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Not long after anthrax was found at NBC, Tom Brokaw held up a pill bottle during a newscast, declaring "In Cipro we trust." On Capitol Hill, politicians lined up for the small white pills after a scare there. The word on everyone's lips: Cipro.
Few people had even heard of Cipro a month ago. Now, Bayer Corp. is more than tripling its production of the drug, the only form of the powerful antibiotic ciprofloxacin approved by the Food and Drug Administration to fight anthrax.
Bayer has promised the government it will be able to deliver 200 million Cipro tablets in the next three months. It shipped 50 million in the last month alone, Bayer spokesman Mark Ryan said.
Thompson said Wednesday that the government will be buying much of the planned output of pills to put in a government stockpile. Our government will pay $1.83
per 500 mg tablet. (1)
The generic name for Cipro, Ciprofloxacin hydrochloride, received FDA approval in 1987 and is used to treat a variety of infections, including urinary tract infections and sinusitis. The drug was approved as an anthrax treatment in August last year.
But before you place your trust in Cipro, consider the following:
Common side effects include; nausea, abdominal pain/discomfort, diarrhea, headache, rash, restlessness, and vomiting.
Less common side effects may include:
Abnormal dread or fear, achiness, bleeding in the stomach and/or intestines, blood clots in the lungs, blurred vision, change in color perception, chills, confusion, constipation, convulsions, coughing up blood, decreased vision, depression, difficulty in swallowing, dizziness, double vision, drowsiness, eye pain, fainting, fever, flushing, gas, gout flare up, hallucinations, hearing loss, heart attack, hiccups, high blood pressure, hives, inability to fall or stay asleep, inability to urinate, indigestion, intestinal inflammation, involuntary eye movement, irregular heartbeat, irritability, itching, joint or back pain, joint stiffness, kidney failure, labored breathing, lack of muscle coordination, lack or loss of appetite, large volumes of urine, light-headedness, loss of sense of identity, loss of sense of smell, mouth sores, neck pain, nightmares, nosebleed, pounding heartbeat, ringing in the ears, seizures, sensitivity to light, severe allergic reaction, skin peeling, redness, sluggishness, speech difficulties, swelling of the face, neck, lips, eyes, or hands, swelling of the throat, tender, red bumps on skin, tingling sensation, tremors, unpleasant taste, unusual darkening of the skin, vaginal inflammation, vague feeling of illness, weakness, and yellowed eyes and skin. (2)
Serious and fatal reactions have occurred when Cipro was taken in combination with theophylline (Theo-Dur). These reactions have included cardiac arrest, seizures, status epilepticus (continuous attacks of epilepsy with no periods of consciousness), and respiratory failure.
Safety and effectiveness of Cipro oral tablets and suspension have not been established in children and adolescents under 18 years of age.
What is discouraging about all of this is the total lack of mention from our government and mainstream media of possible safer alternatives to drugs like Cipro. Specifically, documented studies indicate that therapeutic grade thyme oil is an effective remedy for anthrax and numerous other pathogens. (3)
To understand why, one needs to understand how large drug companies, like Bayer, make their money. These large corporations look at billions of dollars, not millions, as consideration in looking at potential products. Patent laws prevent natural products like thyme oil from being patented. Bayer is free to market thyme oil, but sales would be in the lower millions; Not enough money to whet their corporate appetites. Then, too, there is a limited supply of thyme oil. Production of thyme plants could be increased, but even then sales would not meet expectations. Further, natural products, though they may be effective, do not have the ear of the medical profession.
The simple truth is that our medical system relies heavily on pharmaceutically synthesized, petro-chemical drugs in treating their patients. Patients are seldom told of alternatives to drugs because most doctors are either not aware of them, or are prejudiced to their use.
In spite of legally prescribed drugs causing over 100,000 deaths per year, doctors continue prescribing drugs like Cipro as though they are kind of magic bullet. (4) They are not.
So the next time you hear the words "in Cipro we trust," think about what those words mean, and their possible consequences.
1. Associated Press, Oct 17, 01
3. 1960, Department of Biology, Long Island University,
4. JAMA (Journal of The American Medical Association),
Barbara Starfield, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins School
of Hygiene and Public Health
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