Woman warns of painful side effects from UTI medication

Posted at 10:40 PM, Sep 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-13 01:40:20-04

A Valley woman blames the popular drug Cipro for causing severe health problems.

Nancy Gretzinger was prescribed Cipro years ago, repeatedly, for her chronic urinary tract infections. She now attributes the drug to her tendinitis, fatigue, and resistance to antibiotics.

"I found out there was a black box warning in 2008, and I told my urologist that there was a black box and he was not aware of it," Gretzinger said. "I am a victim of this drug."

The black box warning is on a piece of paper that comes with the drug. The first sentence reads: "This drug may cause very bad side effects."

The FDA issued a strong warning against Cipro in July of 2016, saying the drug should only be used if no other option is available to patients.

Dr. Frank LoVecchio is a medical toxicologist at Banner Health. He said doctors often prescribe Cipro for UTIs because there are very few options that will kill the infection.

"UTIs are very difficult to treat, there is so much resistance in the community," Dr. LoVecchio said. "Many people take antibiotics when they shouldn't need it and doctors prescribe when we shouldn't need it."

Gretzinger was forced to quit her job and is in pain every day. She wants others to read the warning labels before they assume the antibiotic will help them.

"I want people to know that there are drugs out there that they shouldn't be taking and they need to be their own medical advocate," she said.