Symptoms Worse After Antibiotics?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by MsE, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. MsE

    MsE New Member

    I'm sure this must have been discussed before, but during the last couple of months my symptoms have become much worse. Particularly upsetting is this: I will feel reasonably okay, go out to run an errand, and suddenly (and I do mean suddenly) break out in a sweat, become very weak, and feel as though I'm going to faint. My doc says my heart is fine.

    I had more or less recovered from my trip, but came down with a nasty bladder infection. Ever since taking the Cipro and some other fancy antibiotic, I've been just plain miserable with this.

    Have any of you found antibiotics make your me/cfs symptoms worse?
  2. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Active Member

    I didn't find that my CFS symptoms became worse, however, since having been on Cipro I now have lactose intollerance. Apparently, this is one of the under-reported side-effects that most doctors don't know about. Unfortunately, it isn't reversible.

    Your symptoms sound very much like an anxiety attack.
  3. MsE

    MsE New Member

    I thought of that, but when it happens it doesn't correspond to any particular stress, and when it happens, I don't find it frightening--just exhausting. Once I lie down it goes away. Sometimes all I have to do is sit down. It happens on hot days more than cool ones. I'm 74 so I've ruled out hot flashes, but it DOES feel like a knock-the-knees-out-from-under-me hot flash.

    In fact, I tried a bit of an estrogen patch and felt much better. However, it caused cramping and, eventually, a major yeast problem, so.... ?????
  4. Nanie46

    Nanie46 Moderator


    When you feel worse on antibiotics, it is very possible that you are herxing.

    If the cause of your FMS/CFS is bacterial (ie: borrelia burgdorferi infection...lyme) then the die-off of bacteria causes an exacerbation of symptoms.

    Many people with FMS or CFS diagnoses later found out the cause of their illness was the bacteria that causes lyme disease. Often found in the same patients are associated coinfections such as babesia, bartonella, ehrlichia, etc.

    Here is a great paper by a Lyme expert that contains excellent info about Lyme and associated coinfections including symptom lists........

    Many people even think that their Dr has properly ruled out Lyme. The truth is, Lyme is never ruled out by just a negative test. It is a clinical diagnosis.

    You should consider getting a Western blot IgG and IgM, test #188 and #189 through Igenex lab in CA.

    If I can help you further please feel free to leave a post for me on the Lyme board.
  5. MsE

    MsE New Member

    My doc has claimed I don't have Lyme, but I'm sure I didn't get that list of stuff you mentioned: "Western blot....

    Your note and the article you suggested I read both made me recall something: many years ago I had a bite on my arm with a very red circle surrounding it. It didn't hurt and didn't itch. In fact, I didn't even notice it until a woman I worked with pointed it out, and my boss said to go to the doctor. I did, he said it was a spider bite, and I was given a shot of penicillin and it went away.

    Seems to me I remember something about Lyme starting with a red circle. Therefore, next time I see my doc I'll mention the info you posted. Thank you. MsE
  6. greatgran

    greatgran Member

    Are you still on the antibiotic? If so it could very well be the Cipro . If not could it be with
    drawal from the HRT? Could it be a crash from all you activites / trips / infections and you are just to weak to be doing anything now? Sorry, you ask a question and all I can do is come back with questions.

    Maybe your body is still weak and tried and you should just rest , hate to hear you are feeling worse cause you were doing so well. If it keeps up , please ck with your doc again.

    To answer your questions Cipro is one antibiotic that drives me crazier and I can't tolerate but I take Biaxin and it seems to make me feel better. with this darn cfs who knows.. Please keep me posted on how you are doing.

  7. MsE

    MsE New Member

    No, I haven't been on the antibiotic for a couple of weeks. I started feeling worse when I started taking it, and since then have just been continuing to go downhill. Then today, when I was waiting in line at the post office and darned near keeled over, I figured I would get back to this board and see what others had to say. Hugs to you, my friend. MsE
  8. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I would not recommen Cipro as it can have a side effect, I believe called floxing where your muscles are damaged.

    Most people feel worse when they take an antibiotic because they have been sick, though I have never had this symptom. If you continue to get sick the original infection may not be gone or it has spread.

