Fluoroquinolones: Inquest into controversial antibiotic with serious side effects begins

Following dozens of alarming reports about the serious side effects of fluoroquinolones, commonly prescribed treatments for bacterial infections, the Paris Prosecutor’s Office – the Parquet de Paris – has launched an inquest into the dangers of the drugs.  

Tavanic, Ciflox and Oflocet are all brand names for a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. This type of drug is often prescribed by French doctors to patients suffering from severe bacterial infections, but the fear is now that the medication could be doing more harm than good. 

Reports of side effects including heart problems, neurological disorders and damage to nerves and tendons have been blamed on fluoroquinolones, causing authorities to take a closer look at the treatment option and around 20 individuals are believed to have lodged complaints about the side effects they have suffered, which the French National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) says can “appear from the first 48 hours of treatment and up to several months after stopping treatment”.  


The investigation was formally opened on 27th March, according to a report by RMC. The Parquet is reported to be taking the case very seriously, with charges of involuntary manslaughter and deception being bandied about.   

“I can no longer lift a plate, I need someone to go with me to the toilet. It has made me completely dependent even though I was someone independent. I am destroyed,” one patient, Françoise, who had used the drug for four days to treat salmonellosis, told RMC. 


An awareness on the potential dangers of the drugs has been circulating since 2015. 

Indeed, France’s Ministry of Health has reached out to healthcare professionals in a bid to warn them about fluoroquinolones and, over the past nine years, prescriptions for fluoroquinolones have decreased by 39%.  

For the time being, French authorities have advised, “Particular precautions must be taken in patients treated simultaneously with corticosteroids, in the elderly, in those with renal insufficiency and in patients who have received a solid organ transplant.” 

However, there is no legal obligation of doctors to inform their patients of the possible effects of fluoroquinolones before starting treatment. 

If patients experience any odd symptoms during or after taking fluoroquinolones, they are advised to contact their doctors or head straight to an emergency room if sudden back, chest or abdominal pain arises.   


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