Levaquin, Cipro, Avelox and other similar antibiotics have long been known to cause serious side effects. Yet despite a petition requesting warning labels from a not-for-profit consumer advocacy group and the Illinois Attorney General, the public was not warned about these side effects until July 2008.
Levaquin, Cipro, Avelox and similar antibiotics may cause damage to or the tearing of a tendon (the fiber that connects bones to muscles in the body), especially in the Achilles' tendon of the heel. These effects may be more likely to occur if you are over 60, if you take an oral steroid medication, or if you have had a kidney, heart, or lung transplant.
What is Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox?
Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox are antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones used to treat bacterial infections of the skin, sinuses, kidneys, bladder, or prostate. They are also used to treat bacterial infections that cause bronchitis or pneumonia, and to treat people who have been exposed to anthrax.
With the highest percentage of the market, Levaquin ranked as the 19th and then 22nd most prescribed drug in the U.S. in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Sales of Levaquin exceeded $1.6 and $1.4 billion in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
History of Levaquin
1987 – Levaquin patented in Europe
December 20, 1996 - FDA Approval of Levaquin
2004 - Oral dosage of Levaquin is released.
2006 - Public Citizen[i] and Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, petition the FDA to warn the public about the risk of tendon rupture associated with Levaquin.
In the petition, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, notes “The numbers are startling. Tendon ruptures associated with these drugs continue to occur at a disturbing rate but could be prevented if doctors and patients were more aware of early warning signals, such as the onset of tendon pain, and switched to other antibiotics.” Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan furthers "consumers and physicans have a right to know the adverse effects associated with prescription medicines."
2007 - According to Dr. Sidney Wolfe, there were 407 reports of tendon ruptures and 341 reports of tendinitis by the end of 2007.
July 2008 - The manufacturers of this class of drugs finally place a black box warning on its package label alerting physicians and the public of the risks associated with these drugs.
[i] Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.