February 24, 2015 11:35 PM
Sixty year old Joseph King of North Miami said his life changed and he believes could end prematurely because of what he considers to be a toxic poisoning by the antibiotic Levaquin. Levaquin is one of a class of antibiotics called Flouroquinolones coming under heightened scrutiny by some medical researchers and the public.
CBS4 Chief Investigative Reporter Michele Gillen asked King about the impact he believes the drug has had on his life.
“It has destroyed it, completely destroyed it. As you can see it has killed my teeth. It has destroyed my jaw. So I cannot have any oral surgery to repair it. It has dissolved my tendons and connective tissue. And my muscles have actually decayed and my prognosis is very dim,” shared King.
Click here to watch Michele Gillen’s report
Four years ago, King said he was prescribed Levaquin in an emergency room, when he was suffering from salmonella poisoning, or food poisoning.
“I was put on it intravenously then put on a dose of it orally for the next 30 days,” said King.
As CBS4 News recently reported, this class of antibiotics carries a black box warning for possible tendon injuries.
Since that first report, the Investigative team has reviewed an internal FDA safety report on the potential negative impact this class of drugs has on nerve endings.
On page 12, CBS4 found the FDA’s own revelation of how these drugs can essentially impact a user in ways similar to neuro-degenerative diseases such as “Parkinson’s , Alzheimer’s, and ALS.”
If the drugs can affect the function of our cells, the mitochondria and ultimately the brain, Alan Redd, a biological anthropologist, who is writing about this class of drugs, told Gillen it is chilling.
“They state explicitly in there that mitochondrial dysfunction can be associated with neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s,” insisted Redd. He continued in a Skype interview with Gillen from his home in Kansas where he teaches at the University of Kansas.
He believes even a recently revised warning is not strong enough.
“There is a big disconnect between the safety report and that warning. There is no warning in the new package about brain damage, about Alzheimer’s about Parkinson’s or ALS. So there is a disconnect about the internal document and what was released to the public. And I find that disturbing. I find that outrageous actually,” Redd reflected.
Redd said he was damaged by taking this class of antibiotics five years ago. He said he, “suffered a number of side effects. They have not resolved completely. ”
Meanwhile, Redd is pushing for more transparency from the FDA regarding its own findings and joining supporters of a citizens petition filed with the FDA last June.
His message to the FDA is, “come clean and tell the public and physicians that this is a class of drugs as you noted in your document that has the potential to damage mitochondria, cause dysfunction and potentially increase your probability for neurological diseases.”
King agreed, saying “not only is the public not aware of this, the doctors are not aware of it either.”
King said these drugs can be life saving for many, especially in the cases of life-threatening illnesses but he fears that without change, more patients could find themselves walking the road he is.
What is his goal now?
“To make it each day,” said King.