Photo Credit: Randy Whiteside

Last Spring, Keith Whiteside’s mom, Kathy, had just returned from a beach vacation with her husband Randy when she got a cold that went into her chest. With the Easter holidays coming up and grandkids coming to celebrate, she went to the doctor and they gave her a prescription for Levaquin- a fluoroquinolone antibiotic.


After getting her script, she texted her husband and then spoke to her daughter Donna Owen on the phone because she was a bit nervous about taking the drug after having done some research (sadly, it was the last time Owen spoke to her mother).

“On that March day, Randy Whiteside said he and his wife had planned to babysit their grandchildren at their son’s house. Since Kathy wasn’t feeling well, she stayed home and Randy went on to babysit the children.

He said he had a hard time reaching his wife throughout the day, but just assumed she was sleeping because she hadn’t been feeling well. He came home that night to something he will never be able to forget.

‘She had taken a gun and was right there in the kitchen,’ said Randy Whiteside.”1

Her family now believes she took her own life because of the dangerous fluoroquinolone antibiotic. According to her son, she loved her life; this was clearly not a woman who was depressed or who struggled with thoughts of suicide. The very idea is inconceivable to her family.

The FDA has put out multiple warnings about these drugs, saying they can cause “disabling and potentially permanent side effects”1(which is, in this case, an understatement) and yet, in spite of these serious dangers, doctors keep prescribing these types of drugs. On a daily basis.

Some of those “side effects” are: 1

  • December 2018: an FDA review found that Fluoroquinolone antibiotics can increase the occurrence of rare but serious events of ruptures or tears in the main artery of the body, called the aorta. These “aortic dissections,” or “ruptures of an aortic aneurysm” can lead to dangerous bleeding or even death.
  • Tendon rupture
  • Nerve damage
  • Psychiatric problems including confusion, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

While many doctors will say it’s because they work really well or because they need something stronger, people continue to suffer.


According to Melissa Christian, a family nurse practitioner who only uses Fluroquinolone antibiotics as a last resort, “If you Google right now Levaquin and suicide, or Levaquin and psychosis there are copious amounts of articles out there. This is evidence based research that say, yes this could potentially cause harm.”1

She says, “…I’ve had patients who had their tendons rupture from the drug. I had a patient say I took one of those pills and I felt like my skin was going to crawl,”1 and because of that, she “encourages her patients to be their own advocate and ask questions about what medication they are planning to put into their bodies.”1


Christian is also of the opinion that the government needs to take a closer look at these antibiotics to see if more needs to be done about warning the public about the side effects.

While the maker of Levaquin has stopped making the drug, it may still be on the market for another year and there are still generic versions of the antibiotic.

If you’d like to know what Janseen Pharmaceuticals, Bayer, the maker of Cipro, or the FDA had to say about these drugs, click here for the original story. 


  1. KFVS, CBS