woman with hands placed over face laying in hospital bed
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
May 5, 2024 ·  5 min read

Woman Disabled From Fluoroquinolone Toxicity After Use of Common Antibiotic

Hundreds of thousands of antibiotics are prescribed every year to treat a wide variety of infections. While most of the time they are incredibly helpful, sometimes they can do harm. In a heartbreaking turn of events, a young mother named Hailey Sebert found herself disabled after being prescribed a common antibiotic. Hailey’s story sheds light on the rare and debilitating side effects caused by fluoroquinolone toxicity. This is Hailey’s experience and what you need to know about fluoroquinolones, their uses, and the controversial issues surrounding them.

Hailey Sebert’s Story

Hailey Sebert has always been very active with her two young sons. They used to enjoy the vibrant Long Beach, California climate, spending their days at the park, the beach, and exploring their hometown – often on bikes or roller blades. However, their lives took an unexpected turn after Hailey was injured at work. An employee at a therapeutic gym for children, a child accidentally hit Hailey’s jaw with the top of their head while she was working. The impact cracked her tooth, leading to a subsequent infection and a visit to the dentist. (1)

Hailey was prescribed the antibiotic levofloxacin in October 2021 to treat her tooth infection. When she began taking the antibiotic, she began to have nightmares. Not connecting them with the medication, she attributed it to her Halloween movie binge-watching. However, after just two days of taking the medication, Hailey recalls feeling like a bomb had gone off in her body. She struggled with walking, experiencing tremors, and even required a cane for stability. The pain spread, affecting her tendons, heels, calves, and knees, soon rendering her reliant on a wheelchair within three weeks.

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“Whenever I would try to walk, my whole back would be jerking and tremoring and my tendon pain in my heel was getting worse. It was starting to travel up my calf and into the back of my knee. It began to be very painful to stand. It felt like hot, searing pain.” she told PEOPLE.

Unable to find answers during her initial hospital visit, Hailey took matters into her own hands and began researching her symptoms. It was during this investigation that she stumbled upon the term “fluoroquinolone toxicity” or “floxing.” Hailey discovered that levofloxacin, the antibiotic she had been prescribed, belonged to this class of drugs known for its rare and serious side effects.

Read More: A Woman Had to Undergo 20 Surgeries to Undo The Damage Caused By Medication

What are Fluoroquinolones?

Fluoroquinolones are a class of antibiotics commonly used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections. They are considered broad-spectrum antibiotics, meaning they are effective against many different types of bacteria. Some of the commonly prescribed fluoroquinolones include levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, and moxifloxacin. Fluoroquinolones are used to treat a variety of infections, including urinary tract infections (UTIs), respiratory tract infections (RTIs), and skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs). They can also be used to treat sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. (2)

The Controversy

These antibiotics are usually reserved for serious infections due to their potent nature. However, in recent years, the controversial side effects associated with fluoroquinolones have come to light. In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about the potentially disabling and permanent effects these drugs can have on tendons, muscles, joints, nerves, and the central nervous system. Two years later, the FDA stated that fluoroquinolone use should be restricted for certain uncomplicated infections. (3)

A study conducted by the National Institute of Health in 2021 further revealed that fluoroquinolones could lead to adverse effects. These include tendinopathy and tendon rupture, peripheral neuropathy, and aortic aneurysm. While these antibiotics have undoubtedly saved many lives over the years, it is essential to weigh the potential risks against the benefits for each individual case. (4)

Read More: This Common Medication Could Lead to Irreversible Health Conditions

An Uncertain Future

Hailey’s life, and those of her two young boys, have been completely changed. Two years later and she is still struggling with the side effects of taking just two of those pills that were prescribed to her. There is no cure, and while some people who experience fluoroquinolone toxicity’s symptoms eventually go away, others must learn to manage certain symptoms for the rest of their lives.

“I have weakness in my hands and I can’t hold my phone up for very long,” Hailey says. “I was hugging somebody yesterday and my arms got tired from hugging. The fatigue is so much.”

Currently no one knows just how many people have been affected by this type of antibiotic. While there are those that have extreme cases, like Hailey, experts say that others may be affected and not know it. Dr. Bruce Farber, Chief of Public Health and Epidemiology for Northwell Health says that while they are incredible drugs that have saved countless lives, they are strong and should only be prescribed for complex infections and only when absolutely necessary. He says that cartilage issues can be a problem which could cause people joint problems, though much less extreme than Hailey’s case.

“[Fluoroquinolones] can cause Achilles tendonitis and tendonitis in other joints.” he says.

The Bottom Line

Hailey Sebert’s story is a stark reminder of the devastating impact fluoroquinolone toxicity can have on individuals’ lives. Her experience highlights the need for better information and awareness regarding the potential side effects of these antibiotics. While fluoroquinolones can be lifesaving in certain circumstances, it is crucial for healthcare providers to exercise caution when prescribing them, ensuring that the benefits outweigh the risks for their patients.

Hailey now spreads awareness about the dangers of fluoroquinolones on TikTok. By sharing her story, she hopes to educate others and also provide support and community for those affected as she is. She has also started a website called What The Flox  to share information and resources for those who live with debilitating conditions caused by these antibiotics.

Moving forward, it is vital for patients to be informed about the potential side effects of fluoroquinolones and for healthcare professionals to practice informed consent. By raising awareness about fluoroquinolone toxicity, patients like Hailey Sebert hope to advocate for better understanding, research, and support for those who have been affected by these devastating side effects. Only with increased awareness and research can we hope to prevent further cases of disability caused by fluoroquinolone toxicity and provide appropriate care for those who have already been affected.

Read More: What You Need To Know About Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Like Cipro And Levaquin


  1. Mom, 33, Disabled After Antibiotic Causes Toxic ‘Floxing’ Reaction: ‘Like a Bomb Had Gone Off in My Body’ (Exclusive).” People. Cara Lynn Shultz. April 19, 2024
  2. Fluoroquinolones.” NCBI. March 10, 2020.
  3. FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA updates warnings for oral and injectable fluoroquinolone antibiotics due to disabling side effects.” FDA
  4. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics and adverse events.” NCBI. Diva Baggio, et al. October 2021.