    Since this is a new symptom, it is getting worse, you should talk to your doctor.

    You should not be herxing after a couple of weeks.

    FYI There are some people who think every symptom means you have lyme. Ask you doctor about whether you need to do a Lyme test. When you are diagnosed with a condition you should have the most obvious symptoms checked out first.

    Take care.

  9. jasminetee

    jasminetee Member

    What you're describing is a typical reaction to antibiotics or other drugs in people who have CFIDS. Is that what you have or do you have Fibro only? I realize that the symptoms you described sound just like an anxiety attack, that's one of the reasons so many doctors conclude we're hypochondriacs. It's actually a dysfunction of the Central Nervous System and it has nothing to do with anxiety except that it can cause one to feel anxious of course.

    I've had CFIDS for 25 years and in my case, I'm unable to take antibiotics for very long and my doctors know this and only want me to use them if absolutely necessary. I experience the kind of symptoms you do and then I develop rashes and my left foot starts dragging and I become very ill in a way that's different from my usual symptoms. This all clears up when I go off the antibiotics.

    That red circle bite you describe does sound like the Lyme Disease rash to me. However, if you have CFIDS or for whatever other reason you can't handle antibiotics then I don't see the point in persuing an LD diagnosis. But there are many antibiotics out there and you may be able to handle them. I've read that a lot of Lymies do well on Doxy which is derived from Tetracycline which is another antibiotic I personally can't handle.


    [This Message was Edited on 07/02/2009]
  10. MsE

    MsE New Member

    I have CFIDS. Have had it since 1997--maybe 1995. Diagnosed in 1997. The red circle bite thingee happened many many years ago. I have no idea if Lyme hangs out in the system for thirty years before kicking into overdrive. Somehow, I doubt it. However, I appreciate the info that Lyme Disease is not considered as seriously as it should be for those of us with these symptoms.

    The symptoms I've been having are an exacerbation, I think. I've had the same symptoms before, in fact ever since I came down with CFIDS; but what I was wondering was whether or not antibiotics could push me into a CFIDS "bummer." At other times when I had that sudden "I'm gonna fall down if I don't sit down" reaction, I knew it was CFIDS rearing its ugly head and I'd been doing too much. For some reason, this time I flashed back to the antibiotics I had been taking and wondered if that's what did it.

    Tee, my doc said the same thing you did about the central nervous system being out of whack because of CFIDS. Usually it happens after I had been doing too much. This time it has been since the antibiotics, so that's why I started this post: to see if others had been pushed into an exacerbation by antibiotics.

    Gap, I had heard, too late, about the muscle problem with Cipro and also the other drug they put me on. I can't remember the name of it, but they switched me to it when I said the Cipro was making me feel really yucky. Anyway, I now have a messed up tendon in my foot and one in my hand. Both showed up while I was on Cipro, but I didn't know enough to make the connection. Now I do. My foot is better, but my hand is still bothering me.

    I've repeated myself in this message, so I had better close before I do it again. Thanks to all of you for replying. :)

    [This Message was Edited on 07/02/2009]
  11. Nanie46

    Nanie46 Moderator


    The rash you described does sound alot like a bullseye rash which is indicative of Lyme.

    Here is a link to some photos.........

    Many people do not even remember a bite or a rash.

    Don't expect your Dr to know much at all about how to recognize, diagnose or treat chronic lyme.

    That is one reason why so many people go undiagnosed for so long.
  12. MsE

    MsE New Member

    Hi. I started doing some figuring. The bite I remember with the red circle around it? That was about fifty years ago. I'm sure of that because I remember the company I was working for at the time, and it was right before I got pregnant with my second daughter, who will be fifty in November.

    Would Lyme show up in my life that many years later? I had no CFIDS symptoms until 1995 at the earliest.
  13. jasminetee

    jasminetee Member

    I have no idea if Lyme can lay dormant for decades and then attack. That's a good question.

    It sounds like you have a good doctor who's knowledgeable about ME. :)

    I'm sure ABX can push us into an ME flare. Any stress on the system can.
  14. ulala

    ulala New Member

    yes, Lyme can hang around for that long. It can lie/lay? dormant and then something triggers it i.e. car accident, stress, virus, etc. Cipro treats bartonella, which is a co-infection of lyme, which can cause all of the CFS symptoms.

