Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Achilles heel

Popular antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones, which include Levaquin (levofloxacin) and Cipro (ciprofloxacin), have been associated with a potential increased risk of ruptured tendons. The main tendons affected are shoulder, hand, and Achilles.

Levaquin is prescribed for lung, sinus, skin, and urinary tract infection (UTI) treatment when such infections are caused by certain bacteria. Cipro is prescribed for urinary tract infections such as acute uncomplicated cystitis, pyelonephritis, and chronic bacterial prostatitis when certain bacteria cause such infections.

The tendon problems may spontaneously occur within a few days of taking the antibiotic or months after the course of therapy is finished.

Further research needs to be perform, but it seems as if fluoroquinolones cause cell death in the tendons thus weaking them. More and more case studies1,2 and lawsuits are occurring. Levaquin and Cipro's weakness literally has been their "Achilleios pterna," that is Achilles' heel.


Michael K. Van Antwerp, DC, CPed, CCSP

Back to Health Wellness Center
2433 N Aspen Ave,Broken Arrow, OK 74012


1. Mathis AS. Levofloxacin-associated achilles tendon rupture. An Pharmacotherapy: 2003; 37:7:1014-1017.

2. Haddow LJ. Spontaneous achilles tendon rupture in patients treated with levofloxacin. J Antimicrobial Chemotherapy: 2003; 51:3:747-748.

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