2012 Volume 226 Issue 4 Pages 251-258
Tendinopathy is a serious health problem and its etiology is not fully elucidated. Among intrinsic and extrinsic predisposing factors of tendinopathy, the impact of therapeutic agents, especially fluoroquinolone (FQ) group antibiotics, is recently being recognized. FQs are potent bactericidal agents widely used in various infectious diseases, including community acquired pneumonia and bronchitis, chronic osteomyelitis, traveler's diarrhea, typhoid fever, shigellosis, chronic bacterial prostatitis, uncomplicated cervical and urethral gonorrhea and prophylaxis of anthrax. FQs have an acceptable tolerability range. However, many lines of evidence for developing tendinitis and tendon rupture during FQ use have resulted in the addition of a warning in patient information leaflets. FQ-induced tendinopathy presents a challenge for the clinician because healing response is poor due to low metabolic rate in mature tendon tissue and tendinopathy is more likely to develop in patients who are already at high risk, such as elderly, solid organ transplant recipients and concomitant corticosteroid users. FQs become photo-activated under exposure to ultraviolet light, and this process results in formation and accumulation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). The subsequent FQ-related oxidative stress disturbs mitochondrial functions, leading to apoptosis. ROS overproduction also has direct cytotoxic effects on extracellular matrix components. Understanding the mechanisms of the FQ-associated tendinopathy may enable designing safer therapeutic strategies, hence optimization of clinical response. In this review, we evaluate multi-factorial etiology of the FQ-induced tendinopathy and discuss proposed preventive measures such as antioxidant use and protection from natural sunlight and artificial ultraviolet exposure.