Suckin’ on the ol’ sewer pipe

This post was originally going to entitled Metronidazole: a haiku. Alas, I suck at writing haikus. Yes, dear reader, there is more to a good haiku than 17 syllables. By the way, did you ever marvel at the irony of learning haiku in an English class? I always did, but my teachers were always more interested in teaching it than arguing about it. I was always of the mind that arguing > haiku, but they always disagreed.

That’s probably they were English teachers in the first place.

Oh, right. This is a pharmacy blog, so back to pharmacy. Specifically to metronidazole AKA Flagyl AKA Shai’tan, AKA Lucifer, the Morning Star himself.

The gods have seen fit to curse me several times throughout my life with the scourge that is metronidazole. I take it (along with a fluouroquinolone) when my Crohn’s flares up, and it works well. Thus far, I have successfully avoided taking any immunomodulators or steroids. But metronidazole has some totally rad side effects. And by “totally rad” I mean “the worst ever.”

First is the taste. It comes in three parts. The first is that awesome nastiness that’ll make you gag as soon as it hits your tongue if you’re not ready for it. Then there’s the lingering powdery residue that no amount of food or orange juice can seem to scrub away. The third part is the full-blown taste perversion that comes a day or so later: that dull throb that wears you down slowly instead of the sharp pain that makes you gasp. That taste that makes you feel as though you’re sucking on a sewer pipe while your gums bleed profusely into the fetid mess each and every time you take a breath.

Bottoms up, friend. It’s only day 2 of 10.

Then there’s the smell perversion, where everything that’s good and sweet in this world turns to ash and dust. Coffee. Pineapple. Chocolate. Forget about sticking your nose near any of it. Then there’s the urine which looks to be made of equal parts blood and urine. Which itself smells like liquid death. (Asparagus has got nothing on Flagyl-piss.) You look in the toilet afterwards and expect to see bits of protein next time as your kidney slowly liquefies itself.

Some say I should count myself fortunate that I don’t seem to experience any psych side effects like depression or nightmares. But I think I’d take nightmares over constant sewer mouth.

Tomorrow marks the last day of a ten day course of this shit, and it can’t come soon enough. The side effects seem to intensify with each round. Or is it that I become less patient? Thankfully Christmas only seems to come once a year so far. The only thing that helps is ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream so I can freeze my mouth and get ten blessed minutes of nothing.

I think if I had mortal enemies, I’d provide them with a lifetime supply of metronidazole, 500mg TID to be taken with only a swallow of water each time.

If you enjoyed this, or have taken Flagyl/metronidazole in the past, you may enjoy this entry about the (lack of) alcohol+Flagyl reaction.

13 thoughts on “Suckin’ on the ol’ sewer pipe

  1. Ah, be glad you can take the stuff. Needed to take Flagyl as part of pre-op prep – after taking bowel prep.
    Had severe GI distress followed by hematemesis.
    Ended up in the ER and my surgery was cancelled.
    After my experiences, I’ll never take it again.

  2. Yeah I had a friend with CDiff that would vomit if he took it. Strangely enough, I can take it on an empty stomach and be just fine, which boggles everyone’s mind. Have been able to, ever since I accidentally took it on an empty stomach and just battled through the resulting GI distress (was in the middle of class). It’s almost like a bizarre sort of immunity, and ever since, it doesn’t bother me.

    I almost wish I *couldn’t* take it. Almost.

    But it really does seem to help. I wish they could elucidate the mechanism of action for the FQ-flagyl combo that quells the inflammation.

  3. There is a theory out there that some Crohn’s disease is actually a Mycobacteria paratuberculosis infection, similar to Johne’s disease in animals. Hence, a (prolonged – Mycobacteria aren’t easy to kill) course of antibiotics can be an effective cure.

  4. Interesting thought. I wonder if you could substitute metronidazole with something in the rifampin family. Maybe a little isoniazid as well.

    Neither of those options really appeals to me, but if I had to do six months of abx and then never have to worry about Crohn’s again, I would be on that shit in a heartbeat.

    I’ll have to look into the literature. But next up… “Alcohol and Metronidazole: Where’re the data, dood?” Gotta love when conventional wisdom is anything but.

  5. I just stumbled onto this site while surfing. After 10 days, I’m up from the sewers and back to sunshine. I was starting to wonder if that sticky white residue on my tongue would ever disappear. I’m counting down the hours to have a nice drinky drink too. Metal mouth is gone and CDiff too!

  6. I just stumbled onto this site while surfing. After 10 days, I’m up from the sewers and back to sunshine. I was starting to wonder if that sticky white residue on my tongue would ever disappear. I’m counting down the hours to have a nice drinky drink too. Metal mouth is gone and CDiff too!

    You can drink while taking Flagyl.

  7. Everything said in this article is absolutely true. You had me laughing the whole way through! I’m on about day 7, and I cannot wait until all those little white pills of torture are gone… My favorite part was when you wrote : “Then there’s the urine which looks to be made of equal parts blood and urine. Which itself smells like liquid death. (Asparagus has got nothing on Flagyl-piss.) You look in the toilet afterwards and expect to see bits of protein next time as your kidney slowly liquefies itself.” How true is that?? Well, although this course of medicine is disgusting, I’m glad I’m not the only one going through it. Hopefully, I will never EVER get Cdiff again. (This medicine just may be worse than the problem it’s treating)

  8. I am on day two of Flagyl and wasn’t given any warnings about side effects by my doctor. Was slightly worried about my piss looking like blood, nausea, etc. Am less worried now! Thanks!

  9. OK Day 7 and last was yesterday. Definite sewer mouth taste. Liquid stool for 8 days now. Maybe soon I won’t need to carry an extra pair of pants just in case. Got lucky have been able to get to the potty so far. This rotten fungal pasty funk in my mouth is the worst. I started to wonder if my lungs were infested with rot. Only puked a few times, not to big of a deal. And surprise, surprise got fed up and drank alcohol on day 6 no problems. Come to find out it’s suppose to be akin to Antabuse , I was feeling pretty good with a few drinks in me. I just brushed like crazy with baking soda and I sware it was foaming or tingling as if I had an acidic mouth.

  10. Fecal bacteriotherapy
    Fecal bacteriotherapy, a procedure related to probiotic research, has been suggested as a potential cure for the disease. It involves infusion of bacterial flora acquired from the feces of a healthy donor in an attempt to reverse bacterial imbalance responsible for the recurring nature of the infection. It has a success rate of nearly 95% according to some sources.[31][32][33]

    Ah yes as I am sure would be most preferred over Flagyl

  11. Been 7 days (3x 400mg) on Flagyl and have got absolutely none of side effects and whatnots all people been telling me horror stories about. 

    It’s been 12 hours since I took my last Flagyl and about 30min ago I popped cold beer open and had a sip. LO and behold! I finally got first “side effect” in as taste perversion. Beer had slightly metallic taste. Thats about it. 

    I’m dissapointed…

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