thiamine, it tries to bind to it and ends up destroying the thiamine instead, literally breaking it apart. This plummets the victim into thiamine deficiency, which causes severe neurological and psychiatric issues (and with some victims, nerve damage as well).

      And if you’d bothered to look into my blog even more, you’d realize that there is a treatment for metronidazole-induced thiamine deficiency; it’s thiamine itself. High dose supplementation of thiamine, along with magnesium, should correct the deficiency over time, and the person should make a complete recovery if the issue is caught early. Even victims with a chronic case still have a good chance of a full recovery. It’s about the safest, cheapest and easiest treatment possible…and you think that this blog is about scaring people? What is wrong with you?

      Instead of actually reading what’s on here, you wish to gaslight victims of metronidazole toxicity, being preachy and abusive, telling them that there’s nothing wrong with them, despite overwhelming evidence that says all of this can and does happen. You are a troll, and should be ashamed of yourself.

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    2. I did do something to me, it wasn’t nothing, I’ve neen suffering for a year. My legs got so bad at one time they stopped working right. It effected my brain so badly that I felt suicidal because I couldn’t take the anxiety and scared feeling anymore. This was my 6th or 7th time having Flagyl, I had smaller symptoms like you before and was able to come out of it faster, but this last time taking it must of completely deleted my B-1 because I’ve never felt so weak, painful and filled with constant anxiety in my life. Oh, and dizzy all the time, the worst fatigue ever. I started taking the B-1 about a week ago, and I can now stand up and sit down without help, I couldn’t before, the muscle wasting in my legs is apparent, you can see it, I use to have strong muscles, when the doctor measured my legs, one is smaller than the other. This is not nothing. When someone is contemplating whether they want to live anymore because they can’t take these horrific side effects, it’s not nothing

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Karen (honestly I wish I could provide true contact information, but I am getting ready for a lawsuit at this time) says:

    Mike I believe in a sense you are trying to be helpful, but missed the mark. First, I will say my education is within the medical field and worked at a pharmaceutical company for over 10yrs. I will tell you to release a medication to market isn’t all what the general public believe. The testing isn’t extensive and if anyone took the time to look at the trial studies they would question taking medications.

    With humans we were all created a little bit differently and through the course of our lives have encountered different environments (i.e. car accidents, infections, genetic influence, bad diet, and etc.). So when you throw medication at a patient one REALLY is throwing a dart at a board hoping it will help and not cause a reaction. Then when a patient does experience a reaction and tells their prescribing physician they can be ignored. The only person who really understands reactions is your OLD SCHOOL pharmacy attendant since most doctors don’t stay current with new FDA regulations. This is where only one aspect of our healthcare system that needs to change. Ignorance is bliss……

    The part of your above statement that really caught me off guard was, “they are more resilient in terms of psychological strength.” So an organism who is being made toxic by a medication just needs to “think themselves better????” Sorry my friend, that psychologist whom you spoke with fed you a bill of sale that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. You believe it and if that made you feel better then I wish you all the best. Truly…I do.

    However, we are dealing with biochemistry and toxicity so I would only talk to a psychologist for “talk support.” Also, you mentioned getting prescription medication to help with your emotional issues. Again, that is a very scary and dark rabbit hole you are going down. If people only knew what I knew concerning how these medications work they would run from them. Some will say a certain medication saved them, which I am glad to hear it worked out in your case.

    Though honestly if you look at the chemistry behind the medications at best it’s a sugar pill and at worst it can destroy lives. In my case a co-worked started medication since he wasn’t feeling like himself at his doctor’s suggestion so he hung himself two weeks later. Another was a lady in her late 50s going through menopause and her doctor suggested an SSRI so she now has a movement disorder. The term “chemical imbalance in the brain” has never been proven and is just a theory to help sell products. Sadily this term has become mainstream and I believe in 20+ years time we will wonder why in the world we messed with these class of medications. There are organic causes of mental issues so we need to change our system to be better at getting root causes.

    So, while I believe you were trying to be helpful it more came across as “your issues don’t exist.” While you may have not experienced a long term issue all I can say is you can thank your liver, genetics, and prior life experiences for your favorable out come.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I had a very severe effect, and the more I was concentrated in reading and searching on the damage received, the more my fear and symptoms worsened for months. Only when I stopped reading and I received psychological support my situation slowly started to improve. I understand everything you say about toxicity, and I fully agree that most medicines and especially in this case Metronidazole are awful and very detrimental for good health, but after months if symptoms continue to exist it is a clear indication of a psychological problem and not of a toxicity (that it is present only for the first few days) I had repetitive blood tests and exams done after first and second month, and every value was perfectly normal, (despite my dizziness, anxiety, insomnia were escalating) Metronidazole is a very bad drug in triggering the symptoms, but it is crucial the way you act once the problem started.