    As others have mentioned you can get a herxheimer reaction from antibiotics if something is dying off in your body. You should go over to and do some reading over there. You can also post some questions. They're very hlepful.

    Good luck!
    [This Message was Edited on 07/02/2009]
  15. Nanie46

    Nanie46 Moderator


    I agree with ulala. Your immune system could have kept the infection in check for a long time and then a stressor activated the infection again.

    Igenex accepts medicare if you can get your Dr to order the western blot through them. He will probably try to tell you that you don't need it done through Igenex, but you should insist.

    Igenex tests for all bands, instead of leaving out important lyme specific bands like other labs do. They also use more than one strain of borrelia in their testing methods, unlike other labs.

    Lyme is a clinical diagnosis. It is not just based on a lab test. Please read Dr B's paper that I added the link for in my first post here.

    Read the symptom list. You don't need to have all the symptoms. Different people have different presentations. Some look like FMS, some like CFS, some like MS, others like RA or Parkinson's or psychological illnesses.

    Just curious if your daughter has any symptoms?'s Medical Questions board is very helpful. It is a very busy board with alot of intelligent people who can answer questions.

    I can also direct you to alot of other info if you would like. You may post for me on the Lyme board anytime.

    Hope you get answers.
  16. MsE

    MsE New Member

    I did read the doc's paper as you suggested. Thank you. No, my daughter I visited does not have any symptoms.

    When I got that "bite" I had not been in tick country and didn't have a pet at the time and hadn't been around a pet, so I don't know how I would have picked up Lyme. Wouldn't the doctor have thought about that? He very clearly said it was a spider bite that was infected and it went away after the penicillin shot and it never returned.

    I mentioned it to my current doctor at the time I was diagnosed, and I will bring it up to him again.

    However, I suspect that for some reason the antibiotic, or the stress of feeling so miserable while I was on the antibiotic, is what caused this super exacerbation. This morning I'm not dragging quite as badly, and for that I'm grateful.

    Thanks to all of you for replying. If anyone else has had an exacerbation they think is caused by antibiotics, please post. Warm hugs to all--MsE
  17. ulala

    ulala New Member

    The Herxheimer Reaction - Feeling worse before feeling better

    A patient may become worse following the administration of antibiotics or other form of treatment that kills the causative organism. The Herxheimer Reaction is well recognized in the world of natural medicine or supplements and less in medical circles This is reaction sometimes seen when Lauricidin® is added to the diet and may well be an explanation for what has become known as the Herxheimer reaction

    The Herxheimer Reaction (die-off reaction) is a short-term (from days to a few weeks) detoxification reaction in the body. As the body detoxifies, it is not uncommon to experience flu-like symptoms including headache, joint and muscle pain, body aches, sore throat, general malaise, sweating, chills, nausea or other symptoms.

    This is a normal — and even healthy — reaction to the toxins that are released when large numbers of parasites, fungus, viruses, bacteria or other pathogens are being effectively killed off and the body does not eliminate the toxins quickly enough. The important thing to note is that worsening symptoms do not indicate failure of the treatment in question; in fact, usually just the opposite. The biggest problem with the Herxheimer reaction is that people stop taking the supplement or medication that is causing the reaction, and thus discontinue the very treatment that is helping to make them better. Although the experience may not make you feel particularly good, the Herxheimer Reaction is actually a sign that healing is taking place.

    The History of the Herxheimer Reaction

    This reaction was first described by an Austrian dermatologist Jarisch Adolf Herxheimer working in Vienna and Innsbruck in 1895 and shortly after this, confirmed by his brother Karl Herxheimer(1902 and 1926). Both doctors were dermatologists mainly treating syphilitic lesions of the skin. They noticed that in response to treatment, many patients developed not only fever, perspiration, night sweats, nausea and vomiting, but their skin lesions became larger and more inflamed before settling down and healing. Interestingly, they found that those who had the most extreme reactions healed the best and fastest. The patient might be ill for 2-3 days, but then their lesions resolved.

