The antibiotic Tequin, manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb, can cause potentially fatal swings in blood sugar.
Greater Risk Than Previously Thought
A new study shows that the drug's risks are far greater than they were believed to be. The FDA has already warned doctors not to prescribe the antibiotic to diabetic patients. However, the blood sugar swings have now been observed even in patients without diabetes.
17 Times the Risk
An examination of the medical records of almost 1.5 million people older than 65 showed that those who took Tequin had four times the risk of low blood sugar, and almost 17 times the risk of high blood sugar.
Those who took Tequin were also far more likely to be hospitalized for blood sugar problems, and a number of such patients died.
Tequin made $150 million in worldwide sales last year. It is used to treat lung, sinus and urinary tract infections, and also some sexually transmitted diseases. Alternative antibiotics are available for all of its uses.
Another typical case of a drug-based "cure" that harms rather than heals and one in which you have received fair warning.
The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) rushed this study to its Web site in order to get a warning out as early as possible regarding the frightening and harmful effects of Tequin (gatifloxacin).
More than 1,200 seniors who were looked at in the two-year study required medical attention, and 69 patients died after taking Tequin.
These results have prompted calls for a ban from some experts, along with Public Citizen, although Bristol-Myers claims they were aware of the problems and that the FDA mandated label accounts for those new findings.
All of this is not a bit surprising to me, considering the use of antibiotics has been linked to cancer.
For the record, I'm not opposed to antibiotics, just opposed to needlessly prescribing them. In my experience, I've found antibiotics to be used and prescribed inappropriately about 95 percent of the time; antibiotics are typically widely overused.
For example, two out of three babies receive antibiotics by their first birthday. This is a particular travesty as nearly all of the ear infections that they are typically used for can be easily treated and prevented.
Most of the infections you acquire are not the result of some pernicious germ that is out to get you. Most frequently it is because your immune system was impaired because you violated one or more of the following three basic health principles:
If you apply these basics your body has no choice but to stay healthy and get better. It is my strong belief and frequent observation in my clinical practice that each of us has been provided with an enormous array of biochemical mechanisms that are designed to generate health.
Most of us have to regularly violate these principles for many years before we reap the fruits of our unhealthy choices.