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    1. Mike. I got damaged from flagyl/metronidazole very bad. So you mean that my problems, over 2 years out are pshychological problems? You dont know what you are talking about!. Metronidazole can destroy the nerves and cells, in the whole body. Some people, like you , can heal. Im not one of the lucky ones. I have gone through HELL to say at least, and still do. I have to walk with a walker today beacuse of metronidazole. I have SVT on the heart, a blurry vision, sound and light sensitive, i have severe muscle loss (an EMG shows myopathy, and i have to do a muscle biopsy) , my autonomic nervous system can not controll my bp and heart rate when i stand (a tilt table test confirmed that), i have SEVERE neuropathy from head to toe ( i have done tests on the nerves that shows it), and i was healthy before this antibiotic. This has nothing to do about how you act once the problem started after metronidazole and no psychological problem in the world can do all this damage.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mike, you don’t think that many–if not most–of us sought out psychological help among other things? I saw a psychiatrist and a psychologist–the therapist completely agreed with me and has even read my research on this matter. The psychiatrist, after I showed him my research, reluctantly agreed that metronidazole toxicity was a possibility, because my psychiatric state was so dismal when he first saw me compared to just a month later, where my improvement was abnormally rapid. His words–“We don’t see people improve this quickly.”

        In addition, I happen to work for 20 doctors. The associate dean where I work was so disgusted by my primary care physician’s lack of understanding on my condition, that she met with the clinic’s Risk Management and validated my entire story. I have been officially diagnosed with cerebellar dysfunction and “altered mental state” (that is a neurological term for psychiatric symptoms brought on by neurological problems).

        Sweetie, I understand that you think you’re helping…but you’re not. You don’t know enough about what this drug actually does, and instead of listening to other patients and looking at the research on this site, you’re denying the facts because they don’t match up to your previous line of thinking. You’re very fortunate that you’ve recovered as well as you have. Time can help with this; I’ve recovered better than many, and until recently, it was mainly due to time healing me.

        But we’re even telling you why people don’t fully recover and you’re not listening. It’s not that metronidazole is still in your system–it’s that the drug damages the brain and nerves. Think of a stab wound–you take the knife away, does that make the gash in your side miraculously disappear? No medical test, outside of an MRI while you’re still taking the drug, can detect this. That’s common for adverse drug reactions and there are several pieces of medical literature on this website that talk about the recovery rates for metronidazole toxicity–it’s 65%. I’m glad you’re in that 65%, but don’t discredit other patients just because you’re lucky enough to have healed and they haven’t.

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  15. I do not want to discredit anybody, I appreciate all the information you gave us (despite they scared me a lot) I know very well what does it means to be so badly ill from this medicine side effects. The only intention of mine was to point out the power of MIND, which is infinite and can heal even the impossible so please remain positive.

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    1. The reason I’m bothering to reply to you at all is because I’m hoping to get through to you a little here. I agree that the power of the mind is important and trying to stay positive can go a long way. But you’d never tell someone who just got their arm chopped off that, through the power of mind, the arm will regrow. It’s also not okay to tell people who’ve had their brains damaged that all they need is a positive attitude to heal. It’s important to learn appropriate coping skills, especially when dealing with something that’s caused real physical harm, but it’s not okay to tell someone it’s–essentially–all in their heads.

      Do you think that maybe the reason you’re trying to discredit the information on this blog is because it scared you? If you get others to agree that the blog is just “scaremongers” out to frighten people, then that’ll further validate your previously held beliefs?

      Mike, I hate that what you got from this blog is negativity. There is a lot of scary information on here, but the reason I created this blog was because, when I was really sick, I knew something was seriously wrong with my body and no one had answers, including the medical community. When I realized what had really happened, what this drug had actually done, it felt important to make sure other people who are suffering wouldn’t have to piece the information together over months of time–it’d all be here together for them. Knowledge is power.

      There are a lot of positives on this site. There is a treatment for people–something most people with adverse drug reactions don’t have. In fact, if you’re still having a hard time coping with your anxiety here and there, I’d highly suggest that you try the treatment and see if it helps you, along with your CBT and other coping skills. If you’re open-minded to the idea that there’s more going on here than negative thinking and lack of mindfulness…you might be able to feel even better than you do now.

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  16. As you might remember I suffered a similar reaction to lamisil and as such I’ve ended up researching reactions to fluoroquinolones, metro and mefloquine on my journey. I’m not sure of the leading theory behind why mefloquine can cause severe psychiatric reactions, but I’ve seen the term chronic encephalopathy used to describe a long term side effect of mefloquine. It seems that encephalopathy crosses over with thiamine deficiency too and as well as this, apparently cartinine deficiency can cause encephalopathy, which requires treatment with L-cartinine (apparently Acetyl-L-cartinine is the preferred type as it crosses the blood-brain barrier). It makes me wonder if these drugs could also effect cartinine levels if low cartinine levels can basically cause brain injury. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    Also, apparently cartinine has an effect on mitochondria, I’ve read that some studies show improved energy levels and memory recall in rats supplemented with L-cartinine. Makes me wonder if a lack of cartinine might negatively effect the mitochondria, which seems to be an issue in fluoroquinolone toxicity.

    I’m four years out from my severe reaction to lamisil and although I’ve improved quite a lot, life’s still far from what it was before (btw after seeing that latest conversation on here I just thought I’d note I’m not saying that to scare anyone here, I’m a different person and I took a different drug, but this is my reality). I’m going to try thiamine in case there’s a similar cause for my symptoms, which seem to be quite similar to metro symptoms. In fact it seems like these reactions caused by several different drugs mimic each other in a lot of ways!

    How much magnesium do you recommend?

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