    A Medical Example

    For example, a recent study report (Feb ’04) on the treatment of Sarcoidosis found that, “. . . without exception, the improving patients are reporting periodic aggravation of their symptoms as an apparent direct response to the antibiotics. In other words, these patients say that their treatment makes them feel much worse before they experience symptom-relief.” In Sarcoidosis patients, the Herxheimer reaction seems to be a valuable indication that an antibiotic is reaching its target.” In the conclusion, the author states: “In my work with Sarcoidosis patients, it is my experience that recovering MP patients understand and welcome the Herxheimer reactions even when they must endure temporary increased suffering. They accept it as the price that they must pay in order to get well and they even seem to find it gratifying to experience tangible evidence of bacterial elimination. “

    Lauricidin® & The Herxheimer Reaction

    Herxheimer reactions in response to Lauricidin® ingestion can occur as the body adjusts to the die-off process and responds to the increased load on the lymphatic system – particularly in cases of systemic and chronic conditions and/or severe infections.

    The most common Herxheimer reactions for users of Lauricidin® are:

    · Acne
    · Headache
    · Flu-like symptoms
    · Itch and rashes
    · Flushes

    Usually, the reaction lasts a few days.

    In most cases, the reaction tends to be mild and barely noticeable, but there are exceptions, particularly in cases of severe infection. The Herx reactions vary widely, depending on many factors, including the general health of the individual, the condition being treated, the degree of toxicity that exists in the body, the frequency and dosage of Lauricidin® taken, and the support the body is provided in eliminating the toxins as rapidly as possible.

    Although this article focuses on the Herxheimer reaction using Lauricidin® , not all users of Lauricidin® will experience a Herx reaction. However, it is important to be aware of the possibility and to understand that it is a symptom of healing, so that Lauricidin® users do not become discouraged if symptoms temporarily worsen and/or discontinue use of the product.

    What To Do In The Event of a Herxheimer Reaction

    If the reaction is mild enough that it can be borne without grave discomfort, the best approach is to continue treatment and assist the body in eliminating the toxins as quickly and as thoroughly as possible by the methods below.

    If the reaction is too severe, cutting back on the dosage or frequency of use can be very helpful in lessening symptoms but allowing the healing process to continue. Sometimes stopping for a day or so and then beginning again at a lesser dosage can allow for quick relief. The best assistance for the body is drinking plenty of pure water.


    The most important advice in relation to Lauricidin® use and the Herxheimer reaction is to “bear with the process”. The reaction is usually over within a few days and is well worth the cleansing and healing results. Plus, it is a sure sign that the Lauricidin® is doing its job and working to help restore your body to natural health!

    Warning: Any serious symptoms such as cardiac irregularity; breathing difficulties; chest, lung or throat constriction; significant swelling; or other severe symptoms should be given immediate medical attention.
  18. karinaxx

    karinaxx New Member

    Your name suggests your suffering from MS?

    You will find this thread ,posted in 2007, very interesting. It is long, but you will find all your questions answered.

    take care
    [This Message was Edited on 07/03/2009]
  19. heapsreal

    heapsreal New Member

    try doxycycline and see if you get a similar reaction, you might have found whats wrong with you and the treatment. Asyou start to feeel bad back of abx and when better start taking them. In the past i had good results although not lasting using doxycyline, it would take 3 days then i started feeling awful and take a day off, this gap got longer until i didnt need days of doxy. Could be lyme but also look into chlamydae pnuemonia(not sexual infection) as well as mycoplasma infection.

    Good luck
  20. jmkinsey

    jmkinsey New Member

    I always feel worse when I take antibiotics. They wipe out the good bacteria in your gut; therefore, they are not there to make B vitamins and you can also get yeast overgrowth. I always take probiotics when I take an antibiotic, but it's like there's a war going on in there. I feel much better once I'm off the antibiotic, but I continue to take probiotics for weeks afterward. Recently I had a sinus infection & took Amoxicillin, then a Z-Pack & got so weak I could hardly walk across my yard. The infection didn't clear up, so I went to my chiropractor, who put me on a regimen of olive leaf extract. It cured the infection & I felt better even while using it.