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Cipro Concerns for Runners

In December, I was diagnosed with a sinus infection and was prescribed the antibiotic Cipro in order to knock it out. I didn’t find out until later that it is a medication that has some cause for concern for folks that enjoy high impact activities, such as running. There is evidence that tendon damage can occur after taking it, which caused me great concern as a runner. In fact, in 2008 the FDA told “companies that the drugs must now carry “black box” warnings alerting doctors and patients that the drugs can increase risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture in some patients.” Black box warnings are the sternest warning issued by the FDA, and it covered the entire class of fluoroquinolones (cipro included).

Digging in and researching, there are the typical conflicting reports. Running forums detail every degree of injury and nearly all suggested waiting out activities until anywhere from 2 weeks to six months after cessation of the medication. The greatest concerns were for those that were on the six week treatment duration. My treatment was only ten days, but I was still very concerned about rushing back into running after having not run for a month at that point.

I decided to give myself a month before hitting the pavement again, just to ensure that I don’t add to my list of injuries and health problems. I’m paying for it now, as the total of two months break from running has me huffing and puffing on short distances. Still, I am confident that I did the right thing, and am being cautious and gentle as I ramp up to longer distances. I’m not concerned about my performance having decreased, with what I learned that I’m capable of last year.

There is a lot of information out there, so if you are prescribed the medication you should do your own research to see the newest information and to make the best informed decision you can. I just wanted to let you know of the concern in case, like me, you weren’t told when it was prescribed to have the option of requesting another antibiotic. Corticosteroids may provide protection, but I’m not interested in taking steroids because of other issues that may arise from them.

I have big goals for 2011, and I think being cautious while pushing myself to reach them is the best way for me to proceed.

Happy trails!