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Another Peripheral Neuropathy Victim from Flagyl (Metronidazole)

I wrote about my experience with nerve damage from Flagyl (Metronidazole).

SG writes:

I am having the same issues after 7 days of Flagyl. Does the neuropathy goes away. I am so worried.

WIND: Stop the Flagyl (Metronidazole) immediately.

Worried? I was scared shitless at losing my ability to work at a time when just making it is hard enough—in other words, losing physically and financially in dire ways. For some weeks, 3-4 hours a day was all I could manage to work and some days hardly at all (80 hours a week had been my usual for years). When you’re making it on your own (no corporate tit), any setbacks are a BFD.

Lots of scary scenarios play themselves through your head when your hands and arms stop working properly. At least for me it did.

Doctors prescribe this dangerous stuff and don’t monitor their patients. This is why reactions to Flagyl (Metronidazole) are “rare”*: no warning, no monitoring, no reporting, no clue. In my case, a flat-out “no” answer to “are there any risks?” (I asked) and the doctor never bothered to follow up, even after I reported a reaction (and he gave me double the usual dose for double the time!). So reactions remain “rare”. Prescribe and forget*.

But worst of all young man you've got Industrial Disease'
He wrote me a prescription he said 'you are depressed'
But I'm glad you came to see me to get this off your chest
Come back and see me later - next patient please
Send in another victim of Industrial Disease'

Dire Straits, “Industrial Disease”

Substitute “Metronidazole”.

* Rare? What are the odds, within days, of finding that my own nurse (allergy shots) had a teenage son who took Flagyl and for years after never felt right again. Doctors make cognitive commitments; hey, if decades-old medical literature says that a shit sandwich tastes good, then it must be so.

Does the neuropathy goes away?

My severe symptoms (tingling, redness, arm weakness, shooting pains) dissipated in an oscillating fashion over about 8 weeks, and I have made a “mostly” recovery. The younger and shorter (height) you are, the better your chances. Stay physically active (blood flow), avoid alcohol.

However, I was left with lingering damage to the ulnar nerve in both arms (as proven by thorough neurological testing of legs and arms), which I’m told should recover in a year or so—probably.

Bending the elbow more than about 90° for very long irritates the Ulnar nerve. For example, I cannot hold a phone to my ear for more than 15 minutes without noticing discomfort (here’s one option to mitigate). Also I have to sleep as well as I can with my arms as straight as I can. Which is not easy (or particularly comfortable), since none of us really can control body position when sleeping. I have a soft wrap/brace that resists bending the elbow more than 90° when I sleep. Oh joy. The Ulnar nerve can be irritated at the shoulder, elbow and wrist, so watch those areas for positions that stress the joint area.

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